Congratulations to John for winning Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Short
Story in the 2011 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll for his eBook The
Blue of Her Hair, The Gold of Her Eyes, published by MuseItUp
An old man and a young girl
are unlikely lovers, but what happens when a magical bird starts to
sing? Bagonoun's Wonderful Songbird is an improbable love story that
takes place on the island Nauru in the South Pacific. Sometimes miracles
Word Count: 5,071
Pages to Print: 23
File Format: PDF
Bagonoun's Wonderful Songbird
The Pagan and the Pen Reviews
Suppose you could have yourself reborn at the age of seven so your childhood self could you help you cope with crippling guilt for the death of your father -- would you do it? And would it be fair to the boy you once were, especially since he will live only one day?
Word Count: 5,350
Pages to Print: 27
File Format: PDF
Review of Childhood's Day!
at first they were glad I came here, if only to be rid of me. But now
they say . . .”
He could have finished it. Oddly, there was a time
when he would have agreed. Now he raised his hand and stroked her hair,
gazing into her beautiful dark eyes. “You must keep coming,” he pleaded.
“The bird will not sing without you.”
“That is all you care about, Bagonoun, winning the
competition. You don’t care about me at all.”
“That’s not true. I do care.”
“But not as I do.” She sighed. “At least you no
longer think me disgusting.”
He made himself smile. “Child, I have grandchildren
older than you.”
“I told you before, even if you were ugly, I would
love you for the beauty inside, which is ageless. I would know it at
once, no matter how others saw you.”
Back to Bagonoun
Though it was the most important appointment
of his life, Winter was not prepared for the innocuous pastry shop
or the plump man in an apron who stood behind a counter.
"Yes, may I help you?"
Winter rubbed his arm,
smelling the rich fragrance of bread, rolls, and doughnuts. He
glanced at the only customer, who was eyeing some eclairs in a side
"I'm Steve Morrison," he
finally said, repeating what the man on the phone had told him to
say. "I called last night about a special order. A . . . birthday
cake for my son."
"Ah, yes, Mr. Morrison."
The man smiled, and then emerged from behind the counter. "Will you
come with me, please?"
He ushered Winter through a
door, where a pretty young woman met them. "Please go with Ms.
Starret. She'll see that you're taken care of."
As the man returned to the
bakery, Winter nervously followed Ms. Starret to a room with an
inclined couch, where she smiled and told him to lie down. What had
he heard such rooms called? Oh yes, birthing chambers. However, he
knew it would not be that kind of birth, or rather, that it would be
something both more and less than a birth.
Ms. Starret touched him
gently. "Are you comfortable, Mr. Morrison?"
"Fine." She smiled and
fitted his index finger into a plastic sheath on one of the arms of
the couch, and then pressed a button. "This is a gene-scan. It will
read and analyze every gene in your system. Basically, we use it to
detect any problems or irregularities. If none is found, we
transplant a clone-nucleus from one of your cells into a
surrowomb, where it will be nurtured and grow over a period of
three weeks." She picked up an electrical attachment and placed it
around his head. "In addition, selected data stored in your brain
will be transferred to a holding unit and later transferred, in
turn, to your reprograph's . . ."
He raised a hand. "Please,
it's not necessary to explain everything."
She smiled, making him feel
rude. "As you wish, Mr. Morrison. But I will need some information
before we proceed." She moved to a computer and began to type into
it. "First, what is the precise age you want your reprograph
He inhaled deeply,
remembering the day his father had died. It had been shortly before
Winter's seventh birthday.
"Maybe a couple months
after seven. I don't want this to be on his birthday."
"I understand. Sex?"
"Of your reprograph.
We are now able to produce an opposite-sex version of the subject."
"I didn't know that. Uh,
male." He licked his lips. "One thing I've been meaning to ask. How
will it—I mean, he—feel?" He tried to imagine what it would feel
like to be "born" at the age of seven and couldn't. "Won't it be
traumatic? I mean . . ."
She smiled, patted his
shoulder. "Mr. Morrison, your reprograph will be thoroughly
conditioned, so that any trauma will be minor."
"But. . ."
"At the same time, I assure
you that his feelings and memories, will be yours." She patted him
again. "Now, if you have no other questions, perhaps we should
He spread his fingers on
the couch's smooth surface. "Just one. What about the limitations of
your technology? Isn't it true you can't create a reprograph that
will last for more than . . ."
Ms. Starret's smile froze.
"If reprography had been legalized and funded, we would
have overcome such problems. But religious and other groups called
it godless technology and closed their eyes to all we had to offer."
She sighed. "Shall we begin, Mr. Morrison?"
He stiffened. As his wife
tearfully stressed, prolonged psychiatric treatment had failed, and
his guilt and depression about his parents was only getting worse.
He'd lost three jobs in the past two years and had recently started
drinking again. When his psychiatrist, an old friend, gave him a
phone number and address, Winter had known it was his last chance.
But was he willing to risk going to prison for it?
He swallowed. What did he
have left to lose? More importantly, what did he have to look
forward to if he didn't try it?
He looked at Ms. Starret,
forcing himself to relax. "Yes," he heard himself say, "I'm ready."
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