Excerpt from "The Fourth Miracle of Emmaline Gray"
It wasn’t until the fourth miracle that Emma really started to worry. Up until now, the occurrences had been discreet, or at least plausibly explained. But there’s just no way to hide an outbreak of toads in the laboratory. Golden toads. A specific species last spotted in the wild in 1989 and thought to have gone extinct. Emma tried to count them as they hopped under the tables and got into the cabinets. She gave up after fifty-three. They didn’t look extinct right now. Endangered, certainly. Extirpated, definitely. But clearly not extinct. Emma’s first thought was to gather them up as quickly and as safely as she could, so they could be shipped to Costa Rica for reintroduction into their original habitat. But no, she thought, they’d only die out again. Something went wrong for them there. Only after those two thoughts came and went did she realize that oh, shit, not again. She’d been thinking about them the moment before they arrived. Flipping through a textbook while her students settled down for class. Wishing she’d had a chance to see one before they’d disappeared from the earth. Then she’d looked up from the book to the clock, and a blur of neon orange had shot across her vision. Then another. Then the students had noticed, and chaos had blossomed. “Melissa,” she said. The girl looked up from the swarm of brightly colored amphibians “We read about these critters just last week. Can you give me their scientific name?” “Incilius periglenes,” Melissa said promptly. “But they’re supposed to be--” “Correct. Five points extra credit on the midterm for you. Want an automatic pass? Tell me how they all got in here.” Melissa looked around in a panic, then finally said, “I don’t know, Ms. Gray.” Emma sighed. “That’s all right. Neither do I. Raoul,” she said, “go to the supply closet and get us down four large perforated specimen bins. We’re going to round them up.” Can’t just leave it to Principal Bennet, she thought; he’d only call the exterminators. The thought made her shudder. “Yes, Ms. Gray.” Raoul was taller than anyone else in the class. Emma tended to lean on him for missions to the highest shelves and cabinets. The first miracle had also occurred here in the biology lab, just a couple weeks ago.... __ Full-length fictionette (1317 words) appears in PDF and audio formats for Patrons pledging from $1/month and $3/month respectively. PDF: https://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=2263384 Audio: https://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=2268153 Cover art incorporates a public domain images sourced from Wikimedia Commons: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Bufo_periglenes1.jpg