In Glowing Sepia

For Trisha.

The boy found the mutable stick in the middle of an unremarkable field, but there was nothing unremarkable about what it could do.

The stick could turn into a bicycle for long distances, it turned into a sword for fights, a gun for proper wars. If he wore a crown, it could be Excalibur; with a cape and a top hat, it could be a wand.

It could even let him fly and see the dirt roads and fields as a simple jigsaw puzzle that someone had forgotten to jumble. It would let him leave his village for a little while and soar so high that even the cities didn’t seem as pretty as the sky.

It could let him bring people to submission so that he could render his mercy on them, while clouds of dust rose around him from the road.

He could conquer the world with the stick. Now if he could just grow a bit taller …