HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 141

“Oh, right, time zones,” Genesis said, chuckling. “Well, maybe some other time.”

“Count on it,” Nila said.

Genesis smiled and handed one of the suitcases to Angela. Then they hugged the girls, said their goodbyes, and stepped through the portal. A few seconds later, it vanished.

Nila clapped her hands together.

“Okay,” she said. “Let’s party.”


The “party” consisted of Netflix and cheap wine. Frederica made some popcorn and they all settled in on the couch with a Japanese horror movie on the big TV. Nila hugged Chip throughout the film, while Magh kept her eyes closed half the time. Frederica had seen the movie before so she wasn’t quite as bothered by it.

They switched to epic fantasy next, the latest in a series of movies based on Akkraemyth. It was no Lord of the Rings but it was at least less frightening than the previous selection. Though a booming flap of dragon wings in surround sound did send Chip scurrying for cover.

They paused halfway through the movie so Nila could take a bathroom break. Magh got up to stretch her legs, and wandered over to the fireplace. A series of mementos lined the mantelpiece: a painting of Angela by Fatima Brighton; a framed Dragonfire setlist from a show in New York City; a twelve-inch length of polished wood; and various other knickknacks.

“What is this?” Magh asked, staring at the piece of wood.

Frederica stood from the couch and stepped beside Magh.

That is a magic wand, if you can believe it,” she replied. “Years ago, Angela helped one of her friends out of a jam involving a magical parallel universe and an overzealous wizard. The wizard lost his wand in the process and she kept it as a souvenir.”

Frederica picked up the wand. It was light but solid, and had a nice grip to it. She passed it to Magh, who held it almost reverentially, as if it were some kind of ancient relic. And then something shifted in her eyes. A deep red glow spread from her irises until all that remained was light.