a story about a ritual to summon a carriage to take you a half-forgotten time or place

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The Dusk Carriage

a story about a ritual to summon a carriage to take you a half-forgotten time or place

To call the Dusk Carriage, first, name your destination. Then, prepare your payment: a keepsake, a book, a toy--some link to the time and place you will visit. Knock seven times on the inside of your front door and open it. The coachman will be waiting, his black horses dark and silent against the twilight sky.

No matter where you live, the Dusk Carriage will take you down to the shore. The wheels of the carriage and the horses’ hooves will make no sound as you roll through the lapping shallows. It will drop you off outside a black lacquered coach house with heavy black window hangings.

Inside is your destination: a childhood bedroom you have ached to return to, an old treehouse you played in, a cabin from a trip half-forgotten. You will be able to walk through it as it was then, breathe in the scents of old wood and musky cloth, touch the scratchy blankets and hear rain against the windows.

Then the coachman will open the door and say, IT IS TIME, not in words you can hear, but a voice that rolls through your bones. He will bring you back home and take his payment, and when the door closes behind you, you will forget everything you saw.

You may call him as many times as you wish. It’s possible you’ve called him many times already, and Every now and then, when you try to remember what ever happened to some trinket or keepsake, you’ll think unbidden of a twilight carriage ride, of lapping waves and silent hooves, of rain drumming against the window of a room long-forgotten, and you will wonder what happens to the places we remember, and to the people we were when last we visited them.


Short story written by Peter Chiykowski

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Story prompt taken from a photo by Aditya Saxena

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