This one sort of deviates from my usual themes, but nonetheless it is still a short tale. Originally, I planned on ending it with death, but hey — amidst hopeless cases, hope isn’t too bad either.
Here’s a genuinely happy Halloween for 2013.
They say the first ones never really leave.
Out onto the confetti-laid pavement, she often peeks through the velvet curtains of the tent. Street vendors selling cheap, false potions, half-naked gypsies holding out tarot cards, and visitors, confused, but entertained — oh, how she wanted to join them again. Though the faces of its dwellers do not change as frequently as the caravan moves, she didn’t know anyone anymore.
She’s in the tent where no one can see her. She was one of the firsts. Let’s call her Ritz.
Now, just so we can establish some things, no one was allowed to notice her. She could not move if anyone looked in her direction, sans, of course, Madame Sygne, master of the tent. One could say that Madame Sygne cared for Ritz, keeping her clean and showing her off to those who would wander into her tent, but she never really cared for her.
Ritz always stayed behind Madame Sygne whenever a potential customer would enter. Given Madame Sygne’s age, (but then again, her age never really mattered,) Ritz would peer into the crystal ball, and whisper ever so discreetly to the master what she would see. She would whisper which card to pick, and which potion to brew. She was the life of the tent, but her own life was, by far, no more.
Madame Sygne never learned the tricks of the trade — she never really tried. And with her selfishness, she’s kept the wisdom of Ritz from everyone else. That being said, Madame Sygne would never join Ritz where she was right now, up in her tapestry behind the master’s table. Madame Sygne would die a mortal, alone, and what was left of Ritz would fade away with the dust that would settle on her being.
It didn’t take long before someone complained of the stench coming out of the tent. It also didn’t take long before the young dwellers of the caravan found the decaying body of Madame Sygne.
The tent was put away, and everything else was packed up in an old trunk. For Ritz, everything was pitch black. It was a crypt, and she was buried alive.
Months, years, probably centuries had passed. But one day, she somehow saw light again through the small crack in the trunk’s mouth. The light got bigger, brighter, and it blinded her.
Regaining consciousness (or at least, whatever consciousness she could regain for being part of a piece of fabric,) she realized how she was hanging again, not so high up on a wall of what looked like an old, abandoned receiving room.
Someone was looking at her.
So she looked down. It was a little girl, Ephie. The little girl held in her hand a small matchstick — she was an orphan who took shelter in the cold, abandoned house. This should have been troubling, but what caught Ritz’s attention was that she was smiling. At her.
She smiled back and motioned to a candle inside the open trunk…
…which the little girl curiously lit up.