Reading Sundays: SHADES OF UNREALITY (Part 7) a short story by Cynthia Sally Haggard

While these thoughts stirred in my mind, Augustus opened a small door in the wall of an entryway and brought out an object shaped like a large platter, such as we would have employed to serve peacock, or boar, at one of our great feasts. However, this thing that was supposed to move around objects squatted on the floor quietly.

“It goeth not,” I remarked. “Is it dead?”

“You have to push its button,” said Pandora, jumping down onto the carpeted floor, and coming to stand beside my chair.

I gazed into her sea-green eyes. What in Heaven’s name did she mean?

“It’s that round thing there on the front. You press it.”

I trusted her not. She was up to some trick, and I would not be a party to her wiles.

“Would you do it for me?” I asked Augustus. “I like not the sound of this. It smells of the Black Arts.”

Augustus leaned forward and depressed the round disc with his paw. Immediately, the platter shaped object moaned deep in its throat ,and began to move onto the carpeted floor, devouring bits of it as it went.

“How can that be?” I asked, unable to tear my eyes away. “Before he was dead, and now he lives.” I threw myself down on my knees. “We must give thanks!” I exclaimed.

Pandora rolled her eyes. “Oh God,” she said, as she jumped up onto the marble bench that separated the carpeted area from the guardroom.

“We must pray,” I repeated, ignoring her rudeness. I turned to Augustus. “What you accomplished was miraculous, like Our Savior bringing Lazarus back from the dead.

”He scratched his head and frowned. “I just pushed a button,” he remarked.

“Don’t bother,” called Pandora, from the marble bench. “She’s never heard of electricity, or motors, or anything like that. You’d be wasting your time on lots of tiresome explanations.”

I seethed, like a pot on the boil, anger making me forget my fear. Just at that moment, Roomba careened into the long velvet train of my plum-colored court gown and growled. My belly lurched as I clutched my arms together across my chest. Was this a form of torture the Necromancer had dreamed up for me? Was the platter going to eat me for dinner? [Continued next week.]