A Sense of MagickThe Other Realms

Excerpt from A Sense of Magick, Chapter 4

This is one of my favorite scenes where a new character, The Pearth Owl, is introduced in Chapter 4. Hope you enjoy it.

When she’d first met Dave, Ally had been convinced he was carrying around a stuffed bird on his shoulder and that he was most likely crazy. Eventually, though, she caught the bird ruffling its feathers, proving it was actually alive. Once or twice, the bird had even opened its eyes long enough to glance around before falling back to sleep after finding nothing interesting to look at.

Now, the bird was not only wide awake, it stared directly at Ally. That was totally unexpected, but what really caught her attention were the colors. The bright rays of the sun hit the tiny bird’s plumage and exploded into a full rainbow of colors.

Ally sheltered her eyes with her hand, blinking hard at the bright light reflecting off the tiny bird. As her vision recovered, she saw the bird really was covered with vibrant reds, yellows, greens, and blues jumping out as though the feathers couldn’t contain the colors a moment longer. “What?” Ally gasped. The little bird’s stare intensified, moving from interesting to creeping Ally out. She wanted to turn away from the dark, piercing eyes, but couldn’t draw herself away from the explosion of colors bursting from the bird’s tiny feathers. “You…you got a new bird!” she exclaimed.

Dave smiled crookedly. He turned his head to smile at the bird perched on his shoulder. The man and the bird stared at each other for a moment. Ally was sure she saw his lips moving. She thought she saw the owl’s beak moving. Were they talking to each other?

“No,” Dave said with a smile as he turned back to Ally, “this is still the Pearth Owl.” Dave used his index finger to scratch under the owl’s chin. “We’re still the same owl as last summer, aren’t we?” he asked the bird.

“But…but…its colors!” Ally wanted to explain how different the bird was now, but found the words escaping her. She tried again. “Its colors!” was all she could manage.

Dave raised an eyebrow comically high. Ally was trying not to giggle about it when the owl’s tiny face snagged her attention. She suddenly realized the owl had thin little eyebrows as well, made of shimmering blue feathers. One of the bird’s eyebrows raised to mimic its owner’s.

“So…you can see the Pearth Owl’s colors now?”

Ally was so amazed by the colors and by the matching raised eyebrows on the human and his bird that she missed Dave’s question. “What?” she asked, not taking her eyes off the bird.

“You said you can see the Pearth Owl’s colors now?”

“Uh, yeah!” Ally said, her voice betraying the adults are dumb tone she usually tried to keep to her inside voice. “I mean,” she continued in a gentler tone, “of course I can see them. They’re beautiful!”

“Well, thank you,” Dave said, straightening up and showing a proud smile.

“But where did they come from? I mean, last summer, he was just plain brown. Just…brown. Brown on brown.” Ally waved a hand at the bird. “Where did all of this come from?”

“Oh, it’s always been there,” Dave said, turning again to smile at the bird who turned to him at the same time. Ally would swear the bird smiled back, though she knew his tiny beak wasn’t physically capable of that.

“No, I remember your owl,” Ally insisted. She searched for a phrase to describe it. “Brown!”

“Yes,” Dave agreed, “I believe that you saw him as brown.”

“But he’s not brown now! He’s…changed!”

“Perhaps it’s not the Pearth Owl who has changed, but you instead.”

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