A Familiar Tail – middle grade or any age.

Title: A Familiar Tail
Release Date: April 4, 2022
Contributors: Ed Walker
Genre: , ,
Pages: 28

Not your normal talking animal story.
When an aged witch dies, her familiars are bound by magic to find their new mistress.
A pampered housecat that knows nothing of life outside of her house and a crow who is afraid of heights must undertake an epic journey.

Together this unlikely duo must travel across deserts and cities to find their way to their new home.
Along the way, they must overcome hunger, thirst, and all the dangers of human civilization.
When Nimue the cat is captured by Animal Control, Balthazar the crow must learn to overcome his fears to rescue her or they will never reach their new home.

Come to me children, it’s almost time.”

The old woman shifted on the narrow mattress with a grunt. Her skin was a maze of wrinkles and her hair, what remained of it, was thin and white. Her green eyes, which once sparkled like emeralds, were dim and dusty with age. She beckoned weakly. Her hand was little more than translucent parchment skin stretched across fragile bones.

A midnight black crow waddled across the floor, hopping awkwardly from leg to leg as it approached the bed. A frantic flutter of wings lifted it to the mattress where it wobbled and squawked. After a moment it settled down and cocked a shining black eye at the old woman.

An orange and white cat leaped over the foot of the bed, landing beside the crow with much more grace. The cat favored the crow with a narrow-eyed glare before focusing on the old woman.

My time is up, little ones. No, no, don’t fret, you’ll have someone to take care of you, my great-granddaughter.”

The cat’s ears went back; she wasn’t impressed with this pronouncement.

Nimue, don’t be like that. I know you’ve been with me for ages but I’m dying. Neither my fool of a daughter nor my granddaughter could summon fire without a match, but little Millie, she-”

A coughing fit shook the crone. Her pale face turned red as she choked.

The crow squawked and flapped its wings in agitation, buffeting the cat in the process. Nimue’s tail puffed and she emitted a short hiss but she turned away from the crow.

The coughing fit passed and she sucked in ragged, wheezing breaths.

Come closer, I have one last bit of power to spare for this and then I’ll be done.”

Cat and crow inched forward until they stood on opposite sides of the fluttering chest. The old woman to stroked each, lovingly.

She lifted a pendant with a glowing green crystal from her breast with a shaking hand. She muttered ancient phrases that made the air contract and sparkle with power.

I bequeath you both to my great-granddaughter, Millie. You will serve her for as long as she desires and guard her as you have done me. So be it.”

The crystal flared, blinding the animals. A crack of thunder and a tinkling sound like a thousand tiny bells striking the ground filled the air and then the blinding light was gone.

The old woman lay, dead, upon the bed. Her hand rested on her chest still clutching the chain but the crystal was gone, shattered into a million pieces.

Oona? Oona, is this a new game?”

Nimue the cat glared at the crow. “Balthazar were you born stupid or has age dimmed your mind? She’s dead. Didn’t you feel her power leave?”


Balthazar the crow, squawked and bounced up and down on the other side of the body, unwilling to accept the cat’s pronouncement.


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