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Pop up Palace by Mel A. Rowe | flash fiction | #thesideshow

Smiles mirrored face after face. They entered in pairs or as families, young, old, and yet to be born. Excited voices echoed, as bright eyes shone. Steps quickened towards seats, their eagerness contagious.

All cocooned within one tiny popup palace.

In the shadows, onyx eyes scanned the filling chamber of new souls seeking pleasure and a moment free from their troubles. Perhaps a glimpse of paradise’s amusement. To which ‘He’ would generously provide.

But not for the pittance they’d paid to enter.

Over his shoulder he nodded to waiting staff in glamorous gowns of glitter, painted smiles, and haunted soulless eyes. The music heralded their entrance amid eager applause and the spot-lit halo became the focal point for all that excited energy.

His chest rose as lungs filled. Palms raised. Lips moved emitting a whispering hum. Invisible words wove along inner walls that crept like smoke beneath the bleachers. It touched shoed souls, bent around ankles, and disappeared beneath clothing. The audience oblivious, enchanted by the show.

Chorus exited.

Lights on.

The audience blinked, scratching heads at what they’d seen?

Nervous tittering began as they rose from their hot seats. Their created problematic realities re-burdened statures, squinting at daylight to re-focus on another world.

Some looked back, glimpsing at glitter remnants gliding on a sunbeam. While children pulled parent’s hands to stay in the world of coloured lights, music and magical wonderment.

He smiled from the shadow’s edge, watching the departed. Each leaving unseen tokens behind – souls will be sold to join his entertaining world of illusion.


Mel A Rowe is a writer and a wannabe weekend wanderer, trying to not get too lost in the Outback of Northern Australia.

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