The Start of a Vanishing Act

From a young age, Carmilla had a knack for disappearing.

She couldn’t control it at first, it was just a feeling started by a jittery heart. When things were bad around her she’d feel it start to race and her chest grow tight, as every muscle in her body tightened. It was like an invisible boa constrictor had wrapped itself around her when she wasn’t looking and squeezed. Tight.

And then came the release. It was so strong her body disintegrated into a wisp of smoke and then reformed somewhere else. She was never really sure where, but it was always somewhere quiet. Alone.

When she was ready to go back she’d just kind of feel it. A warm wave of acceptance would seep into her. And she’d be back in the orphanage, in the room she’d vanished from. Whatever had scared her would have passed. As she got older, she learned to control how long she’d been away for. She could turn hour trips into just a few,  unaccounted for seconds.

Nobody really noticed she could do it. Nobody really noticed when she was gone.

When she was 11 years old the circus came through town- a convoy of wagons with wheels as tall as she was. They unfolded into billowing circus tents of red and white and gold. She watched them set up through the fence. Everything smelled sweet. Like popcorn and caramel.

On the last day, she snuck into one of the tents just as the lion tamer was taking his final bow. She made eye contact with the lion and bowed to him. The lion winked. A man in a top hat took to the stage. He introduced himself as The Conjurer. He’d disappear for a few seconds and reappear elsewhere. She’d never seen anyone do what she could do before.

He stepped into a cupboard and vanished. His assistant opened the doors to prove that he was gone. Carmilla closed her eyes and felt the invisible boa constrictor wrap around her again.  She wondered if it had simply slithered from him to her. She concentrated on him when she disappeared.

When she reappeared The Conjurer was sitting in an armchair in a vast library, looking at her with a mixture of surprise and delight. It was a rarity for him to feel what his audience usually did.

“Well, well,” he said. “Who are you? And how did you get here?”

“Carmilla Evans,” she said and stuck out her hand to be shaken. “I’m an orphan. But I think I might be a Conjurer too.”


Loosely linked to my previous story: The Middle of A Vanishing Act

Via Daily Prompt: Disappear

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