by Anne E. Johnson

Aquamarine crystal

Jim H. via Creative Commons

Gemma donned her protective glasses. After ten years together, that sight still gave Sylvia chills. “Oh, dear. Here we go.”

Her wife grinned under bulging plastic eyepieces. “It will be great.” In gloved hands, she held up a rough blue crystal. “Aquamarine. Prized by psychics. I want this rock’s power.”

Sylvia distrusted Gemma’s maniacal tone. “Why not simply make a crystal ball?”

Gemma cackled. “Why be simple, Silvery Silvia?” She used that nickname only at her most intense moments: lovemaking and scientific breakthroughs.

“Be careful, honey.”

To her left ear Gemma attached a cable clip, clipping another to a jagged corner of the rock. “I’ll transfer the stone’s soul to my mind.”

“Or you’ll electrocute yourself.”

Sylvia clenched her hands when Gemma flicked the switch. Sparks showered from the stone and from Gemma’s ear. A monstrous buzzing drowned out her screams.


At Gemma’s funeral, friends and family whispered, “Why does grieving Sylvia smile?”

In fact, there was no cause for tears. The experiment had worked in an unexpected way. In her palm Sylvia cradled a stone; her lover’s soul peered from the aquamarine’s glowing depths. With that crystal nestled into Gemma’s pillow every night, Silvery Sylvia could never be a widow.


Anne E. JohnsonAnne E. Johnson is based in Brooklyn. She writes speculative and historical fiction, both for adults and for kids and teens. Learn more on her website, AnneEJohnson.com.

Untitled

Rachel K via Creative Commons

Willow scraped her slippers along the carpet, reaching up to stretch and rub her eyes but stopping short with a little squeak of surprise when she saw the book on the floor. Her office was spotless, a sanctuary from the chaos of a careless boyfriend through the rest of the house. The walls were lined with floor-to-ceiling white bookshelves, excepting the wide corner desk, where she ran her customized balloon distribution company from her laptop. A book on the floor in this office was an affront to Willow’s unflinching rule: no one in the office without explicit permission.

She picked up the hardcover and turned it over. Agatha Christie’s After The Funeral. Willow carried the book into the kitchen, staring at the cover. “Hey Long,” she said, suppressing a sour look at the sight of her boyfriend hunched over a cereal bowl, slurping and chewing loudly with an open mouth, “were you looking for a book in my office?”

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