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MAIL-ORDER MONSTER

by Linda Joy Singleton

“What’s going on?” Kristen exclaimed, backing away.

“A little magic,” Skye answered.

“Only a little!” Kristen shrieked. “Hey, call that thing off!”

The orange smoke-arrow shot at Kristen and lifted the paperback book from her hands. Skye giggled as The Flying Sorcerer took flight, spinning in the center of spooky orange fog.

But Skye’s giggling stopped when the book fell to the ground and a strange shape formed in the puffy cheese-colored smoke. Four legs, a flowing white tail, a silver horn, silky wings, and a long slender neck. A horse. But not just any horse–it was the picture on Kristen’s book come to life! A tiny flying unicorn.

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The van slammed its brakes and stopped in front of Skye’s tall, weathered, two-story home.

A large bearded man stepped out. He wore a purple and white uniform and carried a clipboard.

“I have a delivery for Miss Skye Jones.”

His voice was gruff, like a bear’s growl, and Skye felt nervous. She answered softly, “I’m Skye.”

He thrust the clipboard at her. “Read the small print. Then sign on the dotted line.”

“Huh? But I didn’t order anything.”

His bushy brows came together in a stern line. “If you are Miss Skye Jones, then I have a package for you.”

A package? From who? Skye wondered. Could her pen pal have sent a present? A “let’s be friends” gift? Or maybe the first letter was so long and thick it had needed to be mailed in a box.

“Sure,” Sky said eagerly, taking the clipboard. “I’ll sign.”

The delivery man nodded briskly. “Be sure to read the contract first.

Signing your name is a serious matter.”

Skye stared at the dark, printed words, her mind dizzy. The big letters at the top of the form read: Special-Tee Fiends. There were seven paragraphs of tiny, confusing sentences. Like “party of the first part agrees to meet all existing regulations and to uphold any specified conditions.”

Skye’s head spun faster.

She pointed to the form. “Shouldn’t this read Special-Tee Friends?

Not Fiends. They spelled their name wrong again.”

The “bear” delivery man shook his head. “No mistake. Please, sign.”

“But if it isn’t a mistake, then maybe I made the mistake….”

Skye nibbled on her lower lip and thought about the word “fiend.”

A demon, someone wicked, an evil spirit.

Skye hadn’t ordered a best friend.

She’d ordered a monster.

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