Madam Rose's Arrival

It came slowly out of the sunset.

Pulled by a pair of cobs, the vardo was painted an electric blue, its legend of “Madam Rose Sees All” made fluorescent by the pervasive starlight. A metal bowl of flames swung with the carriage’s choppy progress. The caravan crested a low hill until it reached a copse with a clearing within its heart, and halted. Its driver dismounted and took the fire bowl by its chain.

The driver went about collecting fallen logs, becoming an ambulatory island of unreliable light. When he decided he had enough to go on, he built the camp fire in the shape of a runic sigil. He knelt, murmuring to the bowl in his hands then poured it onto the wood. A shaft of white hot light stabbed the sky, leaving a searing afterimage in the retinas of anyone who saw this.

The driver caught a rabbit and roasted it. Afterwards, he stood, surveying the warm-hued village, pulling at his elaborate mustache. His head turned towards my hiding place. He smiled. My veins ran cold. I turned and fled.

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