urban fantasy

#FFC52 – 2014 Flash Fiction Challenge Week 26 – “A Subtle Streak of Red”


Howdy all! Time for week 26 of the lovely Thain in Vain’s Flash Fiction Challenge! This week, I return to a world I touched on briefly in “A Little Bit of Magic…” with this week’s theme, ”Do you notice anything different about me?”.  I thought it apt! Here we are, right at 500 words, with “A Subtle Streak of Red.”

Magic is a squirrely thing. The universe doesn’t like it, but it’s willing to accept it, so long as it stays quiet and unobtrusive. Kind of like that weird kid who sits in the corner and hums all the time; you can pretend he isn’t there, until he does something shocking.

But there’s nothing wrong with him. His reality is just different from yours, the two don’t agree with each other. He does little things; rearranging the pieces on a chessboard repetitively. No one cares. He stacks books on each other. No one cares. It’s not till he’s jumping on tables, flinging objects and howling at the top of his lungs that we react. Depending on the intensity of his outburst, we don’t do anything at first. We sit there, shocked, watching as he screams obscenities and beats his chest.

It may take a moment but eventually, someone snaps, tries to settle him down. They straighten up the mess, shush him, and guide him back to the corner, humming. Then, everyone pretends it didn’t happen, and goes back to doing their thing. But things have changed. The books he threw are damaged, torn. The plates, shattered. The nick-knacks all unbalanced and rearranged. Everyone pretends like it’s back to normal, but it’s not.

That’s magic. Either you work your casting carefully, making tiny changes that the universe will ignore, or you do something drastic, and accept that parts will fade as entropy forces itself upon reality. If you know what you’re doing, things won’t be the way they were before the reset. You’ll make big changes, even if they weren’t what everyone thought they were. Like a stage magician, it’s distraction, making a big show with one hand while carefully doing the real work with the other. It’s harder than it sounds. Or, wait…maybe it’s exactly as hard as it sounds. Because it doesn’t sound easy, does it?

So I’m practicing. A subtle change, a streak of color in my hair. The kind of thing that someone will look at and double-take, but then make excuses for having missed. Small magic, to get the hang of the basics. I close my eyes, concentrate. I recite softly the incantations that let me exert my will over reality…and there. A streak of red sprouts from my bangs.

I turn to the guy next to me on the bus. He doesn’t know me, but I made sure to chat him up when I got on, made sure he got a good look at me. That’s important. I get his attention.

”Do you notice anything different about me?”

He looks at me, friendly at first, then his brow furrows. His eyes glaze slightly. I can smell the faint hint of ozone, that indicates that the universe is about to rebel. Damn it!

And then…

“No, sorry. Should I?”

I breathe out, just becoming aware I’d been holding my breath.

“No, thanks man.”

He nods, turns back to his book.

The color stays. Just like magic.

A Little Bit of Magic…

A short piece, just a scene really, that popped into my head. Not written for any contest, just written for the heck of it. Should I continue it?

Boom! Magic – it’s a crazy kind of thing. It doesn’t always work the way we want it to, and when it does, it’s not always predictable. So the fact that it did work this time, that I found myself staring at a pair of shocked but pouty lips and two eyes sparkling like diamonds under a star field, left me almost as shocked as it left her, the girl of my desires. There was no time to waste here – right then. Down to business.

I reached forward, before her shock could vanish – shock is a funny kind of thing, with magic. It can actually make effects last longer, so I intended to take advantage of it. I took her quickly into my arms, and pulled her close, pausing only for a moment to breathe in deeply of her scent. I wanted to remember that later. I heard her gasp, felt her chest contract as her lungs forced themselves empty in shock. I gave her a half second to breathe back in again. She was going to need it.

Time was running short. I could feel it,  had wasted enough already. My right hand moved up to her head, fingers digging into that luscious sea of blonde locks and grasping tightly at her scalp. My left stayed low, cupping the small of her back and drawing her impossibly close to me. I leaned slightly, and pulled her close, my eyes and hers closing subconsciously as our lips began to part.

They touched. And fuuuuuuuuuuck. I hope you’ll excuse my lack of interesting transition there, but there really is no other word to describe the way we sparked when our lips met. It was, for lack of a better term, climactic. It was the bang at the end of the big one, the kind that forms universes in its wake. Our tongues darted back and forth, carefully dancing about one another and drinking deeply of the myriad of feelings that erupted with every touch and taste. She began to moan softly into my mouth, and damned…I can tell you now, there’s not much sexier than that. I moaned too. Couldn’t help it.

My left hand slid down her back, across the magnificent roundness that was her perfect ass, and I thrilled as she jumped a bit from my squeeze. Her shock was fading, her arms wrapped around me and for a moment, it felt like we were going to melt.

And then pop!

The magic reversed, and I found myself kissing nothing but air. I sighed, ignoring the strange looks of passersby. The thing was, it worked…and if it worked once, it damned sure would work again.

Hopefully for longer next time.