Tag: mystery

The Lost City

There is a city that can only be found by those who are truly lost.

It starts in your soul, a tiny pin-prick of pain that you don’t notice until it spreads through your veins into your heart. Your body feels wrong and your thoughts are heavy, numb. Everything around you is hazy- like a dream- and you start to walk.

There is a tugging in your chest, an invisible thread has grown from that pin-prick and it’s pulling you somewhere.

You don’t know how you get there, but you stand on the shore of a city that’s shrouded in mist. This is where the lost things are. Buildings tower above you. When you look more closely you see that they are made from old hairpins and forgotten car keys. They have umbrella roofs. Worn glasses surround the windows and as you peer through you see that the room beyond is carpeted with odd socks. Misplaced watches hang on the walls, still ticking in different time zones. There are many phones- and even more phone chargers.

A cat runs past you. You think it looks familiar- one that lived on your street when you were a child, perhaps?

Deeper in to the City you walk past boats and planes, too rusty to leave here now. An engagement ring lies in a gutter and you feel too sad to pick it up. You start to forget which direction you came from. The tops of the buildings are now lost in the thick mist.

A cloaked figure at the end of a dark alleyway hands you a playing card. They walk past. You try to get a better look at them and think you see your own eyes glance back at you, but you can’t be sure.

On the card is written the date you die.

You now have two options- you go home and forget, or you play cards against those who live here. You win- you get more time on Earth and the date on the card changes. You lose- you gain an eternity, but you stay lost forever.


(Vaguely influence by Cecelia Ahern’s “A Place Called Here.”- which is a much more beautiful story about where missing things go and it’s not as weird or creepy.)

via Daily Prompt: Cloaked

Red

Mum keeps his bedroom door shut.

His pictures are still in the living room. They used to gather dust, but not any more. She must polish them when I’m not looking.

She’s taken his coat off it’s peg and his shoes out of the hall. It’s like he’s just gone out. Or run away, like everyone says. Kids run away all the time. He’ll be back in a few days. Days turn into weeks. Then months.

In the bathroom there’s the piece of evidence that mum clings to.

His red toothbrush still stands next to mine.

He didn’t pack it.

via Daily Prompt: Toothbrush

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

Mid-air

They found the passports. They found the luggage, clothes and boarding passes, but they never found the passengers.

They found the plane easily enough. It had made a safe and controlled landing in a field not too far from where Control had seen it disappear from the radar. There was no sign of engine trouble- no smoke, no flames- but the rescue teams still braced themselves for the worst.

They found nothing.

Well, that’s not entirely true- they found open books, lonely iPods still playing music and cold cups of tea still brewing. But there were no people- living or dead, passengers or crew. When they entered the cockpit they saw nothing concerning, there were no flashing warning lights and plenty of fuel for the journey. When they played the recording on the black box there were no cries for help or signs of struggle, just inane conversation between the pilots and the occasional air-steward. The  last words that could be heard on the recording were the co-pilot taking about his family.

“Carrie’s just got her dance scholarship. We’re so proud. Amy’s making her favourite, maca-” And that was it. Cut off mid-word, but the recording didn’t stop. The rest of the tape was crystal clear silence, as if both pilots had ceased to exist.

via Daily Prompt: Passport