I’m writing a series of novels: the Seeking Scylla series. Some characters dance on the edges of the narratives. Some never make it in. In Beyond Scylla blogs, I share stories and vignettes about these characters.

“Light is magic.”

I knew I’d find you here, on the floor by the window. Slivers of light wrap around your face before spilling to the floor in parallel lines. I take my place next to you.

“Magic?” I ask in a whisper to match yours.

What I wouldn’t do for a little magic, to alchemize the grief of parallel places and distance.

“92.9 million miles, race through space, time. Stubborn, even against the blinds, the light floods the room. Warm glow.”

Your hand sweeps through the patterns of light and shadow. I watch a dust particle come to life in a beam of light at the tip of your fingers.

“She did the right thing,” I offer, but the words disturb the moment, light and shadow, peace and grief, rippling across your face.

The peace we made and keep making with the decision isn’t magic. Peace and grief, in parallel, sometimes dappled patterns. Together because peace can’t alchemize the grief.

“How far away is she now?”

Numbers are solid, guideposts through the unknown. I don’t know the numbers we crave.

You know the answer but ask anyway, “Are they beyond the moon?”

“No.” I look for light in my answer, “She’ll be over the moon in a couple of days.”

Your tired smile meets mine.

Space and time, how long? “How long before the sun can’t reach her?”

I don’t answer. What good is the answer? The lines of light move down your face.

“When she wakes, she’ll go to the stern deck. She said… another glimpse of Earth. The sun.”

Your mouth twists between smile and frown, excitement and sorrow.

“We saved her…” but I stop myself short of repeating our mantra of reasons, apocalyptic child camps, militant training. This is the right decision, a step away from the divisions of a dying Earth. “She chose hope.”

We sit in our pool of light. I hazard disturbing the quiet and pull our bodies closer. “Love is magic.”


“Big magic. Spills through the heart… knows no distance. Miles don’t matter. Love, stubborn, will course across them to find her, bathe her in light and warmth.”

You rest your head on my shoulder.

After the stripes of shadow and light sweep down the walls and away from our faces, we stand together. Without words, we leave for the Center to hear the 24-hour post-launch update.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2021

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