Lights twinkle down at her, illuminating the small spaces she's found between brightly wrapped boxes with shiny, twisted ribbons and hanging tags. She barely fits it's so crowded beneath the green branches. But she likes it that way. Cozy. Warm.

She's the only one awake now, the only one keeping watch over her family.

The little ones went to sleep ages ago, pushing small fists against tired eyes and letting out such plaintive sounds.

But there was talking and shaking of heads, and they finally trooped away.

The others stayed up a while longer, fiddling around with boxes and strings and some gleaming contraption that gave off a high pitched noise when the broad one squeezed a small black part. It startled her and she jumped straight up in the air and the broad one laughed and laughed and laughed while she skittered across the smooth floor and cowered beneath the couch.

But the long-haired one picked her up and cuddled her close, whispered soft sounds into her ears. Made everything okay again. Made her purr in contentment.

Then they too went to bed, and now she's alone, a still sentinel on this silent night.

Her ears pivot in a slow circle, listening closely for any small sound.

But there's nothing.

And for Minnie, safely tucked beneath the glow of the Christmas tree, all is calm; all is bright.

Author's note: I intended to post this yesterday, to mark one year since I introduced Minnie. Sadly, school got in the way. And will continue to get in the way for another week or so. But keep your eyes open...more will be on the way soon.

As always, thank you all for the love you've shown Minnie and me. I continue to be grateful and astounded by your responses.



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