The Forgotten Magic

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The man stood beneath the moon and the stars, desperate and afraid. The world was bearing down on him, threatening to crush him under its immense and unyielding weight. He leaped into the air uselessly, tried in vain to spread his arms and fly.

Long ago, on the outer periphery of time and memory, he could have done it, could have sprouted wings, kicked the dust from his feet and soared into the air. But that power was lost to him now, forgotten with age and responsibility.

He couldn’t go on. He no longer had the energy to trudge through the trenches of daily life. He needed to escape, to run far away from the world and its heartless machinations.

He leaped again, flapping his arms from side to side like an off-balance windmill. It was useless. The man nearly cried.

When had the world lost its magic? When had it transformed from a bright glowing ball of potential energy to a soulless machine that had consumed his humanity and left nothing of it for himself? He had given the world everything, and the world had spared nothing for him in return.

The man looked up, away from the world. He gazed at the stars, and they gazed back at him with ancient understanding. If only he could touch them. They seemed to call his name, and he was certain that all he had to do was answer.

Had he changed? Was that why he’d forgotten? Perhaps the world had always been what it was. Perhaps the problem was not that the world had changed, but that he himself had changed. Perhaps the magic was not gone after all. Perhaps it had only been neglected, a childhood toy abandoned in the attic.

He basked in the light of the moon, bathed in it until he felt pure. Finally, he donned the cosmos like a cloak. The stars accepted him then, adopted him as their son, and in a flash of clarity they granted him the gift of memory.

He let it all go. He laid his burdens before the stars as a sacrifice, an offering to be exchanged for something much older, something pristine, something everlasting. He closed his eyes and the magic overtook him.

Transformed into something both new and ancient, he spread his arms, which transformed into the wings of an eagle. He flapped, and he could feel the air push back against him, countering gravity, bearing him high into the atmosphere. He flew toward the stars.

He didn’t look back and he never returned.

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Author: Jeff Coleman

Jeff Coleman is a writer who finds himself drawn to the dark and the mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life.

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