So, I think I may have lied when I said I was going to be doing this once every 2-3 days. But now that grad school applications are done, who knows, I might end up doing it after all.
Title: One Look Rings an End
Prompt (from Daily Prompt): You walk into your home to find a couple you don’t know sitting in your living room, eating a slice of cake. Tell us what happens next.
The Duke, as a much younger and happier man, opened the door to his new home. The inside smelled immediately of well-washed wood. The rains had been heavy of late and the clean water must have soaked through the house all the way from the roof down to the wooden beams.
The town was still all abuzz from the Duke’s wedding. Such holy joinings were met with a reverence not seen anywhere else in the world. Furth used to be a town that had a lot more going for it. It made train parts, of all things. Strange for a town so small with barely a factory to call its own. Little workshops and busy, taut-with-muscle arms took the place of steam-driven machines. Sure, it took the workshops weeks to craft something that could be churned out in a handful of hours elsewhere but the products of Furth weren’t just pieces of machines, they were works of art.
So with every new matrimonial joining came the idea of a new rebirth for the town. It was a particularly good omen if the Furth native married outside of the town, as the Duke did. This, of course, meant that the town had to celebrate the whole affair for days on end. The drunk littered the town like strewn bodies even now, three days after the wedding.
The Duke shut his door behind him. Hopefully the wedding cake was still good. Maybe all of the damp air helped keep it moist. Actually, the cake was sitting out on the coffee table. It had a conspicuous chunk missing, cut like a wound, facing the two occupied chairs in the front room. A man and a woman sat in unseasonably thick clothing, fur collars and all. They ate the cake from golden china plates that the Duke never remembered having.
“It’s an awful big cake,” the man said. “Seems a lot for two people to eat.”
“Doesn’t seem to bother us,” the woman said with a little laugh. “I hope you don’t mind that we saw ourselves in.”
The Duke, against all logic and reasoning, sat himself down across from the pair. In a town as small and congenially conjoined as Furth, this wasn’t exactly the strangest collection of people found in someone’s house.
“You don’t know who we are, do you?” the man asked.
“If I did,” the Duke said, “I would’ve greeted you both properly.”
“And yet still he remains confident, unfazed,” the woman said, leaning over to the man as if she meant her coy speech to be a whisper.
“I’ve heard of much stranger people and things going on in people’s homes around these parts,” the Duke said. “Right after a wedding, ambling houseguests are as dependable as the spring rain.”
“Pastor Abelard’s trouble with the rancher and his cows certainly gives credence to that,” the man said, sitting back. “I’ve heard plenty of stories of wayward people but never so much as a head of livestock. Your wedding will go down in the town’s history for more than one reason.”
The Duke leaned forward onto his elbows. He pulled the curtain away from the window and squinted towards the man. His face was mostly hidden by a large three-cornered black hat which was lined with dark orange fur around the lining.
“You’re not a resident,” the Duke said. “I’ve lived here my whole life but I’ve never seen somebody like you. Unless you’re some traveler that Phil never showed the rest of us.” Philip was so very proud of his inn. Every guest he had, whether they were just staying for the night or for half of their lives, would be given the grand tour of the town by him alone. And nobody ever piped up in disappointment. Which may have been because Phil would never really shut up the whole tour.
“Yes,” the man said.
“Yes to what?”
“To your question.”
The woman laughed, hiding her mouth behind her hand (though her gums were shockingly visible as her lips curled away. Just like how the Duke’s own wife laughs. Her face was also obscured by a huge dark hat, one that sat at an angle that spat in the face of gravity. A thin black veil protected her face like chainmail. “Don’t torture him, my dear.”
The man sat back, crossing his arms. The Duke uncrossed my arms and sat up straight. “I’m a traveler,” he said. “But Phil never had to show me around town when I lived here my whole life.”
In one smooth, outright regal, movement, the man removed his hat and tucked it under his arm.
The Duke fell back into the chair, his breath scrambling away with fear in its weak little heart. The man across from the Duke has his face, he wears his hair, and he smiles just as the Duke would.
The Duke’s brown hair was auburn on the smiling man and his skin is frightfully pale compared to the Duke’s well-worked tan. A long scar wound in a circle around the man’s eye— the golden one. The Duke’s own grass-green eyes shrink back into his skull. Now, this mysterious visitor’s only still-green eye looks sick, the colour of infected skin. The green eye winks at the Duke. The golden eye’s pupil disappears into a molten sea. One blink and its back.
And suddenly the Duke felt more at home than he ever had in his entire life.
The Duke’s wife comes in through the front door. She sees the guests and smiles, her gums showing frank and resplendent as her lips curl away. And the Duke smiles back at her for a reason that sounds like a song in his head but has a feeble scream at its center.
THE OTHER ENTRIES
<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unexpected-guests/">Unexpected Guests</a>
I should compile these little mini-stories I make on this site (and boy there’s a loooot of them out there) into some kind of compilation. What are those called? Oh yeah. Books. That’s what they’re called.
Good luck, you brave writer folk!