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Final Revision

Joseph Sidari (josephsidari.com) is a practicing physician and writes speculative fiction from outside of Boston. He is patiently waiting for his agented novel, Little Green Men, to find a publisher. This is his first appearance in Daily Science Fiction.

The three-year-old girl tumbled down the stairs, her blonde-haired doll flying from her pudgy grip in one direction while she flip-flopped in another. Her father may have appeared helpless at the bottom of the stairs, but he was not. A trained Jedi Master, he focused his mind on her flailing body, slowing it down, controlling her descent. She paused in midair, and then glided safely to rest on the bottom step. The only cry that escaped her throat that day was for her misplaced Barbie.
He rubs his chin stubble and shakes his head. He highlights the text, punches 'delete,' and attacks the keyboard again.
Many lunar homesteaders choose the Augmented Earth Gravity feature for their lunar cabin, to make things feel more like home. Luckily, they planned to be living on the cheap and had opted out. "Of course not," the realtor had said, when he realized the upsell, and an increase in his commission, was not going to happen. "Why live on the moon if you can't enjoy the bounce and jounce of the one-sixth gravity." That budget conscious decision turned out to be a true blessing a week later. The doctors said a fall from the top of the stairs in full gravity could have been...
He backspaces to remove the text, drops his laptop onto her bed, and stands to leave. His fingers drag along the Disney Princess bedding covering her child-sized mattress. His legs give out and he collapses onto the bed. He grabs the Scotch from her nightstand and brings it to his lips. Savoring the burn, he reopens his laptop and types:
The King of the Eagles was out hunting that day. He heard the girl cry, and streaked for the open window. Sun glinting from his golden beak, his wings spread wide, he swooped through the open window and gingerly grasped the little girl with his talons just...
He drains the amber liquid from the glass and hits 'delete' again. Blinking his vision clear, he types again:
Thankfully it was a slow day on the fairy godfather circuit. He was watching over half a dozen children at the time when 'the accident' was destined to happen. The little girl toddled to the edge of the open staircase, but right before she overbalanced and fell, he flicked his wand, and magically refastened the gate at the top of...
He slams the cover on his laptop and rears back to hurl it against the wall.
"What are you doing?" asks his wife. She stands at the doorway in a somber black dress she will never wear again. "Is now the time to be writing your next novel?"
"I'm not." He lays the laptop to rest on her pillow. "I'm revising."
She walks over to the window and tugs at the closed shade. Cold, yellow sunlight spills in. She rests a soft hand on his shoulder. "I got out your good suit. Now go shave, or we'll be late."
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Author Comments

This flash story was created during a workshop where the goal was to write metafiction; that is, a story about a story. The nugget of plutonium that powered this piece was the idea that writers of speculative fiction view life through a different lens than normal people do. They pay the bills differently; they find true love differently; and in this case, they also grieve differently.

- Joseph Sidari
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