Lumiere: Intro to Book One of The Illumination Paradox Series

1.9K 33 24


A brass mechanical elephant strides toward me glinting gold in the amber setting sun. Its trunk is raised; steam clouds chug from its nostrils. The carnie at its controls peeks out from behind the breastplate, shouting for me to move out of the way. 

But I don't.

I just stand there, frozen in the midway, staring up at its jewel-plated armor and sparkling gemstone eyes. Imagining I'm one of the lucky children riding aboard its copper saddle, beneath that bright pink parasol that shades its back.

Frantic, the carnie pulls back a tusk and the mechanical beauty trumpets, sounding a little bit tinny, yet magically -- elephant!  Mouth wide, showing off its ruby-crested tongue and a row of splendid ivory teeth.

Oh, how I love this machine. The way its gears clank around inside its head so perfectly, unlike the gears inside my own.

"Out of the WAY, KID!" the carnie shouts again.

I hear him but still I don't move.    

"Eyelet!" My mother's hand bites down hard on my shoulder, snatching me out of the way. A house-sized plume of dust rises under the elephant's foot, marking the spot where I used to be.  

"You could have been killed!" She shakes me by the shoulders. "What were you thinking?" She drops to one knee. "Was it a daydream? Or were you having another of your episodes?"

I shake my head wondering if was an episode and not just my curiosity that held me there—it's getting so very hard to tell. I've been having episodes so much more frequently, lately. But I mustn't let her know that.

Her face sours. "Oh, Eyelet, what am I to do with you?" She crushes me hard to her chest.

The lavender scent of her hair overwhelms me. Nothing, I think. It's not up to you. Father is going to fix me. As soon as he perfects his machine.

"But Mum," I push back, changing the subject, feeling too big for such coddling at nearly nine. "Did you see him? The elephant, I mean. Did you see how positively delicious he was?" 

"I did." She smiles.

"The way he moved. It was perfect." I spin around, watching him waddle up the midway. "And his trunk." I turn back. "It even blew steam."       

"I saw that," she says.

"And they have a ferris wheel made out of a gigantical gear!" I show her with my arms. "They're giving people rides in its teeth, if you can believe it."

"I can't—" 

"I know!"  

She grins.

"And have you seen the long-legged clowns—there's oodles of them—walking about everywhere—" I put a hand to my mouth and whisper in her ear, "well, they're not actually long-legged they're short legged walking around on stilts, but I don't want to spoil it for the other kids."

She laughs.

"And one of them, a short one, a clown I mean, flew right up and over my head." I show her, stretching my arms out into a half-moon. "He shot right out of the mouth of a cannon, he did. Grease-painted face all smudged up with soot, wearing one of the biggest grins I've ever seen!"  

"You're enjoying yourself then, I take it? Carnival is a success?" 

"Brilliant." My chin snaps toward my chest. "Only thing that would make it better is if Father were here." I look back at the gates. "He is supposed to be coming, isn't he?"

Lumiere: A Steampunk Fantasy: Book 1, The Illumination Paradox SeriesWhere stories live. Discover now