One Million Miles Away
KJ Hannah Greenberg

One million miles from Earth, Beatrice conjured a sleep spell. Whereas she was officially a witch, she valued the benefits precipitating from mundane shut eye. She appreciated the advantages of a properly eaten meal, too, but could do little about the atmosphere in the crew lounge; her team’s jacklegs were unpleasant companions.

Beatrice calmed herself by self-joking that at least she wasn’t on a wild goose chase – Canadian birds’ habitats were far from her rocket’s route. Brants and Emperors were unlikely to be spotted winging among the stars. All things considered, she preferred singing with those lovelies or conversing with moose than just about anything else. Traveling in an engined coffin was her last choice. Yet, because she had been tasked with a rare assignment, she would be forever lost to her furry and feathery friends.

The young one’s mentor had bespelled her, causing her to act against her rudimentary beliefs, in general, and causing her to become an astronaut, more exactly. Orders from The Warlocks’ Hegemony meant everything to Beatrice’s guide, even if those instructions translated to sending her prize pupil to meet extraterrestrials while in the company of cutthroats.

As she drifted to sleep, Beatrice regarded the constellations beyond her porthole. Those luminaries reminded her of how bereft The Warlocks’ Hegemony seemed of common sense. Her commission was unreasonable. She liked butterflies, and, from a distance, honey badgers. She empathized with bluebells and ramsons. She lacked talent, however, in communicating with photosynthesizing, humanoid sentients and she hated crooks.

What’s more, she didn’t feel beholden to: The Hegemony, aliens, or, as of late, her teacher. She had joined the guild since that act seemed a natural extension of her love for spoken poetry and critters. Mages favor pretty language. Beatrice adored pretty creatures. Like most witches, she had had no idea that the powers that be mixed it up with outlaws and outlanders. Such information was not publicized.

Now, she knew that necromancers had no free will. The more powerful the magic user, the more hung he or she was by service. It was not enough to have completed an apprenticeship or to be awarded a bubble wand capable of fashioning orbs four or more inches in diameter. Persons got jettisoned from the galaxy, anyway.

Even as Beatrice was no Glinda or Tinkerbell, her various prowesses had gotten her shipped beyond the universe. Although in her mind, she was just an unsophisticated upstart, her superiors had assessed otherwise. Soon, she’d probably, likewise, be a dead upstart. As her eyelids drooped, the young woman mused; the guild had instructed her associates to loot the leafy peoples’ fortresses concurrent with Beatrice conversing with them.

First published: August 2018
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