By Brenda Anderson
Tenbe pushed open the gate outside the Master’s shell-dwelling, wishing she could turn and run. Ever since he’d taken possession of this vacant lot, villagers avoided the street. Coiled into elaborate swirls that changed color, the shell’s hard, glittery surface housed a creature no one wanted as a neighbor.
The shell flushed pale green. Good. That meant he hadn’t fully woken yet. Today would run its course. The Master would order her to collect certain objects; Tenbe would obey and in the evening return to her private hidey-hole.
Only then would she count her own special objects: finger bones. Every night she touched them, counted them, found comfort in them.