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THE MAGIC CHILD

Once, in a far country, there lived a magic child. She didn’t look magical at all, quite the contrary. Her face was round and pale with two stiff braids of mouse brown hair on either side of it. Her eyes were small, her nose was somewhat crooked. Her body was slight with shoulders that curved inward.

But she was, nonetheless, a magic child. She’d been born just as the great spider that had spun the web of the universe was searching high and low through creation for places to lay its last eggs. Although the spider was enormous, its eggs were tiny and fragile and needed extraordinary protection. There was only one place uniquely suited to shelter them, and that was a nook just to the left of the heart of a human child.

One night, as the baby girl lay sleeping in her crib, the window curtains rustled mysteriously and a long ray of moonlight slid between them. It stretched a tendril into the baby’s ear, uncurling downwards until it reached her heart. There, a bit to the left, it fastened something, a tiny, silver sphere. The baby dreamed she had a speck of moonlight in her ear and it tickled. Then the tendril withdrew, the room grew dark again, and the baby slept.

For many years, the magic child seemed to grow as any other child does. There was school and summer camp; there were friends and quarrels and reconciliations; there were puppies and movies and comic books; there were colds and toothaches and vaccinations; there were moments of glory and moments of bitterness. But there was also something else. The silver egg.

The creature the egg protected had sprung from the very heart of creation. It pulsed with opposing currents of light and darkness, love and hate, hope and despair. As it grew, the child felt the war within her and was afraid. She longed to confide in someone, to be reassured, but the egg required secrecy and silence.

As time went by, friends married, raised families, held challenging jobs, suffered and loved. The magic child did not. The egg consumed her energy from within.

One evening, the magic child, a lonely, defeated woman, came home from work. She held a monotonous job in a cell-like office located in a large and dingy building. Entering her small apartment, she locked the door and sank down on the sofa, numb with failure.

Suddenly, the window flew open. A scarf of moonlight streamed into the room and wound itself about her, shimmering and dancing. Her huddled form grew hazy then disappeared and in its place stood an incandescent creature, arms outflung. Its skin glistened like frost, its hair was flame. Its mouth was delicate yet lush, the deepest crimson. Its dark eyes glowed with passion and with wisdom. And then its features and its body changed, gradually resumed a woman’s shape. A woman sitting wearily on a couch. A discouraged woman whose life was just beginning.

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