The New Ones
There wasn't always magic. It's hard to believe this burned out shell of a planet was actually a pretty happening place just a few years ago. About 10, or so. About 10 years ago is when the first one was born and things changed. The first child with abilities we hadn't seen before. She heralded the beginning of something great.
Nobody really believed that magic had come to the world unless they had seen her with their own eyes. And where there was one, there were more. A few new magic babies at first in the western world, a handful more on other continents that we knew about. Who knows how many exist in places nobody every goes. And within a few years they were almost a normal occurrence. An entire generation of babies that could bring down houses with their screams and cause beautiful flowers to sprout and grow in just a few minutes with their innocent giggles. It was a chaotic time, to say the least.
It did not take long for the geneticists to isolate the DNA bits that bestowed these special abilities. It took even less time for illegal street surgeons to set up shop selling DNA mods that bestowed the power on anyone who could afford it. Soon the world had two classes of citizens: those who could fly, disappear, manifest things out thin air, and those who could not. It seemed a boon for the rich at first, but after a few years it became obvious the stolen powers came at a cost. The natural babies were fine, aside from their precociously murderous rampages, but those who took the gift on the surgeon's gurney weren't so lucky.
Magic, it turns out, must be balanced. Those not born with it felt their bodies barter away bits of its soul over time to keep the scales in check. When the thing that makes us human is sliced up and parcelled off in little slices, our humanity goes with it. The streets were soon dotted with the twisted ghoulish forms of those who bought the gift. After a few initial good years, the loss was too great and they succumbed into something only a little better than wraiths.
Over time, I imagine the wraiths or the unpredictable tempers of the awesomely powerful babies would have destroyed the earth anyhow. We were starting to think about that, about possibly legislating the DNA mods and pondering how to curtail the births of these magic children when God came back. And he was pissed.
Nobody had seen God in thousands of years. Atheism was the church of the day because, as most would express it, “there's no need of a god to explain the natural world”. In a study of perfect Deism, God created the galaxies, wound the whole thing up like a watch, and then just let it wind itself inexorably down, taking no interest in his creation for millennia.
Until we started giving away that which was not ours to give. Souls, it seems, belong to God. And when you steal from God, he suddenly becomes interested again.
He arrived amid the cataclysmic sound of Death's trumpet which killed most of the world outright. He stalked the planet in a maniacal rage flanked by Famine and War who took turns creating huge fireballs and gleefully rolling them across the Earth. God plucked the twisted forms of the surgically altered from the face of the planet and cast them into the ether never to be seen again. Conquest gathered all the magic babies and then all five beings just disappeared as quickly as they appeared.
I'm still not sure why I wasn't cast out that day. It's hard to imagine God simply didn't notice my tangled, contorted body huddled in fear in the alley while the fireballs rolled by. But he did and now I am the sole holder of the gift on this planet and I have nothing left of my soul to hold me back.