This week's challenge: what would have been or should have been.
It is New Year's Eve. What could be a better time to hash out what should have been and what would have been had we done this or that. Well, don't find yourself with a would-have-been essay next week. Get crack'n.
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Kylie Moriarty is finished with her work as physician assistant at
Symington's hospital. Steve and Peter, the Palidragon and Celtic
Comet, were out fighting crime all over England. Hunting some
new supervillain who wouldn't last long on their watch. Faye was
out with Uncle Kelly, having gone to the theatre to see Aunt Sarah
perform in London.
Kylie found her house cold and lonely. Nobody was home and the
place was dark. Normally, she relished the time to be alone, for it
was the perfect time to work her witchcrafts and sorceries. But in
eyes, she saw a phantom, a ghost she should not see.
Kylie knew this man quite well, and she had no fear of what she
saw. But when she went to embrace the phantom, it faded in the
air. Her desire manifested, momentarily, in this time of solitude.
Emotions were something autistic Kylie could not take, for her
anger was her weakness. And so she fled the house.
Defying the winter storm, Kylie rode her bike gladly down the
street to the home of the Beltane sisters. She sadly sang Could
we start again, please? as she rode, and did not stop until she pulled
into their driveway and knocked on the door. The door opened,
and there was Mayor Karyn Beltane. Karyn was matriarch of the
Beltane clan, of which Kylie was a blood member. She was also the
town doctor for decades before Kylie became her assistant. Karyn
was her teacher, her mentor, her master, and her counselor. When
Karyn grew too old to practice medicine, she ran for Mayor of
Symington, and won, leaving the clinic in Kylie's command.
"Hello, Ky," Karyn said. "Did something go wrong at the clinic?"
Kylie shook her head no, so Karyn stepped out of the way and let
the woman enter her house. Then they adjourned to the drawing
room. Tea was already waiting, and cookies were in the oven. It
was quite impossible to fool the old witch, for she saw the future
more clearly than the past.
"How sit yourself down dear, and tell me the trouble," Karyn said.
So Kylie sat down and sighed.
"Karyn, you know I love my family. Peter, Faye, Josh, Sarah, and
Kelly are, next to England, my very life. But when I'm all alone, the
memories come flooding back. It's not that I miss my days
stopping evil warlocks and saving the world in the Thousand
Realms. I get enough of that solving the community's problems and
being the actual person who stops the supervillains Steve and Josh
"I notice, Kylie darling, that you did not mention Steve in all that,"
Karyn Beltane pointed out between sips of her tea. "Is there a
problem in your marriage?"
Kylie drank some of her own tea, then she sighed and reclined.
"Steve is a good man, for an American who lacks all sense and just
cannot listen when I tell him things he needs to know."
"Honey, that's all men, not just Americans who like to dress like
cowboys in urbal areas where it looks absurd. I've been married
twice, and so have you."
"Yes, but your first husband," Kylie countered, "was Seamus
O'Malley, and getting rid of that child-beating drunkard was no
great loss, was it? You don't miss him at all."
"After he tried to kidnap first my Artie and then your Faye? Never!"
"But my Morgan wasn't like that. He was a thief once, part of a
gang, aye, but they never actually hurt anyone. And when I
demanded that he stop his criminal activities if he wanted to marry
me and do something with his life, he did. Went to univeristy with
me and became a chef."
"I remember," Karyn said. "Excuse me."
Karyn walked out of the room, but returned a few minutes later
with a tray of hot cookies. She waved her hand over them, and the
hot cookies instantly got quite a chill.
"Now let us come to the point, Ky," Karyn replied. "What's wrong?"
"Mentally, I know that Morgan is gone," Kylie said. "It's my soul
that can't abide that fact. He was always inferior to me, the lesser
partner, and he never liked that."
"Men never do. What brought this all about, anyway?"
Kylie explained about the phantom, and Karyn nodded. "Ah,
memory ghosts. The bane of every witch. Emotions must be
controlled or wild magic is the result."
"I know that," Kylie replied. "You were right when you noted that
I didn't include Steve. He's with me for my powers and I'm with
him because of some kind of attraction. But I do not love him, and
he does not love me. We remain for the sake of the children, I think.
My heart cries out for Morgan Pendragon, Faye's father."
"Does Steve know this?" Karyn asked.
"I don't think so," Kylie replied. "He's too busy busting crooks, and
he can handle normal ones and those of moderate power. He does,
after all, have the power to control fire. But when it really matters,
it's my sorcery that stops his strongest enemies. On his own, he'd
be dead a hundred times over."
"I know he's prone to walking into traps," Karyn said. "Does it get
tiresome having to rescue him constantly?"
"It does, and worse yet, he's got our son Josh involved, fighting by
his side. I'd hoped your son, Sebastian, could've made a man out of
my cocky, fiery, disobedient rebel of a son..."
"He did," Karyn said. "It's your husband who's still a child."
Kylie nodded, accepting this answer, and she took a cookie.
"My problem is, it's Morgan in my heart, and I'd do anything to
bring him back to my bed again. He's the only man I ever truly
loved,and the only man I ever truly will." With that, Kylie broke
down and allowed herself to cry. Emotions in the presence of most
people, she did not permit, but with Karyn or Kelly, she could bear
her soul completely. Gently, Karyn reached across and patted
"Ky, dear, Morgan Pendragon is dead. You know that quite well.
He was murdered by Scott Frakes, as one of his many crimes for
which you finally destroyed Scott forever," Karyn said.
"Death is no barrier to us," Kylie replied. "Reincarnate is one of my
favorite spells. In point of fact, I used it on my Morgan. Or rather,
"Oh yes, there are three of you," Karyn replied. "I often forget."
"The trouble I have was that Morgan was reincarnated, and he's in
someone else's arms," Kylie said through her sniffles. Kirustinu
has him, but she calls him Tirelan.
"He's with her, then he's with you," Karyn said.
"Same soul, split in three, but different bodies," Kylie said. "And I
ache for his touch, for his kiss, for his gentle style."
"And his lack of superhero powers, I suspect," Karyn replied. "You
know you can reclaim him. Prevent him from dying in the first
Karyn created a scroll from thin air, then threw it at Kylie's feet.
Kylie picked it up and read it. It was a scroll containing the spell of
time reversal. She could cast it tonight, while everyone was out.
"Turn back time and change his fate, and see what the world you
know would be like."
But as a pair of witches of great experience, both of them knew
that misusing magic could have serious consequences.
So, Kylie brushed the magazines off of the endtable beside her,
and used her tarot cards.
"Is tonight the night? Shall I reverse time and save Morgan
Pendragon so we can be the family that we were always meant
The tarot told her clear as day that she could change time if she
chose, but all great victories have their price. Changing time means
changing paths, so all that she knew now would change. The final
card informed her that if she cast that spell, there would be no
Bre-ayne. Nor would her pleasant life be possible, and while she
would have her beloved Faye, she would never have Peter or Josh.
Steve would be dead a long time back, and evil would have claimed
Tearfully, Kylie put the cards away, then gave the scroll back to
"Forgive me, but I can't cast that spell. While I'd have joy, everyone
else would have too much pain. I've lost him, and I shouldn't
change it. His death is what led up to the events that brought us
all to this. If I change the past, those events won't have happened."
"You would never have killed Scott," Karyn replied. "And he and
his terrible father, Sheridan, would have conquered the worlds."
"But I still want my own Tirelan, er, I mean, Morgan."
"Spells do not solve everything," Karyn said. "Believe me, I should
know. I've a meeting with the counsel to discuss what to do about
the trash collectors. They're threatening a strike."
"Then I won't keep you," Kylie said. "Thank you, Karyn."
She stood up and turned to leave.
When Kylie got home, she made herself more tea. It truly was the
miracle elixir. For in the tea, she saw Morgan's face.
"Are you here, Morgan? Is that you?"
She dropped the cup on the floor to watch it shatter, then read the
pattern of the leaves and the glass. "You are here."
Steve walked up the stairs, his cowboy boots helping his feet
resist the slickness of the ice. Grinning, Kylie rushed to the door
and opened it.
"Husband!" she cried out, jumping all over him and kissing him.
"Eh?" Steve asked. "What's this, Ky? You never respond like this
anymore. Okay, what happened?"
"Nothing," Kylie said, with a smile, "yet... Husband, I want you."
He was used to her autistic speech, so he was not surprised at her
odd syntax, and did not know what was on her mind. He closed
the door and put his arms around her.
"Well then why don't we..."
"Not here," Kylie said. "Upstairs. I'll be ready in a moment."
"Me too," Steve said. He scurried upstairs, failing to see that Kylie
had taken a strand of his hair.
When he was gone, she cast a spell to give Morgan's ghost one
hour's time in Steve's body. She did not ask for Steve's consent,
for he would not understand even if she tried. For one night, what
should be shall be what is. Kylie laughed wickedly, finished her
spell, and headed upstairs to be with both her husband and the man