Hello again Dearest Reader,
In the previous newsletter I posted the first five of the writing challenge’s stories and it just so turned out that the final two was one scifi-ish and one fantasy story. I had just chosen the photos from my camera gallery at the beginning of the week and hadn’t really thought what I was going to write until I sat down and actually wrote the story.
The first story, “Question” was perhaps the most surprising of the seven that I wrote for the challenge (and the moth is indeed beneath a glass dome, it’s not a strange filter I tried putting over it). I didn’t know where I was going with it until about three quarters of the way through.
Of course, on Instagram, you only have 2,200 characters to play with, so I couldn’t make these stories too long.
I do hope that you enjoy them!
The camera captured every second of the moth's emergence from its cocoon and tracked the newly reborn insect to where it perched on one of the young branches beneath the glass dome. It waited patiently for its wings to spread and strengthen before taking its first fluttering flight.
The humanoid robot that held the camera swiveled its eyes to the elderly scientist.
"See?" the old man said. "Beautiful. A little piece of magic in the middle of the day." He chewed on the end of the pencil he held, his notepad and notes about the moth forgotten.
The robot looked back to the dome. "But it is science. The mechanisms of metamorphoses is well known. You wrote a seminal paper on it yourself." It started reading the paper the slightly metallic voice that the scientist had chosen. Giving the machine a human voice seemed wrong.
The scientist sighed. "I know the science all too well. Humans, however, can appreciate the beauty and wonder of the natural world." He threw down the pencil and stalked out the room, growling: "Unlike you clumps of metal."
The robot stepped closer to the glass dome. It placed a metal hand against the glass with a soft tap.
"A little piece of magic," it said with an all too human voice. Working with this scientist had been... different. It had even stopped communicating with the other robots in the building and sharing the things that it experienced in the lab every day, only reporting whatever findings there were.
"A little piece of magic," it said again. And then he knew what it was that he was looking at. "Beauty."
He looked around to find the scientist in the doorway, a stunned expression on his face.
"Am I then the beast?" the robot asked.
"The Swan of Tuonela" from the Lemminkaïnen Suite by Sibelius was playing when Daleen switched on the radio. The music drifted through the antiques shop, waking up the shades that still lingered with the possessions.
Garth lifted his head from where it had been resting on a battered suitcase and glanced at the wall of clocks above him as he stood, straightened his bow tie, and ran a hand through his white hair. Perhaps today would be the day.
Daleen walked through the shop and made some coffee before opening the door and changing the card to read "Open".
It didn't take long for the first people – a newly-married couple by the looks of it – to enter and stroll through the rooms of once-loved items. A few of the shades stepped closer as the couple reached for different items.
Garth motioned for them to step back. The last thing they needed was a repeat of the Ghost Lady in the Hand Mirror episode and have ghost hunters bear down on the shop to stake it out for a week.
"Look!" the woman said and picked up the silver hairbrush that lay next to the mirror that had caused the confusion the last time. The ghost all took a step away, just in case.
The man nodded, picking a path around the many objects to where a tea set stood. A lady stepped forward, her shadow form made up of all the memories locked within the porcelain of the tea set. Roses, like that painted on the teacups, were entwined in her hair.
"How about this?" he said. "It seems like something our house could do with."
His wife giggled as she came over. "I didn't think you'd go for a tea set. More like a set of golf clubs." He laughed with her when he saw her pointing to the ratty clubs in the corner of the room.
The rose-haired shadow touched the woman's arm when she picked up a cup and whispered in her ear.
"Yes," she told her husband, completely ignoring the price tag dangling from the cup. "I do think you're right. It has my name all over it."
The shade grinned, nodded, blew Garth a kiss, and disappeared.
Until next time, stay safe!