The Fourth Miracle of Emmaline Gray
1317 words long
Please, she prayed, let this not be the one that gets noticed. Just give me a little more time....
Notes from the author:
The words "thaumaturge" and "science" were the two Daily Dash words for March 19. Together they conjured up the character of a hapless scientist around whom miracles persisted in happening. The scientist didn't believe in miracles, had no religion, and wasn't likely to convert. The scientist found the situation annoying in the extreme and not a little worrying.
It's hard for me to think of extinct animals without a surge of emotion: wistful regret at missed chances to see, rage at the unfairness of life and the brutal disregard of humanity. The last male northern white rhinoceros in the world is known, named, and guarded round the clock by armed soldiers, in hopes that he might yet, even at his age, beget the first of a new generation. It might be too late. It might take a miracle.
If you have miracles at your command, it might never be too late.
It wasn’t until the fourth miracle that Emma really started to worry. Up until now, the occurrences had been discreet, or at least plausibly explained. But there’s just no way to hide an outbreak of toads in the laboratory. Golden toads. A specific species last spotted in the wild in 1989 and thought to have gone extinct. Emma tried to count them as they hopped under the tables and got into the cabinets. She gave up after fifty-three. They didn’t look extinct right now. Endangered, certainly. Extirpated, definitely. But clearly not extinct.
Emma’s first thought was to gather them up as quickly and as safely as she could, so they could be shipped to Costa Rica for reintroduction into their original habitat. But no, she thought, they’d only die out again. Something went wrong for them there. Only after those two thoughts came and went did she realize that oh, shit, not again.
She’d been thinking about them the moment before they arrived. Flipping through a textbook while her students settled down for class. Wishing she’d had a chance to see one before they’d disappeared from the earth. Then she’d looked up from the book to the clock, and a blur of neon orange had shot across her vision. Then another. Then the students had noticed, and chaos had blossomed.
“Melissa,” she said. The girl looked up from the swarm of brightly colored amphibians “We read about these critters just last week. Can you give me their scientific name?”
“Incilius periglenes,” Melissa said promptly. “But they’re supposed to be--”
“Correct. Five points extra credit on the midterm for you. Want an automatic pass? Tell me how they all got in here.”
Melissa looked around in a panic, then finally said, “I don’t know, Ms. Gray.”
Emma sighed. “That’s all right. Neither do I. Raoul,” she said, “go to the supply closet and get us down four large perforated specimen bins. We’re going to round them up.” Can’t just leave it to Principal Bennet, she thought; he’d only call the exterminators. The thought made her shudder.
“Yes, Ms. Gray.” Raoul was taller than anyone else in the class. Emma tended to lean on him for missions to the highest shelves and cabinets.
The first miracle had also occurred here in the biology lab, just a couple weeks ago....
*This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for April 17, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1317 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.
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