Author: Kat Lee
Word Count: 5,516
Date Written: 9 - 10 October 2017
Disclaimer: This one's all mine, folks!
Inky was only a very small Imp when the other Imps first started picking on him. “You’re so small!” they’d crow, punching his tiny arm and sending him tottering backward. “You couldn’t even scare a child!” Inevitably, another Imp would say that he could scare someone -- he was a Imp, after all -- but no one bigger than a mouse or a tiny kitten would be scared by the likes of him and would punch him again. Soon, Inky would find himself being punched back and forth in such a flurry that he had barely even known where the next punch was coming from, only that it was surely coming.
He would have ran to his mother for comfort, but Inky didn’t have a mother. He didn’t have a father either to tell him how to behave or make the other Imps stopped poking fun at him. Imps don’t have parents, you see. A bigger, darker, and more powerful evil simply thinks of them, and they come into being. Most Imps are born with a purpose, a certain person to scare or torment, but Inky had no one. He had no friends, no parents, no brothers or sisters who claimed to have been made at the same time as he and attempted to stand up for him. He had no one at all.
But for Inky, that included no master, which was something none of the other Imps could say. Their Masters were constantly sending them to and fro in the Earth to create havoc for them. They were constantly being put after one target or another, but Inky was never even once given a task. He could skip to and fro in the Earth at will and often did.
He enjoyed spending his time under the wide, open night skies. He liked the darkness. It suited him very well as he was named Inky because he was as black as ink and could blend seamlessly into the shadows. All Imps can blend into the shadows, but Inky was especially skilled at blending into the shadows so well that, over time, even the other Imps could look right where he stood in the shadows and not see him. This was exactly how Inky began to escape their quarrels and teasing. He would stand right in the shadows looking at the other Imps, but they wouldn’t see him and he’d wait patiently, not moving an inch, until they had left and gone on to other shadows, other places, and other beings to tease and torment.
Inky spent the first hundred years of his life doing just this. He’d blend in and out of the shadows at will. He didn’t scare anybody. He never tried anybody. He didn’t try, because having been hurt himself by the other Imps, he knew being scared, just like being punched, wasn’t any fun. But he did watch the other creatures of the Earth.
Every night, he would walk alone, watching as other animals walked by him, not seeing him. Every now and then, one of the bigger animals would stop so swiftly that a small one would barrel right into their legs. They would sniff the air and look at the empty shadow where Inky hid. Finally, they’d pick up the little animal by the scruff of their necks in their jaws or nudge them along ahead of them. “We have to hurry,” they’d always say. “There’s a Imp out and about.”
These animals were often called mothers, but Inky had never known a mother -- no Imp ever had -- and so he never missed what he had never understood. He did see bonds, though, between the animals. He saw these bigger animals carrying for the smaller ones who looked just like them except that they were small. He’d see brothers and sisters of the same litter playing and sometimes animals who weren’t related at all but were still friends. Eventually, though, any time he thought about coming out of the shadows, one of the animals would stop, sniff the air, and urge the others to move on.
He wanted so badly to tell them that it was just him, just Inky, and that he meant them no harm. A few times, he tried, but no sooner did emerge from the shadows than the animals took off running in the opposite direction. He had no more luck approaching them than a ghost he’d heard tale of, a ghost whose name was Casper and who only wanted to have a friend, something that these animals, Inky understood, were to each other.
He would like to have a friend. He would like to have someone to talk to, someone on whose back to leap and tumble, someone to cuddle up to in the dark, someone to warn him when the bigger Imps were coming so that he might hide in time. Inky often managed to hide on time, but there were times when the other Imps caught him by surprise. He still wasn’t very big for his age, and every time they caught him, they would laugh and poke fun at him.
“You still haven’t scared that kitten, have you, Inky?” they’d say or, “Hey, Inky. We heard that field mouse the other night frightened you!” Inky would try his best to ignore them, but ignoring them, instead of making them go away, only seemed to make them want to poke more fun at him. Soon, they’d be punching him around again, hitting and kicking him back and forth between them like other animals played with a ball.
But Inky wasn’t a ball. He was a Imp, but unlike the other Imps, he had feelings. He had feelings they said were too “human” for a Imp, whatever that meant. He’d seen a few humans before, and none of them seemed to Inky to be anything like him. They were always rushing around and never had any time for others of their species or animals or for him.
One night, watching a female of the strange species, Inky decided to let himself be seen. Maybe he could talk to this female and find out why it was the other Imps called him human when he clearly wasn’t. He was clearly a Imp, which the she-human he saw the moment he stepped into the light. She screamed, throwing her hands up over her head, dropping everything she carried, and fainted right there on the sidewalk.
Inky mimicked her scream and fell back into the comfort of the shadows he knew so well. They were the only place he ever felt even a little bit safe, but as he watched from their protective blackness, he saw the she-human wasn’t moving. Slowly, he crept out of the shadows and prodded at her big body. When she didn’t move, he hopped up onto her chest and looked down at her. He pushed and prodded at her face until, finally, her eyes fluttered open. They took one look at Inky, went wide, and then swiftly closed again.
Frustrated, Inky hopped back down from her face onto her chest, turned, and sat on her chest. He pushed a tiny fist against his mouth as he watched the she-human. Suddenly, loud noises started. Inky, afraid the other Imps were coming, quickly fled back to his shadows.
Watching from them, he saw a big, white moving . . . thing (for Inky had never known what to make of cars or trucks and had especially never seen an ambulance before) pull up to the she-human. Two more of her species jumped out as a third ran to meet them. They all felt of the she-human, but she didn’t open her eyes. Inky watched as they lifted her onto a long, white, flat bed; put her into the big, white thing; and left as quickly as they had come.
Several more months went by. Inky continued to go to and fro in the Earth, keeping to the safety of his shadows as he did so. He mostly managed to avoid being caught by the other Imps; he also didn’t try to approach any other being. He had scared the she-human so badly, and felt so badly after the fact, that he didn’t want to risk upsetting any other beings.
One night, as Inky was moving from shadow to shadow, he started seeing very strange things. These beings had legs and voices like the humans, of whom Inky had now watched several more, but they had faces that looked like Imps and even bigger, meaner Demons. They laughed shrilly as they ran from building to building. They were all carrying bags that smelled delicious to Inky’s hungry tummy (for he hadn’t eaten in several days). At each house they ran to, they made a loud, shrill sound, the door was opened by either an actual human being or another thing that looked like it was part human and part Demon or Werewolf or Vampire or even Witch. At each place where the group stopped, this new being who appeared put more things in their already heavy bags.
This, Inky decided, watching the beings, must be a new way of celebrating Halloween. He remembered Halloweens from his earlier years, but he had never really paid much attention to how the humans celebrated the holiday, having never been around them much or taken much notice of them until this year. He remembered the other Imps chittering about how much they loved this night and how much easier it was to get closer to the humans and scare them even more. Since the humans dressed as Demons, Imps, and other “monsters” this night, they made it very easy for Inky and others like to him to walk right up to them, wait until they thought they were surely one of their own, and then reveal that they were not human after all, which always resulted in scaring the real humans very badly.
But even after all this time of being alone, Inky still didn’t want to scare anyone. With his tiny, black head ducked low and his pointed tail tucked between his little legs, Inky continued moving from shadow to shadow until, suddenly, something bumped against him. He let out a shriek that any human would have been proud to be able to call their own scream and leapt skyward. When he came back down, panting hard, two green eyes were looking at him from his shadow. “This my shadow,” Inky told the eyes. “You leave it be! Go get your own shadow!”
The eyes, seeming to bob by themselves in the dark, night air, came closer to Inky. Something crawled across Inky’s midnight black skin, and Inky realized that this must be what it felt like for a human to be scared. “I-I told you!” he exclaimed, his own voice shaking. “Go get your own shadow! I-I’m an Imp! I-I can d-do real nasty things to you if you don’t leave my shadow at once!”
The eyes began making a sound. It was like a low rumbling, like the humans’ moving vehicles made when they were still very far away but somehow different too. It filled Inky’s ears, but it didn’t hurt him. It almost sounded . . . pretty, comforting, like the eyes were trying to tell him that they wouldn’t hurt him.
“Y-You just go away now,” the tiny Imp said, turning his back on the moving eyes and folding his little arms across his black chest. “Y-You just go away now.” But the eyes were still coming, and the sound was getting louder and closer. “I-I not hurt you if you go away now,” Inky added, growing desperate.
But the eyes just kept coming! “Didn’t you hear me?!” Inky exclaimed. “I said go away! If you go away, I won’t hurt you! But if you stay, . . . I-I’m an Imp! I-I can do all s-sorts of things to you! Go away!”
Something touched Inky. He almost screamed. He almost jumped back into the air. But the thing that was touching him was so soft and gentle that it caught him by surprise. Inky found that, though he was trembling, he wanted more of this soft, soft touch. It was the closest thing he had ever felt, in all his long years of living, to an actual touch of comfort and love.
The soft, soft thing wrapped around Inky’s legs. The eyes came around to look at him again, but this time Inky could see that they really did belong to a face, a tiny, black, furry face. “Why,” Inky gasped, his coal black eyes growing wide and round with delighted surprise, “you’re no bigger than I am!”
The being brushed his furry cheek against Inky and deepened the sound it was making. “Wh-What is that?” Inky asked, slowly reaching out to feel just how soft the silky, black fur really was. “Wh-What are you?”
The eyes pointed up as the tiny, furry, black being started to laugh. But this laugh, too, was unlike anything Inky had ever heard before. It wasn’t mean or cruel in any way like Demonic laughter always was, but it also didn’t sound human. “Mmmeeeeow!” the small, furry being finally responded.
“Mmmeeeeow?” Inky repeated, his tiny, black forehead creasing with his growing confusion. “What is that?” he asked. “Is that your name? Is that what you are: a mmmeeeeow?”
“Meow,” the animal said again, more quickly this time, and bumped his face against Inky’s. Inky was taken aback by surprise. He stared at the little animal. “You’re not afraid of me, are you? And you don’t want to hurt me, do you? Everybody’s always been afraid of me or wanted to hurt me. Always!” Big tears began to roll down the little Imp’s black face.
The animal rose up on his hind legs and licked the tears from Inky’s face. Again, he bumped his face with his own head. He started making the rumbling sound again, but Inky was no longer afraid of it. He understood now that it was a sound this being made, this being who didn’t want to hurt him, this being who was so soft and gentle and loving, this being who, for the first time in Inky’s long, lonely life, actually wanted to be his friend.
Inky’s tiny shoulders shook. He began to sob, letting out all his cares from over his many, many years. The animal continued licking his face and rumbling to him, even after Inky collapsed forward, his arms going around the animal’s neck, and sobbed openly into his soft, black fur. The animal hugged him back and just let him cry with no words of harshness, no judgement, no condemnation. He just let the little Imp cry and held to him as he sobbed out his heart.
“COAL! COAL! COAL, WHERE ARE YOU?” The animal stiffened. His back arched. He looked over his shoulder, his rumbling dying in his throat, and meowed again.
Inky wiped the last of his tears from his eyes and looked in the direction where the animal was looking, the same direction from where the loud, despairing human voice was bellowing.
“COAL?! COAL?! KITTY?! HERE, KITTY, KITTY, KITTY! COME HERE, KITTY! COME HOME, COAL!!”
“Is that you?” Inky asked in a soft whisper. “Are you Coal? Are you . . . Kitty?”
The cat meowed again and licked Inky’s black, tear-soaked face once more. Just then, a little she-human stumbled into the poor light of the dim streetlight. She looked this way and that. Inky froze when she looked right at him and his new friend. He tensed. The she-human shrieked. Inky cringed and threw his tiny hands over his ears.
“WHAT ARE YOU?!” the she-human screamed, and then she shrieked again upon seeing that her kitty was so close to the strange little . . . alien? Demon? She didn’t know what he was, but he wasn’t going to hurt her kitty! “GET AWAY FROM HIM!” she cried.
Looking frantically around, she spotted a limb that was almost as big as she was and three times the black being’s size. She ran to it. It took all her strength to lift the limb, but she carried it and ran straight at Inky. “GET AWAY FROM HIM! GET AWAY FROM HIM! LEAVE MY KITTY ALONE!”
Coal gave a high-pitched shriek of his own; he almost sounded like he was caterwauling. His black fur stood out on end. Inky looked from the she-human to the kitty, back to the she-human and the limb she was carrying, and back once more to his new friend. He grabbed the cat and started to run.
“NO! NO! PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY KITTY! DON’T TAKE MY KITTY!” the she-human screamed again. She started chasing Inky, still carrying the tree limb. Inky had long ago grown accustomed to fleeing humans by merging with the shadows and by traveling between dimensions, this Earthly dimension, Hell itself, and the other dimensions in between the two, but he didn’t dare leave this dimension now for fear of losing his only friend!
The kitty screeched, mewing for Inky to be still and for his human to stop chasing them and screaming. Inky screamed and kept running as fast as his tiny legs could go, holding Coal high up over his head. The she-human screamed at them for Inky not to hurt Coal, not to take her kitty, and to leave him be, but Inky barely understood a word he said.
He kept running until he collided with a brick wall. With a wail, Inky fell back on his behind. Coal’s discontented mew became a wild screech as the impact with which Inky had hit the ground sent the kitty flying through the night air. He landed several feet away. The she-human, still carrying the limb, changed direction and started to run toward him.
Inky, seeing all this, knocked the tinny, twittering bats from his head and ran after the she-human. He skidded ahead of her, reached the cat before she could, and threw his tiny, black body over the frightened kitty. He trembled himself as the she-human came down on them. He trembled from head to foot with fright, but he wasn’t about to leave his only friend in all the dimensions.
The she-human screamed again. The limb came down at Inky’s back. Still trembling, he closed his eyes tight and tried to brace himself for the impact, . . . but it didn’t come. Several, long minutes ticked by before Inky swiveled his head around and dared to open one eye to look up at the small she-human. As ferocious as she was, he was thankful he had never spent much time around humans before and wanted to be rid of her and safe again with his new friend as soon as possible.
The young she-human blinked big, blue eyes as she looked down at Inky and her kitty in amazement. “You’re . . . You’re not hurting him, are you?” she asked.
Inky frowned. “Inky not hurt friend! You not hurt friend either!”
The she-human moved very, very slowly as she bent down and laid the limb back on the ground. She kicked it away from them with one foot, her eyes never leaving Inky. “Inky?” she asked softly. “Is that your name?”
The tiny, trembling Imp bobbed his quivering, black chin. “Not hurt kitty!” he repeated.
“I would never hurt Coal,” the she-human, dressed in black, kneeled before him. Inky very carefully watched her every movement. “Coal’s my kitty,” the she-human explained. “I love him very, very much, and when we got scared earlier and he ran away from me, I was afraid I was never going to see him again! Maybe Mama was right. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought him trick or treating with me, but he’s the perfect Witch’s black cat.”
Inky stared at her. “Are you a Witch?”
“No!” The she-human laughed. It was a pleasing sound, Inky discovered, not quite as nice as the kitty’s laugh but still nice and still without any touch of wicked intention. “No! I’m just a girl! Coal’s my kitty!”
Inky edged back as the girl reached out a hand for her kitty. “May I have him back?” she asked. “Please? I’d offer you some candy, but I dropped my trick or treat bag while I was hunting for him. Candy’s not as important as he is. Nothing is as important to me as he is! He’s my best friend!”
Inky’s chin again wobbled. “He’s my only friend,” he whimpered, but the kitty was mewing and urgently bumping his nose against Inky’s black back. The little Imp scrambled out of the way and watched, his black heart breaking, as the kitty, who he’d thought was his friend, ran and jumped into the girl’s arms.
She hugged him tightly to her chest and kissed his little, furry head. Tears rolled down her face as they embraced. “Coal,” she cried, “I was so scared I’d never see you again!” The black cat meowed and licked the tears from the girl’s face just as he had done moments before for Inky. He then began to rumble again.
“What . . . What is that noise?” Inky dared to ask, though he felt he should be leaving the two alone. He wasn’t ready to go, though. He wasn’t ready to once again not have a friend.
“That’s his purr!” The girl laughed again, but there was still no hatred or anger in her voice. She didn’t want Inky to feel bad, the little Imp realized. She just didn’t want to give up her friend. He couldn’t blame her for that, because he certainly didn’t want to give up his friend either. But Coal had been her friend first.
Rolling to his tiny feet, Inky let his head droop and clasped his tiny hands behind his skinny back. He turned away from the sight he knew he’d remember forever and began to slip away into the shadows.
“Wait,” the girl called. “Please wait.”
He looked back over his tiny shoulder.
“Isn’t there something I can do?” the girl asked. “Some way I can thank you for protecting my kitty? I know it’s dangerous enough for kitties out on the streets, especially on Halloween and especially for black kitties. I think black’s the most beautiful color in the world and black kitties are the most specialiest of special kitties, but I know not everybody feels that way. A lot of people are afraid of them.”
“A lot of people are afraid of me, too,” Inky murmured. He wanted to tell the girl that she and Coal were the only two to never be afraid of or want to hurt him. He wanted to tell her that Coal was his only friend. He wanted to beg and plead for her not to take Coal away from him, but he had no right, he knew. Coal was her friend first, and besides, he was only an Imp. He had nothing to offer the kitty, or the girl.
“Please, Inky?” the girl asked again. “Isn’t there something I can do? Anything to help, to thank you? Anything at all? Please.”
“I . . . “ He turned slowly back around, the girl’s big, pleading eyes calling to him. “I want a friend,” he said finally.
“We’ll be your friends!” the girl cried without hesitation. “Won’t we, Coal?” she asked the kitty, scratching his head. The kitty mewed as if agreeing.
The tiny Imp tried to smile, but he knew the girl was only saying that to try to make him happy. He’d never see them again after this night. He turned back around.
“Where are you going?” she asked again.
“Nowhere,” he said, shrugging his thin, jet black shoulders. He wouldn’t go to Hell even though that was supposed to be the home of all Imps; if he went back there, he’d only be made fun of and teased more. He didn’t have anywhere to go. He didn’t --
“If you really have nowhere to go,” the girl asked softly, her timid voice surprising him and stopping him again, “why don’t you come home with us?”
Inky turned swiftly back around, his little, dark face lifting with hope. “Really?” he asked, his voice coming out in an eager, high-pitched squeak.
The girl nodded and smiled. “Of course! We’re friends after all, and you saved Coal!”
“Actually, Coal found me first -- “ Inky started to admit.
“Well, then, maybe you saved each other? All I know is I’ve been praying for his safety and to find him and calling him for hours, and I didn’t find him until I found you, and there’s so many, many, many, many, many, very many terrible things that could have happened to him, and none of them happened to him, and when I found him, he was with you and he was safe and -- “ She took a deep breath before continuing, “And I know you’re probably supposed to be a Demon and all, but you’re clearly a good Demon, because you didn’t eat Coal or hurt him in any way, and you’re lonely, and you need a friend, and friends help each other out, and you already helped me out and Coal too and -- “
“ANGEL! ANGEL! ANGEL, OH, THANK GOD, THERE YOU ARE!”
The girl held out her black cape. “Quick,” she told Inky. “Get into my cape before she sees you! She’s already said I can’t have another kitty and have Coal too! She’ll never let me keep you!”
Inky looked at the girl for just a moment, considering all that she’d just said, all that had happened that night, and the many, many years he’d been searching for a friend like Coal and, it would appear, like Angel, too. “Are you -- “ he started to ask.
“No, I’m not an Angel!” she hissed. “My name’s Angela, but Mama likes to call me Angel!” She shook her cape at him. “Now get in my cape before it’s too late!”
Inky leapt, and his black skin blended perfectly in with the girl’s black, cotton clothes as her mother reached them, panting and out of breath. “Angel!” she cried. “Where have you been?!”
Angel stood up and lifted Coal to where her mother could see the little, black kitten. Coal meowed at her. “I had to come get Coal, Mama,” she explained. “You were right. I shouldn’t have took him trick or treating with me.”
“You shouldn’t have ran off like that! You scared me and your daddy half to death!” Still panting for breath, the mother reached out, pulled her daughter to her, and hugged her so tightly that Coal, caught between them, struggled for his freedom and mewed in protest of being squished between them. Safely snuggled into the girl’s cape, his tiny arms wrapped around her waist, Inky wondered if this huge hug and a frantic she-human bearing down on top of them was what having a mother was really like.
He listened to the little girl and her mama talk all the way home and to Coal’s deep purr. He felt the girl’s spirits lift when they reached her father and the he-human shook some sort of bag at her. “We figured it was something to do with Coal,” her father said, lifting the bag and a stick with bristles on the end of it for Angel’s attention, “when we found this discarded.”
“I didn’t discard them! I dropped them by accident but didn’t go back for them! Coal was more important!”
“Yes,” her father inclined his head into a nod, “he was, and I’m glad he’s home safe. I’m glad you’re all home safe now.”
Inky knew the he-human didn’t know he was there, too, but it was rather nice to think that somebody might actually be glad, for once in his life, that he was safe. He hugged the girl’s waist a little harder. She flew into her daddy’s arms and hugged him tightly before taking her candy and her broom and starting to run off for her room.
“Angela?” her father called, pausing her step.
She turned obediently back around. “Yes, Daddy?”
“Next year -- “ he started.
“I know. I know. Leave Coal at home. I will, sir. Thank you!”
Her father laughed, a deep and joyous sound that resonated through the warm building, and waved a hand at his daughter, dismissing her. She ran on up to her bedroom, threw the bag of candy and her broomstick onto the bed, and then carefully placed Coal on the bed. “You can come out now,” she told Inky, moving her cape from around him. “You’re safe here, but you will need to hide if Mommy and Daddy come in here.”
“I will,” Inky promised. He jumped from her waist to the bed and looked around them. Animals were all over the girl’s room, but they weren’t real. They were made of cotton and paper and ceramic and plush, but the only three live beings in the room were himself, the girl, and Coal, who began rumbling again as he pushed against him. Inky reached out and petted his soft, soft fur. “What is this place?” he asked, still looking around them.
“Home,” the girl answered simply.
“Home,” the little Imp repeated, trying out the unfamiliar word.
“Yup!” the girl agreed, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she took off her cape. She draped it and her hat on the end of the bed. “It’s my home and Daddy’s home and Mama’s home and Coal’s home, and it can be your home too if you want it to be!”
“I’d like that,” he said as the girl leapt up onto the bed beside him and Coal.
“Are you hungry?” she asked.
Inky nodded. He couldn’t remember a time ever in his life that he hadn’t been hungry, but he didn’t tell the girl that. She put her hand in a bag, fished out something, and held out a hand full of brightly colored objects. “Go ahead,” she urged. “Pick one or two or three.”
Inky tried one covered in silver first. “Mmm mmm!” he cried. “That’s so good!”
The girl laughed. “You’re not supposed to eat the paper, silly.” She unwrapped an orange paper from around something brown and sticky. “Here. Try this one,” she said, holding it out to him.
He did, and although it was sticky, it was even better than the first! “What is this stuff?!” he cried in excitement.
She shrugged. “Candy,” she answered simply.
“MMMMMMMMMM!!! Inky loved candy!” he cried excitedly and began stuffing the candies into his mouth two little hands at a time and without bothering to unwrap the colorful papers from them. The girl just laughed and let him eat. She leaned over her bed, pulled out a drawer from the little dresser next to her bed, and sprinkled some kitty treats on the bed for Coal. Coal and Inky both gobbled them up.
She didn’t bother to keep track of who ate what. They simply all three ate until they couldn’t hold another bite. She felt sleep pull at her eyelids and laid down on her bed, Coal and Inky both right beside her. She reached out to them and stroked both of their heads. Coal purred, and Inky tried to mimic the rumbling, happy sound.
The girl chuckled. “Welcome home, Inky,” she whispered. “I don’t care if you are a Demon! God made you too! He made us all! You don’t have to be bad just because you’re a Demon!”
Inky heard her though he was half asleep. He vaguely remembered hearing something about God and how God had made the strongest evil of them all but had then cast him down from somewhere because he was so very, very wicked. But Inky had never been wicked. He had never wanted to scare or hurt others. He had never thought he was more powerful than anybody. He had only ever wanted to have a friend; now he had two and a home.
A beaming smile curved his thin, black lips. Maybe God had made him, too, but even if he hadn’t, he didn’t have to be bad. He didn’t have to be something he’d never wanted to be. He was a good Imp, and now that he had friends, he would love and care for them forever. Coal and Angel were already fast asleep when Inky slipped into the first good dream he’d ever had, a dream of the happy future he would share with this little she-human and her cat.
None of the three stirred when Angela’s mother walked into the room. She moved the candy from the bed, put it on Angel’s dresser, wiped the blonde hair out of her daughter’s face, and kissed her forehead. She stroked Coal and pulled the Witch’s cape, along with Inky who she never saw for he blended so well into the shadows and the black cape, over her child. “Thank you, Lord, for watching over them,” she whispered. Then she turned out the light and walked away, confident in the knowledge that God would always watch over all His children.