Jasper knew what he had to do and maybe if he did it first others would join him. He wriggled free from the hands that grasped him and stooped to the ground and grabbed a stone. It wasn’t big, but it would break the mirror, he knew it. He flung it and the stone sailed straight at the mirror and then hit the glass with a resounding thwack. The crowd seemed to hold its breath, waiting for the precious mirror to shatter. But nothing happened. The stone bounced off the glass and fell to the ground, and there was not even a mark on the glass. Then a guard pounded his armored gauntlet across the back of Jasper’s head and the boy fell to the ground, his head filled with pain and his eyes filled with tears.
The crowd laughed and the festive mood was about to begin again but suddenly the crowd grew silent as another figure entered the square.
She was an old woman, small and bent, a gnarled piece of wood her walking stick, her clothes simple, brownish in color. Slowly she came to where the mirror was.
Heavy and stale in the air to her aging nostrils. And not just any magic. It was old and thick, rich with the early memories of her youth. And deadly.
It had been … more time than she cared to think about, that she had felt this way. It was not just a lifetime ago but a whole different world away, when she last felt the tang on her tongue and the sting in her nose. As old as she liked to make herself look to the eyes of the local villagers, she was even older than anyone could have guessed.
When it was large enough for a man to fit through, it was finally noticed. The first person to see it saw the air around it rippling like water after a stone is thrown into it. On the other side , looking like a moving painting floating in the air, he saw deformed trees, black soil, and the clouds.
Apparently, he gaped in wonder for some time, then tried an experiment when his wits returned. He picked up a large rock, and threw it at the portal. It skipped over the black soil of Gloom.
The divorce proceedings having been completed, with an overlying sense of finality behind them, I left my parents’ house in Fargo while they were still in bed. It was definitely for the best. They had never accepted my shift to the political left, nor had they condoned the people, books and issues that I had eagerly embraced as my own. Which was why I had finally resorted to the divorce. It was now simply a matter of finding a new home base- as far away as the $800 I had saved up would take me by bus.
Fortunately, I had already had a decision made for me. The night before, I had received a promising message on my private Twitter account. It said:
HAVE BEEN OBSERVING YOU ON TELEVISION. WANT YOU TO WORK FOR US AT GOOD SALARY. COME TO WINNIPEG IMMEDIATELY.
A child, she realized. Shaking her head and then remembering herself, she looked around to make certain there was no one else around to see. Satisfied that the clearing and woods were empty of all but the standard woodland fare, she moved slowly over. She removed her gnarled hand from her pocket, devoid now of its string, and reached down.
“Cem now, chiel,” she said as softly as she could. “Lets gat ye in forn ye ketch semthan.”
Gathering the youngster up with her free arm, she used the other holding the stick to steady them both. As she did, she saw its tear streaked and dirty face of a young boy. And eyes that were like the reflections of a crystal clean lake or a midday cloudless sky.
Lucy was a like a little ray of sunshine in their lives the day she was born. And for the best part her birth had helped ease Mia’s guilt and anguish over her deception. If Andy knew the truth it would destroy him….god knows the truth had almost destroyed her!
Those first moments when she felt Adam growing inside her she had an over-whelming urge to protect him and love him. This had made her decision to deceive her husband and everyone else an easy one. She shuddered as she recalled that horrific night…a night which almost killed her physically and mentally. A night that would haunt her for the rest of her life…the night her son Adam was conceived.
Tapping the dash with my heel changed the current playlist to match my heartbroken mood. Music came with humanity, but to find all the bands that I am familiar with whilst sailing the deep dark seas in an alien ship bewildered me to no end, despite knowing how the music got here.
“This is how…you remind me.” My first cue to slow the drink down is the monotonous song to an audience of none. A fine respite from boredom is talking aloud, no matter how witnesses would guess at insanity. My only witness happened to be an alien intelligence, created by another alien and subjected to its moods and desires. Both aliens knew me to be a primitive relic of relatively complex organic organization.
Long flags of bright cloth draped the towers, the beginnings of the full-on decoration for a royal wedding.
Then he tugged and the lion-bird roared again and pulled up. High above the city, up past the rocky cliffs, then out the opening in the rocky roof above.
It was more feeling than look that let him know he was above the rocky hills, above the caves, and headed out toward the deserts that lay east. The winged cat swept down, tracing the empty washes that led away from the city. Little to see, especially on a dark night, but he loved the flight.