Cory’s Story: to drink of bitter starlight

Galaxy pouring from a jar
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

I think it’s great that you believe in magic.

Sure.

Do you have a name? My name’s Cory.

Yeah.

Great! What is it?

Shadow. But I can tell you don’t believe me.

…what?

You’re not very good at listening.

…what?

Who put you up to this?

No one. I was just checking all the rooms in the house, and found you.

Sure.

Uh, how are you?

I don’t believe you.

Ah. I see what you’re doing.

Do you?

Yeah. You’re acting like you don’t believe me, like how you said I don’t believe you.

No. I am shutting you out. I thought that should have been obvious.

Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.

What is your earliest memory, Cory?

I’m not sure I see how that is relevant.

You’re dodging the question.

I still don’t…okay, fine. My earliest memory. I was in a kitchen, and it was crowded, and I was drinking milk. I think it was milk. It must have been a party. I think for our older brother. I tripped over a red, sparkly wrapped present and somebody laughed.

That sounds like a nice memory.

So, what about you? What’s your earliest memory?

I can’t tell you.

Can’t tell me?

If I did, I would have no purpose.

Why would you have no purpose?

It is a bad memory. I do not think you could function if you knew it.

Oh. I…I think I know a little bit about that, actually. Jasmine said the same thing. Or, something similar. About those of us who function, and those of us who hold bad memories, and those of us anywhere in between.

That is why I believe in magic, Cory who does not believe.

Because it helps you function better?

No.

So–

I believe in magic because of bad memories. I blur what is real and what is magic to drink of bitter starlight. I think this is why you do not believe in magic. You do not know of bitter things, so why would you dip your tongue in starlight?

I…I don’t know, Shadow.

***

Cory fuzzed out. He blurred between spikes, piercing pain, glowing white, whimpers at dribbling blood; he curled deeper into the body. “Hello?” he whispered. “Is anyone…anyone there?”

***

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