True Magic

A magician is a person with magical powers also called a witch, wizard or necromancer. Zayne and Zaneida were none of these. They were the other kind of magicians the ones who perform tricks of mind and senses. The siblings were ranked 478 of all the magicians in the world and they were once proud of it. 

“Where did the doves go?” Zayne showed off his empty hat to the wide-eyed audience. “Perhaps the lovely Zenaida knows?”

Zenaida lifted the top off the box she’d been holding. Out flew two white doves to the gasps of the young crowd. Zayne raised his arms in triumph. As the applause died down, a tall woman wearing a green turban stood. 

“Smoke and mirrors,” the woman shook her head. “These are mere tricks.”

Confused and doubtful whispers filled the small room.

Zayne tilted his head back and laughed. “It’s no trick.” He threw his arm out with a flourish. “It’s magic!”

The woman smiled and snapped her fingers. The two doves from Zenaida’s box disappeared then reappeared, one on each of the green-clad woman’s shoulders. The party-goers gasped. The woman waved her hands in front of the birds and the doves vanished. 

“Where did they go?” Someone asked.

The woman snapped her fingers. “One. Two.”  

Zayne felt a sharp pain on the top of his head as a dove suddenly nested in his hair and pecked away. His sister let out a yelp as the other swooped toward her face. They jumped around flailing their arms like maniacs trying to shoo the stubborn birds off. The audience laughed and cheered. 

“My name is Verrica the Extraordinary Sorceress,” the woman announced, “and I know true magic.”

*****

You may be thinking that true magic doesn’t exist; and once upon a time you were right. Now that has changed. Regular old magicians like Zayne and Zenaida have watched the noose tighten on their livelihood along with all involved in the industry, including their manager, Harry.

“We had three parties lined up and all of them cancelled in order to snag this Verrica instead.”

“All?” Harry repeated.

“On the spot,” Zayne said.

“I’m glad you weren’t there to see it, Harry.” Zenaida held her head between her hands. “She made complete fools of us.”

Zayne pointed to the bird poop crusted in his hair and Zenaida held up the tatters of what was left of her best pink wig. 

Harry sighed. “I told you, the act can’t afford to lose anymore business.”

“There must be something left for us.” Zenaida said. 

Harry shook his head. “Sorry kids. It’s over. Everyone wants real magic.”

“They can’t push aside every magician who’s trained hard because a few people have discovered they have supernatural abilities.” Zayne pounded his fists on the table. “Who cares if it’s real or not? Isn’t it all entertainment? A show?”

“Doesn’t matter what it is, it’s competition.” Harry stood and put on his hat. “So you’d better figure out a way to get back on the playing field.”

“How?” Zenaida asked.

“Find your own niche.” Harry shrugged. “Out magic magic.”

*****

Outmaneuvering supernatural power with street tricks was impossible. The siblings signed gigs where they could but work was too far and few to keep crumbs in their mouths. They traded magic tricks for steady jobs.

Several years passed. Though resigned to their fates, the passion of the heart never completely goes away.

“That’s amazing! Do another.”

Zenaida had gotten on as a maid and sometimes regaled her co-workers with a trick or two.

“It’s not real magic.” Zenaida placed the wine glass that she had broken and “magically” repaired on the table.

“So what? It’s fun.”

Fun? Even as she brought out cards for another trick, an idea sparked.

Zayne was a grocer’s assistant who did coin tricks for the children who came in. The joy on their little faces melted his heart. Joy. Zayne’s mind lit up.

The siblings got together with the same concept. People were still interested in smoke and mirrors. The draw wasn’t true magic. It was the show, the entertainment, the thin space between truth and illusion where fun, joy and wonder reside.

Over the next year, they worked hard creating and practicing new while reinventing their image. It was mostly frustrating, but it paid off. They re-debuted as the Wonder Twins (Zenaida was two years older, but twins were more exciting than siblings) they challenged Verrica the Sorceress. The show was dubbed the showdown between the natural and supernatural. Who can tell the difference?

For all the razzle-dazzle, sparkly malarkey, haunts and daunts in the performances, only the magicians both old and new, illusionists and supernaturalists knew for sure.

The rest of the audience simply enjoyed the show. The spells were spectacular and the illusions were such clever feats they were fantastical. Zenaida and Zayne had found a way to out magic magic.

A/N: Words: 800  Pictures: 10

Ladies and gentlemen, I was going to enter the spectacularly extraordinary simlit exhibition that is the Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge. Unfortunately, I was ill with a really bad infection this month plus school and work when I wasn’t in excruciating pain or knocked out from painkillers. Still, I didn’t want to break the habit of writing a story a month so I slapped True Magic together. This month’s topic was It’s Magic with a word max of 800 and 10 pictures. Please check out the stories submitted for this month. Read ALL the entries and vote for your top 3 favorite stories in BOTH the Novice AND Veteran categories. Top 3 in both categories–6 votes total–is required! Thank you for supporting SimLit!

Also, this idea was inspired by the actual “feud” that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries between science and spiritualism. It was exemplified in the one and only Harry Houdini (yes, that Houdini) who spent a great portion of his career debunking spiritualists. Houdini represented using science and human ingenuity to accomplish feats and illusions (magic). While the spiritualists claimed to gain powers from the supernatural and would perform fortune telling, seances, and even necromancy (also sometimes billed as magic). For this story, I wondered, “what if the supernatural powers were real”.

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June Sky: A Myth

Under the warm shadow of June night

Two lovers 

Mahru, brother of Earth 

Elara, daughter of the stars

meeting on the planet of life 

to unite in love 

For eternity.

But the stars, Vega and Antares, 

not approving their wayward child’s union

stepped down from their celestial plane.

They separated the lovers.

Banishing them

to the dark abysses of the universe.

Mahru and Elara fought valiantly.

Yet, the giant stars were too powerful 

and the lovers were flung from the planet.

But, Ila, the Earth, 

having covered their secret wedding,

took pity on the newlyweds

and appealed to Sol, the sun star.

Sol heard Ila’s pleas.

Her sorrow and anger intertwining with the earth’s own.

Though bigger and more powerful than Sol, 

Vega and Antares had trespassed in the sun’s domain;

weakening their own might and strengthening hers.

Stepping down to the planet of life, 

Sol fought Vega and Antares

until they flew back in fury to their own constellations.

Vega and Antares curse upon Elara and Mahru could not be undone.

Earth had tethered her brother to her oceans

keeping him from hurling through the expanse.

Sol turned Mahru into the moon, 

bringing balance to Earth, her oceans, and lighting her nights.

The bride had been thrown to the outer circle.

Sol found her and

Elara, daughter of Antares, a royal star, became Jupiter, the giant king planet.

The moon, close as it is, came and went from the planet of life 

but Jupiter, cast to the outer circles, was too far.

All Sol could grant to the new celestial bodies was one point in time 

to line up Earth, Jupiter and sun.

Under the protection of Sol

Jupiter may descend.

Elara and Mahru separated by space

united by undying love

are joined together once a year

during the month of their wedding.

This is why the moon and Jupiter burn brightest together in the night June sky.

—————–

A/N: Words: 319  Pictures: 8

Part 1: This is my third entry in the fabulous Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge. This month’s topic was June Wedding with a word max of 800. Please check it out, read ALL the entries and vote for your top 3 favorite stories in BOTH the Novice AND Veteran categories. Top 3 in both categories–6 votes total–is required! Thank you for supporting SimLit!

Part 1.2 (added 8/1/19): AemaSimming has written a beautiful story in the same vein/universe as this myth. It uses some of the same cc so even the look is similar, but the story stands on its own. If you liked this story, you will Love it! PLEASE read The Most Powerful of Magic and support a great storyteller.

Part 2: Brief background on the celestial bodies in this myth: Vega and Antares are two of the brightest stars that you can see from earth. Antares is a supergiant 17 times more massive and 10,000 times more luminous than the sun. Thousands of years ago, Antares was the North Star (modernly it is Polaris. This is because the earth’s axis moves changing north every thousands of years.) The ancient Persians regarded Antares as one of 4 royal stars who were the guardians of the galaxy (not just a comic/movie). Vega is the 5th brightest star in the night sky and is part of the Lyra constellation. It was the second star to be photographed (the first is our sun). (Vega is also a character in Street Fighter who I played as all the time :P) Mahru is a nickname for the African name Mahrukh which means “face of the moon” and Elara is one of Jupiter’s moons. Lesson over!

Part 3: The sun, earth and Jupiter line up around June (sometimes in late May or early July) every year. It’s known as opposition. This makes the brightest objects in the night sky the moon and Jupiter for the entire month of June. Jupiter is so clear you can see it with the naked eye and its biggest moons with binoculars! I took some photos of Jupiter and the moon above my house. Also, check out the awesome new photos of Jupiter that NASA’s space probe, Juno, has been sending. 

Jupiter (white dot on left) & the moon above my house. Taken with my phone camera 14 June 2019.
Jupiter’s clouds. Taken by the Juno probe.

CC used:  (Not a complete list.)

Ila’s Crown of horns by Nolan Sims, Sol’s Headdress (Pegasus set) by ERSCH, and Mahru’s crown (Thranduil’s Crown) by ersel/ERSCH

Sol’s dress and Mahru’s earth outfit by Jomsims

Twinkling Stars wallpaper & floors by Bakie

Moons Light (the moon and planet Jupiter objects) by Mabinogi

Couldn’t fit this into the picture limit, but I like it so…

Sorry! Didn’t mean for my author’s note to be longer than the actual story! 😛

Missing Peace

Missy tripped down the winding path of the gloomy woods crying out for her daughter. This was her last chance. The trees thinned and the gale died when she heard a soft voice behind her.

“Mom?”

Missy spun around. “Aubrey!”

She held out one hand to her daughter to pull her into an embrace, but Aubrey sidestepped out of her reach.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to give you peace.” Missy felt her ears warm.

“You’re wasting your time.” Aubrey frowned. “I’ll take you back home.”

Dead leaves crunched under their feet as they moved down the dirt trail.  

“Have you made any friends, sweetie?”

Aubrey’s brown eyes darkened. “Phineas is my age. His whole house went up in flames.”

“That’s awful.”

“He set the fire.”

An icy breeze blew around them. Missy shivered and hugged herself.  

“Why are you friends with that boy?”

“We have a lot in common.” Aubrey shot her a cruel smile. “Parents who don’t care until it’s too late.”

Sharp stabbing pain pelted Missy’s heart. Years passed, yet Aubrey stayed the same–sharp-tongued and abrasive.

“He’s bad news. Use good judgement, Aubrey.”

“I do.”

“Like your little sister and you getting in a car with drunk strangers?”

“Mom!” Aubrey crossed her arms over her chest. “You never let anything go.”

“You should have been more responsible.”

“You promised you’d drive us home.” Aubrey narrowed her eyes. “I called you to take Heather and me home, but you were too busy partying with your date of the week to pick us up.”

“I told you to call a taxi.”

“You’re blaming me? I’m 17. We didn’t have any money.”

Missy reached out to her, but Aubrey pulled away.

“I’m sorry. I just want to help you.”

“You’re too late.”

Aubrey turned away. Missy’s heart sank. It had taken her 34 years to get here. She had ruined this last hope squabbling over the unchangeable past.

“You’re right.” Missy wiped at her wet cheeks. “I’ll never forgive myself.”

Twilight shadows with dark crooked arms and spiky fingers stretched across the path. Black tendrils slid up Missy’s feet, wrapping around her ankles. Her heart beat a pounding cacophony.

Aubrey stomped her foot. “She’s not dead, yet!”

The shadows let her go and dashed back up into the trees. Missy leaned, panting, against a tree.

“This is a place for the hopeless.” Aubrey began to walk, fast. “If you despair or stay too long, they’ll keep you.”

Aubrey didn’t want her hurt. Then there was a chance. She caught up with her. “Do you talk to Heather?”

“No.”

“Her grave is–”

“I can’t face her.” Aubrey voice was soft and strained.  The bitterness gone. “It’s my fault she’s dead.”

“I know you hate me, Aubrey, but how you feel about Heather is the same for me with you.”

“I don’t hate you. I just want you to care about me.”

“I had you so young. I dropped out of school. No more parties or hanging out with friends. I became jealous of my own girls, thinking I deserved to be carefree, too. Don’t carry my burden, honey. You made a mistake, but I should have been there so you wouldn’t have to.”

They stopped at the entrance to Pearl Gate cemetery. A cold blast from the woods sent dirt and leaves spiraling into the air. Slender shadows rode the wind clawing at Missy’s clothes.

“Hurry.” Aubrey bounded pass the whitewashed walls of the cemetery with Missy close behind.

Among the graves, a suffocating silence descended. The overcast sky grew darker as if the sun sank at an accelerated pace behind the clouds. They stopped before her daughters’ twin gravestones where Missy’s body of flesh and bone lay unconscious on the ground.

“Don’t return again. Next time, you might not make it back.” Aubrey pulled her into an embrace. “I forgive you, mom.”

Missy sobbed in her eldest’s arms.

“Mom… it’s time. I can go.”

She looked up. There stood Heather, hand out to her sister, waiting. Aubrey ran to her. They hugged each other tight. Missy watched as the girls vanished into thin air.

A strong wind blew. Missy stepped into her body. Blinking her eyes open, she looked around. She sat in the cemetery. The sun shone bright and hot in a clear blue sky. She was back on the side of the living.

Salty tears slid down her face as her fingers caressed the warm gravestones in front of her. She’d done it. She brought them peace. Now maybe she could have a little, too.

________________

A/N: Word Count: 759, Pictures 5

This is my second entry in the Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge. May’s theme was Mom, Motherhood. Big thank you to Lisabeesims for hosting. Please follow the link to vote for your top 3 favorite stories in the Novice and Veteran categories.

Nincompoop

“This is a terrible idea, Chloe.”

“It’s the only way to get Gina out of the way.”

They peered across the rainbow decorated gym floor where Gina and Mason danced by the bleachers.

Chloe sighed. “Mason looks so good in a suit.”

“He’s got a nice butt…” Ann rubbed her ear between her finger and thumb. “This plan didn’t work last week at lunch.”

“That’s because you ruined everything and Gina asked him to the dance before I could.”

“Not my fault the cafeteria has an incline. I’m just saying… What if it’s a sign? You should talk to him first. He might not mind one dance.”

“I can’t wait with Gina hanging around.” Chloe grabbed Ann’s shoulders. “It’s now or never. I’ve got the punch. Did you get the laxatives?”

Ann put her hand in her purse. “My mom thinks I have a serious problem.” She passed the bottle to her friend. “She says I have to go on a cleanse for a week.”

“You’ll survive.” She poured the medicine into the cup of punch and stirred it with a straw. “But Gina won’t.”

The ruby red liquid turned a deep pink.

“Ok, take it over to her.” Chloe pushed the cup toward Ann. “When she’s gone–“

“No way. Not again.”

“Fine.” Chloe grabbed the cup. “Wouldn’t want you to spill it all over me like last time.”

Ann’s eyes narrowed and her lip curled. Chloe ignored her and took a deep breath. She stalked through the students of High Pier high with Ann following close behind until they stood next to the target.

“Hey, Gina,” Chloe forced a smile. “You look thirsty.”

Gina and Mason stopped dancing.

“I brought you some punch.” Chloe held the cup out.

Gina lifted an eyebrow. “No, thanks.”

I’m thirsty.” Mason reached out for the cup Chloe held.

Chloe’s heart pounded against her sternum. She couldn’t let him drink it. That would ruin everything.

“No.” She pulled her arm back. “It’s mine. I’ve got germs.”

Mason shrugged. “I don’t care.”

His fingers brushed the rim. Chloe looked at Ann for help.

Ann shrugged and mouthed, “Drink it?”

She lifted the cup to her mouth and gulped down the laced contents.

Ann leaned close. “I meant to say spill it.”

Chloe glared at her.

“There’s Jaimie,” Gina clutched Mason’s arm. “What should I do?”

He patted her hand. “You two need to talk.”

Gina nodded and gave him a thumbs up before walking off into the crowd.

“What was that about?” Ann asked.

“Gina’s scheme to get Jaime’s attention by pretending to get back with her ex.” Mason said. “Didn’t work. Now she’s taking the old fashion route.”

Chloe clutched her rumbling abdomen. “So, you two didn’t get back together?”

Mason grimaced. “No.”

If she had waited one more minute… Her belly burned like a Halloween bonfire.

“Looks like I’m dateless.” Mason grinned. “One of you want to dance?”

“Yes!” Chloe put her hand out to him.  Mason moved closer. She stared into his sparkling brown eyes. His smile made her stomach squall with the force of a typhoon. Chloe froze.

“Is everything ok?” Mason asked.

She hugged herself as her stomach roiled with waves of stabbing pain.

“We don’t have to dance.” He turned to Ann. “What about you?”

“Sure.” Ann smiled. “Hope you can keep up.”

“Wait. This is my dance.”

Ann and Mason were too busy grinning at each other to hear her. Another raucous ripple from her middle sent her sprinting out the gym.

Word Count: 584

Pictures: 6

For the Monthly SimLit Short Story Contest. Please head over there and read all the entries. Then vote for your top 3 in the veteran and novice categories (that’s 6 votes in all)! Thank for reading and support SimLit by checking out and voting in the contest!