There was a gift on the table. A small box, neatly wrapped in brown parcel paper and twine and a little tag that read ‘Happy birthday!’, unsigned.

She unwrapped it easily, the paper falling away as she pulled the twine. The box itself was as unremarkable as the wrapping, and also unsigned.

Inside, on a little bed of straw, was a dark red gem, smooth and cloudy. Cool to the touch, but it quickly warmed in her hand.

‘Who is this from?’ she wondered aloud.

The gem pulsed back at her in a gentle hum, a light flaring inside it.

A wonderful, strange thing that felt like company. She kept it with her and spoke to it often, delighting in its thrumming response.

When it hatched a year later, she was pleased to share her birthday.

This microfiction is in celebration of my friend Liz’s birthday. ^_^

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