Tag: fantasy

The Faerie Pools

He came across the Faerie Pools at dusk. The water shimmered and sparkled underneath a fading sun. He sat down on one of the rocks nearby to take a picture and drink a can of beer he’d brought out with him for moments just like this. The water was so clear, unpolluted. Here, away from all of the big city lights he finally understood the meaning of the phrase “fresh air”. He breathed deep.

He watched the sun set slowly behind a mountain and stood up to return to his rented holiday cottage. The toe of his left boot knocked his empty can in to the pool. Ooops. He looked down. It was deeper than he expected. There was no sign of the can. He almost turned to leave when something else caught his eye.

A woman with silvery-blue skin smiled up at him. Her eyes were orange and yellow like the sunset. She was so beautiful. Was she real? She was so still… a statue perhaps? He knelt down to take a better look. She started to laugh. It rose to the surface and escaped in bubbles. It sounded perfect, so warm. She began to swim up towards him and he leaned closer still. It was getting dark, but that didn’t matter to him any more. She was all he wanted. His nose touched the surface.

They found his body the next morning. Nobody could work out what the holiday maker had been doing out so late, there was alcohol in his system but no beer can in sight. All the locals agreed it was a terrible shame and so strange for a man to drown in such a shallow pool of water.

via Daily Prompt: Shallow

 

The Final Illusion

“The trick, my friend,” The Illusionist once told me, “Is to always let them think they’ve seen you three times. They stop looking after that.”

Despite having been told this, I could never spot how he did it. I knew the Great Lafayette better than most and I could never tell the difference between the real him and his doubles.

He was a cut above other entertainers. He could appear and reappear seemingly at will. He could take very specific and distinctive objects and send them to different parts of the theatre in the blink of an eye. He could destroy things and heal them again with a simple touch. He could enchant animals to do things I never dreamed possible.

But it was his finales that really set him above everyone else.

An audience watched as a lion roared. He shook his mane and paced the length of his cage. Around him jugglers swallowed fire and balanced knives, contortionists folded themselves in to glass boxes so small I think I would have struggled to get my feet in them. And the Great Illusionist Lafayette sat so still that a flock of doves came to rest peacefully on him.

A young woman walked on stage. Slowly and deliberately she made her way towards the lion’s cage. Lafayette did not move. She opened the door of the cage and still he did not move. She locked it behind her. He remained still.

Then two things happened at once. The lion rose up on his hind legs. The doves around Lafayette sensed the danger and moved in a flurry of fearful feathers. The lion made to pounce on the defenceless girl. She screamed.

Then the lion’s skin fell away from it’s body and out stepped the Great Lafayette.

The crowd were on their feet. On the other side of the stage, the doves came to settle back down on an empty chair.

The Great Lafayette let himself and his assistant out of the cage and stepped forward to take a final bow. As he did so something snapped. A crack. A crash. And the curtains went up in flames.

The audience stayed on their feet.  The stage was obscured by smoke, but they peered around. Where would he come from next? Would he be in amongst us somewhere? A door at the back burst open. There was a gasp, but it was not him. It was an usher, wide-eyed and pale.

“GET OUT!” he shouted. “THIS IS NOT PART OF THE SHOW!”

It took a few moments before anyone believed him and then chaos rained down on all of us. There was a stampede out of the door.

The fire spread quickly. I could still smell it when I reached the evening air outside. I could see smoke pouring out of the stage door. And there he was- my friend, The Great Lafayette, coughing and choking on the smoke. I remember it because he looked me in the eye.

“Where is my horse?” he looked around at us all. “Where is Magic?”

When nobody could answer him he ran back in to the flames.

They found his body under the front of the stage the next morning, charred beyond recognition but still wearing his costume. We buried him, I paid my respects and they continued to clear out the theatre.

Then they found his body for a second time.

Charred beyond recognition, but definitely wearing his rings.

Who was the first man? The real Illusionist? A stunt double?

I stood in the burnt out skeleton of the Empire Theatre trying to distinguish any feature on this body that might have belonged to my friend. I found myself smiling and the scorched skull grinned back at me.

“Always let them think they’ve seen you three times,” I muttered to myself.

From deep in the wings I thought I heard a chuckle and a voice that whispered, “They always stop looking after that.” 

 


 

 

*This is a fictitious account of the real death of the Illusionist Lafayette at Edinburgh’s Empire (now Festival) Theatre in 1911. 

More info on the real story here: Scotsman article.

via Daily Prompt: Chuckle

Opaque: The Unsculptable Man

The Glassmaker made figurines of everyone he met. Tiny, delicate statues that were so realistic many people swore that they had seen theirs move, or heard them whisper when their back was turned. There were some people who secretly felt that the figurine was a clearer image of the person they truly were than they were themselves.

Then the Glassmaker met a man he could not sculpt. He was the most charming and interesting man the Glassmaker had ever encountered. Try as he might, he could not persuade the glass to take his form. It couldn’t hold a shape so enchanting, or form a face so handsome. But most troublesome part of all was that, no matter what he did, the glass was opaque. This never happened. He could usually see so clearly.

It was on his twelfth attempt that the Glassmaker realised the problem. It was not the glass. Or the man. It was his own heart that was obscuring his vision, clouding the glass.

via Daily Prompt: Opaque

The Time Theif

The bandit travelled between galaxies on intergalactic highways.

He stopped passing ships and took what he could from them. Trade was easy when you knew to steal things that would not be missed. Who’d have thought that apples would sell so well on a planet where trees could not grow, but diamonds were as common as rainwater?

He could board any ship, take any item and escape without detection. The one thing he could not work out how to escape from, however, was Death.

He spent years searching for the Fountain of Youth only to find that while its waters gave you the appearance of being young, they did nothing to make you immortal.

His next port of call was the Sands of Time. He plundered a ship and took a life. He watched as Time ran out of the body and tracked its return to a quiet, unexplored corner of the Universe. The Sands of Time ran together here, twisting around one another in an infinite loop, eternally replenished and diminished by an ongoing cycle of life and death.

The Bandit took out a cup and stole a measure for himself. Somewhere in another galaxy, an entire star burnt out.

via Daily Prompt: Measure

Early

The first thing she did when she landed was ask for the date. She was early. So early, in fact, that she hadn’t even set off yet. Seven years too early.

The Time-traveller sat down on the bank of a river and wondered where to go now that she had seven years to kill. She knew that if she tried to go home she’d find it full of strangers, because her past self hadn’t yet moved in. She thought about going back to her own time and re-trying, but was worried she’d miss it again or that it wouldn’t work this time. It was better to be seven years too early than to miss it completely. Perhaps she’d have to just wait.

“Hungry?” she looked up to see an elderly woman standing on the opposite side of the river.

She was, actually.

The old woman smiled at her hesitation, “You look a little lost. I packed an extra egg and cress sandwich if you’d like one?”

“Are you sure?” the Time-traveller asked. After all, those were her favourite. The woman nodded and began to walk towards the river, rummaging about in her bag. Before the Time-traveller could say anything she had taken a proud and confident step into the river, splashing through it towards her.

“Wait!” she called, running to her own side of the riverbank. “I’m sure there’s a bridge, if you just-”

“Oh, I know there’s a bridge, dear, but I’ve never been one for conventional travel, come here.”

The Time-traveller stepped in to the river to meet the old woman half-way.

“You really don’t have to do this, I’m just…”

“Early?” the old woman finished. “Yes I thought so. Seven years this time, isn’t it? We never were one for timely arrivals.” She laughed at the look of shock on the Time-traveller’s face. “You didn’t think this was the first and last time we’d come back here, did you?”

The Time-traveller took the sandwich from herself and suddenly understood. “They say you can’t stand in the same river twice,” she looked down at their feet.

“Yes,” the Future Time-traveller agreed. “But we always saw that as a bit of a challenge now, didn’t we?”
via Daily Prompt: Timely

The Alchemist’s Secret

The Alchemist moved from town to town to sell his lotions and potions. A few posters and flyers would announce his arrival a exactly a week before he was due. Nobody knew how they got there, but for exactly a week he was the talk of the town. The townsfolk would list every ailment they had to anyone who would listen and they would start to notice ones they hadn’t realised before.

When he arrived they would form lengthy queues and he would give them ointments for sores and boils, rubbing salts for bad skin and a sharp tasting drink for even worse breath. They would go to bed and sleep- happy and optimistic that in the morning all of their woes would have gone.

The Alchemist did not sleep. The Alchemist unzipped his skin and climbed out of it, discarding it on the first fire he could find. He would creep around the town and watch the townsfolk as they slept. Then he would pick one- whichever one he most liked the look of- and skin them while they were dreaming. He kept them alive, kept them feeling, but gave them something so they could not move or cry or scream. Then he would grind up their heart and put it in a sweet elixir- the only potion he carried that truly worked. He would climb inside his new skin and drink it. The drink bonded him with his new skin, but only for a week. When this was done he would cook the rest of the remains in a large pot and then he would leave, taking a new face to a new town.

When the townfolk awoke they would find a delicious stew left behind by the Alchemist, which they would devour before realising that one of their own was missing.

Daily Prompt: Elixir