Spark by Atthys J. Gage


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Unexplained corpses? An unearthly visitor? One game between her team and the

playoffs? Yeah, it’s been that kind of day for Francy Mac.

People are dying downtown, their bodies shriveled away to almost nothing. The

police are mystified and outrageous rumors are flying. Fifteen year-old Francy Macmillan

listens, but says nothing. It isn’t a comfort knowing that no matter how far-fetched the

theories, the truth is even stranger.

For Francy, the truth wasn’t very hard to find. It followed her home from

basketball practice one night, a floating bauble of light that speaks inside her mind and

shares her thoughts and her feelings. Is it an alien wanderer fallen from some distant star?

Or a shard of some divine entity? Whatever it is, Spark seems to like her.

But as their friendship grows, a disturbing fact emerges: Spark knows who is

responsible for those deaths. With Spark’s help, it is up to Francy to stop them. Spark

leads Francy into a strange alternate reality, along with her friends: beautiful Echo with

the dragon tattoo; moody Brooke with the wicked jaw; and Owen Owens, the boy with

the fascinating eyes who may just get around to kissing her one of these days—assuming

the world doesn’t end first.

Snap! The air cracked like a cap pistol. Something bright flew across the room.

I wheeled around with my hand still full of hair.

“What the…”

It flared orange then red—a bright floating fleck of light. I watched it swirl,

slowly stirring the air, rising like an ember from a campfire.


I dropped my hairbrush. My hair was on fire! I grabbed my head with both hands,

pawing through my hair. “No, no, no!”

But I couldn’t feel anything burning. Everything was normal. I checked in the

mirror. Nope. Not on fire. Not even a little.

I turned around again. The fleck hovered at eye-level now. It wasn’t orange any

more. It was blue. I leaned in a little closer. It blinked white, then blue again.

“Okay, this is…”

But really, I couldn’t think of a word that fit. I circled it in slow, careful steps.

It stayed still, dangling in the air. I reached out a finger. The fleck flashed silver and

spiraled upward, before settling at eye level again. Reflected in the dresser mirror, a

second fleck performed the same maneuver.

“What are you?” My voice quavered a little. I wasn’t scared exactly, but I could

feel my heart beating pretty fast. I leaned in closer. “What were you doing in my hair?”

It made a tight vertical loop, pulsing green, blue, and then green again.

“Why are you doing that?” I kept asking it questions like I thought it could

answer. I guess I was really talking to myself. I pushed my lips out and blew, just gently.

The fleck flickered in the tiny draft, but it didn’t blow away. If anything, it drew a little

closer. I had the sudden impulse to run downstairs and get a jar from the kitchen and see

if I could catch it, but I didn’t do that. Instead, I put my hand out. The fleck danced in

until it was barely an inch above my open palm. I braced myself and watched it settle into

my hand. It was cool and tiny on my skin.

“Hey,” I whispered. “What are you?”

It glowed and I heard a sound, low and metallic. Bonk.

“Was that you?”

There was a chirp, and then a low warbling hoot like when you blow air over

the top of a bottle. None of these sounds came in through my ears. They were just there,

sounding inside my head.

Again, it went bonk. That seemed to be its favorite. A click, a whistle, a little

wooden pop. Far-off thunder rumbled. Quiet at first, it rose up inside me, getting bigger

and louder. The sound swooped up into a squeal then dropped even faster to a sub-woofer

grumble and faded to silence.

“Is this supposed to mean something?”

It made a soft chugging noise, like a little toy train. The whole time, the thing just

sat there glowing in my palm.

“I don’t think we’re getting anywhere.”

It rose into the air until it hung just a few inches from my nose. I stared. It glowed

blue, flashed silver, and then paled to dull violet.

“It’s okay,” I said, and this time I was totally talking to myself. “This isn’t really

happening. It’s a dream. I’m dreaming. A dream about a little fleck of light that floats

around, making strange noises…”

Then, it flared bright crimson and flew straight into my head.

Atthys Gage is a writer and musician with a lifelong love for myth, magic, and books.

His second real job was in a bookstore. As was his third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. Eventually,

he stopped trying to sell books and started writing them. After studying classics at Haverford

College, he developed an interest in the ways that ancient stories influence modern storytelling,

and has always had a fascination for that cloudy borderline between the normal and the

paranormal. He lives on the coast of Northern California with his long-suffering wife, strong-
willed children, and several indifferent chickens.


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