It was the year 1913 when a mysterious magician first appeared in London. He was known as the "Black Wolf" since he always had on elaborate black attire and possessed a pair of eyes that glistened a striking blue.
I remember the first time I saw him 3 years ago. I was a boy of 16 years old and both mother and father bought tickets to see this sorcerer who had received much attention in only a few days."You will be amazed, dear boy, at how this man does his magic." Papa commented as he patted my soft head while looking out of the carriage window we were in. Mama nodded in pure excitement while she fixed my tie and her red dress as well.
Just like my parents, I was eager to see what this "Black Wolf" did that charmed and amazed so many individuals. My eagerness reached its peak when our carriage came to a halt and I rushed out, standing bewildered at the sight that awaited me. "Papa!" I cried, "Why are we in the woods?!" The 40 year old man helped mama out and thanked our driver before answering me. "Well, we were specifically told that this magician will be performing here and-oh! There is an audience over there sitting around an empty space." Mama led me in her arms toward s the audience that chattered amongst themselves and waved to us with high joyous yells. Everyone was dressed in elegant attire and I supposed that only the wealthy that had paid a lot were able to see the Black Wolf's show.
My parents sat on a large tree stump next to a couple while I sat on the floor, looking around the foggy forest to see if the magician we were all so eagerly waiting for would appear. Sadly, I couldn't catch a glimpse of him so I sighed and bowed my head, playing with a pair of sticks and crushing a few bugs with my thumb.
I knew I wasn't the only one who was desperate to see strange and peculiar things, for every now and then, a man or woman would yell, "We are all here, now! Please do come out!"But no one would respond and the silence would sting our ears like a bee.
An hour-or perhaps 10 minutes-passed and mama frowned with an angry look in her eye, "Very well," she stated with defiance, "If he does not come out, we must look for him ourselves."No sooner had the words escaped her lips that something black in the corner of my eye got my attention. Everyone froze and not one person dare uttered a word even as the man we had all been waiting for walked gently into the open space in front of us.
He was about 6 feet and wore a long black coat that trailed beautifully behind him. His mask was porcelain white and his dark gloved hands were thin and slender. He was thin and, I suppose, attractive to the opposite sex for the woman would giggle amongst themselves as they fanned their flushed faces.
Without a word, the Black Wolf began his show, taking of the top hat from his combed back hair and turning it towards us. With skillful hands, he reached into his hat and gently pulled out a black rabbit by the ears and we all clapped with grins at this simple trick. Next, the magician put the bunny back in his top hat and took out a red throated bird instead. The audience clapped a bit harder, watching with awe as the creature flew away back into the forest.
As we all resettled our attention on our magician, we saw him take off his cape and lay it flat on the ground. With rising suspense, we observed as ever so slowly, something underneath the cape began to bulge from the floor. Someone whispered a bit fearfully, “What is it?” and when our fear began to rise, the Black Wolf pulled his cape back to reveal to us a small deer that scampered its way towards an audience member. The man it went to slowly patted the animals head and gasped at how it was not an illusion, “I-it is real!” he professed with shocked eyes, “The deer is real!” Everyone cheered and clapped hard for this superb trick and they begged for more.
The magician bowed and stood still for a bit until the crowd grew quiet. Once they did, he reached into his coat and pulled out a large blade that glistened like new.
I held my breath and I think everyone did so as well as we saw the man in front of us place the sword over his neck...
One woman fainted and almost the whole audience, including myself and my parents, gasped in horror as we saw the Black Wolf sink the blade deep into his throat; blood spurting unto the floor and on his clothes like a fountain. “He’s mad!” Papa yelled in utter shock, but mama only smiled softly as she saw the skilled sorcerer pulled the bloody blade out and open his wound so that we could see his flesh and bone.
I could have run off, but something made me stay and watch what would happen next. Like I expected, the magician pinched his skin back together and bowed, showing us his wound which was closed and possessed no scar of any kind. The whole audience drew in a sharp breath and soon we all stood up, yelling with excitement at this unbelievable sight. “Bravo!” “Absolutely magnificent!” “What a man!” “I adore you!”
Mama was the only one who was upset as she watched the Black Wolf bow and ready to take his leave.
“Now, hold on!” She called to him and a few people stared back at her with confusion as she waved her handkerchief in the air, “Is that it? I paid quite a large sum of money not just to see three tricks and one quite gruesome one. I want to see another that will leave me in a daze!”
Papa apologized with an embarrassed look at the man in front of them, “Pardon my wife, Mr.-ah- Wolf, sir. She’s quite the stubborn type.”
“Stubborn! I’ll show you, John-“Before mama could finish, the dark man reached out his gloved hand and plucked the handkerchief from her hand. I stared with awe as he folded it gently in his hand and opened his grasp to reveal a beautiful red rose. He handed it to my mother and bowed low, turning with a whirl of his cape back into the fog.
Papa cleared his throat and fixed his vest while looking around at the spectators with a grin, “Well, then. Happy now, dear?” My mother did not answer and I suppose I was the only one who saw it. The look on her face that made the grin on my lips disappear slowly.
“Mama,” I added sternly as she couldn’t keep her eyes off the rose, “Mama. We have to go home now.”
“Yes, Adrian. I think we do.”
I suppressed a yawn as I read over a book on my lap, sitting on a comfy armchair close to a fireplace. Mama was sowing a new handkerchief for herself as she rocked back and forth on a rocking chair, looking up every now and then to stare aimlessly at the fireplace.
“What’s wrong?” I’ll ask quite rudely whenever she’ll do that, for she never was like this and I began to have strange suspicions.
“What on earth is it you’re thinking of?”
“Do continue reading your book, Adrian. Father will almost be home and I won’t have you eat supper till you’ve finished the chapter.” I snorted and buried myself in my seat, angry at being ignored.
It was half past six when a sudden knocking on our house door echoed throughout the empty room. Before I could sit up, mama did first and she hurried to the door, fixing a pin in her dark colored hair. When she opened the entrance, a brisk voice stated, “Are you Mrs. LuAnn?”
“Yes, I am.”
“This here is for you, miss.” I sneakily peered out from the side of my big seat to see what have arrived for mama. To my surprise, I realized it was a rose. A red rose.
“O-oh dear…” Mother muttered and she read a letter that came with the flower. When she read it , her cheeks flushed and she quickly stuffed it in her pocket. Thanking the man, she closed the door and hurriedly went up into her room, thinking to hide the flower from me. In truth, I was upset and unusually ill at heart. When mama came back down without the rose, I asked her quite innocently what had arrived for her. She merely shrugged and took to her sowing again, “A letter from Mrs. Dry. She wishes to see me again when we have the time.” I placed my book aside slowly and muttered under my breath, “Mrs. Dry has been dead for 3 years.”
“What was that, boy?”
“Nothing, mama! I was just reciting a line I read.”
At dinner, papa, too, realized something wrong with mama. She would poke her meat and frown to herself with a confused look.
“Oh! John, what is it?”
“….are you all right?”
“Never been better.” Mama took a forkful of her food and stuffed it in her mouth, “This is delicious! Please do eat, boys.” I hesitantly did and managed to take only a few bites as papa began to speak, “Well, then. Now that we’ve got that over with, I have good news for you both.”
Mama and I stared at papa as he uttered the three words that sent a shiver down my spine, “I bought tickets.”
“I said that I bought tickets for a special show that masked man is going to do again. Aren’t I great?” I forcefully smiled, “Papa…you shouldn’t have.”
“Oh, come now.” He laughed like it was funny. I turned to mama and saw her nod quite normally as she gently pushed her plate away, “How nice of you. May I ask when this show is?”
“It will be next Sunday and, thank the Lord, it will take place in a fancy diner close to home.”
I sighed, poking my folded napkin as mama conversed with papa about attending.
“How many people would be there?”
“About a few. Not so much.”
“Are there any woman that are attending that are like me?”
“Woman like you?”
“Yes.” Papa laughed a bit in confusion and he straightened his tie, “Dear, Desiree! There is no one in the whole world like you.” Mama seemed pleased with his words, but I quickly added, “Actually, Sebastian’s’ mother is going. I say it’s good for her since she’s single. The magician might conjure up a spouse for her or he might even find a thing or two in the woman himself. I must say she is the beautiful type and anyone can fall head over heels in love with her.” Papa seemed astonished, “Adrian! I never thought you’d find something in older woman! Go upstairs and finish your school work.”
“B-But papa! I wasn’t talking about me! See, mama got a ro-“.
“To work!” Papa cut me off and I growled, pushing my seat away and walking up the wooden steps.
I dislike that magician. If he does anything to steal my mama, I’ll get him for sure!
Mama fixed my tie eagerly as her, papa, and I swayed to and fro in our carriage ride.
“This is silly,” I muttered with a soft whine, “Why must we see this man again? I think he is nothing but a joke.”
“Now, now, Adrian,” Papa stated as he looked out the window, “This is solely for entertainment and I know how much you like to see magic shows.”
“No more complaining!” Mama scowled at me as she smoothed down her dress, “Now tell me how old I look with this dress on.” I thought for a bit and shook my head in disapproval, “I say you look 10 years older than you really are. Honestly, mama, you should’ve worn a simple dress like Sebastian’s mother.”
“Oh is she really that grand!” Mama protested as she pouted, her young face looking, indeed, 10 years older. “Yes, mama.” I added as I loosened my tie, “In fact I think she’s going to have a date tonight with this Black Wolf. I won’t be surprised if they get married tomorrow!” Papa slapped the back of my head, “What’s this silly talk about marriage with Ms Yarn and the magician? What’s going on in that head of yours?”
“I hope it stays like that till for the rest of the night, “he looked out the window, “My! I think we’re here.” With eagerness and excitement yet again, I pushed my way out and stumbled over a rock, slicing my knee on the ground.
“Adrian!” mother called as she picked me up from the floor fast, “Oh, darling! Are you all right?”
“He’s fine,” Papa mused and he patted down my suit, “We’ll just ask someone to make it disappear, right boy?” I grumbled and followed my parents inside a fancy diner with the name ‘La Batista’. There were few people inside, yet everyone wore the same excited expressions on their faces. I sat on an empty seat facing a stage where I now realized had a strange large box in the center. At once, the thrill began to build inside of me yet again, “I wonder what he’ll do this time!” My eyes glanced to the right where I now realized a strange man in black turning towards my direction and watching eerily behind a white mask. It’s the Black Wolf! I thought with excitement as if though I had just seen a ghost. He was leaning against a post hidden from view and so far, only I could see him.
But….was he watching mama? I turned slowly and noticed mother fumbling with her gloves impatiently and looking at the stage with the same eagerness I had. I turned back to the magician and when he saw me, tapped his top hat lightly and turned away.
Was he watching me instead?
Immediately, the lights above dimmed and everyone began to applaud as a caped figure walked in, his strange eyes glowing brightly from behind his mask.
Like a week ago, he wasted no time at all and immediately began the show.
I sat at the edge of my seat as I saw him take out two swords with jagged edges and thrust them one by one into his abdomen. Like last time, everyone gasped but I grinned, watching with awe as his real blood did spill from his wounds and spill on the floor to from a large puddle.
The Black Wolf pulled out the weapons he had and placed a gloved hand over his wound, healing it in less than a second.
The audience applauded loudly, ready to watch more dangerous things that no magician we had ever seen could do. The man up front finally pointed to the large box he had and walked towards the audience, glancing over at each woman who-most likely- wanted to be a victim for his little trick.
I didn’t expect anyone to raise up their hand, but mama did and my whole body went slack as the masked man took her gloved hand in his own and led her unto the stage. “Papa!” I spoke low but harshly, “What is he-?!”
“Oh, do hush, Adrian. This is just a little fun!” I snorted and watched with narrow eyes as the Black Wolf placed mama into the box and shut it tight. He then took out a match from his coat and, lighting it, set the box in fire.
Papa stared to laugh but my jaw dropped to the floor with a horrified look, “Papa! He’s going to kill mama!!”
“I said ‘hush’!” Papa grumbled and he shook his head in disbelief. With an even louder snort, I watched with slight nervousness as the box was completely consumed in flames and became nothing but ashes.
The magician bowed and from the side of the stage, led out mama who beamed with bright eyes and laughter. Everyone was completely amazed and so they began to hurry to mama and ask her ,” How did you get out?!” and, “Are you a ghost?”
They were silly questions yet I couldn’t help but wonder how mama did get out in the first place. Turning to the Black Wolf who went off to the side quietly, I couldn’t help but stare at him as he bent down to examine the ashes. With a sigh, he took a hand full of some in his palm and raised it up, two little black birds flying from his hands.
I gasped and that’s when he turned, but I pretended to not have see anything.
This man was strange…in fact…I don’t even think he was human to begin with.
I had nightmares that night. I dreamt mama was running away from home. In my dreams, I kept calling out to her but she wouldn’t stop running. Mama! Mama! MAMA!
With a gasp, I woke up and looked around my dark room fearfully. Everything was quiet, yet I couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong. With silent steps, I jumped off my bed and hurried out of my bedroom door, opening it with a stern face.
The hallway was partly lit, yet the candles were going out. Looking around, I stepped slowly down the hall and towards mama and papas room. The door was lock, yet that didn’t stop me from entering.
My pale, shaky hand did just that and I peered inside, calling, “Mama? Papa?” There was no answer and I walked in further into the room, “Papa?” He was asleep, snoring loudly and twitching his mustache.
“…Mama?” I turned to see no one next to him and the left part of the bed where mother always slept neatly made. “Mama?” My heart began to beat fast and I ran out of the room, rushing downstairs to see if she was getting water, “Mama!!” There was no answer and I know realized that my nightmares had come true, “MAMA!” Foosteps were heard upstairs and papa rand down to shake me roughly, “What’s wrong with you?! Why are you down-?!”
“Mama’s gone!!” I sobbed, “She left with the Black Wolf!!”
“Wh-what?” Papa’s face turned white and he ran upstairs, calling loudly all over the house, “Desiree! Desiree! How could you!!”
1916 (present day)
It has been three years since mother disappeared and I am afraid to say that she remains missing till this very day. I am now 19 and don’t do much except take care of the house when papa is gone and make sure the servants don’t do anything idiotic like breaking another vase.
I like being alone and not being pestered with any distracting thoughts…oh! Your probably wondering what happened to the Back Wolf, I suppose.
Well, when mama was pronounced missing he disappeared as well. I like to think that he left her alone in a desert or that they’re both suffering right now. My anger is still here and it’s been forming for quite a long time now. What I do to settle it is walk around the house or around town…in fact, I think I’ll do that right now.
With a stretch, I get up from my armchair and crawl lazily to the entrance door of my house. It is now 1:36P.M in the afternoon and I heard there’s been news of something big going around since yesterday, yet I don’t know what it is. Perhaps in town they can tell me and finally set my mind at ease. Outside, the sun is barely showing and small drops of rain are beginning to fall on me. I don’t mind much, a little rain won’t hurt anyone.
Like a kid, I splash on a few puddles that start to form and kick a few stones with my shoes. If mama were here, she would probably tell me to stop acting like a child and act more like an ‘adult’. If she were to say that, I’d tell her that her actions were childish as well and to leave me alone--oh wait…she already did.
With a grin, I hop on the sidewalk and look up, gasping at a large poster right in front of me. With shaky hands, I touch it softly to make sure it’s real and my mind begins to pound. .The poster has the words: RESURRECTED! BLACK WOLF COMES BACK FROM THE ‘DEAD’! COME SEE HIM TOMORROW NIGHT WITH A SHOW THAT WILL MAKE YOUR BLOOD RUN COLD!
So…this was what everyone was so hectic about…the damn magician is back in town and plans to steal yet another married woman.
Like a mad man, I run back home and kick the door of my house open, my eyes landing on a servant girl who carries a strange black package in her hand. “Give me that!” I growl angrily, “Don’t take things that aren’t yours, you little-“
“Don’t be mad, Mr. Adrian! A man came by right now when you left and said to give this to you. But you were out, so I planned to put it away till you came.”
“Get out!” I snap back and the girl quickly leaves, her eyes nervously glancing back at me.
With a huff, I tear the long package open and stare a black fancy felt box with confusion. Shakily, I open it and swallow hard as a dried, red rose appears before me. “Oh no…” I swallow while hesitantly taking a ring in the box that I knew well from my past. “Oh no, no, no…” A letter falls on the floor and I grab it, reading the writing with wide eyes. This is what it says:
My condolences for your mother.
With all due respect,
My breath quickens as I look at the ring, “Damn you…” the tears spring to my eyes, “DAMN YOU!” Mothers ring has blood smeared on the diamond. This time, it’s not the magicians fluids that spilled.