The Disappearing Man

May 11, 2010
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Llydia brushed a dark strand of hair off her pale cheekbones and out of the corner of her mouth, scanning the landscape. Something was different here, the desert winds pulling at the long dovetails on her coat were more cloying, the sagebrush seemed to be stiff, as if charged with static. Her arms itched; the newly formed scab from her latest tattoo seemed to want to crawl free from the inside of her biceps.
She turned around to Iapetus, as tarnished and pockmarked as the moon of his namesake, leaning on the open door of the slowly cooling Ford pickup they had been driving in just moments before. He inclined his head at her, raising his blonde eyebrows above the bandages around his eyes, scarred out long ago in a fireworks accident. “Something wrong, chief?” He inquired, his casual tones belying the great degree of respect he held for Llydia, both as a leader and a person.
She shook her head, the strand of hair she had moved just moments before falling from behind her ear. She looked back up, directly into the two stained patches on Iapetus’s bandages where his eyes once were. “Nothing’s wrong… it’s just like The Artist said; the world is changing, and there’s nothing we can do about it.” She caught the hair between her thumb and forefinger and sliced it off with a bowie knife hidden in the inside pocket of her coat with a swift motion.
He smirked, shifting his legs ever so slightly so that his charred cowboy boots threw up a small cloud of dust. “Oh come off it. The Artist is nothing but an old fool who has nothing better to do with his time than ink up our little circus and spout claptrap. For all you know he was commenting on politics, or sports or,” immediately, Iapetus’s cocky air evaporated and he fell into himself, his voice becoming more hopeful than assertive; “or at least something that isn’t, you know, big?”
Llydia sheathed the knife soundlessly. “And for all we know, so was Julian,” Iapetus quickly crossed himself with a small nod. “Stow the piety, will you?” Llydia snapped “You know he would have just laughed.” She kicked a small stone. “They said the same things, acted the same way, almost always thought the same too… it’s almost like they were the same person, just one was a painter and the other a ringmaster.”
Iapetus frowned. “Respect aside, you’re the only one who’s the ringmaster now. Choices are choices, and Julian’s choice was to disappear into the desert, and become nothing more than that; a disappearing man.”
Llydia smiled to herself, walking slowly around the truck to the passenger side door. “A disappearing man, hey?” She laid her hand on the latch. “That has to be one of the better descriptions I’ve heard for him… maybe you should have been a poet instead of a pyrotechnist.”
He sat down in the cab of the car, smiling back. “Yeah, maybe then I’d be able to see a bit better.”
“Ah, just shut up and watch the road,” Llydia quipped, leaning over in her seat to absorb the light punch that he threw at her with his usual, unerring accuracy. “With fools like us in charge, who knows what we’re going to run up against next.”

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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm
Very good  i'd love to read more of your work  could you please look at and comment on my story Manso's Shame ?
birdman of alcatraz said...
May 25, 2010 at 11:05 pm
goose..... way to leave me hanging ! does the blind man drive? carefull with the old ford.... might get further in a chevy.... har har..... nights at the circus by angela carter might be a good one to gobble up some time in the future...... i gots a copy on the farm.  caw caw!!!!
Boo-Arrg replied...
May 28, 2010 at 9:27 pm
ahhh, its a souped up ford, what else would you expect from a magic circus? I'll definitely look into that book, it'll probably help a lot.
melina said...
May 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm
I love the image of the bandaged eyes and the idea of this traveling circus. Can't wait to read more!
Fullthought said...
May 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm
Great snapshot of two interesting characters. Learn a lot about them from their description and their dialog in just a short time. Kepp on writing!
kaylee123 said...
May 17, 2010 at 2:49 am
I like how decisive Llydia is.  Cool character!
tater tots said...
May 16, 2010 at 7:13 pm
awesome work man. like the images and the imagination behing this story
blue said...
May 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm
Love it. How can the guy see?
Boo-Arrg replied...
May 16, 2010 at 11:54 pm
Nobody in the circus is quite ordinary, he just focuses his time on something more overtly extraordinary.
punster said...
May 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm
Awesome details and writing! What's next??
Boo-Arrg replied...
May 16, 2010 at 11:52 pm
Well, for the most part, boxing, apocalyptic events, and clowns.
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