An IN THE AIR Excerpt: “Promethia” by Kelly J. Massey

Fine gossamer wings fluttered in shades of lavender, storm gray, and sea glass green around Promethia as they flew back to their home on the mountainside. Only gentle breezes blew about them at the end of the day. Many would have spent their energies gathering rain into storm clouds or generating the flashing lightning and hammering thunder or even mixing rain and ice within their powerful currents to make hail.

Promethia couldn’t.

She had taken the exams many times and had practiced with all the finest teachers of the Sylph community, but she still couldn’t manage to make one part of a single storm. She just couldn’t.

Promethia could fly. Her wings flitted, and a mild gust trailed after her wherever she went, but she also couldn’t create the gale force winds that flattened trees or stir up a tornado system. The teachers had given up on her.

They had all complained to the Sylph queen, and now, Promethia had to report daily to the ruler on her progress of learning how to be a powerful Sylph on her own.

Yet, she had nothing to report.

For a full week, she had flown out daily to work on her powers by herself as her teachers and the queen had instructed and still…nothing. Promethia’s head hung in shame as her wings carried her to the Mountain Palace where the queen would be waiting for good news that Promethia didn’t have.

How will the queen scold me today? Promethia bit her lip.

The guards paid her no heed, used to her daily Palace visits, and she no longer stopped to show her identification. Not that she should have to, really, how many other Sylphs had sunshine-yellow wings?

“Come now, Promethia,” the queen commanded and the Sylph forced herself to move closer to the queen, swallowing the dryness in her mouth and hoping she’d be able to speak.

“What did you accomplish today?”

“The water to make the rain evaporated. The ice to make the hail melted. The thunder whispered, and the lightning blinked,” she said.

“So, nothing? You’ve accomplished nothing yet again.”

“I am sorry, Your Majesty. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“Well, we don’t either. It’s your duty to figure it out. Go out again tomorrow and try.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.” Promethia flew, wanting to disappear from the queen’s sight as quick as she could.

 

 

48416177_2008938705839504_8094266344947580928_nKelly J. Massey is an adjunct writing instructor for Montana State University and a novelist searching for a publisher. When she isn’t writing, teaching writing and rhetoric, or grading papers; she can be found hiking and fly-fishing with her family in southwest Montana. Her writing companions also include a goofy Labweiler, and two cats who only want attention when the laptop is open. In 2017 she had two short stories published, a twisted fairy tale, “Red: Mercenary for Hire,” and a dystopian science fiction piece, “Back Home.” They appeared in the Fairy Tales and Folklore Re-imagined anthology and the Like A Woman Anthology, respectively.

 

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