Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her writings have appeared in Niteblade and Silver Blade ezines, Emerald Tales, Wyvern Publication’s Dragtontales anthology, and the Night Bird Singing in the Dead of Night Anthology. Her young adult fantasy book, Dreams of Beauty, is published by SynergEbooks and her short story collections are published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Her Space Opera, Nebula’s Music, is coming out in 2010 at Lyrical Press. Her pirate story will be published in Bedazzeld Ink's Skulls and Crossbones anthology in January, 2010 and her short story, Song of the Bard, will be featured in Mindflights ezine in 2010. Aubrie teaches flute at Plymouth State University and the Manchester Community Music School. Please stop by and visit her blog.
Carnival of Illusions: Chameleon's Colors
Ever since she stumbled into her father’s lab and drank a cocktail of his experiments, Kaylee has had the ability to change color, blending into her environment like a chameleon. Named a freak at school, she runs away and joins the Masquerade Carnival. Her life takes on a routine and she enjoys performing in the shows until she falls for a young man hired to run the rides.
Coincidentally, an old, roving gypsy offers a potion to restore her body to the way it once was to win his heart. Now she must choose between her unique powers or a chance at love.
The bulky velvet curtain rose inch by inch in a ponderous black sunrise. Kaylee surveyed a sea of glossy eyes, all staring eagerly in anticipation. She stood gracefully from her stool on the ancient night-shrouded stage and released the clasp on her black cloak. The fabric fluttered behind her like a bat’s wings before drifting to rest in a linen puddle on the stage. Music filled the tent, heightening to an ominous swell of mysterious chimes with the surge of ocean waves.
Kaylee could feel her skin burning, as if the sun were all around her, within her, flowing like liquid gold through her veins. The screen behind her was a deep scarlet, and so that’s what her skin became.The audience watched in a silent hush of awe as spirals of burgundy and bursts of dark crimson blossomed on her naked torso, spreading to engulf her body. In an instant, she was invisible. Every inch of skin blended with the backdrop, except the small snakeskin bikini that clung to her body and the glowing whites of her eyes.
Next the screen softened to an iridescent indigo, and the music diminished to a lull of birdsong and the patter of rain. Kaylee danced, twirling on tippy-toe as a refreshing calm spread through her like a breath of sweet wind on a stifling day. She felt her body grow cool as swirls of cobalt and explosions of azure littered her back in fireworks. Each time she changed color was a different experience, setting off capricious patterns of hued rainbows on her skin. All at once, she was a visual masterpiece before she disappeared into oblivion.
Once totally invisible, she crept up to the front of the stage and approached a handsome young man in the front row. When the screen turned again, he cried out in surprise to find a cobalt beauty perching inches from his face. She laughed lightly and swept herself up onto her feet, lilting to the liquid flow of music and colors of the digital tapestries that flickered behind her.
It was time for the glorious showstopper finale. The music took on a tribal beat, ancient drums pounding like bones on dried skin. Kaylee shouted a war cry and spun around to a screen of multicolored rainbows, every hue imaginable. Her body changed from gold to silver, dappled salmon to stripes of jade and back again. She somersaulted, jumped, and then spun around, urged on by the audience’s claps on each throbbing beat.
With a clash of cymbals and timpani, the screen flashed and went black. Kaylee froze in an Egyptian stance, her arms zigzagging out in front of her and her breath heaving from the exertion. A thunder of applause erupted and she released her pose and bowed ceremoniously. Before her skin turned again, she snatched the cloak and spread it around her body, the hood casting shadows on the rose-colored patterns that withered on her cheeks.
Kaylee walked offstage quickly, ignoring the audience’s cries for more. Her skin sizzled and she needed to rest. A bodyguard guided her down the hall and into her dimly-lit dressing room at the back of the performer’s tent.Plopping down in the make up chair, Kaylee smiled to herself, satisfied. It was another show down, another audience enthralled. She was a born performer, and had found her calling in the grand scheme of the universe, a place where she was accepted, honored, and glorified. Her life was complete.
This was a big improvement. A year ago she was nobody, an ordinary teenager with no one to care about her, and she had risked everything to get someone to notice her. Even now the desperate scene plagued her dreams; the fateful day, the one instance of choice that would decide the rest of her life.
Carnival of Illusions: Sheer Destiny
Carnival of Illusions: Jester's Folly