Hello, everyone. Today’s sample is from my award-winning short fiction collection, Through the Opera Glass. Enjoy!
From Persia to Paris
Written June 25, 2012
Clever Fiction writing prompt: Winner/Leaving/Alone
Somewhere in the Persian Desert
Erik reined his horse around to look, for one last time, in the direction of the Rosy Hours of Mazandaran. What an odd thing to call a palace of murder, torture – and yet the Shah and his Khanoum named it as such. Erik was glad to be leaving.
“Build me a torture chamber,” the Shah had demanded. Erik had done just that; he created a mirrored room that constantly reflected a tree with a noose hanging from it. This was not torture in and of itself; the room had no apparent exit, though, and could be heated to an unbearable temperature. Eventually, the Shah’s victims would see the noose as their only escape … which allowed the Shah to declare himself the winner in many a battle.
Soon enough, the Shah turned a suspicious eye on Erik. Perhaps he had been too trusting of the disfigured man, assuming his face would keep the women away from him. He’d treated Erik as though he were a eunuch; that was the real error, Erik thought wryly. Soon enough, the women of the seraglio had discovered Erik’s voice. Soon enough, some of them were far more entranced with him than they were with their over-fed husband.
And so, Erik must go. But where? Russia and Italy held no more appeal; only painful memories lived in those places.
Rouen? What would he say to his stonecutter father? Or to the mother who turned him out? No, going to the place of his birth was madness itself.
Paris. A man could hide in Paris. He could live alone there and no one would know, so long as he kept to the shadows. Paris it would be.
Want your own copy of Through the Opera Glass? Here are the book blurb and purchasing links:
Author Sharon E. Cathcart took up a challenge in 2012: to write flash fiction and full length short stories based on various prompts. Each story features one or more characters from In The Eye of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera or its sequel, In The Eye of The Storm.
Brimming with historical detail, the stories in this collection range in place and time from 19th Century Persia to post-World War II San Francisco.
Through the Opera Glass is the 2014 runner-up for “Best Short Story Collection” in the eFestival of Words Independent Book Awards.