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The following excerpt from “Pocket Pegasus: Flash and the Turtle Creek Triad” takes place during a powerful thunderstorm. Flash, still a porcelain statuette, and another model horse are sharing the windowsill in Laura's bedroom:

   Upstairs, with the windows open and curtains wafting gently in the breeze, Laura heard thunder rumbling in the distance. This did not bother her much; while she used to be terrified of storms, her dad had patiently sat with her  on the window bench, storm after storm, pointing out the different types and colours of the lightning, teaching her to count between the flash and the thunder to estimate the distance of the strike. She learned to appreciate the pinkish cloud-to-cloud illumination of summer heat lightning, and had once even smelled the pungent ozone smell seared into the air following a particularly close strike.
   Not a scared little kid anymore, now Laura would simply listen to her little MP3 player if the racket from a storm kept her awake. This particular squall was approaching very fast. She popped in her earbuds, pulled a light sheet over her and closed her eyes.
   Maxine, who had been curled up among the throw pillows on the window seat, stood, yawned and did her best Hallowe'en cat stretch. Lightning dramatically backlit the feline's form. Laura saw this apparition through half-closed eyes and smiled. It would have almost been creepy, except for the fact that Maxi was kind of overweight — well, really overweight — which ruined the whole effect. She giggled and closed her eyes.
   The fat cat saw the opportunity to take her place on the quilt at the foot of Laura's bed, and jumped less than gracefully onto the floor. The effort sent a pillow skidding backward into Flash and his girlfriend-du-jour. The Lipizzaner teetered and then settled back onto her dainty hooves. Flash tipped to the side, leaning precariously against the window frame like a tiny drunken fairy.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
   The storm raged outside. Trees in the town square were whipped by the wind, and flashes of lightning illuminated the pelting rain. In one simultaneous, thunderous moment, lightning hit the rooster weather vane atop the Connor's house. The huge surge of power swept across the rain-soaked roof, along the eaves and into the metal trim of the upstairs windows. Three hundred thousand volts entered the little porcelain Pegasus at the point where his head and chest rested against the frame. A hot silver glow spread across his body to the tips of his wings, then slowly faded.
   Laura woke with a yelp. What had just happened? She tossed the earphones aside, heart pounding, and sat up, terrified. She could smell something strange, something hot and disturbingly foreign. Was something on fire? Had lightning hit a tree outside? Had lightning hit the house?
   She snapped out of her stupor and turned on her bedside lamp. Good, the power wasn't out. But what was that odd smell?
   Downstairs, Laura found the answer. The cord to the old television set in the spare room was blackened and melted. She gingerly pulled the plug from the wall socket and dropped it to the floor. It was very hot; she ran her hand down the wall near the socket, but it seemed cool enough. She was pretty sure there were no flames smouldering inside. The same seemed true of the TV — now ex-TV.
   Satisfied that the house was in no immediate danger of going up in flames, the shaken girl continued her inspection of the house.
   In the kitchen, it appeared that the microwave had suffered the same fate. Laura carefully unplugged the sticky black wire and laid it on the counter. Room by room, with Maxi trailing curiously behind her, complaining loudly, she checked all the appliances and found no more casualties. She glanced at the clock; her parents would be home in about an hour and a half. She decided to stay awake until they returned. She doubted she could get back to sleep, anyway.

Harrow, Ontario, Canada

   Laura scooped up Maxi and carried her upstairs, then stopped abruptly. The computer! She hoped it had been spared from incineration. As she pushed the power button, she remembered with relief that they had wisely installed a surge protector just a couple of months earlier. She typed a quick message to Krissy, which made her feel a bit less alone, more connected to the outside world:

Hey K:
House was just hit by lightning (I think). Fried one of our TVs and the microwave was nuked. Scared the poop out of me! T@YL.

The storm had moved off as quickly as it had arrived to terrorize some other community with its wrath. Back in bed, her jittery nerves calmed considerably, Laura fought to keep her eyes focussed on the horsey teen novel she was reading. Slowly, slowly, her sleepy lids closed.
Laura's eyes fluttered open. She lay motionless, heart pounding, still laying on her back with the open book on her chest. She listened ... listened ...
It was a sneeze. A very tiny sneeze, like a mouse with allergies. She sat bolt upright. Maxi was still on the bed, but the feline's gaze was focused intently on something by the window. Laura squinted. Something was missing. Flash! The white mare was still in her place on the window seat, but Flash was gone.
 Thinking the winged figurine had fallen off onto the floor (and shattered? she hoped not), Laura eased out of bed and tiptoed over to the window, careful not to step on any broken bits in her bare feet. The floor, however, was bare — no tiny ears or hooves or amputated wingtips. So where was he?
   Suddenly, one of the throw cushions moved — once, then twice it wobbled. Again, Laura was paralyzed with fear. To her horror, an elegant white nose appeared, followed by a slender alabaster feathered wing which sprouted from between the brocade fabrics. The pillows parted and Flash stood to his full height and slowly flapped his magnificent wings.
   He spoke. "Hello, Laura."
   Laura shrieked and fell backward, running into the bedpost hard in her panic and haste to get to the doorway.
   "Oh, please don't be frightened," said the voice. "I'm so sorry I woke you, but it was all the cat hair in the cushions, you see.... I've been needing to sneeze for years.”