Monday, December 28, 2009

Caging the Tiger by Michelle Houston

Kyle ran his fingers over the crinkled edge of the letter that he had read so many times—he knew the contents by heart. In high school, his teacher had encouraged the class to reach out to someone in the community, someone in a field they admired or with whom they shared a common interest.

He’d chosen a young magician named Meric. At the time, he couldn’t really explain what had caused him to write to the illusionist. Certainly it wasn’t any great belief in magic. Having grown up in a series of foster homes, many of them not the best environment for a young man, he had long since lost his innocent belief in such things.

Yet the illusionist drew him.

So he took a chance and wrote him a letter, never expecting to hear back.

Now, almost five years later, he had well over a hundred letters and postcards from Mark, bearing postmarks from all over the world. Focusing his attention back on the letter he held, Mark’s latest to him, he closed his eyes and recited the words aloud, needing to hear them, imagining what the other man’s voice sounded like.

Kyle,

I have finally managed to book a show in your town, and would like to invite you to attend. Enclosed is a set of five tickets. Please, feel free to invite some of your friends.

I do hope to finally meet you. It’s been such a pleasure the last five years.

Sincerely,
Meric/Mark


Opening his eyes, Kyle rubbed his thumb over the signature, tracing the gracefully flowing lines. So much had changed in the last five years. It had only been a year into his pen-pal relationship with the magician that he discovered a dormant side to himself.

Now, he wondered if there were others like him. Thanks to the press about Meric’s new act, he had to wonder if his friend carried the same secret in his heart. Could the other man also turn into a tiger?