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“You shouldn’t be here. Break some branches, Throw some leaves, but don't steal from me, and don’t burn.” Janua knew these were common behaviors in Misfit culture. She reminded herself of the goddess Lealin’s teachings; that all creatures would adopt the selfless nature of the goddess before the world’s end, at which point the redeemed would live in the paradise-beyond-death.

Janua could not bear to see Misfits being killed by the humans they stole from, so she made it her life’s mission to steer them away from the farms, and teach them to learn selflessness. While humans believed the Misfit proclivity to steal and destroy was ingrained within them, she could not bring herself to think that they were a lost cause. She knew the Misfits would be able to change if the goddess’s teachings held true. She’d had no luck seeing any progress to date, however, no matter how many fireside talks she’d conducted among them, during which she extolled the self-evident virtues of generosity and mutual concern.

Janua briefly closed her eyes to focus her attention to the scratchy votive necklace of dried and fragrant fruit and leaves hanging from her neck. It was symbolic of, and dedicated to Lealin, and she drew moral strength from it during stressful moments. In her mind, Janua quickly asked for the wisdom to deal rightly with the Misfit, despite the alarm she felt at seeing her home discovered by a stranger.

“Misfits love woodland girl. Misfits know girl makes peace from farmer and dog. Misfit thanks her!” He rolled free from the doorway (although there was no ‘door,’ but merely some leafy branches to mask it), and stood. Being large for his kind, he was as round as a boulder, and just one foot shorter than the slightly built Janua, a thin Feykind woman with pointed ears, who stood at four feet tall. The Misfit opened his hand where he held a small, crudely shaped cake. A lump of dried sap mashed around a twig was poked askew on top; a haphazard parody of a candle. “Me made no burn because girl no like burns. But me make human cake for girl’s birthday. Me remember!” 

The End

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