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One Magic Minute

Sean hails from London, and works in TV and commercials. His stories have been published in Mad Scientist Journal, 365Tomorrows, and in anthologies like Forever Hungry. You can find his first book, The Eternity Bureau here on Kindle.

No one knows how it happened.
Science, religion, and light entertainment all failed to explain it. Soon, no one cared how it had happened. The world could get used to changes in reality with obscene haste, quickly, turning the astounding into tomorrow's mundane. Society dressed it up in words: the new reality that everyone--every adult--could now perform sixty seconds of what amounted to_ magic. Or what appeared as magic to our ape brains. But just once. Use your magic and it was gone forever. Done.
So people wasted it as people do. Making themselves beautiful for sixty seconds. Rich for sixty seconds. A superhero for sixty--quickly fading--seconds.
The wise ones saved their unexplainable gift. Using it in the most profound way: bringing back a loved one for one last minute of time. Saying goodbye again.
All courtesy of sixty seconds of everyday magic.
Julie Trainor cradled her dead husband's head in her hands. Hands that were wet from the tears she was shedding. The dead man's head moved freely in her hands--lifeless and offering no resistance. Damian Trainor had died without using his magic minute. He'd died with a lot of things never done.
Julie sobbed.
She was sitting on the kitchen floor. The skylight let in a shaft of late autumn sun. The shaft of light was illuminating them both. It looked staged. It was just coincidence. Little stories from their life went through her head: their children, the holidays they'd shared, the intimate and the distant times together. New sobs bubbled up.
A deep breath.
A controlling breath.
Julie pulled herself together and looked down at her dead husband of twenty-four years. She dried her hands on a tea towel, carefully replacing it. Gently, tenderly, she put her slender fingers on his temple. Not sure what to do next, Julie was caught off guard by the slight purple mist flowing from her finger tips to her husband's head. Her hands tingled--nothing more.
And it was done.
A gasping breath. A mouth grabbing at air in a panic. Damian Trainor came back to his wife. Alive again for sixty seconds.
Julie covered her mouth to stop herself screaming in delight. Her tears flowed again.
"Julie, I went to..." The words went unfinished. Damian Trainor did not know where he'd been. He touched his wife's face tenderly. "Julie?"
She looked at the clock. Forty-five seconds left.
A second chance.
Her hands went around his throat again. His expression changed to one of confused horror. Julie Trainor began to enjoy strangling the life from her husband again.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, December 6th, 2018
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