The leaves on the trees shivered in the cool evening breeze as figure emerged from over the hill. it was a young girl-no more than nine or ten years of age. She was clad in a plain, green, cotton frock, and in her hands she carried a straw hat and a pair of black shoes she had taken the liberty of removing. Her satchel-which she had slung over her shoulder- was emblazoned with the letter 'E'.

The girl skipped along the path singing blithely, stopping occasionally to pick flowers, or to dip her grubby face and hands in a little spring. Her cheeks were red because both wind and water were chilly, but she didn't seem to was too busy exploring a rabbit hole, or climbing up a massive tree.

In the half-light of dusk, the girl looked very much like a wood nymph trysting in the shadows. Almost everything about her seemed small and dark, from her olive skin and short black hair, to her delicate features, and pointed, elf-like ears. The only exception were her eyes, which were a brilliant green. "Cat's eyes," her Pa called them-they reminded him of how a cat might look as it waited to pounce. This, and a certain mischievous grin -as many unsuspecting bullies learned- were the only indications of her true nature.