Flora never wondered about her ability much before that Sunday morning. It took her the better part of her 37 years to get the hang of it. Initially, she didn’t even consider it an ‘ability’. It was more of a vague sensation that she knew someone’s parents. Then, her Earth discovered alternate universes and the AlterNet.
Things changed almost overnight. Suddenly, fairies, orcs, mermaids, and more walked among them. Flora could see through their AlterNet characters; most of the fantasy creatures she saw were still human on the inside. The first time she met the descendant of a lizard person surprised her, but even then, she took it in stride without thinking about how her power worked. He was there from an alternate universe. As she met more strangers from other universes her ability changed and matured. She learned she could identify beings she’d never met before, simply because she’d met someone that had. Her ability eventually became a simple family tree floating above everyone’s head. By default, it showed an individual’s parents; but, with focus trace it back to the beginning of their lineage.
Every Sunday Flora ran a produce stall at the farmer’s market. Along with her ability to see someone’s heritage, she was blessed with a fantastic green thumb. She was stunned when she saw a giant woman with flaming red hair headed to look at her fruits. The woman was so tall that Flora needed to tilt her head up to see her family; but, the tree was incomplete.
The stranger’s father was a fairy, it would be the first time Flora met a fairy even though she recognized it. She knew she met someone that met fairies somewhere along the way. But there was only an empty space where the mother should have been. Flora wondered how a fairy got so big; once the woman reached her stall Flora realized she was at least eight feet tall.
“Whooa…,” the giant redhead picked up a cantaloupe and sniffed it, then grinned. It looked no bigger than a grapefruit in her large hand. “… nice melons,” the woman said as she picked up a second one and set them aside to buy them.
Flora was still puzzled by the woman’s missing parent and her size. She was distracted enough that her mind reacted on autopilot to the stranger’s comment.
“Thanks, you too,” Flora said. As soon as the words left her mouth, her brain decided to let her in on the joke. She clapped her hand over her mouth and turned beet red. The redhead threw her head back and let out a boisterous laugh. “Sorry! Sorry! I was thinking of something else!” Flora tried to apologize. The woman shook her head and smiled.
“No sweat, but I’m going to have to ask you what exactly you were thinking,” she winked at Flora.
“No no!” Flora shook her head frantically. “Nothing like that.” She realized honesty would give her the perfect opportunity to fill in the blank. “Uh, you probably won’t believe me, but I can see a person’s ancestry,…” she pointed above her own raven-colored hair. “…above their heads.”
“Oh,” she nodded. “I believe you, it’s a giant multi-verse out there, lots of weird things. So, what does mine say?” she asked.
“That’s the thing. You’re half-fairy, but I don’t know what the other half is. Something I’ve never met before, so I was kind of distracted. How are you so huge? You’re not half-giant, I’ve seen those before.” The woman smiled and reached out a large hand in greeting. Flora shook it with both her hands.
“My name’s Flutter. I’m half-fairy and half…,” Flora felt the woman’s hand harden under her fingers. She watched as brilliant golden scales covered her entire body. “… dragon.” As she said it, the blank section filled in with the word Dragon.
“Wow!” Flora was genuinely impressed. “Thank you! That filled in the blank!”
“You know, that’s a pretty neat trick. Can you do me a favor? There’s someone I’ve always been curious about,” Flutter said. Flora nodded eagerly and released the hand as the scales retreated back under Flutter’s skin.
“Uh, she’s about this high,” Flutter brought her hand up to her own shoulder. “Pay attention because she won’t be here for long.” Flutter faced to her right as if she were having a conversation with someone in front of Flora’s stall.
“Can I get you here for a second, please?” She asked the empty space in front of her. It wasn’t empty for long; a tall, dark-haired woman with bone-white horns materialized from nowhere. The new woman sighed with deep annoyance, then turned to look at Flora.
“This better be long enough,” she said, then promptly disappeared again. The couple of seconds she was there was enough to make Flora wonder how much she didn’t understand about her ability. Even after the woman disappeared, Flora stared at the empty air where her ancestry was, slack-jawed and wide-eyed.
“Well,.. what’d you see?” Flutter asked. Flora slowly shook her head trying to understand what it meant.
“I.. I don’t…,” Flora stumbled over her words until she closed her eyes to try and calm down. She opened them again to see worry all over Flutter’s face.
“I’m sorry,” Flutter said. “I knew it wouldn’t be normal.. but-” Flora interrupted.
“Infinity,” she said.
“No mother, no father,” Flora said, she used her finger to gesture an ‘infinity’ symbol in the air. “Just… infinity.“