A scratching sound at the back door drew Willow’s attention away from the cookbook she was studying. She was trying to figure out what to make herself for dinner tonight and getting no inspiration. Grateful for the interruption, she jumped down from her seat at the breakfast bar and walked over to peer out the window.

Sitting on its haunches on the back porch was a large raccoon. He looked up at her and made a motion like he was opening the door. It was the same raccoon she’d found sitting on the breakfast bar last week the day she’d moved into the house. In that interaction, Will and the raccoon had startled each other and the raccoon had fallen off the breakfast bar, twisting one back leg. Willow had used what little first aid knowledge she had and tried to help the raccoon. He’d followed her directions as if he understood what she was asking, but that just didn’t seem possible.

Now, however, this same raccoon was standing at her back door clearly asking her to let him in. Will shook her head. She’d tried to put the entire incident out of her mind and busied herself with unpacking and learning her way around her new town. She’d been delighted to discover that while her house was on the edge of town and felt like it was in the middle of the woods, surrounded by tall coastal pines as it was, it was only a fifteen-minute walk to the center of Hidden Shores or a five-minute drive if the weather was bad. The pub she’d been hired to manage was situated right at the edge of the town center (she didn’t think you could call it ‘downtown’ when the town was only a few thousand people) which meant it was a ten-minute walk and a two-minute drive.

Will stared at the raccoon sitting on the back porch. Before she could think too much about it, she opened the back door and gestured that he should come in. The raccoon inclined his head (Will still wasn’t quite sure why she was convinced the raccoon was a “he” but her gut said that was correct).

“Hi, buddy. What brings you around? How’s your leg doing?” Willow asked, then shook her head at the ridiculousness of talking to a raccoon as if he would answer.

“I’m well, and the leg is fine,” the raccoon said.

Will sat down suddenly on the floor.

“Oh, my goodness! Are you alright?” the raccoon shuffled closer to her, his tiny hands waving anxiously.

“Holy crap! Did you just talk?” Will demanded.

“Well, yes. My name’s Rocky, by the way,” he said.

“Rocky Raccoon? You’re kidding, right?” Will was spluttering with laughter and disbelief.

“No. Just Rocky. What’s so funny about that?” Rocky asked, looking a little put out.

“Nothing. No reason. Sorry. I’m just in shock,” Will apologized, shaking her head. “But… um, raccoons don’t normally talk. At least not that I’ve heard.”

“Well, no, I suppose they don’t. But here in Hidden Shores we do. As do a number of others. But it’s up to them to introduce themselves to you,” Rocky told her.

“Um, okay. But why are you here now?” Willow asked. She climbed to her feet and sat down on a barstool. Rocky climbed up on the other stool and turned to face her.

“You were very gracious to me last week when you caught me in this very kitchen. Most humans would have literally kicked me out, but you were concerned with my leg and even gave me some help and didn’t drop kick me through the door. For that I, and the others, are grateful.” Rocky nodded gravely.

“Well, um, okay.” Willow wished her brain could come up with something more intellectual sounding, but hey. She was talking with a raccoon and not totally freaking out. She gave herself a pat on the back.

“Yes. And to show our gratitude, you are now a part of our clan. We will NOT harm you. We will not ALLOW harm to come to you. Anyone attempting to harm you now has a new Problem: US!” Rocky struck his small fist emphatically on the breakfast bar.

Willow jumped back a bit and looked sideways at the raccoon pounding on her counter.

“Do you expect me to have uh, problems, or someone to attempt to harm me?” she asked, feeling a bit nervous.

Rocky stared at her. “This is Hidden Shores. It’s filled with magic. Can’t you feel it? Just about anything is possible here.”

“M-magic?” Willow stared, wondering why that was the hardest bit of all to swallow. After all, a raccoon just told her about magic. She shook her head.

“Honestly? I feel really good being here. I felt good the second I got to town. And, no, I don’t intend to leave, if that’s what you’re asking,” Willow said. She was telling the truth. The moment she’d passed the sign saying “Welcome to Hidden Shores” she’d felt like something just clicked into place. After all her wandering around across the country, she felt like she’d finally come home. She had zero intentions of leaving Hidden Shores. Besides, she just bought the house!

Rocky nodded. “I thought as much. There is magic in you. You do belong here.” He jumped off the barstool and waddled to the back door. “Tomorrow I will bring the others around to meet you.”

He looked expectantly up at the door and back at Willow.

“Oh!” She leapt up and opened the door for him. With a wave of his little hand, Rocky trotted across the porch and down the back steps. Willow slowly closed the door and went back to her seat. She stared at the cookbook that still lay open in front of her. What had just happened?


I forgot to send in a prompt challenge this week, so I picked up one of the spare prompts: We will NOT harm you. We will not ALLOW harm to come to you. Anyone attempting to harm you now has a new Problem: US!. I think this and the previous one might, just might, be turning into something. We’ll see! In the meantime, head on over to More Odds Than Ends and see what everybody did with their prompt challenges!

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3 Replies to “Protectors”

  1. This is a neat result. FWIW, that prompt was triggered (prompted) by an HFY story or two. Do you mind if I re-blog this entry Properly credited and linked back, of course.

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