A 1000 Words Short Story
by Stephanie Flint
Copyright 2012 Stephanie Flint. Originally written and published under the maiden name, Stephanie Bibb.
All rights reserved. No part of this short story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
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A hooded figure creeps across the stage, his footfall silent against the ancient wood floor. He holds a flickering candle, no taller than a man’s thumb and stops at the first bronze cradle. He extends the iron pole, holding the flame to a gas burner and withdrawing it at the moment a fire bursts forth.
Eight stops later, the burners are lit. The crimson curtain falls into place, revealing an elaborate set-up behind the hooded figure. A gilded candelabrum hangs from the ceiling. The velvet curtain upstage hides the trappings of the workroom, and the floor is marked with trapdoors and wires.
The hooded figure stops in the center of the stage. The burners’ light hides the seats from his view, but he stares into the darkness, listening. There is silence. "Let us begin," he whispers, and a draft sweeps across the stage, bringing with it the scent of jasmine and lilac. Children laugh, and a boy runs behind him with a colorful tambourine. The hooded man shoos the child offstage, until the smell is superseded once more by burning oil and musty drapes.