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Fantasy Science Fiction Friendship

"We're running out of time!"

"Yes, you've been saying that quite frequently for the past twenty minutes." Vinny was speaking through clenched teeth, trying not to think about what her hands were doing while at the same time very focused on her task. She had barely any concept of time in her current position. 

"Are you sure Finx even ate a bird today?"

Vinny huffed again. While she was trying not to let the concept of lost time burden her search, she could feel her nervous itch beginning at the tip of her nose. The urge to scratch it was terrible, but given her hands unprecedented occupancy, scratching it would be rather unfortunate.

"I've had that cat for seven years, Ry. Seven. And in all seven of those years she's managed to both catch and eat a bird every day. What are the chances she'd want to change her diet now?"

Ry shrugged their shoulders, as if they couldn't be bothered to even process the question. With hands wringing together, feeling like a useless fool, Ry took a chance at some odd optimism.

"Right, it's more likely that she ate two birds, right? But maybe, you could dig faster? Are we even sure this was the right thing to do?"

"Ry, if you had doubts about this plan, any time other than right now would have been a perfect time to make those doubts known. Now if you'd please-" crunch.

Vinny stopped talking, certain she had mistakenly heard and felt the tell-tale signs of bones in her cats... ugh. She couldn't bring herself to think of it. This was by far the most disgusting thing she'd ever done and the itch in her nose was only getting worse as the moon rose higher above her and the concept of time ate at her own bones. Why was her nervous tick always an itch?

She pulled her hands free of the mess, splattering cat… debris all about them. Ry stood abruptly, releasing a passionate "ick!" as they went.

"Voila!" Vinny held up her treasure with earnest, though she held her found thing a little ways away from herself. Her hands were covered in her cat's (thankfully solid) mess but she couldn't think of that right now. She had a moon to catch!

Ry tried not to gag, but the excited gleam in their eyes told Vinny everything she needed to know.

"Let's go so I can wash my hands in the river."

"Shouldn't you do that before we start?"

"Not a chance," Vinny finally glanced up at the sky where the moon was threateningly close to its zenith. "We've got only a few minutes left!"

Vinny and Ry hurried back up the hill that stretched beside the house they'd stayed the night in. Finx was nowhere to be found.

They had found a book beneath the stairs at this house and it had stories and poems within it. One of the stories was about a full moon ritual that they couldn’t forget about. It must have been fate, they both thought, because it was right on the night of that very full moon. 

At the top of this hill was a peculiar set up; crystals and rocks and bunches of gathered leaves and twigs were assembled in an array that resembled the sun. It was quite beautiful if you didn’t look at it for too long, but Vinny and Ry were proud of their design and if this plan worked, then not only would they be proud… they’d be wealthy in ways they couldn’t fully imagine. The book had very detailed occurrences about this ritual they’d created. 

Vinny placed the bones just so at the center of their mandala, careful not to get any mess on the rest of their creation. 

“Do you have the poem?” Vinny asked.

Ry swallowed faintly as their nerves picked up. They procured the note from their pocket with only a slight moment of second thoughts. Of course it was strange and a little scary to be doing this in the middle of the night, but the ritual had been therapeutic to them both and so on they would go. Even if nothing happened, they’d had a beautiful night. Cat mess and all. 

Ry went to hand Vinny the note but one wave of her hands had them both laughing out loud. “Right,” Ry said. “I guess it’s me then.”

Ry took the page, a poem that they had both worked out and started to say the words. At first, their voice wavered softly and with hesitation, but as the wind picked up around them and scent of moss reached their noses, Ry’s voice took on an ethereal tone. It would have sounded like a song, if not for the powerful declaration in Ry’s words. Their accentuation of the syllables and the harmonic rhythm of their spell brought chills to their arms and a swell to their chests. Calm spread through them both as they listened to the art they’d created. 

Because it was a spell and they were doing magick.

It felt strange for them both to think of their regular hobby this way. They’d only just started to believe in magick and now they’d written a beautiful spell.

They had yet to manage a single manifestation, but it was as if they had been called to this hilltop tonight. The moon had sung them both a lullaby and they’d dreamed the same dream. 

To bring bird feathers, leaves and bird bones to the top of this hill, to recite a poem about freedom and friendship. To declare themselves servants of the moon itself and though it had sounded like a fun game, as Ry finished their words and Vinny’s eyes started to drift shut, the wind whispered to them words that could not be mistaken as a game. It was true and powerful magick and both of these friends now knew it. 

They breathed quietly for a few moments after Ry had spoken the last word. The earth had fallen silent around them aside from the soft whispers of wind. 

Finx finally showed herself and jumped perfectly to the center of their circle. She sniffed the bones and licked them.

Vinny almost told her to stop, but it seemed the spell had other plans. At the lick of her cat's tongue, the circle began to shift. Energy spun in circles carrying in an invisible wind the feathers and bones. They rose as they spun in the air and both Ry and Vinny couldn’t help but to stare.

They were witnessing true magick for the first time in their lives. With the moon directly above them, and their sun shining bright below, they were caught in a whirlwind of energy as they watched the bones and the feathers transform and glow.

A beak appeared first and then a shaking tail-feather. It was magnificent and delicate as a baby bird grew. It shook its new neck and wiggled its wings, it continued to float between them until it was complete.

The baby bird squawked and looked about its space. It flapped its wings furiously at the sight of a curious Finx. Vinny quickly grabbed her and pulled her in close. The bird bones and feathers had fully transformed though not quite tangible. Vinny and Ray could very perfectly see each other through this tiny creature's body. It was invisible as it continued to shake, putting on color and weight. 

“Vinny,” Ry’s voice was quiet as they stared at this bird.

“Hm?” She replied.

“Did you put something in my smoothie earlier? Because, I’m pretty sure I’m hallucinating.”

“No… not that I can think of, unless I gave it to myself too.”

The baby bird finally materialized into the color of a full moon, flew towards Ry first and landed on the very tip of their head. Ry stood perfectly still and looked at Vinny for confirmation.

“It likes you,” Vinny said with a gasp of admiration.

The small bird looked down at Ry from its perch, turning its head from side to side as if studying them.

“Hey there, buddy. How are you?” 

Though the birds beak squeaked what happened next nearly knocked Ry off their feet.

Ry heard a small voice in their head, and while this was not unusual, the voice was quite… sweet.

It wasn’t words, really. At least not in English.

It was more of a feeling.

A feeling that said, “I’m fine, though time is always fleeting away from me.” 

July 09, 2022 04:45

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2 comments

Betty Gilgoff
15:14 Jul 16, 2022

Oooooh, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. You have some fabulous descriptions and I love the build up to the incantation. Very sweet. I would have liked just a little more clarity on what they were striving for or at least the importance of it. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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Xiomatli Diaz
04:17 Jul 18, 2022

Thank you so much for your input! I will definitely keep that in mind for future works!

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