Finished a new short story called “Just Like Stephen.” Genre: Modern fantasy. Word count: About 7,000 words.
In the society in which the protagonist lives, magic is a rare but real part of life, cropping up somewhat randomly among the population. Unfortunately, admitting to having magic is a one-way ticket to a government-run institution where officials channel the magical people’s powers into controlled projects. The government basically considers having magic the same as having a sickness, and it’s true that it can cause insanity, so they claim to be helping the magical people by institutionalizing them and training them.
The protagonist’s older brother Stephen developed magic one day, and suddenly everything was different—he had to be taken away, and no one seemed to care but him. Before leaving, Stephen urges his brother to try to hide his magic if he develops it later, which they both suspect he will. And in the present, the protagonist, now nineteen, has taken his brother’s advice and has hidden his magic for four years. Unfortunately, magic has a way of deciding when it’s going to be used, and this is a story of how he answers that call without letting anyone else hear him.
I’ll be pursuing publication for this. Eventually.