(This is a short story that I wrote several years ago for a Flash Fiction group that I participate in on Facebook)
Magic is real.
I know it is.
I can feel it in my very core.
There is no other option than that.
The chills you feel as you pass by old trees or moss banked rivers, the way the little bumps rise up all along your arms, or the sudden quiet that comes about in the middle of a crowd – there is no other explanation.
It has to be magic.
I reach out and finish drawing the circle around me in the dirt and settle in the middle of it, comfortably cross-legged. I close my eyes and drop my breathing into my lower diaphragm. I relax my shoulders and I try to reach my consciousness out from behind my heart where I picture in my mind that it resides.
In a small exhalation of effort I envision a spectral version of myself as it breaks free of my real body and stands at the center of the circle. I extend my thoughts outward from there and immediately see the imagined sky and trees that hold me here spin around as I feel shades of vertigo rush through my stomach.
My mind, in this fantasy state, tries to encompass all of the world that surrounds me – the air, the smells, the earth, the greenery, the life, and freeze it in this one moment of time and hold it still. Freeze it and by will and belief alone hold the real world that is pressing back at me frozen as well.
And for just the smallest fraction of a second my heart begins to race with the growing expectation that it is going to work. And then I feel the light breeze kiss my closed eyelids and ruffle my hair and I know it didn’t work.
I open my eyes slowly and pull in a deep breath of the comforting air and take a thoughtful moment to look around and study the physical space that surrounds me. Far off in the distance I hear the solemn call of a bird and even further away the excited barking of a dog.
Magic is real.
On this point I cannot waver.
It has to be real.
I cannot imagine any other truth than that.
I take in another deep breath and again I drop it down into my diaphragm – as deep and as low into the center of what I picture as myself as I can go.
And, again, I close my eyes.
I have my surroundings memorized and I try to direct my imagined projected form to approach the pile of polished stones that I have carefully arranged to my left just outside of the circle and caress them.
As vividly as I can, I build up the image of my ghostly hands gently skimming the surface of the top marbled green stone and then ever so slowly down the sides of the rest. At the bottom I imagine pulling up from far down inside my soul a bucket from a deep and cooling well that is filled with the stored will of a lifetime of hope and expectation and trust and belief and certainty.
And then with that stored will I push my ethereal self into the cracks between the stones and change my perspective so that I am surrounded by huge polished curved walls of many colors – the cold heart of the stones emanating out at me and cooling my spectral pretend skin.
I sink further down in between those spaces until I imagine the peaty smell of the earth beneath me rising to embrace my nebulousness. In my mind I see me spread my translucence out as I settle in the soil and then reach out feeling the life that strives there at a microscopic level. Finding the soft places and the hard places that balance the pile of stones above them, I start to burrow all of myself underneath, filling in all the gaps that exist between the atoms with my imagined spirit self.
I imagine all of the stored will that I had pulled up from the well of my soul and I drink it all down and watch as I envision in my mind’s eye, in flickers of light like lightning bugs on a summer evening, all of that will darting out through my being and across my extremities.
Magic is real.
It must be.
There is no other possibility.
I cry out in exultation as, driving my imagined self up through the soil and earth and stones, I burst up upwards and reach out for what I know is there.
What I know must be there.
What has no choice but to be there.
I open my eyes – the daylight brighter than I remember. The world surrounding me much more real and defined than it was before and I look around me expectantly.
And the stones stand piled where I placed them so carefully before.
Unmoved and untouched.
My heart crashes and sadness washes over me.
Is magic real?
I could feel it in my very core.
I was so sure it was.
I reach out my bare toe and break the circle that I drew around me and I blink back a tear. I knock over the stones and I look towards home.
I nod to myself and stretch out my gossamer wings and take to the air, looking back sadly.
Magic is not real.