Fairground Wishes

There was a fair in town the following day and it was about there where I had estimated the comet’s landing. I had slept outside that night; it was a nice warm night, humid in the atmosphere, but not suffocating, the comet’s residue left just enough warmth to be my blanket. That morning I wandered home into the night of my father’s time-bubble, writing them a note that told them of my outing and my present time. If they wanted me, I would be at the fair, and in the centre of town, a short walk away.

There were many attractions in the bustling place, carnival colours of glittering rouge, sparkling green, zany yellow, it was delightfully amazing, a sight to behold. When I arrived into the great mess, I made my way to the fresh crater that had appeared overnight. It was almost a central display in the fair. People flocked around it, but they knew, as I did, that these things were not uncommon sights. They did not crowd towards it, but looked at the crater-ship was interest, just as I did, watching for any signs of life. However, it seemed as though the traveller has disembarked his space-ship.

Behind us lay a red and gold tent, and from inside I could hear cheering. I pushed open the neatly embroidered flap and peered in. A man in a red gown was standing on a sparkling silver platform positioned in the middle of the tent.

There was a smatter of applause as I settled myself into a space in the back row. However, I was not settled for long. The man, a magician, dressed in traditional red with reeds of blue and star-spots of yellow printed across his gown, swept his eyes across us all, across the audience and across me. I shivered; his mental presence was ice-cold hands all over my mind, like I had just stepped into a bad shower.

I was pretty sure that he had seen me, but, as his eyes passed mine, he looked away. The magician called for a volunteer, and young girl of about twelve stepped up to the magician’s podium. The magician smiled in a friendly manner before putting a simple jewelled tiara on her. He requested, in a quiet, shimmering voice, for her to wish for something.

Suddenly, in a puff of golden smoke, a green cat the size of a chair appeared on the floor beside the magician. With its jade eyes, the cat watched the two of them, before it wandered over to the little girl and began to caress her legs. With a giggle, the overjoyed girl hugged her new pet. They walked away out the tent, contented.

As the audience cheered and clapped once more, I turned to go away, having seen enough. There was nothing more to the magician; he performed the simple magic that his universe knew, but that was unknown to our simple minds. He had only come to entertain, and perhaps show off. My work here was done.

At the tent door, I turned and gazed back at the magician. Once again, his eyes swept over the audience; he spied and pounced upon me like an owl after its prey. He extended a gnarled-branch finger and beckoned to me. I felt compelled to walk, albeit slowly, back to the silver platform.

“For you, my friend, astronomer,” he said when I was about a metre away, placing a silver ring into the palm of my suddenly-outstretched hand, “you should be aware of what has come to pass; and of what the world needs. If you ever want me, just say my name into the communication-ring.”

Bewildered, I backed away, feeling the dread of the night again.

The End

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