Objects of Loathing

As far as Lenora was concerned, there were two unbearable things about being Master Magician Thaddeus’ apprentice. At first glance they appeared to have little in common, but both provoked equal and terrible loathing in her nine-year-old heart.
One was the tremendous desk that crowded her tiny bedchamber. The bed had been removed to squeeze it in, leaving only a large, lumpy cushion to sleep on. Its worn black grain seemed to suck up all the light that dribbled through her tiny arrow loop and its bulk cast thick shadows over the floor. The writing surface was level with her nose and forever piled with tedious tomes Thaddeus demanded she read.
The other was Barnabas, a foul-smelling clod of black feathers glued together by malice and greed. All sweetness in his master’s presence, the familiar would peck and pluck at Lenora when the old man’s back was turned, seizing the tastiest scraps from her already sparse dinners.
At night, she mulled over spells of bursting flame and plotted to burn them both.

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