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Oh, Bella

Widowed and abandoned, Bella was alone. Left with nothing but an empty home and a vague feeling of spite which manifested as a nagging pain in her chest.

But Bella still had her work. The faint dignity of doing her job and doing it well kept Bella flying on. She tended to her route, gently tapping the humans, or “Miraclees” as they were known, on their oblivious heads and watched their faces brighten as the miracles took effect on their lives. For Bella, this was enough to get her through what was left of her solitary days.

Life, though, had other plans. The demand for miracles had dried up. Miraclees, now addicted to prescription painkillers and cable news coverage of school shootings, had become numb to their own lives and grown impervious to the effects of the miracles.

The layoffs began on a Monday and by Friday Bella had received her severance package. Bella had given 47 years of loyalty and service to Maggie’s Miracles & Miraclin’ Co. but the cold hand of corporate efficiency had ruled her redundant and she was forced into early retirement.

It was her last day. She said her goodbyes to old friends and fluttered down her beloved route for the final time. As she rounded the crooked maple tree on the last bend, she felt a sudden wave of nausea. Pausing in the shade, a vision of the rest of her life flashed before her eyes; reclining in abusively soft chairs, eating chicken fingers, and chain smoking as she watched reruns of laugh-tracked sitcoms. Her heart sank as her eyes welled with tears. She clutched her chest as that old familiar pain became unbearable then she started drifting slowly towards the ground as the will to fly drained from her weathered wings.

Just then old Bob Carson came shuffling up the sidewalk toward Bella. Out of sheer habit she glanced at her daily checklist of Miraclees and realized he was the last of the day and her career. A dim glimmer returned to her eyes as she watched the man approach. “Buck up, Bella!” she commanded herself. She scraped together what remained of her pride, straightened her posture, adjusted her teets, reared back and swooped down at the man’s bald head with the all grace of her 47-year-younger self. Wand poised and shimmering, she wound up, closed her eyes and swatted the man in the back of the head. He jolted forward as a small explosion of dust and light engulfed his head. The impact sent Bella spinning and crashing into a nearby bush.

Bella opened her eyes, moved each of her limbs one at a time to make sure nothing was broken, then crawled out from the leaves and branches. She straightened her bruised little body and proudly lifted her head to examine the results of her very last miracle. As the scene before Bella came into focus, the blood drained from her face. A few feet ahead, staring directly at her, was the ghostly, expressionless face of the Miraclee. A crimson puddle bled from a star shaped gash on the back of the man’s head and slowly expanded across the asphalt toward Bella’s feet.

The man was dead. Bella stared back into the man’s lifeless eyes, frozen.