The Master Carver

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One shot story, let me know if I should continue, thanks!

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1. The Master Carver

Pea watched the dark theater illuminate with life, she fled into the shadows although she knew she could never be seen.

          She watched from afar as a young man with a seemingly small carpetbag paced the many rows of seats pondering what to do about this place. So old and dusty, no doubt haunted.

          Pea scurried behind a stage curtain, her tiny chest fluttering with excitement and fear. Despite the sad truth that no one could see her, she at least liked to pretend to hide, this added to the excitement of the newcomer.

          Quivering in her pastel purple tutu, she poked her head from the stage curtain to find him on the show floor still pacing about. His face was full of determination and his head full of ideas. Pea wondered what lofty ideas this new theater owner had, she was sure that the place was to be demolished from disuse… but he was here, the lights were shining, and she was ready to perform.

          “Maybe I could do…? Or….?” He stopped in mid stride, facing away from Pea and out to the empty, ghostly audience. The lack of sound from his footsteps made the place unbearably quiet, Pea frowned, maybe he was going to leave?

          She decided to get closer. After all, there’s not a reason to hide and she might as well enjoy this man’s one-sided company while she can.

          Pea floated right up to him, really getting a look at him from behind. Before she made her way in front, the stranger whirled around and they were eye to eye. If Pea still had a beating heart, she would feel pounding in her ears. In the few seconds that they were staring at each other, she realized he was incredibly young, a man of nineteen or twenty. His hazel eyes showed years beyond that but Pea was more curious as to why and how he could see her, not why he looked young with an essence of wise pretense.

          “Perfect!” The young man walked right through Pea putting his hands up at the sight of the ugly, moth-ridden curtains.

          She laughed at the silly notion of him seeing her.

          The stranger reached for his bag and started to rummage through its contents. He pulled out something that looked like a whittler’s knife and started waving it in the air like a madman mumbling incoherent words.

Pea was confused and delighted!

          She followed him as he wondered around with waving the knife. Pea paused when she noticed the room began to change.

          The curtains flooded with life, changing from an ugly maroon color to a deep blood-red. They billowed and pulled together in a series of magical majestic movements leaving Pea more stunned than the many who used to watch her dance. All the cobwebs, dust and dirt all disappeared at the wave of his knife.

          He shook his flower-print bag till an entire red velvet couch fell out. A sequence of other objects soon came after. There was a beautiful red rug with black lions with roses in their mouths, stained glass lamps, and a large red chair. All of this went on the furthest back part of the stage much to Pea’s dismay. She thought that they were maybe props of some kind but the man just sat and read there as if it was a living room. She chose to forgive him.

          The stage was new again and the stranger lived in the loft above. Pea hated the loft. She didn’t know why, but she could never bring herself to enter it fearing the shadows of herself lurking past the stairs.

          She didn’t mind that though!

Pea fell in love with this magical man and his distaste in lofts and use of theater stages weren’t about to dissuade her from watching him work in her home.

Pea soon came to learn that the man was named Mort. Not Mortimer, or Mortikai, or Morty… Just Mort.

He spent most of his time whittling and carving dolls and mannequins, and sometimes seeing people in his ‘living room’.

They would come in with doubt and pain on their faces. As they spoke of their woes and pain, he would carve a figure that seemed to be the root of their dismay. Whether it was a deceased child, a cheating spouse, or their workplace, he always carved something that was the root of their problems. Once he was done and they were done speaking to him, he would kiss it and sudden relief would spread across their face, those folks may not have noticed, but Pea could see little spirits get sucked into the man from the woodwork with his kiss. She pondered whether he was doing good or harm to all their visitors…

Pea spent most of her days floating near the ceiling, either staring at the cracks above her, or Mort working on his carvings. His assortment of dolls and life-sized figurines slowly filled the seats, people would walk in confused but ignored this particular decoration. Her favorite figurine sat in the very front, in the middle of everything. She had a pastel purple tutu like her own, except hers was more elegant and mature. Little butterflies traced the curvature of figurine’s body from her waist to her bosom and her beautiful black hair was in a neat and tight ballerina bun, ribbons trailing down behind her. Pea wanted to be her, she was so familiar and beautiful.

 

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