Hope, by Amy Friedman

“What’s this?” Emissary brayed, face flushed red. “Get this filth out of here!”
The pile of grey skins shivered slightly. Emissary rounded on the sanitation worker.
“Do your job,” he roared, spittle flying. “Thousands want it.”
Wheeling around, Emissary and entourage swept off. Impa pushed his broom, watching until the last one rounded the corner.
“You’re safe now,” Impa rumbled. Stretching his arms slightly, he wrapped them around the pile of skins. Warmth seeped from him as he lifted the skins into the truck.
“Why?” a cracked voice whispered. Female. His heart contracted.
“Tis the season,” he rumbled. “Merry Christmas.”

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