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Magic Beans by Cecilia Kennedy

Updated: May 19, 2022

A jar of jellybeans sits on the kitchen table. Popcorn-flavored, speckled in butter-yellow

spots, mixed with strawberry, jalapeño, and mango—a beautiful mess—magical. I take the jar to the backyard, to see if they’ll grow. They almost look like they could. One by one, I toss them into the grass. The rain comes, and I’ve emptied the jar.

Behind the yard, the creek runs parallel. I used to skip slate there, hidden by the trees.

The main road seemed so far away to six-year-old me back then. But now, the road is closer,

with trees trimmed back and trespassers who look for cover. “Up to no good,” Mom, with her

morning coffee, and Dad with his pipe, would say, when I’d come back to visit. They’d warn

against holding on to places too long, but they held on quite a bit, until they couldn’t anymore.

The rain carries a drop of pink from one of the jellybeans, down a crack in the ground

that branches into veins, arteries. I follow it to the edge of the creek. Today, there are

men with shiny badges and weapons at their hip. They carry trash bags and call in messages in code on their walkie-talkies. From a distance, behind the lone oak between the creek and the yard, I look out, and see them pull another trash bag from the water. The opening widens. A hand, blueish gray, flops out. The men leave with the body in the bag.

I creep down to the water, where I find the pink dye from the jellybean has run, and I

find a spot on a daisy petal, tainted with a tinge of color. Plucking the flower, and taking it

home, I press it into a book, to have something to hold on to.

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