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Magic Man

an arid tale

By Davina Z. McKeePublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - November 2023
39
Magic Man
Photo by Cristian Palmer on Unsplash

My desire was to seduce him. Possess him. Consume him. Can you blame me? I did what any woman would. I invited him to the wilderness.

I was staying in a cabin away from people. I loathed people.

I poured two bottles of garnacha into a large glass pitcher. Dark, dense, with a fragrant profile of ripe plum, blackcurrant, sarsaparilla berries, candied violet, and wet bark, it was my favorite—an amalgam of rich blue and black skinned fruit, with whispers of cardamom, molasses, and anise. Sappy tannins gave it a fresh acidic lift.

Too good for sangria… except nothing was too good for Marco.

Gorgeous Marco, tall and raven-haired. I could have any man I wanted. Yet, I knew when I saw him. That’s the one.

My next victim.

It was absurd of him to worry about me.

I mixed in dry rosado, a Spanish rosé, pale copper in color with flavor notes of pink grapefruit and white peach; Torres Magdala Orange Liqueur, a bottled Mediterranean citrus grove; Romate, a Spanish brandy with a translucent mahogany hue; and KAS naranja, a Spanish orange soda, for a sparkling finish.

“It’s too secluded,” he’d said. “You shouldn’t be alone out there, babe.”

I added a smidge of dark amber maple syrup, stirring with a wooden spoon. I allowed the punch to knit together. Crisp fruit slices would be the final garnish.

Just a babe in the woods I thought, laughing bitterly.

I soaked in the bath, imagining the frothy bubbles as my beloved seafoam. I pulled denim jeans over my legs, feeling brand new. A cashmere sweater over my fast-beating heart. Was I actually about to do this?

For centuries, I was intoxicated by spirits. The tightly bottled spirits of men. I lured them deep into sea swells. As indigo waves swallowed them up, their breath became mine.

You understand, right? It was never personal. No more personal than when you bite into a juicy peach blushing with ripeness. That peach once dangled from a sun-dappled branch, alive. Life is the cyclical nature of energy transferred from one vessel to another.

Vessel is a funny word, huh? It can be a body, or a ship. Both travel by water.

Usually, spirits enter babies – tiny, rosy, newborn human beings – after they emerge from the waters of the womb, lungs filled with oxygen. When the body takes a final breath, the spirit drifts through air, returning to the ocean—waters of the womb of Mother Earth. Then the entire process repeats.

Unless.

Unless you commandeer the brain before it’s brain dead.

With dusk descending, I lit jasmine scented candles. Marco would be arriving soon. I put on my playlist, a heady mix of jazz and trip hop.

Spirits love music. A spirit can be lured underwater by melody, then drunk by an oceanic half-human known as a siren. And no siren loved to imbibe as much as me.

It’s just that… well… Marco wasn’t like other men. He had character. A strength of will I couldn’t override. He lived with purpose, and no amount of temptation could cause him to abandon his sense of self-preservation.

He’d always fight to stay above water. That’s what made him alluring. His passion for life was so great he shone like a lighthouse, cutting through the velvet blackness I resided in. I knew going on land was risky. If I wasn’t back in my tail by sunrise, my legs would be permanent. I’d dry up someday. But Marco made life seem worth dying for. I wanted a taste of it.

And Marco was right. I was utterly alone. Not only in the woods, but in the world.

“Maya!” he exclaimed, walking into the cabin. “This is nice. Not too shabby at all. Do I get to see those watercolors?”

After talking with him on the rocky coastline several evenings, I’d said I was from out of town. I’d said I was renting a cabin to work on paintings for a gallery showing, but he should come over for dinner. And here he was. I’d made paella, but the only painting I’d done was to my ruby lips.

“First, let’s eat,” I said, filling his fruit garnished glass of ice with sangria.

That night, he shared his spirit with me in a way I’d never had a breathing man do. Voluntarily. He spoke; I heard. It was the most euphoric exchange, one without struggle.

This is what it means to be human, I thought. To experience connection. I felt it radiate through my body. And Marco did things that made me feel it more. I felt it in my toes. My legs! My legs shook with it, and I wanted to keep them. So I did. I wrapped them around Marco until the golden dawn crept over them.

What can I say? He was a magic man in that he wasn’t magic at all. His humanness disarmed me. It seduced me, possessed me, and consumed me until there was no me, just an ephemeral human experience. Dust to dust. Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.

Fantasy
39

About the Creator

Davina Z. McKee

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  • Kenny Penn6 days ago

    Wow, Davina! What an excellent entry! Gorgeous details, but more than that it has multiple twists that kept me guessing until the end. I thought it was a love story, then a horror, then a fantasy, back to a love story. So good, I hope to see more from you in the future

  • Catsidhe9 days ago

    Absolutely mesmerizing! Well done!

  • Sara Frederick2 months ago

    Wow, that was excellent writing. Great job!

  • Great read... surprising ending.

  • Tressa Rose3 months ago

    Well done!

  • Grz Colm3 months ago

    Evocative writing Davina. Well done! & congrats on your leaderboard placement too! 😊👍

  • Heather Hubler3 months ago

    That was sheer pleasure to read :) I was captivated by your descriptions of the liquor and the ingredients, so many wonderful word choices. And I liked the twist at the end. Fantastic storytelling :) Congrats on the Top Story!

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Awesome!!! Congratulations on the Leaderboard win!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Tiffany Gordon 3 months ago

    gorgeous writing Davina! What a compelling piece!

  • Judey Kalchik 3 months ago

    Beyond inspired to have a water- being narrate the arid challenge. So lovely!

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    Wow, this was a dream. How lucky Marco is that he is a good guy, I hope he does not mess up, or,,,bye bye Marco. This was powerfully and beautifully written. A great challenge entry. Congrats on the dual win.

  • Kendall Defoe 3 months ago

    This is different... And I have never tried garnacha...

  • Mackenzie Davis3 months ago

    Oh, oh, oh, this is something special. I can absolutely see this winning (IT BETTER.) "Usually, spirits enter babies – tiny, rosy, newborn human beings – after they emerge from the waters of the womb, lungs filled with oxygen. When the body takes a final breath, the spirit drifts through air, returning to the ocean—waters of the womb of Mother Earth. Then the entire process repeats. Unless. Unless you commandeer the brain before it’s brain dead." K, so at first, I thought your narrative voice was being too frank, too obvious, and I was skeptical that it would work. You tell us what she's gonna do. Isn't that a spoiler? No; because you're actually telling us what she USED to do. Does it work? DAMN, yes, holy shit, it works, Davina! This story is marvelous. Simply stunning. Captivating, like a siren, and utterly beautiful. You weave it so goddamn well, Maya's planning, her thoughts, Marco's moments of characterization...it's perfect storytelling. I absolutely adore this, and THAT ENDING IS GENIUS. The most poetic way to use the given final line...ughhh. That's it, I'm subscribing. I need to see more from you, and what a perfect time, too, as this is your first post on Vocal. 🤯💖

  • Brin J.3 months ago

    "No more personal than when you bite into a juicy peach blushing with ripeness. That peach once dangled from a sun-dappled branch, alive. Life is the cyclical nature of energy transferred from one vessel to another." Woah. I don't think I've ever read anything like that. So convincingly poetic in the way you weave those words together as if making life sound like a painting and not just a thing that happens.

  • KJ Aartila3 months ago

    A creative and compelling story!

  • Caroline Jane3 months ago

    Really well done. Your descriptions pull at every one of my senses. A sumptuous and elegant reply to a difficult prompt. Well done and congratulations on the top story.

  • Korey Ebrima3 months ago

    This was a great!

  • Donna Renee3 months ago

    Whoaaaaaa!!! This was so unique and one of my fav entries that I’ve read for this challenge!!😍😱

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    This is wonderful. Congrats on the TS..

  • Omgggg, this was soooo amazing! I loved that Maya is a siren. I'm obsessed with the sirens, the sea and water! "When the body takes a final breath, the spirit drifts through air, returning to the ocean—waters of the womb of Mother Earth." I really loved that line. It was extremely deep and beautiful! I enjoyed your story so much!

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