The lights dimmed and a sole spotlight shone over him. The applause ceased and all Terry could see from beyond the stage was darkness. Was he alone? He heard light footsteps tap the wooden stage floor, growing steadily closer.
A figure emerged from the darkness. As it grew closer, Terry observed it possessed the stature of a man, wore a fine black suit, a black bowler hat, and was dreadfully skinny coupled with an abnormal height. The man laughed and clapped, covered in shadow.
“What a wonderful performance. You truly are a talented one, Terrence Jones!” The man praised Terry with a voice both gentle and frightening.
Terry tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t come. He stood there, grasping the silver trumpet firmly, watching the enigmatic man in the darkness.
“Let me start by introducing myself, my frightened little lamb. I go by many names, but you can call me Andromaleus. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Theatre of Shadows.”
The Trumpet is a mild dieselpunk story set in the Twenties, with a very cool core idea, though not as strong an execution, in my opinion. The fantasy parts, which all condensed in the Theatre of Shadows sequences, are by far the most effective for me. They are haunting, have a great mood and they are the ones that advance the story the most. This is a brief excerpt from the first of them.
You can read my review of the story here.
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