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Rated: 13+ · Prose · Contest Entry · #2244782
Wierd Tales entry based on the prompt Spirit Lover by Houdini.
As Houdini’s illusions fill the audience with awe, Antilaide passes through the crowd. The heat and passions of the gathered, fuel her. She feels their energy like a warming fire, sees it pulse with a blue flame, iridescent and free flowing. It fills the small theatre with a timeless anticipation; a kind of expectant hopefulness. This is the energy that fills her very soul. This is what holds her here and allows her spirit to soar.

Occasionally she sees wisps of crimson distrust. It's energy seems to dominate and push up over the crowd; breaking the completely mesmerized focus. She draws closer seeking out the tormentor of such energy and finds a man leaning back. Unmoved and shaking his head as if the sights before him are commonplace and a waste of his precious time. Beside him, a woman leans in. Her mouth parted, her eyes dancing with unmistakable wonder.

Antilaide moves closer. Embroiled by this man's callus discontent. She sees that he drips with contempt and she wonders why such a man would even bother to be here. But as the woman beside him gasps, he grunts. His whispered words reach Antilaide's ears like sand paper to a well varnished piece of antique furniture.

"You stupid woman. Can't you see it is merely tricks and folly. Your mind is so weak it cannot make out what is real and what is merely imagined."

Antilaide sees the woman flinch as if his words are barbs sinking into her vulnerable flesh.

Incensed, Antilaide glides forward. Her own energy charged. Her anger unsettling. Her perfume wafts over the crowd tantalizing the man's senses. She watches him glance around as if seeking her out.

She shows herself in the shadows; making sure to turn on her sensuality and drawing his eye. With his gaze captured, she moves as if gliding over the air. She smiles to herself as he extricates himself from his lady and makes his way through the crowd towards her. She has him.

In the soft light of the foyer he approaches her. She can feel his self assurance, it radiates from him. His arrogant swagger and his cocky smile turn her stomach, but still she smiles at him. She can tell from the look of him, dressed all in his finery, that he is merely a boy chasing his fancy. He is abandoning his sure thing for a piece of the desirable entertainment. She can see from the look of him that he expects her to swoon at the attention he showers upon her. He expects his suave demeanour to capture her, lure her in, but little does he know, he is the one lured in. He is the one captured and pinned.

His need to possess her overrides any sense to walk away or admit defeat. When she acts with cool politeness, he turns up his charm. The fire of his desire damns him to the pit of hell and yet he is blind to the dangers.

Unsatisfied with her un-immediate acceptance of him, he asks to see her again.

"I must see you again. Can we meet? I have an apartment at the Hyde Hotel. We can have a meal. Share a bottle of Dom Perignon and a fine steak."

His need to impress causes him to beg when she slowly shakes her head.

"Please. You must come. I can send a car for you... or we can go now."

Antilaide raises a brow at his persistence and he rushed on, "Matilda means nothing to me. Merely a means to an end. Marrying her gave me a leg up on the social scene, but it's really such a bore. A consequence of getting up in the world. Making a name for myself. But you.... you are exquisite. The loveliest woman I have ever beheld. Please, I must see you again. If not now, then tomorrow or the next day..."

"I mean nothing to you?" an outraged voice cuts through the haze around him and he turns to see that the audience is spilling out into the foyer around him. He is baffled by the intrusion. Apparently the show is over. Antilaide watches him blink in disbelief. He is caught. There is no way to talk himself out of this. His vanity is laid bare and his baser instincts have been brought into the light. There is no where to hide.

Antilaide smiles knowing her work here is done. She vanishes into thin air leaving him gaping at the crowd wondering where she has gone.

Did she slip away? Blend into the consuming crowd? His mind spins. After looking around frantically, he turns to find himself surrounded by his lady and her entourage. Each of them glaring at him with poisoned darts.

Unable to speak, he gapes, then gasps for air, like a bloated, dying fish. He has been cut down to size... his measure taken and found wanting.

Words = 821.

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