Master of Illusion and Mistress of Mystery
A short story.
The Master of Illusion and Mistress of Mystery were no more. He was dead- disposed of – and she had renounced the title she despised. He had told her soon enough he would never marry her; the title was intended to humiliate.
At seventeen joining him on the halls seemed an exotic adventure like running away to a circus. Not for long – very soon he had turned to drink, run to fat and revealed a self indulgent, cruel bully too handy with his fists.
He left no marks that showed. She had to stay pretty and petite, emaciated, to wear the skimpy costume and contort herself into the boxes on stage. The boxes had come to terrify her. He thought it funny to leave her trapped, suffocating and screaming in one new prop they tested. ‘Get the feel of it.’
She could have left. She stayed until she was past her best, fermenting her hatred like vinegar – She would have her revenge – and her money. Both were owed to her. Years of cash in hand, mostly undeclared. She had learnt a lot about secret compartments! Thousands! Hers by right of suffering.
It had been so easy to watch the monster drown in the tank she had sabotaged. ‘Accidental death’. ‘Tragic’. She relished it all. Persuading the stupid, stage-struck theatre chaplain that his box, suitably draped, should be the coffin (a tribute and, she implied, a necessary economy) was …. a ‘mistress’ stroke.
The vigil! – spinning his box. ‘Now you see him, now you don’t.’ And the burial! Only she knew which way was up. His cruellest taunt came full circle. She had had him buried face downwards! Get the feel for it!