Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
Daye and Night By Mollie Parkin
“Mr. Daye? Mr. Daye... th-they’re waiting for you on stage-“ a small and rather timid man peeped a fraction of his head around the dressing room door, as if not intended to disturb - but he was growing impatient, nonetheless.
William took one last look at his worn-out complexion in the mirror and sighed. His limp skin was aged with sadness, and dark lines branched out from underneath his eyes like roads leading to Everywhere and Nowhere, all at the same time.
He turned his chair away from the door and faced the perfectly-groomed puppet sat poised in the corner on a red-velvet cushion. A smile grew like a tree across his face and made shiny, red apples of his cheeks. “Come on Nightingale, it’s our last show together. Let’s make it count.”
William’s agent, Mr. Ellis, had scouted William whilst he was performing at a comedy fayre in London, 10 years prior.
Half-a-dozen different acts each stood centre-stage - same humour, same dull presence, same jokes – most of which he hadn't cared to remember. He sighed, making his way to the back exit, when a final act shuffled nervously on stage – a scrawny adolescent, draped in a black blazer that made his shoulders look out of proportion to his head. He shifted back and forth and was fidgeting, not quite knowing where to place his hands, all the while standing too-far-to-the-left of the stage.
The audience sniggered and murmured rude comments, when all of a sudden an unexpectedly loud voice diffused from the corner of the stage, silencing the room.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to present... Nightingale!”.
William disappeared off stage for what seemed like a lifetime, and whispers from the audience began to flood the room again. Finally, William came striding back on stage - but this time, his hands were occupied.
He was cradling the most beautiful puppet Mr. Ellis had ever seen. Her locks were golden and perfectly curled in place. She had bold, red lips that matched her beaming red dress that was delicately dusted with silver sequins that sparkled like stars. Her sapphire eyes were lined with thick, dark eyelashes that branched out, like roads leading to Everywhere and Nowhere, all at the same time.
‘A ventriloquist! Genius!’, Mr. Ellis thought. Both, he and the audience fell in love.
“May I present to the stage... Daye and Night!” Mr. Ellis’ thick, Cockney accent spread itself across the top of the screaming crowd.
William and Nightingale took to the stage as the crowd came alive and swallowed them whole with every step. William looked directly into the mouth of the audience and laughed as emotion flooded his eyes.
“It’s been a pleasure”
He fell to the floor, leaving Nightingale to fly free from his grip.
Something quite extraordinary happened that night.
Some say it was too good to be true – wilder than your wildest dreams. The night the Sun and the Moon collided...
And turned Daye into eternal Night.
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