Reversed Invisibility

It had once occurred to Lucian Blossom that he can safely wriggle himself out of a day-out with his darling Kate, by making himself invisible. Not many souls knew about this, but the Record Room was scheduled to receive a rather impressive collection of Alarian folktales from the mysterious kingdom of Inkshia, and since Lucian’s reading habits were legendary, he found the occasion too good to resist.

Perceptive about where Vivian kept her secret stash of “Artisanship herbs and spices”, Lucian tip-toed his way to her private storage, in search for the secret of becoming unseen. After having rummaged through an endless pile of supplies, Lucian stumbled upon a curiously-shaped bottle with “Vanishing Cream” pasted all over.

The label read: “Does not work on fabrics. Remove textiles before use.

Lucian wasn’t particularly fond of venturing about the place covered in goo, in nothing but his skin, but the idea of experiencing “a lazy reading day” in the Alarian Library seduced him at once. Without further ado, he removed all his clothes and dabbed generous amounts of Vivian’s “Vanishing Cream“ on every bit of exposed skin, watching himself disappear inch-for-inch before an ornate mirror.

And so had Lucian Blossom stridden across the polished corridors of Palas Lumina, with glorious thoughts of undisturbed reading at the back of his mind. On his way to the Record Room, he walked right past an unsuspecting – and rather disappointed-looking – Patricia Kate, who had been calling his name for minutes.

‘Today is my day. Today is “books before girls” day,’ Lucian guiltily whispered to himself, and proceeded onward with undetectable triumph. The doors to the Record Room Alarian Library opened in a soft, inviting creak. Not a soul in sight, thought Lucian, and hurried along to open the first volume of the “1001 Alarian Nights” folktale collection.

He was halfway into reading “The Merchant and the Tuuk’tan” when he heard a puffing sound coming from across the reading lounge. Lucian jumped to his feet, his baby-blue eyes searching for the source of the sound. The Record Room was empty, but the sound persisted.

‘Pffahahahaha!’ said the voice, and it was soon joined by a chorus of ooohs and aaahs completed by random bouts of girly laughter. Lucian Blossom craned left and right for the source of the laughter, but couldn’t find any. By all indications, he seemed to be alone in the Record Room.

‘What is the meaning of this?!’ chimed the unmistakable voice of Sii Mar’sii, the Schoolmistress to the Alarian School of Thought.

‘Tha’ boy ova’ there is naked!’ said a squeaky little voice, followed by at least a dozen laughs.

Lucian cowered himself behind the roof-scraping shelf of “Alarian History”, but again, he couldn’t see anyone. In a fit of panic, he snatched the empty bottle of “Vanishing Cream” and bringing it to eye-level, he began reading the fine print at the bottom of the label.

Use on humans has been reported to produce the following effects: halitosis, mad-Pelsinn disease, scurvy and reversed invisibility (i.e. the user will rebecome visible to everyone, while everyone will seem invisible to the user)

Lucian looked down at his very-visible naked body, while he knew that tens – perhaps hundreds – of unseen pairs of eyes were watching him from behind an unseen veil, visible to all but himself. But the worse, thought Lucian, was not the hundreds of invisible students looking at his obvious naked body, nor Sii Mar’sii’s outraged presence in the Record Room, but the thunderous, soul-crushing sound of Patricia Kate’s voice, echoing across the Alarian Library.


- Louise Blackwick

Advent 2017