Illusions – Free Fiction
by Steven Rose, Jr.
This excerpt is from the title story for a collection of my short fiction that I’m putting together. The main theme of the book is going to be illusions, but not so much in the sense of magic (even though that’s what this story is about) than in the sense of delusions. So yes, do mind the pun on “illusions”. I’m not necessarily talking about abnormal psychology, but delusions that we all have when our expectations about something are too high.
One example is when a person wants that dream car. That person gets the car thinking they will be happier than they ever had been only to find out that, because it is a more expensive and higher quality vehicle, the required maintenance turns out to be more trouble than it was worth buying the car for. If the disillusionment is really extreme, the car may even turn out to be Steven King’s Christine (from the novel of that same name) or maybe even the Car itself (from the ‘70s low budget horror movie of that same name). Although both instances are highly unlikely. So while many of the stories will be about supernatural or magically generated illusions, the core or universal meaning will be about our misconceptions of life. This is what many myths do, which all forms of story telling are—they tell a truth or fact about life through imaginary means. Therefore all stories, in a way, are illusions.
Just to play a little game, see if you can guess what the magician’s trick in this portion of my story really is. Is it really a trick or is the occurrence real and therefore not an illusion at all? If it is real, can the audience’s preconceptions have been illusions themselves and therefore is the trick actually a disillusion? If so, would such an act be a paradox and therefore both an illusion and a disillusion simultaneously? You won’t find out the answer until I publish the book which I hope to do by Spring 2012. Depending on your approach to reading, you may not find an answer even when you do read the complete story and therefore may conclude that the act on a literary level is an illusion that can never be disillusioned.
Of course, please feel free to leave your answers here on this blog in the comments section but I ask that you do not make continuation scenes based on them for publication since this story is copyrighted.
THE FOOL’S ILLUSION
By Steven Rose, Jr.
Freddy had seen the notice on the gray brick pillar of the wrought iron gate of Max Manus’s Magic Mansion which forewarned that the shows were not for the faint hearted. It was not until he saw what happened to Mr. Manus’s young assistant, Maggie Rosen, that he realized the notice was no mere advertisement gimmick.
It was opening night for both the show and the theatre itself. The building used to be an old Victorian mansion, hence the theatre’s name. Mr. Manus was performing the traditional thin model sawing trick. It was traditional with one exception. The box that Manus had Maggie step into was in the likeness of a black, oblong coffin. But that was not the exception.
Freddy had not realised how attracted he really was to Maggie until after that final act. He had noticed both her childishly stubby nose that was gracefully curved at the bridge and her wide, bright blue eyes. He had also noticed that, although her mouth was small, her licorice red lips were fully rounded and her skin a rosy white. Her flashing-white teeth looked like those of a baby’s whenever she smiled which was almost always. Her neck, which her chestnut brown curls dropped to the middle of, was maturely long and slender. And there had been no way he could miss her costume which consisted of a shiny leotard, a black silky pair of hot pants and black tights.
No, Maggie was not the exception either. But she was directly involved with the exception, and that is what attracted Freddy to her.
After Manus closed the coffin lid on Maggie, he sliced a blade sheet through the coffin’s center and another blade through the top third portion of the box. Then the magician separated the box segments setting each one upright on top of the black satin draped bier and opened each. Blood flowed from each segment of Maggie’s body. Her head was slightly tilted downward but her face empty of expression. About half of the audience screamed while the other half gasped in a mix of awe and terror. Freddy’s body froze . . .
Steven Rose, Jr. is a journalist and writer of fiction. His non-fiction includes book, television, and movie reviews. His fiction consists of horror and science fiction short stories, although he plans to write novels in the near future. Besides writing, Steven serves as a public relations rep for the Sacramento based network, Sylvanopolis Writers’ Society. For more information about Steven, go to: http://faroutfantastic.blogspot.com/