Month: September 2020



Falling, plummeting, hurtling like a meteor toward Earth. Jennifer waited for her heart-pounding date with gravity to near its inevitable end, then spread her arms like a bird. Unseen wings unfurled, and catching an updraft on the way down, Jennifer rocketed back up, higher and higher, until she was soaring, gliding, sailing across the clouds once more.

So, she thought, this was what it felt like to fly. She used to wonder about that when she was little. Now that she possessed her mother’s magic, she could do so anytime she wished.

Her mother.

A sharp pain lanced through her at the thought, and for a moment she faltered, her invisible wings withering with grief.

An hour ago, Jennifer had gone to visit her mother, who lay in a hospital bed with her eyes closed, tubes and electrodes attached to her arms, face, and chest. The now emaciated woman had beaten cancer once; she hadn’t been so lucky the second time around.

An hour ago, Jennifer hadn’t cared the slightest bit about magic. Indeed, all she’d known of it was the little she’d gleaned from books and fairy tales when she was a girl, and besides, there were more important things to worry about, like the fact that this was probably the last time she would see her mother alive.

When the woman spasmed without warning, Jennifer rushed to her side and held her in her arms, a stunning reversal of roles that might have given her pause were she not so stricken with grief.

“I love you,” she said, knowing this was their final moment together.

Then, without warning, her mother’s eyes opened.

“Child,” the woman said, the whites of her eyes now cobalt black. Terrified, Jennifer pulled back. But her mother’s hand had clamped onto her own like a vice so that she couldn’t move. “Child, it is time you received your inheritance.”

An unseen power filled her, a wild storm of energy and momentum that flowed from her mother into herself. Like a thousand volts of electricity, it raced across her veins, her nerves, surged along the length of her spine, then up into her brain, where it lodged itself and set an irreversible transformation into motion.

“The power of your ancestors belongs to you now,” Jennifer heard her mother say, not with her voice but inside her head. “Use it well, and know that I am always with you.”

When her shock wore thin and Jennifer looked down again, she saw a lifeless body, eyes closed for the last time.

Grief consumed her, but also astonishment and wonder. A special gift had passed from mother to daughter, one Jennifer had known nothing about, and it promised to upend her entire world.

“I love you,” Jennifer said once again. She gazed down from her place among the clouds, then turned and headed for the sun.

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Rebirth of a Soul

Teo Tarras/


Why had I taken my own for granted? Suspended on the razor’s edge of my final breath, I paused to ponder the question. Then the animating force that bound me together shot into the sky and my body crumpled to the ground.

It ended too soon, I thought as I sailed across space and time.

It ended precisely when it was supposed to. The soundless reply rippled across the cosmos like a gravitational wave, blowing me away with the earth-shattering assertion of its existence. You fulfilled your purpose, and now it’s time to move on.

There was no doubting a voice like that. And so, approaching my new home beyond the stars, I embraced the unknown and prepared to be born once again.

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