Girl Under Glass

My grandfather had told me the story a dozen times—about the catseye gem he wore on a chain around his neck, with a magnifying loupe dangling next to it. If you held the gem up to the light and gazed through the loupe, you could see her—a woman, with a cat’s ears and tail, covered in fur, lying asleep on a silken bed.

He had bought it in the bazaar as a young man—for the reason you might expect. But he had never actually summoned the girl from within it—he had met my grandmother only a little while later, then misplaced the catseye for a long time. By now, he figured, it was probably a mercy just to let the catwoman sleep; there was no telling what world she’d been taken from, and all her friends and loved ones would probably be long dead anyway.

After my grandfather died, I slipped into his room and found the necklace. I wasn’t really attracted to exotics, as a rule—but a girl under glass, geased to be at my beck and call? That was every teenaged boy’s dream. I slid the chain over my neck.

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