Beasts

Short story

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1. The Beginning and The End

When I was very young, my mother taught me how to read. It started with a simple picture book; the typical story about a prince saving a damsel in distress, and in the end they lived happily ever after.

It was my favorite story to read with her, because sometimes she would do silly voices when she read, like making the prince's voice too high or the princess's voice too low. Occasionally she'd throw in a dragon, making him roar for pages and pages, or a little elf that ran around and bossed people around. I never complained, even when the characters she read as weren't part of the story. It made it more interesting, and it made the story hers. That's what I loved about it.

I haven't opened that book since she died. When she got sick, we read it more and more together, but slowly her characters started fading. The dragon no longer roared, the elf went along with what others said, even the prince had a normal voice. It began to get sad, losing the magical touch my mother had given it. Then, on her last night, she begged me to read it to her, and even voiced the dragons and elves. As we sat by the dying fire and read together, everything finally felt right. By the end, her eyes had fluttered closed, as well as the pages to the story.

Neither have opened since.

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