Variations on the Theme of Adelaide Vaughn

Author: Alexis Ames Content Warnings: Memory loss, hubris. Tarot Cards: Temperance, The Fool Addy flexes the muscles of her magic as she waits for the judges to call her name.  She summons it from deep within her core, lets it simmer under her skin, then pushes it down again. Summon, simmer, banish, repeat. It’s a reflex, a comfort, a reminder that her magic hasn’t deserted her. Her greatest fear, ever since magic first manifested within her, is that one day she will wake up and it will be gone.  Summon, simmer, banish, repeat. “Adelaide Vaughn,” someone calls, and she steps out of the shadows and into the light. Addy had long ago learned to wear flat, soft-soled shoes to auditions. She crosses the stage as silent as any man, without the tell-tale click of heels to give her away. She stops behind the black curtain that separates her from the judges, her eyes tracking a mote of dust while she

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The Rebirthed

Alexis Ames The doors slide shut behind him, and Dominic comes to a halt. The attendant ‘bot who had followed him into the room slams into his back, then hurriedly backs off. “My apologies, Detective.” Dominic cocks his head, considering it. The red sensors it has for eyes fix on him, and then the ‘bot quickly averts them. It’s hovering a few inches off the ground, and drifts a couple of feet away from him. It looks–uncertain, skittish. “First day on the job?” “No, sir.” The attendant seems to hesitate for a moment, and then says, “Fourth, actually.” “Ah. Well, you’ll get the hang of it.” Dominic pats the attendant awkwardly on its exoskeleton, then gestures at the room at large. “Show me what you’ve got.” “Yes, sir. Of course, sir. This way.” The attendant leads him along the seemingly endless aisle. Dominic can’t see the other end of the room, but the lights in here are so bright that

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Summer’s End

Alexis Ames The Commissioner’s face is waxy in the dying light. He sits in a pale, wintry beam of sunlight that filters in through the high windows of the courtroom. Prison has diminished his body, and the jumpsuit hangs loose on once-powerful shoulders. But his eyes, cold chips of ice, remain as haunting as ever. Matthias finds his own gaze flicking away every time the camera pans to the Commissioner’s expressionless face, fixing on a spot over the man’s shoulder so he doesn’t have to meet his eyes. He knows it’s absurd, and struggles to fight down the panic that flutters in his stomach every time the Commissioner’s face fills the screen. An alarm blares. He jumps, heart slamming against the inside of his ribcage, but it’s only his phone reminding him that Cecelia needs to be picked up from school. He frowns. How could he have lost an entire afternoon? But his coffee is beyond lukewarm when he picks

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