black hole sun
april, 2019

the photo isn't really that remarkable to her at first glance. red-orange smudges on black, almost like a glowing eye. molly glances at it only once; she has so many things to do and it's not even in the top ten of things that are concerning her. lily squirms in her arms, she sets the phone down, and turns her attention to changing lily's diaper.

getting lily changed (telekinesis wasn't cheating was it, lily is getting so big, can anyone tell who's her father by looking at her?), packing gryffin's lunch (she hoped he liked this one, his grades were so good, he's so smart, she hopes she's doing things right), that was all at the forefront of her mind even if her mind kept rolling over the fact that bodhi had been shot at (at the hospital, who shoots up a hospital, hasn't bodhi gone through enough?), even as she was still trying to wrestle with what to do with red (his release is coming up, does she tell him, does she keep her mouth shut?), even as she was mentally trying to calculate what she would need to bring in her wallet (id, where was her id? bring cash in case for gryffin, don't forget to get the shop keys--). all of that was swirling in her mind, not the image of the black hole.

it bubbled up once or twice, between grocery stops and texts. something to easily push away, only to nod along absentmindedly when the girl at the grocery store talked about it.

other things take over: lily needing to be breastfed, trying to swing by the shop to make sure things were good, texting nora.

it's only when she's finally home mid day, lily down for a nap and she closes her eyes that the image lodges itself into her mind. molly can't stop seeing it when she closes her eyelids, seeing the red and orange, burning in the dark. she can feel madelyne, in their shared headspace, shifting uncomfortably. mol lets her uncomfortable thoughts fall over her: her concern, her wariness at being pulled to the photo.

"stop worrying," she murmurs. "i'm tired. just--tired."

madelyne shifts again. molly can feel her fingers, like ghosts, running through her hair. she sinks into the feeling, pulling away from the burning red orange in her eyelids, away from what it into the lull of sleep. she sinks into the darkness, into quiet.

it's shortlived; she finds herself jolting awake to the sound of a phone, fingers fumbling around for it. the number on the screen is unfamiliar--but the area code isn't: new mexico. irritated, she shuts the phone off, telekinetically slapping it back onto the charger as she throws her head back down onto the cool pillow.

the darkness doesn't take her again. instead, the photo burns in her eyelids again: only brighter than before. it's not still: what she sees is a true ring of light, curled around a dark so black that nothing escapes. she arc towards it in her mind, wants to reach out to stroke that ring, wants to know what it is like to be close to such inescapable darkness.

the murkiness in her head grows. she can feel herself start to take deep, gulping breaths as the thought expands, as the need grows. to touch it. to be there, to--

lily's cries shatter her thoughts. molly sits up with a gasp, suddenly aware of the cold sweat on her forehead, her shoulders, her nose. she's on her feet, bolting down the hallway to scoop lily into her arms, gripping her as tight as possible. she buries her nose into her hair, breathing deeply as she bounces her in her arms, trying to calm lily and herself.

gryffin is in bed. lily is asleep. and the photos still won't leave her mind's eyes. she keeps trying to push away, bury it under tasks and thoughts, anything, anything to stop seeing it, to stop the yearning.

it all keeps failing.

molly keeps seeing the ring in her mind, keeps feeling the call to it underneath the number of tasks still needing to be done, under the weight of what she had to look for in the future, the strain of it all.

it's calling to her, calling to something so deep within her that she can't place a name on what it is. and the worst thing about it was the fact that the phoenix was there, inside of her, pushing her to it.

everytime she thought about it, about the reach of space, the phoenix stirred inside of her, alive in a way that was like the goblyn force--and not at the same time. the goblyn force always felt like it was tearing it's way through her body, savage and full of malcontent at it's worst, and a dull, aching burn at best. it melded into her body, wrapped itself around her, expanding with her and contracting with her. the phoenix, the way it occupied her body was different-- it felt as if the phoenix were literally bursting at the seams, begging to flood everything with it's light, it's might.

and now, it was pushing against the frail daintiness of her mind, of her body. her body felt too much of a confinement, too weighed down by the strain of everything else.

the phoenix knew that molly wanted a moment of peace, a moment of awe and to be away from things. just momentary quiet, enough to-- to--

molly breathed in and out.

she didn't kow how or when she ended up on the lawn. she didn't know when she'd taken down her hair or when she had started to smell something burning or the hum of distant galaxies had started in her ear.

only that she was looking up at the stars and the phoenix was pushing, pushing against her body. madelyne was inside of her, trying to tell her not to.

but the phoenix pushes harder.

her eyes lit up--and for a moment, madelyne almost pulls her back into the body they shared.

then, the phoenix cries out. molly's fingers and eyes glowed.

a flash.

and then, stumbling on the lawn was only madelyne pryor in molly's body. and streaking into the sky, were molly and the phoenix. together.

"...fuck," was the only word madelyne could summon up.