In last week’s blog, I said this: “The challenges and turmoil from 2020 will naturally bleed over into 2021, of course, but change is on the horizon. And hope.”

I didn’t mean to be prophetic. And I still believe that we have hope for better days. But after all the events of last week, I’m tired.

When I studied violent political acts against civilians for my journalism master’s thesis, I never expected to see such events on U.S. soil. I watched the events unfold at the Capitol with a stunned sadness I hadn’t felt, well, ever.

It had already been a hard week. My father and stepmother tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. So far, their cases are mild, but it’s terrifying. This disease is so unpredictable.

And before the week was out, we’d also lost a family friend to Covid. Someone close enough to have attended my wedding.

I saw a meme on Facebook that said: “I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I’ve experienced the 7-day free trial and I’m not interested.”

Sounds about right.

But while I was on Facebook, I also saw a lot of posts about cats. And thank goodness. Cats make everything better.

And so, this week I’m giving you a free story. It has a cat, and I think it’s a wonderful salve to a challenging week. It’s one of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s delightful Winston & Ruby stories, called “Un-familiar.”

Here’s the synopsis:

Winston’s familiar Ruby, a small black cat, avoids dogs whenever possible. So when Winston sees her talking quietly with a toy poodle-Chihuahua mix, he wants to know why.

Ruby, usually so vocal, says nothing. Her silence, that dog, and a storm in the Oregon Coast community of Seavy Village all combine into one of the most memorable days of Winston’s life.

Click here to read this story for free for one week only. Hopefully, next week will bring better news.

Because tired as I am, as we all are, we must continue to move forward. We can’t let these challenges define us. Better days are coming. We just have to hold on until they do.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.