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Magical Thinking

by Oonah V Joslin

1. Astrologer

Ancients saw answers in the stars; put their faith in astrology, signs and superstitions. Knowledge might have provided a present solution but men prefer to suffer than to solve. Not theirs the responsibility for the globe tearing itself apart.

Astronauts take to the stars but with more hope than faith.

2. Scientist

Everything that can be, must be, in the quantum multiverse. You ask me to believe this without proof. Because you are a scientist, I must take it on faith. I believe in the scientific method, yes. Prove to me you have followed its principles. But allow me still to doubt.

3. Beloved

Were I to think a spell, cross my fingers, speak an incantation, would it be so?

I shut my eyes tight. Urgent words form on my lips.

No flash, no sudden tingling of the air. No prayers or stinging tears can bring you back.

You are cold.

I am alone.

4. Shaman

‘You ridicule our sacred beliefs.’

‘Unless you stop behaving as you do, you will all die.’

‘You disrespect our people’s traditions.’

‘Change your ways and follow our advice. Nonsense is nonsense, sacred or not.’

‘Intolerant and intolerable! You speak against our blood.’

‘Then cast your spells and die in ignorance.’

5. Statesman

‘The people want meat and hope.’

‘I cannot give them what they want. Persuade them that there is no meat. They shall have bread and circuses.’

‘The children want security and peace.’

‘Tell them TV is reality and fame, the key to success.’

Deception works likes magic. Thus empires topple.

6. Mathematician

Think of a number between one and infinity. Double it. Add a few decades. Multiply by a lifetime of heart-beats. Divide by lots of harsh words and add a sprinkling of lies, heaps of forgiveness and a pinch of regret. Ignore the result.

That’s probably how much I love you.

7. Observer

I know the flower isn’t there in the silver dimple of my Mirroscope. It’s an apparition created by mirrors. The flower is in the base.

I reach out to touch it. I like the illusion.

Magic and Science; so alike. Yet we mistake one for the other at our peril.

8. Heretic

‘Someone is coming through. Yes, I feel a strong presence. The name begins with... Z?’

‘It’s Uncle Zebediah!’

‘Could it be...Zebediah? Yes he has a niece...’

‘Cary, that’s you.’

‘Cary... could it be?’

‘I think he must have us bugged, dear.’

‘No... my powers are being blocked by an unbeliever!’

9. Child

‘You mean it was you and Daddy the whole time? No magic sleigh or reindeer that can fly? You mean you have to buy the things from shops? What about the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman, Mum? But you told me not to make things up. What about God, Mum?’

Copyright © 2008 by Oonah V Joslin

Open Challenge 318...

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