Story Preview: The Golden Age

The Golden Age
A Smuthunter Story

            “Watch the crystal Sir Roland, look at it swing back and forth, watch the crystal, its glimmer and flash cannot be ignored, just like my words brave knight, watch the crystal and hear only my words.”

            The dark haired woman, with the alluring green eyes of a temptress and a face to match, framed by thick black curls that fell to her shoulders and a violet scarf adorned with thin coins that was wrapped around her head, held the crystal up just above the dashing knight’s eyes.

He was dressed in high boots, thick blue hoes, and a jerkin of white, with his sword and dagger hanging from his belt, but otherwise he was not dressed for battle. His baby blue eyes followed the crystal like clockwork as it swung, the pensive crease in his forehead, just below his well coifed fair brown hair, smoothed and the edges of his mouth turned into a vacant smile.

            She, moved closer to him, her red peasant blouse hung from her shoulders, displaying her buxom figure, belted by a scarf of black silk that emphasizing her narrow waist and matched the shade of her long flowing skirt.

            “Yes Sir Roland, watch the crystal, there is only the crystal now, see only the crystal swinging back and forth, making you tired now, making you weak now, too weak to resist the words of Madam Sylvia, too weak to resist the enchanting power of my voice. Surrender to me now and forget all others.”

            Sir Roland’s eyes fluttered, desperate to stay open, desperate to fight the sudden heaviness washing through his mind and body. He looked as though he wanted to look away, but not entirely so.

As his eyes closed, the mysterious Madam Sylvia eased him down into a plush chair in her garishly decorated chamber of floral scarves hanging from walls of wood adorned also with dried flowers and herbs all about.

Behind them a caldron hung in the fireplace, and a large crystal ball sat in the middle of a wide table, surrounded by potion bottles and other mysterious charms and statues, some of gold, others of bronze, silver, and iron.

“Cut! Close the gate, we have our coverage, let’s move on.”

Before the call was made, ‘The Lady Sylvia’ bent down and whispered into her fellow actor’s ear, “Wide awake Ryan, that’s a wrap” and his eyes opened. He laughed and shook his head.

“I swear Millie, if we had to do that scene one more time I think I real would be your love slave.” He smiled that famous Ryan Chance, leading man smile of his and walked out from under the lights.

He didn’t see his costar, Millicent Van Horner’s sly wink and her own sharper smile, “Oh Mister Chance,” she was putting on a hammy Judy Garland voice, “whatever would you do?”

“Darling,” he looked back at her, “we should be worried about what the wife would do.”

There weren’t a lot of honest or loyal men in Hollywood; but he was one of them. Still, loyal or not, that man was looking down her top every chance he got.

But, as she walked to her trailer having wrapped her shooting for the day, who could blame him. She could act, but it was her other assets that had gotten her in the pictures. Her ability to fill out a sweater was what led to her filling most, if not all of her roles.

She also laughed about how wrong he really was.

A man like that, with temptations like hers, and with all of the actual hypnosis she’d employed in private with him and in rehearsal, having him would be like plucking a ripe peach; all she would have to do was reach out, give a little twist, and he’d be in her hand.


“Pray tell, are you Madam Sylvia, the fortune teller?”

Lady Constance, platinum blonde, demure, and angelic in her modest yet absurdly flattering white gown, with its daggered sleeves and lace, sounded both desperate and helpless.

“My lady, yes I am, how may I be of service to you?” The buxom peasant witch was dressed as before, now with her crystal necklace dangling down to rest above her prominent breasts.

“I’ve heard you can see what other cannot, and you can see the future. My suitor has vanished, none can find him, not his family, not the other knights, no one knows what has befallen Sir Roland.”

Lady Constance was lithe, poised and elegant. Her brown eyes were soft, truly delicate and bright.

“Yes I am she, and you must be the Lady Constance. Truly, your beauty could make you none other. I am at your service, how may I serve you milady.” The mysterious witch rose and took a step towards the virginal noblewoman, thin golden bracelets and silver bangles dangled from her writs and clanked as she did.

“Please, oh please, tell me why he has forsaken me, is there another woman, why he has fled this land without a word. Why would he abandon his oaths… or… or perhaps…”

“No, no my sweet, calm yourself,” the witch’s hand closed over the distraught maiden’s own, “who could be lured from one such as you, hush. You will find solace with me, for I can see into the heart and see far afield as well, come, now do not fret.”

As she spoke, Madam Sylvia’s hands moved up and down, shaking the delicate blonde’s hand and wrist, then one hand moved to her elbow, and the other began to move in front of her face.

“All secrets can be revealed if you know where to look, and you must gaze out, out from the heart to see what I can behold.” Lady Constance felt the hand on her elbow pushing and pulling her in time with the witch’s waving hand and her body began to sway to and fro.

“Yet,” suddenly the motions stopped and the witch was adjusting the lace collar of the easily spellbound girl’s gown “you know well many such secretes, the call of beauty the beguiling effect of gentle dignity, the simple magic all women posses.”

Both of the dark haired woman’s hands began to move back and forth snaking in and out, “I will show you my power now, and you will see the truth for yourself in me, in my crystal ball, yes? You long to sit and stare into the future, guided by me, led by me as I lead your eyes now into sleep.”

She snapped her fingers and the Lady Constance fell into an overly plush and stuffed couch in the corner of the room.

Then, in a sudden burst of excitement Sir Roland stormed into the scene, an old man with a long white beard and staff in his hand behind him.

“Step back wicked enchantress, your charms have been undone!” Sword in hand the gallant knight posed with his sword raised menancingly as the old man waved his free hand.

“Awaken child, be free from your bewitched slumber.” His deep baritone voice was gravely and forceful.

In the commotion Madam Sylvia had stood looming over her sleeping prey, and as she covered her mouth in shock at the hero’s return she whispered, “waking on your cue Beverly, waking now” just in time for the pretty blonde to open her eyes and display bewildered shock, and then confused joy at the sight of her suitor’s gallant return.

“Cut and print. That’s a wrap on Roland people, we’re done.”

After the applause from the crew and the glad-handing Beverly Forester, who after a few glasses of wine was considerably different from the demure innocents she and other bottled blondes were constantly forced to play pulled Millicent aside.

“Millie, I hate to ask, but… but is there any way you could come to the house this weekend and teach me those tricks of yours. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’d love to know just what you were studying and what you did. It made things so much easier, and made this tripe so much more fun.”

Millie wasn’t old, not in any sense but Hollywood’s. She still had her curves, she still had her looks, but her look itself had never been leading lady. She’d been a femme fatale in a handful of almost good pictures, and a competing love interest in a few more decent ones, and if she didn’t die in the end of each she was always the cautionary tale, always outdone by Grace Kelly types time and again.

Being friends, or friendly with, a younger woman whose studio contract was better than anything she’d ever had or could hope to get wasn’t high on Millicent’s to do list, but the girl wasn’t asking her to drinks and shopping.

“Oh Bev, you’re so sweet, yes, I think I could teach you some of my tricks, they’re quiet easy and I think you’ll be a natural.


“Ma’am, I’m so sorry to ask, but by any chance are you Millie Van Horner?”

Quite the cliffhanger to leave you on in the preview isn’t it? Why not see where it goes…

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