Magic came to the world in flowers.
They came from below, out of season and out of time. They split through concrete and brick and bridges and made the air a thickly scented haze of soft pollen. The ones who survived the deadly assault on the human immune system woke to find the world already mourning the ones who hadn’t. Bouquets hung like rope from every broken skyscraper.
Next came the monsters.
Oh, they were beautiful too. Closer to angels than elves, with the sunlight passing through their translucent skin to show off the perfect bone and muscle within. High cheekbones, iridescent wings, and tongues coiled like whips to drink the nectar from the flowers. They came like an army, and the ones who died then were lucky.
Then came the change.
The stars realigned. Earth toppled into an impossible orbit that meant endless spring, endless Eden. The monsters sang legends into the world: griffons, unicorns, basilisks. And those who remained, hiding from the naked beauty outside in ruined basements and bunkers, woke to find their limbs heavy and scaled. When they screamed, sparks lit from deep inside a second throat and the sight of their fire stirred the sudden, desperate desire for gold.
And magic ruled the world.