HumpDay Quickie #86

Posted: December 9, 2015 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , , ,

A Selective Invitation

by Catherine Connolly

Casey has heard the rumours. They whisper ear to ear, though no-one knows where they started. They are simply there, existing independent, where before they were not. They tell of the play, sometimes scripted within a play, which is, perhaps, not a play at all but a bacchanalia – or the staging of scraps promising hidden stories, a dreaming made flesh for those beholding it, as its circumference surrounds them, lover-like tight. No-one knows who has attended. Such secrets remain close.

The invitation arrives unmarked, bearing her name. The envelope’s flap is sealed shut with cinnabar wax; its edges spilling outwards like blood. Casey breaks it open, reading the few words. An address; a time.

***

With the Witching Hour, Casey steps over the building’s threshold and into the dimly lit corridor. Torches flare, flames rising. Hesitant, she steps forward, as a hand grasps her right shoulder firmly from behind. Whirling, Casey sees blank wall, where the entrance existed – a table and top hat balanced on its surface. Frowning, she draws the thick card, crumpled, from her pocket, placing it within the coloured lining of the hat. As she does so, silver lit stars fall from the ceiling, covering the floor.

A grating sound from behind causes Casey to turn counter-clockwise where a door stands open before her. She walks towards it, heels clicking quickly, a sudden breeze at her back. She glances behind her, before walking on.

The room inside is a chaotic cascade of masks, grotesques hanging theatrical companion to blackout sleep and Venetian. Casey pulls one from its red ribbons, placing it over her face. As she does so, the scent of caramel, accompanied by the salt of fresh tears reaches her nostrils and sooty smoke curls around her body. As it unwinds, she sees the black and white coated man, proffering a horn and ivory box with gloved hands. She nods in response, holding hers out. From shadows, hounds form to lie panting at her feet.

***

Casey writes a name, an address, sealing the envelope with carmine tinged wax. The dreaming reveals itself to those who accept its invitation. Midnight shares it secretly with selective dreamers.

 

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