“Midsummer’s Day, London, 1888
The gas lamps hissed as the cold rain fell on their hot glass and sputtered and burned, evaporating, collaborating with the mist that already hung about the streets and seemed to flow like ghosts out of side alleys and the drains that led down to the sewers. It was an unusually cold Summer thus far and he pulled his collar up on his trench coat as the rain poured down. He shuttered and hunched his shoulders against the cold. Rounding a corner into a particularly dark alley, he thought he saw movement in the misty shadows. He stopped. “Who’s there?” he asked the lonely night. No response…”
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“Chapter 1 – A Curious Death
Ms. Orange sits in the circus tent; the sound of a carnival faintly comes in from the opening in the flap. Up on the makeshift stage stands a magician. He holds the cliché bird in the cage in his one hand, and a silk kerchief in the other. After several incantations of some ancient, mystical language, he waves the kerchief over the cage, then lays it upon it, completely covering it and the bird inside. With a smile and a flourish, he then removes the kerchief to reveal the bird has vanished! Scattered applause circulates among the crowd. Ms. Orange smiles, shakes her head, and claps in a non-committal effort. The magician bows and turns to leave the stage. His performance is over for the afternoon. Ms. Orange leaves the show at the conclusion of the performance.
As she moves among the other tents and performers, a man on stilts passes her, stops, stoops and hands her a flower. She smiles and thanks him, continuing on her way. She is wearing a colorful hat, after the fashion of the day, and has it smartly pinned on her perfectly sculpted hair. She stops in front of a small booth. Inside is a machine with a gypsy head inside. The sign above it reads, “Lady Estrella, Fortune Teller.” A great lover of the occult and mystical arts, Ms. Orange whispers out loud, “Why not!”
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Words and cover copyright 2009 by Eddie Edwards.