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I’m distracted by paws padding across the wood floor.

Max. Maximilian. Josh’s kitten.

Get out, Max!” I tell him.

Max just purrs and rubs against my leg. Why do cats always want to be friendly just when you want to be left alone? I look down and meet his eyes.

My stomach rumbles. High above me the moon pulls, waxing full. It grows incredibly slowly, but it’s still too much for me. My eyes narrow; my nostrils flare; my hands bunch into fists.

Max freezes, arches his back, and bolts into the corner.

Max?” I ask him, shaking my head to clear it. “What’s the matter?”

He crouches in the corner, hissing.

Josh, come in here and get Max!”

Coming!” my brother calls. “Max? Max!”

Josh runs in to find Max still in the corner, staring at me, his back arched. He scoops him up. “What did you do to him?”

Excuse me?” I say. “He just looked at me and started hissing.”

Josh shakes his head and heads out the door. “Mom!” he calls. “Stanley did something to Max!”

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