Hello, dear readers, and happy Memorial Day! Here in the states we remember our passed loved ones and honor our armed forces for their sacrifices on May 28. We also have sales, fireworks, and BBQs. But what higher compliment can we pay to the departed than to live, enjoying the freedom they helped gain? There are probably lots better ways but I don’t know what they are. Therefore I offer my contribution to your Memorial Day enjoyment: a short piece of whimsical fiction that hopefully makes you smile. It has nothing to do with sales or BBQs or military service, it is just a piece of nonsense I dreamed up because of a beautiful bridge with charming sentries that I happen to see quite often. I hope you enjoy “The Most Fundamental of Magicks,” and if you or a loved one have served in the military I say thank you, thank you so much.
The Most Fundamental of Magicks
by E.A. Schneider
It blinked. I know the statue just blinked at me, Moira thought. Bubbles of excitement welled up within her; she felt like she could float. All this time waiting and observing, Moira finally had a result. Moira’s hypothesis was that if the conditions aligned to create a sufficiently magical atmosphere, then the fox statue would react. Moira crossed the Fox River Bridge on her way back from school when the conditions were right (rain on a sunny day, afternoons while she could see the moon in the blue sky) and kept a log. Moira spent a lot of time with the fox even on suboptimal days—it was better than going home before four. Sometimes Moira had thought she’d seen magic. At times it was a blink, or a wink, once it was even a gust of wind that blew a hat into the street. None of this was objective though, she knew in the cold realms of intellect that such anecdotes could be just wishful thinking on her part.
Today though was a breakthrough. The rain was falling steadily, not a downpour or a drizzle. It was not a cold rain or a hot rain—it was a nourishing warm soak of a rain, the rarest and happiest sort. More important though, the sky was sunny blue only partially oppressed by an obliging steel grey cloud producing the rain. Best of all, shining clearly against the blue far above Moira’s head was the moon. No wonder the fox blinked—it was a day worth looking at. This wasn’t the evidence though. Moira had carefully balanced a single filament of down from her pillow on each of the fox’s eyes. For whatever reason the rain didn’t wash them off but when the fox blinked Moira saw the infinitesimal feathers flutter to the ground. Magic.
“Hello?” Moira whispered. It was crazy talking to the subject under observation but Moira couldn’t help herself. Nothing. “Are you awake?” The rain still fell. The sun still shone. Moira held her breath, nerving herself to ask one more time, when the statue blinked not once, but several times rapidly, like you do when you wake up from an unexpected nap—Moira could hear the soft scrape of stone eyelid over stone eye, she could see the subtle carving of rods and cones in its eyes. It was really blinking. For a moment, their eyes locked blue to stone grey.
“Hello, human.” The voice sounded in Moira’s head, clear as the moon outlined above.
“Hello, Mr. Fox,” Moira replied.
“You woke me up.”
“Surely it was the environmental variables.”
“They help, I suppose, but mostly it was you.”
“All I do is show up.”
“The most fundamental of magicks.”
“Oh.” Moira supposed that made sense. It cheered her that Mr. Fox was as lonely as she. “I suppose even Fey need to be remembered.”
“Especially the Fey, human, we seem to be largely forgotten.” Moira knew she needed magic but she reckoned she was in the minority. “Yet you remember, every day, human, for months.”
“True. I needed evidence for my magical hypotheses.”
“A very disciplined approach to fancies,” Mr. Fox said.
“You don’t approve.” Foxes were hardly paragons of order and method—quite the opposite.
“Not really. If you keep coming though, then…maybe.”
“Well I do need more evidence.” Moira felt a breeze teasing her hat away from her head, Moira had to struggle to hang on to it and her log.
“Evidence I can provide,” the fox said, winking. Moira cracked a smile for the first time in months.
–THE END (596 words)