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by Luc Reid

Sara is in the parking lot, looking out over the beach. I'm in a chubby three-year-old with popsicle residue on her bathing suit. I toddle over to a deep hole in the sand recently abandoned by a teenager, which is now filling with water as the tide comes in. I lay the first egg. The only visible sign from my three-year-old body is a slight bulging of the eyes, but astrally my ovipositor reaches down and releases one shining, silver globe into the cradling mud.

We can't lay eggs on the Astral plane. We have to come to the material plane for that, and on the material plane we're free to inhabit bodies.

I look up to see Sara staring directly at me from the top of the beach, her eyes glinting, the wind lifting her black ringlets in a wave around her shoulders as she levels a spirit harpoon at me. The harpoon, if it hit, would kill the toddler, but Sara knows what my eggs mean. They mean more Astral Takers. They mean that maybe my kind will swarm the world again soon.

I send the toddler careening down the beach toward a rearing, six-foot wave. A woman screams. The harpoon embeds in the sand behind me with a muffled thud. I leap into a 50-something, sunburned man with a belly like a bowling ball. As him, I tell my wife I'm getting the other towel from the car, take the keys, and soon I'm roaring over the blacktop, headed back into the city. I feel my Astral Thread resonating with Sara's channeled fury. It will take her days to find me again.

A lean young man in a silver convertible passes me illegally. I leap into him, leaving the potbellied husband to swerve off the road in the confusion of regaining his body.

The sun shines on my shoulders and the wind caresses my scalp. It's a beautiful day. Maybe I'll lay the next one in the park.

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