I nearly didn’t enter this one, I was starting to think this weekly flash fiction challenge from Terribleminds was procrastinations favourite cousin. Or at least I was allowing it to be, however well intended Mr Wendig makes them.
Anyway, this week we had to choose a Motif, plus a subgenre and a setting. The random generator gave me…
Motif – Mirrors
Subgenre – Wild West (in space)
Setting – Amusement Park
I did what I could, and I’m unsure whether the Motif worked as it’s the first time I’ve ever consciously used one. Oh and I pre-apologise for any obvious grammatical and spelling errors, it was rushed and I only decided to participate at the last moment, heavily egged on by the old inhibition erradicator…aka…Alcohol.
The Mirror Never Lies
Carson Jones stepped from the shower, the bathroom was a mist, he wiped the mirror, what he saw made his pupils dilate. He walked from the bathroom and sat on the bed; towel wrapped around his lower half. The stars were out, and he could hear the crickets chirping through the din of the piano from the bar beneath the room. He held the fresh wound on his shoulder; he winced a little, but the pain was the least of his worries…
The deep orange sand of Ingot moon was as dull as it had ever been. Except today it appeared to have a fly in its ointment. Skimming across the dusty surface was a shimmering black hova-horse. The rider of which was one, Carson Jones. His leather coat flapped out behind him like a cape, and with it went the orange dust that coated the planet’s surface. He was heading toward the only structure on the planet’s surface. As he came over its natural curve he spied what he sought; a large walled compound. He twisted the grip of his mount and the wind hit him as furious as it had attempted to in some decades.
When he arrived before it, he dismounted. Skeletal like structures protruded from its camp, the dim of it seemed to absorb whatever light the sun could convey. Above the entrance were written the words “Ingots Amusement Park.” The bulbs were all as rundown as the park itself, but Carson could picture it in its heyday; the occupants of the nearby planet; Dwarvian-Six, filing through its turnstiles in search of the sort of enjoyment his own race used to seek on Earth, though theirs was called Disney World, and it was as dead now as Ingots could ever know. Carson pushed the gate, it protested with a shrill squeak, though the final shove seemed to convey some relief in its tone.
If the exterior promised dull rundown misery, then the interior delivered; and then some. Carson eyed the derelict snack stands, and perishing amusements of years gone by. All of which were of an oddly smaller design than would accommodate himself. He walked toward the main canopy before him. He imagined that the large bearded, iron clad warrior that stood outside it was once inviting; even with dust as its only patron, the figures armour still gleamed like a mirror. Carson adverted his gaze, in search of something; what of, he could not be sure, but something required his attention. He jumped back, the ground before him thudded; kicking up with dust. He heard the familiar ring of gun fire echoing off the stone walls around the park. ‘AhHAahahahahahaha’ the cackle came from the same trajectory as the bullet. Carson looked up, the darkness shrouded the source, but he could define something within it.
‘Come on down, Fairway’
‘oooooo’ came the voice ‘the Bounty Hunter expects a free meal’
The voice trailed off in a cackle as before. Carson waited for it to settle before he spoke
‘It’s time to go back George –’
‘Rattlesnake!!’ the voice bounded off the walls, its fury evident
Carson heard the pulling back of a hammer. He drew his magnum in a movement that mimicked the wind, and fired. The screams came before the gunshot; he heard them trail off. Carson followed the cursing, hopping over rotten wood, and long forgotten food containers. He saw the figure of what once would have been a man scurry into another canopy; this one was dirt sodden, and what once would have been white was now a nicotine hue of yellow. Carson paused before the entrance, amass filled his throat as he eyed the sign above the curtain “Hall of Mirrors.” He would have walked away, if not for the contemptuous voice that came from within ‘Came and find me Bounty Hunter!’ the cackle followed the words, and each note grated on Carson like a bad case of pubic lice.
Beyond the curtain was everything he had feared, an infinite number of odd reflections. Carson kept his hat brim slanted forward, but even that could not hide the sight of him in the mirrors; in one he was elongated, several others he was graduated of girth, and several more he was as dumpy as those for which the park was built.
‘Where is the Rattlesnake?’ the cackle filled the room, fighting with the mirrors for dominance.
Carson’s throat was as dry as the orange sand he crossed to get here, and he could not have responded if he wished; he walked along the pathway, his image shifted around him as he did, though he tried to block out what he could. He rounded a corner and found he was encased by the mirrors, there seemed to be nowhere to go, and even the way he came seemed to have dissolved, leaving nothing but a ring of various reflections staring back at him from the mirrors.
The now familiar cackle erupted again ‘Bad luck Bounty Hunter’ it said ‘at least you can watch your demise’ the cackle trailed off again. Carson heard the clashing of numerous beads, they clattered together all around him, like a maraca, or a rattle…
Carson drew his Magnum; he shot the mirrors, one by one the shattered, and then clattered to the floor in defeat. With the settling of fallen mirror glass, Carson was hit by silence. He walked toward the motionless body that lay among the mirrors. Looking down at the man, Carson said ‘Sorry, George.’
The last thing George Fairway saw was the inside of a forty-four Magnum barrel, and the last words he heard were ‘You’re worth more dead’