Smoke, Mirrors, Destiny Part 1.1
A Civilands Series Short Story Prequel by N.B. Austin
15 Years Before – Curtain Call
An old, gray man by the name of Rousseau stood with his hands raised straight up into the air. About ten feet apart from him was the young, beautiful Anne Greeley. Only one of Anne’s hands were lifted, and it was aimed toward Rousseau. In it, angled right at him, was a cold, loaded pistol.
Dominic Turner could do nothing but watch from the side with a group of nineteen others. Each of the onlookers gasped, but not Dominic. As a poor 22-year-old in the difficult, growing city of New Berkeley, he was too busy learning the ways of the world to feel surprised or offended. Instead, he studied every part of the 50-something-year-old man’s countenance and posture. How much was he cowering versus confident? Where were his eyes and was their target the thing he was really focused on? The answers to these questions would determine Rousseau’s readiness for what was to come.
“Okay, honey I think we’ve seen enough,” a gentle female voice in the crowd said from behind Dominic. Her hands were covering the eyes of a boy standing before her, who was trying his best to peak through them as he was led away from the scene.
How could they leave now? Oh well, down to seventeen.
A heavy-set fellow stepped forward. “Shoot the old bastard down!”
Though Dominic had seen death here before and it crushed him, for some reason he appreciated this kind of reaction. There was something about the excitement of a crowd and always had been. The reactionary emotion which poured out of others in such a place filled him tenfold, even if they were calling for murder.
A smile crossed his face. “Yea, doll. And make it snappy!” he said.
Anne looked back at him and perked up, with the gun still fixed on Rousseau. Her beauty was a simple one, with curly brown locks pinned up and a dainty, innocent little walk. But she was radiant nonetheless and he couldn’t wait for the time they’d get together this evening.
Murmurs started to pass back and forth she wouldn’t do it. Doubt–I love doubt.
As they began though, Rousseau turned his head to the crowd. “It seems you think yourselves to be ready, my friends.”
“Yea, we’ve been ready,” the same obnoxious fellow from before said.
“Oh, but you could not be further from it, sir.” Rousseau wagged a finger on his raised right hand. “And that is okay. You all have fears, you live with struggles, and you feel pain. Yet, again, I say, it is okay. Because from your fears, you will make great leaps. From your struggles, you will learn to overcome. And from your pain, your fortunes will be awoken. Because what you are about to behold here isn’t beyond your own reach or ability. This ‘magic’ as you will see it, it’s drawn only from the magic you provide back to the world.”
Turning back to Anne, Rousseau lifted an expectant brow. “Well, Annie girl . . . do your worst. I suppose I’ve earned it with all I’ve put you through.”
As Dominic chuckled, Anne took a quick look his way. He nodded his confidence in her. With a breath, she took a step forward, clicked back the hammer, and fired straight for Rousseau’s face.
Continue to part 1.2 of Smoke, Mirrors, Destiny here!
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Smoke, Mirrors, Destiny Table of Contents:
Part 1.1: Curtain Call
Copyright (c) 2017 by N.B. Austin
Published in the U.S. by Moore Bell Productions, Austin.
All Rights Reserved.