Friday, December 18, 2020


This is chapter 55 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Friday Afternoon, December 18, 2020, Seattle

“Changing the subject for a minute… have you thought about what we discussed the other day…  about the crows?” said Mary.

“Um… uh-huh,” said Mareka, ”How it is wrong to become another animal?”

“Not that it’s wrong, but it’s just that animals have their own lives to lead, lives that are not necessarily the best way for a seven-year-old girl to live. And those corvids are definitely tricksters.”

“I am almost eight, you know, it’s almost my birthday,” Mareka said, “And I can fly, a little bit, anyway.”

“It isn’t the flying that bothers me, it’s the landing part,” Mary laughed, “And I do remember your birth date. Very well.”

Mary and Mareka were in the kitchen where they had been talking about Christmas plans, plans which included the December 25th celebration of Mareka’s birth. Mary thought back on the birth of her daughter: earthquakes, volcanoes and a supernova had been an interesting way to announce her to the world. Now, however, all that Mary was hoping for was a little peace on earth for her family. It had been a rough year—for the whole world— and it was especially so for Mary, Sean and Jo. Mareka, on the other hand, seemed unfazed by the events around her, her accumulation of weird powers and even her killing of Jo’s psychotic ex-husband.

Although Mareka seemed fine, Mary was concerned about the girl’s dalliances with the crows. Mareka had taken to wearing her ‘flying cape’ all of the time and Mary didn’t want it becoming an object of an obsession. The cape was, in reality, only a piece of fabric to which Mareka had added safety pins in order to attach a neck strap. Un-hemmed, it was also starting to fray at the edges. Mary found herself picking up stray threads from around the house all week and was saving them for an irrational reason: “Maybe there is some magic in these,” she had thought. Mary had also gone out an purchased a fancy hand-made cape from the Monster store on Market Street—real velvet with white trim—as a Christmas present for Mareka in the hope that it would break the spell of the tattered rag that Mareka wore constantly.

In his basement office, Sean Carroll was on the computer reviewing some of the proposals for the cover of the new book of his grandmother Emily’s drawings when he received a notification from his Icelandic son Villí on Gmail:
Hæ,hæ, Pabbi, can you Facetime now?
Sean replied in the affirmative and made the connection.

“Hæ, Villí, what’s new?“

“Oh Pabbi, I’m so worried about Mareka. I dream she is flying with ravens, they are flying over rocky ground with bones all over it.”

“Villí, I know that she has been talking to the crows, those birds are like the Icelandic ravens you know them, but she is OK, I think it something that she will grow out of. She has been through a lot. I know that you two are very close. Mary is talking to her about the crows right now.”



“Pabbi, do you know what my Christmas wish is?”

“Tell me.”

“My wish is that you and Mareka and Mary and Jo would be here for Christmas.”

“Ah, so do I, Villí, so do I. Next year, if we are allowed, for sure.”

Back in the kitchen, Mary and Mareka had been joined by Jo.

“What plots are you two hatching?” asked Jo.

Ma-mah thinks I should spend less time with the crows,” said Mareka, “And I reminded her that my birthday is coming up.”

“What do you want for Christmas, er, your birthday?” said Jo, “I guess they are the same?”

“I don’t know,” said Mareka, “I just want us all to be happy.”

“I think I know of something that would make you happy,” said Mary. She was thinking not only of the cape, but also the fact that she was pregnant, a secret that she and Sean had been keeping from their daughter in the hope that it would be better to reveal it during a happy occasion. Mareka had been a Christmas baby and her new sibling might be a Fourth of July one. “Uncle Sam!” Mary thought, “Sam, a good name for a boy or a girl.

“Do you guys have anything planned?” asked Jo.

“There is a Christmas Lights show on in Pioneer Square,” said Mary, “It’s one of the few that didn’t get cancelled because of Covid. It‘s all out in the open, over several blocks, with the usual social distancing. I thought that might be something we could do together Christmas evening, and it would get us out of the house.”

Later that night, Sean and Mary were talking as they were getting ready for bed.

“How did your talk go with Mareka?” said Sean, “About the crows.” “I dunno,” said Mary, “She seems receptive, but she’s intrigued by them and they are clever animals—not beyond playing a human for a fool. I’m more worried about what could happen if she actually did shape-shift and join them. She might have special powers but she isn’t invulnerable even if she can do magic.”

“She doesn’t feel like she’s under pressure, from us, or from the crows?”

“She’s still upbeat, she’s still the same kid, not yet a corvid,” said Mary, “We talked about seeing some Christmas lights on her birthday.”

“Are there some that haven’t been cancelled?”

”The Lusio show in Pioneer Square are still on, lots of room to social distance,” replied Mary, “They’re a group of artists who are trying to make a difference in that part of town and can use our support. Some of the displays are pretty trippy, I think Mareka will like them. We can go in the early evening and be really back home by eight or so.”

“That sounds good,” said Sean, ”Something to get us out of the house.”

“I thought that might be a good time to tell Mareka about the baby, too.”

“That sounds like a plan.”

Next Chapter: Happy Happy Birthday

By Professor Batty

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