The Illusionist

Inspired by today’s one-word prompt: conjure.

Conjuring involves a series of mind tricks, usually by deceiving the eyes or calling attention to everything but the action itself. I picture card games and long streams of ribbons, black suit sleeves. I imagine pennies in ear lobes and rabbits in hats.

If I think for long enough, I conjure up an image of you.

I listened to everything you said. I watched the way your lips parted, how your tongue brushed your teeth. While your lashes blinked over your pupils, I saw the dimples in your chin. I didn’t see much else until much later.

There were a series of chain reactions that led to me learning the magician’s secrets. None of those matter now that the magic is gone. When people say that actions speak louder than words, believe them. Abracadabra and I love you sounded a lot alike when he said them.


Bad Dream As I Awoke

We went the lake. There were ashes on the beach from someone’s leftover campfire. We built up an urn around them, starting a fire in the heart of the stones. Dust rose from the sparks, coughing up life at the start of a fever. It was warm for how little the flames were, but enough to keep us from the chill of the watery breeze.

Later, we took off our shoes and fed our toes to the tide. The sand crunched up under my palms as I laid with gritty thighs up under the wash of stars. Too dark to see the difference between water and sky, if there even was such a thing. I was half convinced I could dip my palm into the waves and spill the galaxy.

He could read my mind, I think. As I was wondering about the universe, he waded waist deep into black. I could only see freckles against white skin, a moon sheen, sparkling, starry eyes. It was hard to see shadows amongst all the darkness, but there were glimpses of them. A peck of raven against crimson midnight moved under the water, disrupting the reflection of stars. I had a nightmare feeling, the exceptional sense of utter wrong.

I opened my mouth to say anything, but the sun started burning up through my chest. I had slept too close to the fire, and I woke up in a sweat.