Right Before Your Very Eyes
by Matthew S. Rotundo
The time had come for the finale, the vanish. He could put it off no longer, not
without raising suspicion.
Barrett Webster stood center stage and held up his hands for silence. "My friends,
tonight is a very special night. What you are about to witness has never before
A stillness descended over the house.
He kept his face solemn, speaking with complete sincerity. "You're about to see a
true vanish. Just like the rest of the wonders you have seen, there will be no
cabinets with hidden trapdoors, no curtains to conceal the moment, no smoke or
flashes of light to blind you. My assistant, Violet," -- he gestured to her, standing
stage left, hands at her sides, chin held high -- "will, quite literally, disappear from
Violet Navarre wore a white gown with a demure cut. Her dark eyes, normally
inscrutable and mysterious, flashed with restrained anticipation. She might have a
been modern bride just before the ceremony.
Stirrings and murmurs sounded throughout the auditorium. Some of them sounded
like right before your very eyes, but no one dared to yell it. Now was not the time.
No one would heckle tonight, no one would break the spell. They took their cues
from him, ready to do whatever he wanted.
All the while, the hazy creatures in the audience -- the monstrous shapes with the
leathery wings and the jack o'lantern eyes, the ones no one but Barrett seemed to
see -- continued their silent vigil.
He went over it again, thinking back to when it all started to go wrong -- only a
week previous, though it seemed much longer. He would only get one chance at
this. And he had just a few minutes left to figure out why.