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Jillian tried to take a sip of her coffee only to look at the barren mug in disgust before setting it back down with a sigh. It was already the third time her cup had inexplicably become empty that morning. She should probably trudge downstairs to make a fresh pot, but didn’t want to. Knowing her, she’d probably load the dishwasher and clean cat puke from the carpet again.

The sound of birds singing came through the open window to provide a stark contrast to the band “Letters From The Fire” playing in the background. Jillian paused the hard rock music with her remote and walked over to look out the window at a beautiful spring morning. A light breeze carried the scent of pine trees through the air and she inhaled deeply, feeling tension in her shoulders release. She was startled when a young bull moose called out in a baritone moan from the thick trees below.

The amount of wildlife outside her house never ceased to amaze Jillian. Bears, raccoons, wolves, deer and numerous smaller animals traveled through the secluded mountain forests where she and her husband lived peacefully. They moved to Priest Lake in Northern Idaho three years earlier after a multi-week expedition spent looking for a place to relocate from New York.

Summertime would draw a lot of tourists zipping around the lakes and camping along the shorelines, but their house was far enough away not to be bothered. In the distance, she could see a few boats floating casually on the tranquil waters, high from spring runoff after a winter of heavy snow. It was too far away to tell if the people were fishing or just out for pleasure underneath the clear blue skies.

She stretched muscles tight from hunching over manuscripts. Later on, she would do her daily yoga, which helped keep her mentally focused and physically healthy. Jillian didn’t consider herself very pretty. She had short brown hair, muddy green eyes her husband Raymond loved to stare into, and a complexion pale from staying inside way too often. It was all wrapped up in an adequately shaped five foot five package.

Jillian looked sadly at the empty mug before picking it up and heading downstairs. A half hour later, she came back upstairs. The dishwasher was loaded and two spots where the cats had thrown up were clean.

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