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Flash fiction: The disappearing act


Today was the day she would disappear.

She’d rehearsed it so many times in her head, so many iterations, so many variables. For many nights she had laid awake, thinking about all that could go wrong, and what was needed to make it go right.

After all, what could she say about small towns? They could be stifling and it was no place to be keeping a secret. When she heard that the festival was coming through, she knew what it represented. Their tiny town’s population would double, or maybe even triple, over a period of just two days, with thousands of people moving in, and then moving out again.

She told Magnus that today was the day. As she spoke the words her mind still echoed with doubts, but Magnus reassured her in his steady way. He would support her. Together they had gone over every inch of her escape plan and this was her chance –she was ready.

With the decision made, the day was just a waiting game. She tried to keep her hours busy, to not overthink what was to come. Everything must be done in the right order, everything must line up exactly, to make sure that she could slip away unnoticed. To not leave any trace behind.

No witnesses.

---

The room was crowded, a sea of mostly unfamiliar faces. Waiters pushed through the press of bodies, offering wine and canapés. A full house was just what she had hoped for. Distractions galore.

A few friends and colleagues spotted her amongst the throng. Their chatter and small town gossip would have been a pleasant diversion on any other day, but today it was almost impossible. She tried to act normal, to not give any hints that there was something unsaid, something bigger going down.

When it was time, she made her excuses, slipping away and up the stairs where she waited for Magnus’ cue. This was it. Now she only had to follow each step, exactly the way they had rehearsed.

Magnus’ natural charisma easily commanded the attention of the room, and with all eyes looking exactly where he wanted them to, she took her signal. Ducking gracefully, left foot first, pulling her skirt and twisting it around her so it wouldn’t catch, she slipped deftly behind a mirror and through the small trap door.

From her hiding spot, she silently counted the movements Magnus would be making. A swish of his cape, a flourish of the hands then yes there it was. The gasp of the audience was palpable and the applause loud and sustained. A satisfied chill ran through her. They’d pulled it off. The great disappearing act: the crowning glory of the magic show.


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