The man walked down the hall, ignoring the calls and the flashes of light, making sure the hand he held would ever get the chance to let go. Even though the hand was small, the weight of it felt heavier than imagined, even weight present upon his shoulders as he was focused to never let go of the that hand he held his with a soft grasp. He looked down to the child, offering her a warm smile, letting her feel comforted as she experienced a new type of evening, one of lights and the commotion of people calling out questions. Cameras flashed everywhere, his name called out from various individuals as he simply ignored the questions, focusing rather on the night ahead and of the child beside him.
As he picked up the small girl and rested her on his hip, the beautiful woman beside him laced her hands through the child’s hair, kissing her forehead as they ascended the marble stairs. The man knew what tonight would bring, how it would end, how the new world would start. He knew, and the woman beside him knew, that the future he was going to bring upon himself tonight to their lives, it would contort their once fairytale reality. They both knew the reality that they would face tomorrow, one that even they were unsure of as fear only laced its way through their hearts.
As a child, he was raised to be the best he could, leaning the principles of the public, and as he grew up, he realized how to articulate his very career: how the public wanted a shock, how they lived for things not even science would explain. Having taken the public’s desires for an unexplained event, he crafted his hobby into so much more than a career, but his life.
The woman held his hand, her silk gloves reminding him of her hair, how he loved running his hands through it, but tonight, her hair was pinned back like a queen’s, the black locks mimicking gentle waves. Her eyes were a piercing green, looking towards the entrance of the main room, her hand grasping his tight for reassurance. She knew what would happen tonight, she knew how to go along with her future. She knew the troubles that would arise in three hours. It was not just him that understood how to appease the public, but this woman as well, one who stood by his side every night...who would stand by his side one more night.
As the family took a turn to the left, security guards opened a set of doors for them. The doors having closed behind them, the hall before the trio stretched long, the hollow walls pale and the hall dimly lit. Not another soul was within the hallway, causing the reporters outside to seem like they lived in a different reality, one filled with only commotion.
Tonight would be a full house, the President even attending along with countless other world leaders. After all, being the most successful man in the field of magic, the man knew his way around captivating an audience from different ends of the social spectrum. His name was internationally famous and he knew how to keep it that way as countless royals and leaders found his performances awe-inspiring. But the presence of those people didn’t frighten the family, no, it was where the father would be once the show was ended.
As they passed through a set of doors, the man set his daughter down, watching as she ran over to the couch of the room, hopping on as her mother adjusted her diamond jewelry. He knew he wife did this not to make sure everything was in place, but because it helped calm her nerves. After being her partner not just on stage, but in life, he knew what his wife did when she needed to keep her cool and not stress. She was never one for the fancy jewels and silks, but when on stage, she was a woman dressed in the finest sets of jewels and the most expensive gowns. Like tonight, she wore a set of jewels thought to be gone in the depths of the ocean and a gown made of dark blue fabric designed by a man who many appraised.
The couple looked to their daughter, watching as she kicked her shoes off, holding her stuffed bunny close as she closed her eyes. The very definition of innocence within a world of sin.
Their daughter had no idea what tonight would bring for the family. She had no idea that the man she loved, who she looked up to, who took her on adventures, and who spoiled her like crazy, who read her stories of a world of dragons and elves was going to never see her again. The very man she called her father would be nothing more but a memory in just a few short hours.
The man kissed his wife’s temple, whispering the three words he told her when he pulled out the ring, getting onto one knee. As he said those words, his wife nodded, pleading with him to rethink his plans of tonight. His wife begged him to rethink just one last time, but she too knew that this was a task that was to be done and decisions were already made. No matter how much it would break both of their hearts, they knew this night would always come and tonight was that night.
He wasn’t just any magician, for he was a man who studied the ancient writing and legends before ascending to the top ranks in the field of magic. But he didn’t believe magic was just a phrase for something you couldn’t understand. Traveling the world for years with only his passport and enough to money for a meal, he learned his way around, learned languages thought to be dead and spells said to be merely silly words.
The task tonight was simple: present the public with a magic trick so real, that not even the best magicians could repeat it. This was his life’s work, the item he would present tonight was not just some silly prop, but something he had spent years and years perfecting. This trick was not just magic, not just the silly term of something unable to be explained, but something so real that it would tamper with the fabric of reality.
He had never used it to its full potential, he had never dared try it like he would tonight, but as the minutes passed by and his time with his family grew thin, he knew that the path before him could end in various ways. As his daughter fell asleep on the couch and his wife granted him one last kiss, he took out the small key his from his pocket, whispering instructions to his wife as they both looked at their sleeping daughter.
She would never understand what the item he had meant to him, why he had to leave, why he did the trick he did. She would grow up believing her father died in a tragic accident that very night, that something went wrong and he was lifeless before help could arrive.
She would have to believe a lie.
She would have to grow up thinking her father never got to finish his life’s work. The family name would hold no more value than failure and tragedy after tonight, and both parents had come to accept this. As a man called from the other side of the door to come out for the show, the wife put on her best smile and her husband took her hand, leading them out of the room, and as they walked, he saw the item that would take him to another world, one he wished to unravel the biggest mysteries of all time and space.
The lights blinded the couple and they walked onto the stage. Rising to their feet, the crowd clapped for the greatest magician of all times. Next to appear on the stage was the woman this man spent all of his hours loving, she walked over to the prop covered in a black fabric. Behind was something he spent years on, a simple mirror with engravings of the ancient cult of those who were believed to have shifted into wild animals and disappeared centuries ago.
The wife threw the fabric to the ground, the crowd looking at the mirror in awe, and as the man stepped up to create the final act of his life, he saw, from the corner of his eyes, his daughter, smiling and waving at her daddy as he vanished into the mirror, into a realm...a realm she would soon enter as well.