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Aug 22, 2019 6:19 PM
Margaret becomes a Miracle
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Margaret has always felt like her body isn't right. She isn't sure what it should be, but it shouldn't be what it is. The texture of her skin and the shape of her limbs and the entire concept of fingernails are just Not Good.

When she starts feeling insistently hungry and thirsty, even right after a meal and a glass of water, it's just one more indignity of having a body. Her parents are worried; food is expensive, but more importantly they worry it might be a sign of something wrong with her health. They tell themselves she's just having a growth spurt, and let her have seconds and thirds and fourths as long as plenty of it is vegetables. Margaret doesn't mind about the vegetables; at this level of hunger everything tastes amazing.

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Including, as it turns out when she isn't paying attention, flies and beetles.

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Yeah, wow, that was surprisingly tasty. Nice crunch. She should look at her plate more closely, though, who knows where that thing's feet had been. 

The hunger and thirst go on for a few days. She eats an amount that would have made her sick and feels perfectly normal. Except she wants to do her homework in her bedroom tonight instead of at the kitchen table as usual; having her parents in the same room is oddly distracting and bothersome right now.

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One day, though, an urge manages to eclipse the hunger and thirst. She needs to be alone. Not just in her room, but far away from prying eyes. It's a desperate, gnawing need.

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Her parents wouldn't go in her room. They wouldn't. But what if they did? Or what if somebody looked in through her window? Or was hiding in her closet? There's nobody hiding in her closet. But what if there was? She pulls down the stairs to the attic, climbs up and pulls them shut behind her. 

It's dark under the roof beams, and cool, and quiet, and smells like nobody ever comes up here. She can sit down between a box of old clothes and an empty bookshelf with the corner broken off and be sure that nobody can see her or bother her, and try to rest.

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Except she's hot. Feverishly, burningly hot.

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Ugh, it wasn't nearly this hot last time she came up here. Maybe it had been winter then. Maybe if she takes off all her clothes and lays on top of them and stays completely still she'll cool off and stop being so sweaty.

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The sweating doesn't stop. In fact, it becomes viscous. 

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Ewwww that's even worse than being regular sweaty. She does not want to go back downstairs like this. She'll just lie where she is and try to fall asleep. Sleep sounds nice right now. Unless the goop she's getting covered in keeps her awake.

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It's hard to tell. She slips in and out of dreams like they're different sides of a pillow. Eventually, she's aware of being enveloped. Warm and safe. There's nothing to worry about.

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She dreams of caves full of strange, impossible creatures . . . 

Of flying above the roofs of houses on invisible wings . . . 

Of a ship crossing an ocean, its anchor chain coiled on the deck . . .

Of a workshop full of equipment she can almost understand, where people build weapons for a war that isn't real . . .

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She might be faintly aware of changes. A sensation of rightness.

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It's like healing an illness that's always been there. It's like curling up in a nest of blankets on a Saturday morning and dreaming that she's right where she is.

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And strength. Unthought of strength.

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Strength, yes, both physical and other kinds. New abilities, taking their places in her limbs and in her mind.

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Eventually, she starts to wake...

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She isn't too hot anymore, that's nice. And the goo all over her has solidified into something the can tear open and peel off,  leaving it in stretchy chunks on the floor. She stretches out her arms, and her legs, and her . . . wings? . . . and her tail? Wow, this is a lot more limbs than she had last time she checked. Also, when she looks down at herself, she's covered in blue scales. "Oh wow," she breathes, "I have got to see what my face looks like."

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There's a dusty old mirror in the corner at least. 

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Margaret grabs her shirt off the floor and wipes off the mirror. There's enough light coming in the big attic skylight to see her new body: blue scales instead of skin, gold wings and pointed tail, gold eyes with pupils like a cat's, little gold claws at the ends of her fingers and toes.

"I'm pretty!"

She should go show her parents how pretty she is. She opens the trapdoor and discovers that her wings don't quite fold small enough to go through. Well, that's alright. Pushing the skylight open and jumping high enough to pull herself through is the work of a moment, and she knows her wings will carry her, so she jumps off the roof and glides down into the yard.

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Some neighbours on the ground point and shout at the reborn child.

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Margaret waves hello to the startled neighbors and knocks on her front door, still naked as a bird. Her mother answers the door, looking worried and exhausted.

"Who in the h--who are you?"

"Hi Mom! It's me, Margaret."

"That's not funny! Margaret's been missing for days--was it you, did you kidnap her?!"

"What? I--no! It's me, Mom, I'm just blue!"

"My daughter is not blue!" And she slams the door in Margaret's face.

Well, that was unfortunate. She had better give her parents some time to think; they'll come to their senses eventually. In the meantime, more flying! She's never seen her neighborhood from above before.

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There's an urge to play. To experiment with what she is.

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Margaret knows she can do a lot more than just flying. The power wires and lampposts around her almost sing with the presence of metal, and knowledge she doesn't remember learning simmers in the back of her mind. It's time to go do something with it.

She circles her house once, debating popping back into the attic for her clothes, but decides against it--wings and a tail make pants and a shirt pretty impractical. Instead she tips a wing the other way and flies over town until she spots the junkyard. That will make a great place to experiment.

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Indeed it is. Old electronics, scrap metal, all sorts of plastic.

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The metal is definitely the most interesting. She reaches out with her mind to a pile of wire, and at once it's like a new part of her body, as natural to move as an arm or a wing. She lifts it into the air, uncoiling it as she goes to swirl around her like a dancer's ribbon.

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After a minute or two of playing around, she gets a bit more businesslike--still a kid in a candy store, but one shoving candy into a bag instead of just walking the aisles and staring. By spinning the wire like so, and magnetizing this bit, she can make electricity; an ultrathin wire here and a piece of clear plastic there and an aluminum casing shaped just so . . .

When she finishes, she has a flashlight without bulb or batteries, powered by the metallokinetic equivalent of twiddling her thumbs.

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