• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 01


First the Pedersens, with their fat lazy tabby who took a full outraged minute to waddle across the garden and defend his food dish, and then the Lindbergs, where the perfectly poised pedigree was so highly strung she fled at the sight of an intruder. The best kibble at the Bergströms, if Madame Pretty Paws and her artful claws were safely out of sight; the most certain reward at Alma Ström’s neat little home, as long as you could be bothered to sit through the squeezing and heavy petting before she shared her can of sardines. Then onto the hospital, where sticking to the creamy outer walls of 20th century stone usually turned up a friendly visitor or two ready to throw a tidbit, some herring picked from a sandwich or a bit of cheese. And the best sun on the whole island, easy to track and travel throughout the day, places to stretch out and nap for hours without concern of shadow or cloud.

Worth taking any door left open, if nothing else to be sure there wasn’t any appetite still empty. There were mice somewhere in the church, deep down under the floor, their hay-ripened feral little scent rising through the cracks in the boards, the tiny scrabblings of their own errands. The nurses keeping respectful watch, the woman sobbing at the front by the altar. Worth taking the time to sit and wait, for the mice or the sun or the brief touch of attention. Right now the nurses were distracted and the woman was busy, her hands clasped up to her forehead, her eyes trained on stained glass, but maybe in a little while she’d grow tired and one hand would fall, an open palm just the right size to press a warm soft head into, fingers that would stroke the ears gently between, salt to be licked.