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DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

It's been a while but I'd like to go in for this prompt. I'll take a flashrule as well (6).

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DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

Just A Book

1,048 words

“The King in Yellow?”

“Yup.”

“The nutjob one?”

“Mm-hmm.”

On your shelf?”

Yes, Howard.”

“But, why? Wait, don’t tell me that you’ve actually read it.”

I saw Howard’s reflection staring at my back incredulously and I leaned further towards the mirror in my entrance hallway, trying to apply mascara for my upcoming evening. It was hard to not leave smudges with the wand when the sunlight was shadowing me in the mirror. “I don’t buy books just to not read them, Howie.” I looked up at him, smiling at the expression on his face at the nickname. He reached to the top shelf of the bookcase which stood against the window and picked up what I could only assume was the book in question.

I glanced back down to where my reflection had been and saw a thing looking at me with no earthly features I could describe. It may have been a face, skin mottled white and yellow, but despite having no lips to move that I could see, it spoke. The king is coming. All shall serve. The intonation in my hearing was that of a priest proclaiming salvation. Howard didn’t so much as flinch.

“Now, you know that’s not true. You still haven’t cracked that book of adventure stories I bought you.” I could see him turn the book over in his hands. It was an old book with a leather-bound cover and no summary on the back. I almost laughed when I saw him realize that, and the thing that had replaced my reflection smiled back.

I set down the mascara and picked up my lipstick, stepping back from the thing slowly. “Like I said, I don’t buy books just to not read them.” He stuck his tongue out at me and I very clearly rolled my eyes back at him. “Put it down before you bust the cover or something, it’s old and I don’t trust you.”

“Alas, my wounded heart,” he kept holding on to the book just to be contrary, but he looked at where my eyes would be in the mirror. The pallid thing stared back at him, as he spoke. “Listen, Zee—have you—I mean, did you really read it?” He was worried, the tone of his voice was enough to convey it.

I set the lipstick down, trying to match his worry with earnestness, my vision stuck briefly on the voids in the reflections image where eyes should have been. “Yes. And before you ask the second half of that question, do I seem mad?” I rolled my eyes once more at his incredulous snort. “Fine, more that usual, I mean?”

“Well, what’s it about? “

“The King in Yellow.” I smiled placatingly at his annoyed look, “It’s a play, and a little difficult to describe, but it’s about the fall of a city called Yhtill to the King.” I saw the draping of tattered yellow cloth with scalloped edges over my shoulders as a mantle and reached up to readjust one, my touch landing only on my shirt.

“Wait, isn’t he the king? Why would he destroy his own city?”

“Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, and like I said, it’s hard to describe if you haven’t read it.” I saw him begin to flip open the first page of the book curiously. “You really should put it back.”

The thing glared at me. I saw the sun fade as black lights from strange stars began filtering in through the window behind my bookshelf, creating beautiful dancing patterns over my curtains. The king is coming. All shall serve. It hissed, a demand. Over the thing’s shoulder I watched Howard turn the book over in his hands one more time before reaching to put the book back and I sighed.

“Don’t read past the first act.”

He started, and looked at me through the mirror with a blank expression.

“I’m serious. If you’re going to read it, be careful and don’t just flip through the pages. The first act is safe, just stick to that.”

“But you’ve read the whole thing, haven’t you? Didn’t you just get done saying how it didn’t drive you any more loony than you already are?”

I shrugged, “You’re the one worried about the whole ‘oooooh, insanity’ thing.”

Howard had opened the book again, staring at one of the beginning pages again. I saw the tatters of the king begin to wrap around his wrists and begin winding up his arms. He stayed like that for an eternity before finally closing the book and looked at the thing in the mirror with an expression I couldn’t really understand. “Can I borrow it?:

I turned from the mirror, the thing, and the strange, beautiful lights, to face him directly, framed by warm sunshine in a somewhat rumpled suit with no yellow to be seen anywhere. I think I tried a smile, but I couldn’t read his response. “Sure. Just keep in mind what I told you and don’t dog-ear my pages. Or bend the binding backwards, or—“

This time he laughed, and his expression seemed to relax back into friendly mock-annoyance. “Yes, yes. Good borrower’s manners, I know.” He bundled the book safely away underneath his suit jacket. “Well, I’m off. Sonia’s going to have a fit if I’m late again. Thanks for letting me borrow it.”

“No problem! See you later.” I continued smiling as he left the hallway and let himself out my front door. When I heard the terminal thud of the door I turned back to the mirror. There I stood, silhouetted by the dying sunlight, with slightly smudged eyeliner and a lipstick line that extended past the right side of my mouth. I could see myself redden with embarrassment as I went to fix the error. In the moments after, I paused and gave myself one more look-over, noting the lined points of the Sign peeking over the collar of my button-down. I adjusted the shirt so that the edges were hidden once more, and then turned to put on my shoes.

The king is coming.

I serve, and so shall he.

DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

Thank you for the crits guys!

DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

In!

DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

[quote="“Jitzu_the_Monk”" post="“477281019”"]
I’d like to encourage participants this week to submit as soon as their stories are written and proofread. Speaking just for myself, it will make my judging and critting faster if we don’t get 30+ stories submitted last minute.
[/quote]

It's actually going to be one less because I forgot that the last half of this week and the next four weeks were specifically designed to crush my soul. I have to withdraw from this prompt.

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DreamingofRoses
Jun 27, 2013


Nap Ghost

In and :toxx:

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

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