Incantations of beasts

Jennifer Kite-Powell
4 min readJan 9, 2022
Burst. 2017. Jennifer Kite-Powell

These beasts were not beastly.

No more so than humans are beasts or behave beastly towards others.

These beasts didn’t come for us.

No one knew where they came from. One day they just appeared. Swimming in a channel that was made from war by men who acted like beasts.

The beast's lithesome white arms gently speared the water; their hand-like fins moved the water in ways we never imagined.

Their ghostly silhouettes were pearlescent, revealing their flamboyantly colored organs. As the beasts made their way through the water, their beating hearts and pulsating lungs pumped colorful blood through its veins, changing hues with every stroke.

If you were sitting on the little green mounds of earth overlooking the channel you could see an elongated white shadow more than ten feet long with bursts of color gliding through the water towards the mouth of the channel before it split into two directions.

No one knew where each direction of the incandescent blue water went, but that day, each direction was filled with the beautiful white shadows of the beasts.

As they swam, they left behind a trail of light in every color of the Crayola crayon box. You didn’t know if they were stirring up the bottom of the channel, where no one had ever dared to go, or if they were doing it for our benefit. But you could not turn your gaze away from the undulating colorful swirling water behind the beasts. No matter how hard you tried to turn away, you could feel your mind laying down to rest.

It wasn’t until they came to the surface that you could see their true shape and beastly face — misshapen like a squashed Bartlett pear. Ghastly white, their wide faces hide the failure of creation or the misfortune of a curse — ears on the top of their heads and a flat, snake-like face, their mouths the product of a child asked to paint a smile on a clown who was a frog. They smiled in pain or smirked with joy, it was hard to tell as they came to the surface to show themselves to us.

We screamed and ran, firing all the weapons we had. Smaller versions of the beasts came over the little green mounds, their long white sinewy legs carrying them on the land with the same grace they had in the water —…



Jennifer Kite-Powell

Speculative poet, flash fiction writer, author, podcaster & Forbes senior contributor. Read my work here, on substack or at