The little boy ran down the street, bare feet slapping loudly on the dirt road. He was laughing and smiling, with a wooden toy sword clutched tightly in one hand. There was to be a Triumph today for the returning legionnaires. He was especially excited because the armored man Mama couldn’t see had said that his father had brought home a surprise for them. The armored man was following after him, passing through the crowd without hesitation.
“Cato, slow. You don’t want to run into someone.”
The boy slowed with a sigh and waited for the man to catch up.
“But I want to see. I heard there were elephants and everything.”
“You’ll see soon enough.”
Cato smiled brightly up at the armored man as they walked through the crowd and began to notice. No one else could see the man he spoke to, no one but one of the legionnaires returning home from far Germania. Marcellus smiled when he saw the family Lare standing with his son and his eyes widened when he realized that young Cato could see the spirit as well. If it was coming on him this young, then perhaps, just perhaps, there was a bright future ahead for Cato in the service of the gods. They hadn’t caught it young enough for Marcellus, but they had for Cato, and he would have all the chances he needed to succeed.


“Danny? Hey…um…Danny? I know it’s late and all…but…”
Danny rolled over, wishing he could just ignore the trio on the floor and go back to sleep. But he knew what happened. Last time he decided sleep was more important than helping a spirit, he’d spent the next month being stalked by a….thing. He couldn’t even remember the proper word for it. Well, Mom had had to cleanse his room, him, his little brother and the dog before the stupid thing finally left. So he listened.
“Yeah, I’m awake. What’s up, guys?”
The three glowing hedgehogs climbed up onto his bed and stood on top of the blankets.
“Well…we’re kind of lost…” said the center one.
“You’re lost. Wait a second, aren’t you guys stars?”
“Yeah, that’s the problem.”
He sighed and started to sit up.
“I’m gonna need to get dressed and leave a note for my mother. Can one of you guys tell the Crow out in the tree to keep an eye on my brother?”
“Yeah, sure, I got it.”
One of the hedgehogs floated off the blankets slightly and ran out straight through the window.
“I really hate it when you guys do that. Can’t you at least pretend to be corporeal?”