The river was an especially brilliant green that night. Paula preferred the pink hues of late summer, but green was a nice change for a mid-winter bloom. She imagined the magi would be out in force at midnight to harvest. To her, it was a welcome spectacle and a break from the dreary browns of the season. To the magi, it was life and currency and the root of all they lived for.
Well, that’s how they acted around it anyway. Paula had never actually talked to one herself. There were rumors, of course, but the magi were an insular lot. For all she knew, they collected the gleaming waters to light their towers with. That would explain their fascination with the rarer colors.
For now, though, it was only a bit past twilight and Paula had the river to herself. She lived far away from the roads and parks where people might come to get a glimpse. It was too late in the year for boat traffic. The weather had been unpredictable of late. She knelt at the shore and got as close as she dared to the glowing stream.
Everyone said it was dangerous to touch when it was this bright. Stories abounded of people being burnt, or sucked in, or cursed. Paula didn’t believe them, not really. But, well, it didn’t hurt to be cautious. It’s not like –
Paula let out a shriek as something shoved her hard from behind. Before she could catch herself, she fell face-first into the green-lit water.
That was the last thing she remembered for quite some time.