Monday, 7 July 2014

Box of Tricks (MWBB)

Seth watches from the back of the room as the cloaked figure on stage chooses his volunteer. The entertainers are here to cast their temporary spell over the village and there are plenty of seated occupants to select from. “You there! Join me!” he commands, sweeping the fabric across his shoulders to display the sleeves of the dark suit beneath. He points at a fair haired man a couple of rows from the front, who puts a “who me” hand to his chest, before moving slowly towards the stairs. Seth knows him, of course. Jon Tate.  He is smiling slightly as he looks at the man, she thinks, casting a sideways glance at the tall, black box towards the rear of the stage.  His smile fades at the corners as he does.

The magician – who does not name or otherwise introduce himself – all part of the act, a magician must retain his secrets - unhinges the box from its moorings, turns it inside out, black velvet interior displayed to all and sundry - nothing to see here – before reassembling the walls on three sides to leave the foremost section open for entry. Jon is guided with a gesture towards its centre.  Seth thinks he hesitates infinitesimally before he takes the steps which will place him within its confines and the door to the box is closed again with him inside and away from sight.


It is dark in the nothing. “Hello?” a voice calls.  Jon looks into the pitch without seeing.  Places a hand in front of himself, seeking some form of orientation to no avail.

“Hello?”  A voice speaks again.  It is male, no way to gauge an age.  Jon stays silent for a moment.  

“Hello?”  There is a tremble in the word this time.  “Is anyone there?  I’m Aaron.  I can’t find my way home.  I think I’ve been trying for over a year!”

Another voice joins the first.  “I’m Bethany.  It’s been four weeks and three days since I’ve been here – I think.”

Then another. “I’m Richard.  I don’t know how long I’ve been here in the dark.”




A cavalcade of introductions.  Too many to count, all together, yet alone, in the dark.  Jon finds himself hugging his hands to his knees as the names emerge from nowhere and everywhere; the names of those locked in.  They are nothing and yet everything in the dark.


The hinges to the box are removed once again, slats pulled from one another, before he takes his bow and the curtain falls.  There is nothing behind the walls, amongst the black velvet, as the sections are held aloft and displayed to the appreciative audience.  No sign that it was ever occupied or trace of Jon remains.  There is a buzz, then silence from the seated mass, as the box disappears from sight behind the fabric post denouement. 

Seth keeps her eyes on the magician as his own sweep the wood of the stage, then raise themselves towards the crowds, though they are too far apart to exchange a proper glance.  She nods an acknowledgment, before turning to depart, hidden amongst the others who are leaving their seats now they appreciate the act is genuinely finished.  The murmurs begin once they move through the theatre doors into the open spaces beyond them.  Seth does not wait to hear what it is they say.  No need to.  She knows all too well the secrets the act has concealed.  It is what comes of dancing with the devil and arranging Jon’s introduction personally.  She suspects if he had known where it would lead, things wouldn’t have ended so badly between them.   


Another Mid-Week Blues-Buster entry for Week 2.16 - the song prompt this week was Morphine's "Buena".  This one placed second.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Making Their Next Move (VisDare)

Photo Source (via VisDare-68)

Making Their Next Move

David knew where he needed to be now.  It was there in his head, crystal, where a minute before had been cloudy confusion.  He had the steps imprinted; contours of the horizon; knew to the day how long it would take and who he would meet there.  The why was hidden from him but he knew enough not to worry.  That, too, would become clear when necessary; no need to question now.

“Close call with your piece!” a figure to the right of the board commented. “Thought you were going to have trouble deciding where to send him for a while.”

“Just toying with you,” the second responded, hand hovering over several figures not yet in play. “He was always set for war.”

“Tomorrow for that? We’ve still the rebellion in Argyn to stall and things are looking decidedly dicey over in Syll on board four…” 


150 words for a surreal photo prompt.  This week's word was "precarious", hence the agitation and various aspects of unrest in the various worlds the mysterious game players are manipulating...

A Fairy Tale Existence (Angry Hourglass)

Photo via Ashwin Rao (courtesy of Angry Hourglass "Flash Frenzy" Round 26)

A Fairy Tale Existence

“It’s gotten beyond a joke!” Gerda exclaimed.

“More importantly, how do we stop it?” Kai asked.

They were gathered in Tale’s town hall to debate the question which had preyed on their minds as things reached crisis point.  That is, those who were still left to save their livelihood. 

“It’s not as though no one knows the score!” Beauty added.

“All right for you,” Goldie said.  “You’re not signed up for indentured servitude.  All you do is sleep.  Raw deal, that!”

“It’s not like I picked, is it?” Beauty responded.  “Besides, aren’t we missing the real point?  The Prince is already trekking in search of Psyche, which flies in the face of pretty much everything, including genre.  Cinders doesn’t care – says she’s sick of re-enacting their first date, anyway; that it got stale on repeat.  Plus, there are only so many times you can fake excitement about an old shoe – even a Choo.  Her words – not mine.”

“Snow’s happy,” Lina said.

“Happy with Happy,” Red observed.  “Hadn’t heard that?  Recent thing, unsurprisingly.”

“Fair play,” Kai said, eyebrow raised.  “Though maybe not in the current climate,” he added, in response to glares from several directions.

“You know there are gaps in the stories already?” Beauty said.  “They’re going to notice, even if they do know them by heart and don’t have to get the books out each time.  Stands to reason.  We’re going to be found out.”

“Don’t make this a group thing!  I didn’t agree to a character strike!” Wolf interjected, teeth flashing.  “Some of us know our place!”

“Which is fine when our place is eat not be eaten,” Red responded. “Grandma’s obviously not here pre regeneration to have her say.”

“We’re heading for revolution,” Lina said, glumly. “Had to happen sometime, given current role distribution.”

“If Tale Town and fairy tales full stop are going to carry on existing we have to sort this,” Beauty said.  “Think, people!”  The characters tried to, before they faded from black on the page, to grey, then white on white, confronted by their overwhelming rigidity.  Perhaps they should have been more like the Prince, after all, if they were to save themselves. 


Another "Hourglass" entry based on the photo prompt.  Again, I tried to do something slightly different with this one, given a couple of more serious entries.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A Matter Of Time (VisDare)

Photo Source (via VisDare-67-Expectant)

A Matter Of Time

It would work if they waited. It was just a matter of time. Dot had taken hers preparing it, so as to avoid detection. Little by little, removing the loam, digging down into the dirt. Wouldn't do to make it too deep though - it would take too long. They needed it now. She smiled, hand above her eyes to cut the glare, Tab on her shoulder. A quick cry and she knew they were in business. She had them where she wanted them, down in the hole. Dot grinned, displaying gums bereft of teeth, pleased with her success. That'd teach 'em! The kids from across the road had been playing in her garden for weeks now, creating divots in her carefully tended lawn, picking petals from plant life. They wouldn't be doing that for a while. She would let them out, of course. Later. Once they had learned their lesson.

(150 words)


Another VisDare entry.  This week's word prompt was "expectant".