Sample Saturday, "Through the Opera Glass"

Through the Opera Glass - Sharon E. Cathcart

From Persia to Paris
Written June 25, 2012
Clever Fiction writing prompt: Winner/Leaving/Alone

Somewhere in the Persian Desert
1870

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.

 

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