It seems Fiction and Verse is now defunct, so I will post this here now. Enjoy!
A Thursday prompt by James Steele
Originally published on "Fiction and Verse" (now defunct)
Her mother and father were standing at her bedroom door, watching their only daughter sitting on the bed, back to the wall. Most teenage girls were into boys by now, they silently reflected. Most watched TV or ran up huge bills texting their friends. The TV was on, but it was muted and Melinda wasn't watching it.
The snake was wrapped around her neck once, and one of her arms several times. The front half of the animal dangled from her raised hands before her eyes. She stared through it. Felt its body brush across her skin. The sensation made her drift. It took her away. She always knew it happened because she began to see expression on the reptile's face. Entire worlds in its eyes.
The snake crawled. She turned it arm over arm, always keeping the head at her eye level. Her lips moved as though she were giving a riotous speech, but no sound ever came out. Sometimes she visited the past, witnessed the rise and fall of Rome, the Olmec, the Ottomans and many others. She witnessed the Plague, the Russian Revolution, the industrial revolution. Other times she visited the future, saw the ebb and flow of technology. Empires that hadn't been born yet died in front of her, swallowed up by other nations who also built up and then faded away. Today she was in the present, catching visions of more down to earth matters.
It was an exercise. Melinda knew her companion was pushing her limits. Many could bear witness to the forest of history, but very few could see the trees. She had seen civilizations rise and fall, but never the reason. She had seen the effects of men's actions, but never the motivation. Until now.
Such is the gift of prophesy, the serpent had once told her. It hadn't actually said it, but Melinda had a feeling one day that the snake was leading her as it had led many others. It saw and knew everything, all the time, and it was able to share this ability with certain people who were able to receive this sight. Melinda thought they were myth, or something that existed only in the distant past. She was proof they were still around, but now there was an even greater price to pay for exercising this extra sense. Melinda already knew what the price was. The snake made it very clear, in this current vision. It was a taste of what she would become in the eyes of many.
She wasn't looking at them, but she felt her parents in the hallway. Her father was holding a phone to his ear right now. She sensed their pastor was on the other end. She didn't hear him talk into the mouthpiece, but she felt both of them thinking about witchcraft.
Her mother watched Melinda, using her own phone to record what their daughter had been doing in her bedroom alone for the last few months. Melinda saw herself as her mother did. A monster.
Melinda saw her own future. Disowned, impoverished, outcast from society--a good little girl lost to Satan. Melinda was ready for the persecution. She was on her way to knowing where mankind had been and why, where he was going and how to avoid a tragic end. In time, the right people would know. They would listen.
The serpent was not so optimistic.
2013 James Steele. Do not reprint or alter.