I started on my story, but I didn't finish it... how about another month?
Here's what I wrote so far:
The long day was finally nearly over. As Fen walked down the path, the sun was setting. The path faced nearly due west, and the sun made a glittering path along the water. Its beauty nearly managed to take her mind off her worries.
“This was the right place,” she said aloud. Behind her, a silence, the clattering of hoofs ceased. She looked over her shoulder.
“Are you sure?” Ish asked. “It doesn’t look right to me. What… is that?”
Fen looked where Ish was looking. In the brief moment her head had been turned, a large head had emerged from the water. The creature’s head alone looked bigger than Fen’s whole body.
“I am your host, Sebetsiana,” the creature said out of a mouth that Fen feared could swallow her whole. “Welcome to Perlita.”
Fen dropped her satchel and hid behind her friend. Now her mind really was off her previous worries - and she’d forgotten all about the beauty of the sunset, too, except for how it glittered off the monster’s scales in the vanishing sunlight - nearly dark, and then …. And then!
“There’s no need to be scared,” the giant scaly monster said in a voice that would have sounded kind if it had not been so enormous. “I’m completely friendly.”
“Why are you scaring her so much then?” asked Ish practically. “Just stay in the water so she can get over her fright.”
“I live in the water,” said the sea serpent, “and I never get out of it. I have no wish to be beached and stuck where I won’t even be able to swim. That’s why I offered the free vacation to anyone who would help take care of the place - my staff have gone to visit their families for Christmas and I needed someone to keep an eye on things. You won’t have to do any real work, of course, just the usual tidying up and keeping pests out… watch for local children showing up trying to steal my things while everyone’s away, you know the sort of things housesitters do. And there is one stoufix who stayed - but she’s shy, you might not even see her. If you do - be gentle, she’s more afraid of you than, why, than you are of me!” Laughter echoed as the scaly creature vanished into the darkening water.
As the last rays of the sun shone on the wet walls of the building, Fen and Ish reached the front door. Fen unlocked it with the key she’d been sent, and Ish carried their belongings inside.
“I can’t believe you hid behind me,” Ish teased. “What did you think I could do against someone her size? I’d be no protection at all.”
“I wasn’t afraid,” Fen protested. “I just … didn’t want her to see me looking unfriendly. Hiding to get myself presentable, that’s all.” She shivered all over, shaking herself as though she’d got splashed and were trying to rid herself of the wet. But she was already dry. “Is it cold in here? I’m cold. Is there a fireplace? Let’s set up a fire.”
But there did not seem to be a fireplace. Instead, there were clanking steam radiators that were cold to the touch. Neither of the newcomers could see a way to turn them on - their pipes vanished into the floor or wall and there was no valve or switch to be seen. Ish mused, “Maybe there’s a boiler in the basement? But, there’s not a basement, nevermind, the building’s just on stilts. Maybe there’s a boiler in the attic then?” She looked up and around for trapdoors on the ceiling.
Fen prowled the place, seeing if she could find anything like what Ish was talking about. She did find the kitchen, which was noticeably warmer. It had a wood stove with a fire burning inside. “I wonder who lit that,” she said out loud, not sure if Ish would hear her or not. “Maybe it was that stoufix the sea monster mentioned.”
A small voice said, “Etsi isn’t a sea monster. She’s a tohilys.”
“A what? Who’s that?” Fen asked. She looked around wildly, but didn’t see anyone at all; the kitchen wasn’t that large, and she didn’t see any hiding places either.
Then a tiny fuzzy head peeked over the edge of the cabinet far above her. Two silvery eyes shone down in the dim light of the fire in the wood stove. The creature had a glowing thread curling on its head too… how odd, Fen thought.
“Sebetsiana, the tohilys who owns this house,” the small voice said. “I lit the fire. It’s too cold without it. And too hard to cook.” The eyes and thread of light vanished again, but a faint silvery glow was still visible above the cabinets where the stoufix had apparently made himself a nest.
“You’re right. It is too cold. Can you tell me how to turn the heat on? I was looking for a boiler room, do you know where it is?” Fen asked, but no answer came. She turned to leave, and spotted a cake under a glass dome. It looked delicious. “Can I have some of this cake?”
After a few minutes’ waiting, Fen decided that the stoufix would have told her if she were not allowed to have cake. So she cut two pieces.
“Cake!” Ish was as happy to see it as Fen had been. Ish ate hers in two swallows, while Fen nibbled more slowly. When Fen had finished most of the cake, she gave the last morsel to her friend.
“That was such a good cake,” Ish said. “We should make some dinner soon though, I don’t think cake alone is going to be enough to get me to sleep tonight.” Ish never could sleep on an empty stomach.