Callexis [Repost]

Prompt: Fantastic

Face sail Catrin-Welz-Stein

It was the most worthless bit of magic I had ever come across. The most amazing too, since magic and I did not cross paths very often; but still, damn near useless, except that the magic brought her to me.

The man said his name was Isaac. I’d heard of Isaac, he was well known in the world of dark trading. It wasn’t his real name, and he had a small army of minions, including lawyers, messengers, and mules to do his bidding. My collection was well-known, and when Callexis came into his possession, he was generous enough —and shrewd enough— to make me one of the first calls he made.

She was exquisite. Not studded with a myriad of precious jewels, only jade, but beautifully, masterfully, and lovingly crafted, with intricate patterns of vine leaves twining across her cheeks and around her eyes, the gleaming polished gold set off by the brushed, and inlays of copper, whose greenish tinge was like the venerable sister to the milky jade.

Exquisite.

Of course I wanted her. I pretended to bargain. The back and forth lasted days, until, as Isaac fully realized I would, I conceded to the near-full asking price from fear another buyer would snatch her away from me.

But how to get her across the ocean and across the country? It was not my concern, as her safe delivery was an element of the price, but I still wondered, and worried, since I wanted her so badly and shuddered at the thought of her being discovered and confiscated before I held her in my hands.

I was to meet the train, and the transaction would take place in my apartment.

When we were safely ensconced in my private den, with orders not to be disturbed, I asked the gentleman— he was a distinguished-looking man in his sixties, French, by his accent —to show me Callexis. He had only a small case with him, at which I tried not to stare.

His smile was sly, but without aggression, similar to the smile of the beautiful Callexis. Instead of reaching for his case, he reached up to his face with his hands, and in the next moment he had her, in his arms.

She shimmered. She was perfect.

“What just happened?” I asked. Callexis had appeared out of thin air. I rubbed my forehead.

“I don’t know, Monsieur,” said the man, whose name I never did know. “It is not trickery, and I do not claim to understand it. It made my voyage simple, and detection impossible.”

“What did?”

“She did,” he said. And he brought her to his face again, and she disappeared!

I had no efficient way to determine if I was dreaming, awake, hallucinating, or witnessing a magic trick the likes of which I had never seen.

“It is no trick,” the man said again. He reached his hands to his head again, and when he brought them down Callexis was again in his possession.

“Does Isaac know about this?”

“He chooses not to consider it,” said the man.

We completed our transaction, and I remained in the den, alone, with Callexis. I put her on the black marble stand that I had readied for her, and sat in my high-backed chair and stared for quite some time. I got up, put her on my face, as there were loops to fit easily over the ears, and went to the mirror. There was no Callexis, just my own countenance, staring back at me in bewilderment. I felt a tingling in my scalp, barely noticeable. I removed the mask and put her back on the stand. The tingling dissipated.

What are you? I asked. What is the purpose of this worthless magic? In grand fairy tales the mask would make one invisible, it would take one to other worlds, propelled into fantastical adventures, not perform magic as mundane and pointless as the mask itself disappearing.

What is your power? I was unable to take my eyes from her face, now both glimmering brightly and cast into deep shadows by the lamplight.

Callexis stared back at me with her sly smile, a smile that was also, I suddenly realized, complicit and strangely intimate. She, here in front of me, was as different from her pictures, from the way she appeared in my dreams, as a carousel pony was from a wild stallion.

I tried to smile back, but could not.

 


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Shape-Shifting [Repost]

Prompt: Rebel

Classic-Cuban-scene.-Image-by-Jaume-Escofet-CC-BY-2.0

I am a living hologram. I’m not sure why, since I don’t remember being hit by a bolt of natural or alien energy, or sustaining any particularly odd insect bites, or hanging around nuclear power plants as a child. I am more commonly called a shape-shifter.

When I went to the mall early this morning, for example, I was Cameron Diaz. Not exactly, since I didn’t want to attract autograph seekers. But malling is unpleasant for me. I don’t like shopping and trying on clothes. I don’t like changing room mirrors. Not as myself. But I like them plenty as Cameron Diaz. Plus, the freckled guy at the smoothie kiosk gets all tongue-tied, which I find endearing and sure, even a little flattering.

Sometimes I like to be invisible, blend into the crowd, if I’m indulging in a guilty pleasure like attending a Wayne Newton concert, or maybe visiting that lesbian porn film house. Then, I am my mother. Not exactly my mother, because I don’t want anyone to think my mother is curious about lesbian porn. But when my mother grew older, and a little bit rounder, and her skin a little bit looser, and her hair a little bit grayer, she became invisible. I wouldn’t have believed her if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Clerks ignoring her queries. People at parties ignoring her because she was no longer young and pretty. Sometimes I go to shops and parties as Cameron Diaz again (because she is a common transformation for me now, it only takes about ten minutes), and repay these people for their unkindnesses. I can’t teach them, so I take revenge. Nothing major, just contempt and rejection.

Job hunting, I am usually Bradley Cooper. Not exactly Bradley Cooper, because sometimes I want to be a little younger, sometimes a little taller, but he seems to have a non-threatening yet competent air about him, which works very reliably. I don’t need to job-hunt very often. I like challenges, and when I am a white man, I do very, very well.

When I find myself turning away from the human race, because the human race isn’t perfect, one of my favourite holograms is Maxine, the golden retriever. I go out prowling, covering five or more miles in a night, sniffing and peeing and visiting nocturnal friends. It is more fun than working out at the gym, that’s for sure. Once in awhile I’ll go to the farm where the family that thinks they own me live, and spend time soaking up their devotion, and rolling in muck.

Occasionally, I forget who I am. That’s when I take a trip to Cuba. I can always find myself again in Cuba.


Invisible

Prompt: Invisible


Dear Wednesday,

Have you ever wished you could become invisible at will? I certainly have, especially when I was a child, when I was under the impression that the world revolved about my precious self and that every conversation I wasn’t privy to had me as the main topic.

This really wasn’t vanity— I think I just desperately needed some validation. I always felt different, or separate, or like an outlier. I was horribly afraid of being seen (since I didn’t feel “normal”), but equally horrified at the thought of being unseen and unheard. Is it at all common for children feel like this?

Now my thoughts are more mundane. I’d like to be invisible and sit in the back seat of the flooring guys’ truck and see if I’m getting a fair installation estimate or if I’m getting ripped off. Sigh.

Related to the theme of Invisible Man, here are a few of my favourite cartoons:

cartoon emperor invisible

cartoon bizarro

cartoon dating invisible man


Peace and sanity,

~~FP

Ancient and Magical

Prompt: Ancient

digital-fantasy-surreal-2

I’ve decided to journal my experience with the mask in this leather-bound notebook, since I fear I have been inaccurate in my remembrances because of long hours in the private company of the exquisite Callexis.

Since she was delivered to me, I’ve heard nothing from Isaac, the master of dark trading, or the French messenger whose name I did not learn. I truly did not expect to correspond with Isaac or his minion after our transaction was finalized, yet they remain the only people on the earth who share my knowledge of Callexis and her mysterious power.

She of the useless magic, disappears when placed on one’s visage. She, of gold and jade and copper, ancient and beautiful, is weighty in my hands, and basks in the spotlight when sat within her special case in the library, but on my face she is gone. I feel the loops that secure her, but she is not there when I look at the mirror.

Callexis has shown me no other magic, though I spend an average of two hours per day staring at her so she may reveal her secrets, and much of the day wearing her, except when dining, bathing, or sleeping. She is comfortable and comforting, but so are my cashmere gloves. They do not disappear. They are not ancient and magical. They do not frustrate, confound, and confuse.

I have learned, with the help of my valet, that she does not merely become invisible, but disappears, both to me and to others. Having shallowly cut myself whilst shaving, I asked Othello to fetch some cotton wool, and upon returning he dabbed my face and took the blood. There was no mask to be seen or felt, despite the fact that I had placed her on my face but moments before.

That is all I have learned. Sometimes I pull my chair nearer, and stare into her hollow eyes, examine the sly, slight smile, and beg her in my thoughts to speak, somehow, to me. Sometimes when I take her off my face and place her on the marble stand, I think I hear a sort of laughter, as laughter carried to you from a great distance, on a breeze of the kind that nudges silk curtains.

Sometimes when I wear her, I feel no weight but a heaviness in my cheeks, a drawing down of the flesh near my lips, a pain in my arms, or a dizziness so intense I must sit, even when in town. My friend and neighbour, Edwin Duke, has asked me on more than one occasion if I am well when I’ve worn the mask to discuss matters of municipal interest (as we are both involved in county business). I wear her to experiment, to learn, yet she troubles me and withholds her secrets.

Today I wore her and sat before the mirror. An hour passed and I thought I saw my smile become her smile, mysterious and inscrutable. I thought I saw myself age, my face droop like a tiger’s skin, my eyes dark and heavy-lidded.

For the first time, I felt afraid of her, my beautiful, my exquisite Callexis.

 


Shape-Shifting

Prompt: Now You See Me
You have a secret superpower: the ability to appear and disappear at will. When and where will you use this new superpower? Tell us a story.

Classic-Cuban-scene.-Image-by-Jaume-Escofet-CC-BY-2.0

I am a living hologram. I’m not sure why, since I don’t remember being hit by a bolt of natural or alien energy, or sustaining any particularly odd insect bites, or hanging around nuclear power plants as a child. I am more commonly called a shape-shifter.

When I went to the mall early this morning, for example, I was Cameron Diaz. Not exactly, since I didn’t want to attract autograph seekers. But malling is unpleasant for me. I don’t like shopping and trying on clothes. I don’t like changing room mirrors. Not as myself. But I like them plenty as Cameron Diaz. Plus, the freckled guy at the smoothie kiosk gets all tongue-tied, which I find endearing and sure, even a little flattering.

Sometimes I like to be invisible, blend into the crowd, if I’m indulging in a guilty pleasure like attending a Wayne Newton concert, or maybe visiting that lesbian porn film house. Then, I am my mother. Not exactly my mother, because I don’t want anyone to think my mother is curious about lesbian porn. But when my mother grew older, and a little bit rounder, and her skin a little bit looser, and her hair a little bit grayer, she became invisible. I wouldn’t have believed her if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Clerks ignoring her queries. People at parties ignoring her because she was no longer young and pretty. Sometimes I go to shops and parties as Cameron Diaz again (because she is a common transformation for me now, it only takes about ten minutes), and repay these people for their unkindnesses. I can’t teach them, so I take revenge. Nothing major, just contempt and rejection.

Job hunting, I am usually Bradley Cooper. Not exactly Bradley Cooper, because sometimes I want to be a little younger, sometimes a little taller, but he seems to have a non-threatening yet competent air about him, which works very reliably. I don’t need to job-hunt very often. I like challenges, and when I am a white man, I do very, very well.

When I find myself turning away from the human race, because the human race isn’t perfect, one of my favourite holograms is Maxine, the golden retriever. I go out prowling, covering five or more miles in a night, sniffing and peeing and visiting nocturnal friends. It is more fun than working out at the gym, that’s for sure. Once in awhile I’ll go to the farm where the family that thinks they own me live, and spend time soaking up their devotion, and rolling in muck.

Occasionally, I forget who I am. That’s when I take a trip to Cuba. I can always find myself again in Cuba.