Tales From the Split Worlds Episode 13: Preparations
Author: Emma Newman
Genre: Urban fantasy, magical realism
Frequency: Every Friday
A slave’s work is never done.
He stood outside of the restaurant, staring through the window at the diners within, trying to remember what it was like to eat steak. The jeans felt strange on his legs, but he knew that he used to wear them every day. The t-shirt and jacket were non-descript, but to him they felt bizarre. He couldn’t remember the last time he had worn clothes like these, he couldn’t even remember his name, but he knew he’d had one of those once too.
The silver band on his ankle grew cold and made his leg ache. His master was displeased with his loitering, he hated how he always knew. But it was the first time he’d been in Mundanis for so long, and he was finding it hard to focus on his task.
He looked down the road and saw a sign designed for the tourists pointing at the side street leading to the Bath Assembly Rooms. This was probably close enough. He stood back and looked at the sign that had first caught his eye, a painting of a fat chef holding up a large platter of mouth watering morsels next to a displayed menu. He glanced left and right, making sure that no-one was looking, and then touched the eyes of the painted man, speaking the bizarre words that had been beaten into him by his master in the Other World.
The faded paint took on a new lustre, the murky whites of the chef’s eyes cleared, becoming shiny and wet. The chef blinked once, twice, then winked at him, the rest of his face and body remaining flat and painted. The slave leapt back and cried out, staring at the hideously human eyes looking out from the painting.
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