Travis Hisstoe jun30-19_3600.jpg

I was loosing purchase, dangling above a dark chasm. Travis Hisstoe The Sharlatan swung down with a rope. His green half-cape and cloak fluttering madly, I was sure he’d collide into me. But he landed softly on the ledge above.

Travis Hisstoe jul01-19_3600.jpg

“We’ll be out of here in a min,” he said, grabbing me by the collar. The ledge wasn’t that big and he was starting to slide himself. With his small build, the young man, I was sure, couldn’t hold me up. With his free hand, he unrolled a strip of paper from his mouth. “Cheat sheet”, he smiled as he tossed it away. He did with wayyy too much flourish, and we both slid off the ledge!

Though we were falling to our deaths, he took a moment to make sure his cloak was secure. I was screaming at the top of my lungs and clutched at him. I thought I had his hood, but was holding on to handfulls of straggly mullet. As we fell away from the light, the last thing I saw was him with an abashed grin, pulling a vial out of nowhere.

Suddenly it was cold, and the rush of wind slowly halted. “What’d you do this time?” I asked. We were rising. The cave entrace was getting nearer. With the light from above I could see around us again. We were in a cloud! It cushioned us up and out, back to solid ground, then disappeared.

X of Aeronautto_3600.jpg

“Well, let’s see it!” said Sharlatan. I opened my satchel and withdrew the X of Aeronautto. For the first time in centuries, it’s gold and jewels sparkled in sunlight.

Suddenly, the Sharlatan snatched it from my hands. He jumped back and held it up dramatically. “Sorry, friend! You’ve been shenanigot by the Sharlatan!” he said, with his sly smile, wind touseling his ever-messy dark hair. Had this been his plan from the start? Like a stage magician, he revealed a handful of purple powder and continued, “This device does not belong in a mu—”…

Before he could finish he was interrupted by the powder, sputtering sparks, then bursting into flame. The Sharlatan had vanished, taking the bejeweled “X” with him!

© 2019 Kelly Ishikawa