Roberto had no idea what he’d gotten himself into after the casting crew told him to strip down. The audition was for a sidekick role on a pilot of a cross-over sci-fi detective series between Sherlock Holmes meeting inter-galactic crime syndicate. He felt a slight chill in his briefs after the cameras started rolling.
“Recite these lines” commanded a female producer as she pointed to a page on the script.
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” Roberto uttered in his best Watson imitation.
“Again” ordered the producer, “this time with rage.”
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!” Roberto yelled, channeling Taxi driver.
“Again! With sorrow and disgust!” dictated the producer.
Several hours after the audition, an exhausted Roberto stumbled back to his flat. Upon entering, he found a DVD and letter by his TV. The video showed Roberto starring in a live-action trailer of the upcoming pilot with lines and scenes that he neither spoke nor shot in. The backside of the letter revealed a contract, signing away all rights to his façade. Dotted lines hovered below a signature, undoubtedly his. Beneath that was a simple order…
Entry to this week’s 3LineTales! Image courtesy of Sonya.
One step forwards, two steps back. Do a one-eighty, trip on a crack.
The dead-ends frown, they forbid en mass. Rocks and hard places, litter the past.
But what to do? No way around. Lest fire he thought. Will fly like sound!
“The plebs. Why do they leave? Don’t they know all roads lead back to Rome?”
“Their shepherd understands this but he must delay, lest slaughter and slavery reach his people.”
“So exodus he proffers but revolution he disguises. Marching in circles to cull the weak, breeding the strong to fight the stronger.“
“Would the empire be so blind? Wolves can smell their sheep a hundred leagues away.”
“The empire let them go for they no longer desire food but a challenge.”
“And the shepherd?”
“A sheep-wolf or a wolf-sheep. Makes no difference.”
Entry to this week’s 3LineTales! Image courtesy of Moritz Schmidt.
The blind saw the light: Eyes-see-stars. Five filled bars.
The deaf heard the quiet: Heart-beat-pound. Skip no sound.
The mute spoke the word: Lips-shush-babel. Spell then scrabble.
Ovid jolted from his sleep. Red-eyed and still shaking, the shock of the car-wreck still reverberated in his dreams. Harsh words thrown and hot tempers flashed. A slap to the face carried the screeching pitch of tires unhinged that had turned the world grey. Rubbing his eyes a bit to peek out the window, he saw her again. Grey flurries fell, no longer caught by a shattered windshield of broken dreams. She was gone but now she’s there hidden behind an intact dashboard and a pair of unused wipers. Guilt imprisons us all he laments and shuts the curtains for the fourth time today.
Agapao awoke to the sight of fluttering wings. Dusk settled upon the land as the distant night crept across the blood-soaked fields, covering the horrors of war like a traumatic dream. The last two armies had annihilated each other. The few survivors claimed victory not over each other but against fate for mountains of corpses surrounded them, singing the tune to the world’s end.
Agapao looked overhead. An eclipse of moths encircled the now blackened meadow beneath the crimson skies. Some would land on a body and depart with a spirit in tow. These moths would fly towards the fading light so that the departed may find new places to inhabit. Others would land and bury themselves into a carrion, stapling the body to the soul. Those unfortunate individuals became the walking dead, forever to roam the Earth under another’s will. Turning to the moth that twitched on his chest, Agapao pulled out his knife and cleaved it in two. Fate had no business playing with the still living.
The stars beam on a twilight passage.
Our eyes transfix as your figure enters.
With red dress in tow and footsteps echo,
You approach, pipes quivering silently below.
“What will play tonight? Daughter of Pan Sybarite!”
“Grace us with your voice, for sounds of old are lost”
“And memories of those times tossed.”
“The Great Pan is dead. Can you help us lament?”
You close her eyes and part your lips,
And let your voice and instrument mix.
An elegy you sang. A requiem some say,
As distant skies rumbled, rain and tears tumbled.
The old Gods bid farewell. The young belle dispelled.
The stage rests empty.
Clark heard a whisper in his right ear. He had been climbing the rock-face of the Yosemite for seven days straight, hardly getting any sleep under the mountain’s shadow. With his head turned, he heard another whisper, this time from his left and a bit more coherent.
“Turn back. This is not your time.”
The mountain then rumbled as several loose rocks tumbled down the cliff side.
“No!” Clark hissed. “Not after that wench left me!”
A jostle of voices now rang between his two ears, almost making him convulse under the strain of his weight. He gasped for breath as sweat evaporated off his forehead. Then he heard it. Her voice rang from up above, beckoning him to come in jest.
Anger seethed from every pore as he tore his pickaxe into the overhanging rock. The mountain however would have none of it. The pickaxe broke off a piece that sent both Clark and the rock-face rolling. When the dust had settled, the tears of rage were no more. They found their peace in the murmurs of the cold-water stream below.
Long ago, a young anemic who fancied autumn’s display had drowned in a lake. A strong wind had accidentally blown her scrapbook of leaves into the water; she followed suit but couldn’t swim. Pitying the tragedy, autumn gave her a second chance at life. A carpet of leaves raised the body out of the cold waters and the wind breathed new life into her. She was given the name Fairchild and tasked with bringing forth the start of fall.
Everywhere she went, a whirlwind of foliage would follow. The leaves would lend her a small fraction of their remaining lives. In turn, she painted them a brilliant orange and showed them the wider world. Up steep mountains they flew and down into lush woodlands that rolled endlessly over hills and valleys. However, the one place she could not visit was the water. When she tried dipping her toes into a lake, a swarm of leaves would cover its surface and support her weight. She could never figure out the reason till later in the season when only a few leaves remained. But as her feet glanced the water, the memories of her previous life resurfaced, suspending her in a nine-month long dream. The mortal reminder would mark the end of her duties, a period of rest, and the start of winter.
A walkway sprouted over the open sea as Julia meandered. She had buried a trinket somewhere in the vast emptiness of forlorn waves, a token of the past that she’d long cast off. However, nothing she discarded was truly lost. The waves still pulsated with a familiar agony that she wished long forgotten but would resurface with the faintest of resemblances. A face amongst crowds may send her retreating. A whisper within hubbubs would stir panic attacks. The image of her wedding ring would then return with the icy sensation of feet turning to stone. Her only recourse was to run despite the walkway sprouting over a sea which tormented her of her failings. A sea of people would give her no peace till she took the plunge again.