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Valentine's Day flash fiction
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In honor of the day...this is the flash fiction I wrote for Patrick last year for Valentine's Day:

The Transmutation of Bodies Into Light: A Fable
By Stephanie Burgis

The first time he passed her on his chariot of fire, she only opened her eyes to watch him, lazily, from her pool.

The second time, she leaned out, trailing blossoms from her fingertips, and he looked back as his chariot passed. For a moment, she met his burning gaze, before his golden horses swept him out of sight.

The years turned into centuries, and he did not return.

Water dries eventually, after a thousand thousand years, and pools sink into the waiting ground.

The third time she saw the flaming chariot approach, she was huddled in the parched earth of her former home, weeping and lost. Before he could see her, she turned away. She melted into the dry ground to hide herself from him, choking with bitterness and despair.

The chariot passed, and faded into the distance.

She wandered through the new world, wrapping herself in shadows. She walked among the people who had spread across the earth, and she watched them in wonder and disbelief. They built a hotel complex across her old home, and she lingered in the shadows of the halogen lights to gaze longingly at the chlorinated swimming pool in the central courtyard. But she did not step inside. She turned away, finally, as the sun rose.

He was standing behind her, watching her.

In his hand, he held a dried blossom, smelling faintly of old magic and hope.

"I saved it," he said.

The fourth time she saw the chariot of fire, it was driven by a stranger wearing a sleek Eurotrash suit and dark sunglasses to shield his eyes against the flames.

Her lover shook his head and smiled, and she touched her hand to his cheek.

They held each other, trembling with urgency, just above the surface of the ocean.

"No regrets," he whispered.

"No regrets," she whispered back.

They dived, together, into the depths of the salt-fresh water and became something new.


Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart.

And happy Valentine's Day to everybody. I hope you all have a wonderful day, whether you're celebrating with a romantic partner or just taking the day to savor good food, good music, and the people you really love.

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