I haven't seen a thread like this, so why not start one?

Post your short stories, essays, and the like here!

I'll start.

We had to do an assignment that was much like the Canterbury Tales: We were put into groups, and had to devise a frame story. Ours was that each character went to a hospital for a different reason. It had ben a busy day, so it had gotten late. The doctor (The narrator for the frame) observed each character, when suddenly a tropical depression hammered the building. Each of us were locked inside until it went away, so each of our characters were to tell a story. This is mine - an old magician.
You young folk think you understand hardships – ha! I’ve suffered through more than you could in a hundred lifetimes.

I remember my youth as if it were yesterday – the flaring lights, the clinks and clacks of roulette machines, the chitter-chatter of men and women on the streets. A glorious time, those days were. Vegas had been booming, and business was good.

Ah, but every magician has his beginning, and mine was in a small town.

From a young age, I’d wanted to do magic, ever since I’d heard the name Lee Grabel. My father talked of his shows, and told me of his floating piano trick, his signature show-stopper. I was stunned that people could do such wonders, and wanted to take it up.
Not only had I wanted to mystify people with magic, but I wanted to help people. I wanted to help them see that magic is real. Ah, adolescent ignorance – isn’t it a beautiful thing?

I tried, I failed, and I picked myself back up again. It was an endless cycle that never ceased to end, not until high school. By then, I’d become proficient at card tricks, which never failed to impress. I took up more magic, learning about disappearing boxes, sawing people in two, and so many more.

The time came where I was ready to do my first show. Some friends of mine helped make posters, and we spread the word.

Not many people attended my first show, as we’d expected. Even so, sadness vibrated through my bones. Nevertheless, I pushed onward, saying that the show must go on. I performed, the people were shocked and awed, and it was a fantastic show.

Afterward, we had made a solid $10 on the first show. Just looking at the profits made my spine tingle. What amazed me more was the look on the audience’s faces – pure shock. Something inside of me said that this was the road I was to go on. I pressed for us to continue onward with this, and so we did.

More shows, more money, more people amazed by my skills and prowess. I developed more and more tricks, more and more deceitful slips of the hand. It fooled everyone, and it was working for me. My tricks were starting to fool even me.

Eventually, I managed to get a slot into Vegas, one of the largest, most prominent cities around. My heart had stopped when I was offered to go to a show there. I had the feeling that this was it; this show was going to change me.

How it was to change me, however, was a different story.

I went into the city, all the lights bright and glaring, and headed towards the Fremont Theatre. Mustering up all my confidence, I went inside, and began to prepare for the show. I had developed a new trick, one that would make it seem like a woman was floating up from the ground.

Drowning under waves of excitement, I step out onto stage, all dressed up and ready to roll. The moment I went out there, the people began cheering, screaming, and whistling. The show went on.

After the show, I packed up, and was about to walk out, when a little girl in a wheelchair rolled up to me on the way out. She had the face of a cherub, so soft and innocent. It seemed unfair, for her to have to be in a wheelchair.

She looked up at me, her locks flowing from her head in a stream of perpetual gold, and asked me to make her legs better.

My heart was immediately torn from my chest.

What do you do when someone asks you to do the impossible? I couldn’t do it; I wasn’t magic. I thought I was making people better by making them smile, but until this moment, I had no idea that everything was really just lies and cover-ups.

I stuttered and couldn’t make a proper sentence. Her eyes seemed to waver – her guardian’s face began to contort with anger. How do you explain to someone that there is no magic, there are no fairy tales?

Immediately I felt a blow to the jaw, the space growing hot with pain. I fell to the floor, the girl in tears. Her guardian wheeled her away, leaving me to writhe in pain on the floor.

The next day, I gave up the magician work. I thought I was helping people – turns out I was only helping myself. The lies I’d spun, the sleights I’d performed – they deceived my mind, deceived the better judgment in me. Well, then, it’s time for a last act of magic, I thought to myself.

I grabbed some rope and made the ever-so-infamous shape with it. Tying it high on a rafter, I got up on a stool, and fastened it around my neck.

People like me didn’t deserve to live a good life – people who lie and cheat their way through it all.

I kicked the stool, and felt a pain unlike anything I’d felt before. Soon, blackness enveloped my vision, and everything was gone.

After what felt like forever, I opened my eyes to a blinding whiteness. It hurt, but only momentarily. I wondered if it was heaven or hell.

I look around, observing the white room. I thought I was floating above the floor, until I felt a pressure under me. I was on a bed.

A door opened, and in came one of my friends. He asks if I am alright, and all I can do is nod. He asks me why I did what I did, and I explain to him what had happened. With each passing word, his expression fills with grim and darkness.

When my tale was told, he looked me in the eye, and tells me it isn’t my fault. Hah! What gentle words of encouragement, eh? He looked to the floor, as if he had more to add to this foreboding atmosphere.

I ask him what is ailing him, and he explains that my wife had a child just moments ago. I ask him why this is such terrible news, and he says that she died during childbirth. I could only nod in understanding.

And in that moment of blackness, I realized what I had to do. I was to take this child, and begin my life anew. I was given a second wind, by the gracious breath of God.

I got a decent job, began working myself up the corporate ladder, and soon began living a steady life. Ah, but the boat is always rocked by the waves of the sea – my daughter ended up getting cancer, and here I am now.

I still smile at the time where I thought I was doing good in this world. I was arrogant, bull-headed; I didn’t see the light in what I was doing. Ah, but eventually I saw the light, and began anew.

You see, you young’uns, lying and cheating is never the way to go in life. Ever heard of the saying “What goes around, comes around?” It’s very true, children, very, deadly true.