Abrin’s Heights: A Solstice Story
by Alison Lyke
Happy Winter Solstice! It's the last one of the decade. In honor of the day, I wrote a fantasy, flash-fiction story. So, cuddle up by the fire and enjoy!
Abrin was born on the last second of the last day of the millennium. He was an ending and a beginning wrapped up in one person. Someone born at such an extraordinary moment could be a natural sorcerer with new kinds of powers learned and studied throughout his lifetime. Or, he might be an abomination too deviant to be allowed to live in this world. Abrin had been alive for nearly two decades without performing magic, and it looked like the latter was the case. On his twentieth birthday, the guardians of magic came to collect their due.
Since he was an infant, the wizards had visited him on the last day of the year. They’d ask him endless questions: Do you have strange dreams? Do you smell things that aren’t there? Have you ever wished something into existence? The only thing young Abrin wished was that the wizards with their bright robes and probing wands would leave him alone, which never did come true.
As an adult, Abrin was only interviewed by bureaucrat wizards who wore smart suits instead of spangly robes. They didn’t ask him a lot of questions, just “Have you performed any magic you could reproduce for me?” In the last three years, he’d seen the same wizard on his birthdays, a bespectacled stodgy fellow ironically named Angmar the Radiant.
“If you don’t have anything to show me next time,” Angmar said matter-of-factly on his last visit, “you know, that’s it for you.”
Abrin resented the wizards and their predetermined ideas of who he should become. He preferred to lay around his family’s farm doing odd jobs and fishing in the stream that ran the length of the property. His mother and father had long given up on him becoming anything but a sacrifice to incomprehensible wizard gods.
As the sun set on the last day of the year, Angmar knocked on Abrin’s kitchen door. The sound was muted by the flurry of falling snow blanketing the countryside. The wooden door sprung open to reveal Angmar, and a contingent of tough-looking wizards come to cart Abrin away.
“Who opened the door?” Angmarthe Radiant asked when he spotted Abrin, seated in front of the hearth on the far side of the farm kitchen.
“I did,” Abrin said. As he rose from the stool, all the objects in the kitchen lifted three feet above the ground. The table, stools, ice-chest, and even the dog bed, complete with its resident hound all began to float.
Angmar and his goonish wizards were elevated as well. Abrin made a dismissive wave with his hands, and the men flew back out of the door and landed roughly on the snowy ground outside. “I guess that’s it for me,” Abrin added as his kitchen door slammed and locked without him lifting a finger.
Remember, it only gets brighter from here!