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by Lynn Hardaker

"Who shall we be tonight?”

In the corner, a lute was plucked into song by invisible fingers. The scent of ambergris, pine needles, and honey hung in the air. She watched the silk wrap slide from her companion’s shoulder. Absently, she reached over to adjust it.  Watched the other woman’s eyes shine in the dim lighting.

“I was thinking someone grand. A duchess perhaps?” 

She frowned.

“I was thinking more on the other side of the scale.” Her foot bobbed up and down with impatience. “Perhaps an opium dealer, just back from the Orient. Down on his luck, with piercing eyes and unruly mustaches.” 

Her friend began tapping her fingers on the tabletop. 

“Could work,” she said doubtfully.

They had, as always, assembled the items needed: hair from a recently hanged murderess; the last remaining fruit on a dying fruit tree; water collected from a puddle on a gravestone; and a cup of un-chipped Roman glass to put them all in. Once they had said the words, taken three sips each, and fed the rest to a vase of flowers given to them by an eleven-toed virgin, they waited. It always took so long. But at last, two of the flowers would bloom strangers’ faces. For them to pluck, and inhale, and become. 

As always, the beginning of a good weekend.

* * *

Lynn Hardaker is a Canadian writer and artist currently living in Regensburg, Germany.   She likes to create stories from words, old photographs, hand bound books, and fragments of inspiration she collects along the way.  

What inspires you to write and keep writing? 

Writing is something I've done since I was a teen writing cringe-worthy, teen-angst poetry.  Good or bad, it's something I need to do.  It's a way for me to explore the world around me and the world within; and to exorcise those characters and scenarios which are creating that annoying din in my head.