The Dawn of the Phoenix

Submitted into Contest #38 in response to: Write a story about someone who finds a magical portal in their home. ... view prompt



There are legends in our world. Muted by the decades, spoken on ancient lips and carried by the ebbing flow of time and curiosity.

There are legends of magic in our world. Tales woven by silver-tongues, oozing from the minds of storytellers and carried on the breath of ancestors. Stories weaved so deep in stories people forget that legends are born of truth.

There is magic in our world. Dormant in the earth, its once sharp blade dull with years of disregard. There is magic in our world, so small, so subtle that people have long since forgotten that it flows through our veins.

 It’s a knack, they say, she’s just taken to swimming like a fish. He’s a natural, they brag, it’s like he was born to fly. But when she glides through the water, she can hold her breath for longer and turn quicker; that’s magic. There’s magic in the way he loves the sky, in the way he almost feels like part of the machine. There’s magic in the entrancing beauty of a dancer, magic in the veins of park ranger whose’s never lost. This is the magic of life, dormant for so long we never knew how much of us we lost when we forgot the magic. The magic that creates the world, the magic that surrounds us and protects. That is the magic, its entrancing, enthralling beauty, its mystical and mysterious ways. I guess you could say, that is the magic of magic.

At least that’s what I felt when I first saw magic. Framed in the cool embrace of the shadowed corner of grandma’s attic. Hidden from the ribbons of sunlight shining through the skylight, free from the haze of dust and nestled in an inconspicuous box. Dark caramel skin, hazel eyes lidded with exhaustion. A heavy heart, weight down with sorrow. The reflection radiated honesty, no lies of reality could disguise the resemblance between us, gran and I. And the pain I had tried so hard to mask, for my father’s sake, lay bare. The smooth pane was framed in a silver cage, sprinkled with marbled gems. The stones were almost black, but they shone and sparkled with darkness, in the lightest parts, rich purple swirls wove their way through the centre, like a dancing breeze frozen in time. Specks of silver, bright like glittering stars, blink in murk expanse of space. Though it seemed untouched, no dust had built up nor dirt smudged its beauty. Something about it seemed odd, in a mysterious, ethereal way. There was also a stone missing, from the gap the biggest one. The colour was familiar, the size of the gap formed a familiar weight in my palm. Subconsciously, I had taken the talisman from my gran, another of her silly voodoo beliefs, from my trouser pocket. It hadn’t moved since I found the box and note. Maybe this is what she meant when she said it was more than I could ever imagine. 

My father’s call shook me out of my revere and I carefully wrapped the mirror and replaced it in the box, it would have to wait until my next visit.

It didn’t want to wait. 

Did I mention that magic, for all it is wise and majestic, is clingy and impatient. It is like a child eager to show off its tricks, once it chooses you, it clings to you until you embrace it. It clings to you until you feel the calling with every fibre of your being, the fire building in your gut and until you’re swept up in the power of it. The fantasies of the world you never saw before. When you embrace the magic, its like you have been walking blind, and suddenly you see the world in full colour. Suddenly there is a whole new element you never knew you needed. It fills the hole in your soul you never knew you had. Once you start using magic, it is impossible to live without it; its clutches draw you ever closer, deeper and deeper into the eerily, enchanting world of illusions.

That night when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about that mirror. It wasn’t that extraordinary, nothing unusual beyond the unique gems and delicate silver framework. It would probably be worth a good amount at a garage sale. But there was something about it, the way the gems seamed to gleam with silent mirth, like they were witness to the greatest secrets of the universe. The fact that the vines were entwined with threads of reality, the crisp leaves so close to reality.

Its image was implanted in my brain, clinging to the fleeting threads of unconsciousness. It soon became clear that I wasn’t going to sleep tonight. I sat up and pulled back the curtain, the gentle of beams pale moonlight bathing the garden in an ethereal beauty. Entranced, I swept the curtains open. The midnight sky was speckled with an abundance of soft stars but reflected in the window was another glow. Turning slowly, I watched my trousers glow, gentle sparkles of iridescence radiating from the pocket. Rushing over, I pulled the talisman from where I had tossed the jeans in an exhausted haze earlier this evening. Or last night. Mind made up; I knew I had to find out what was going on. 

Sneaking out of the house was easy, I wasn’t exactly a model student, so this was nothing new. I grabbed my bike from behind the side gate and buckled the helmet. Gran’s house was only a couple of miles away. When I arrived, the cottage was lite by enticing moonbeams, the roses looped around the front porch were a blood red, but mystically alluring. The whole experience seamed surreal. The cottage was abandoned, but as I climbed closer to the attic a faint hum of voices began to become audible. The atmosphere was thick with energy. When I lifted open the hatch, the tantalising beauty of the mirror caught my eye. The cloth had been removed by some unknown force and it lay clasped in the tender embrace of the moonlight. 

Possessed by some subconscious urge I rushed too it and pulled out the Talisman. Blood pounding in my ears, heart racing and hands shaking, I pressed in key into the lock. The gateway was whole. Stars burst across my vision, light swirling in an enchanted vortex. Tugging me, pulling me closer and closer. I closed my eyes and felt the whoosh of air as I fell. Racing past me were blurs, moving so quickly I could not understand what was before me. Down I spiralled, buffeted at the mercy of the wind. Down I fell, towards a speck of black on the horizon. But when I reached that speck, a whole nother world was waiting

…But that world can wait, my darlings, that is enough for tonight. Grandpa needs his sleep and so do you. A a a…Don’t worry, my dears, I can continue the story tomorrow night. So good night, sleep tight and dream happily. The magic will wait for you, but not for long, it is impatient after all!

April 24, 2020 20:40

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Miles Gatling
11:40 Apr 28, 2020

What a fantastic story! Very descriptive and clean. Nice one!


18:45 Apr 28, 2020



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