October horror shorts: The Boutique for Lost Souls

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Boutique


Editor’s note: I’m placing my note this week up front instead of at the end. This is so I can thank in advance our wonderful word hostess Denise for allowing me the honour of choosing this week’s cue word (thank you so much, D, joy 😁). The word I have chosen is boutique – I love how sweetly it rolls off the tongue. A French word – but one used in the English language.

My entry for boutique goes down a somewhat typical route for me: a dark and ghostly tale, but one I think is ever so tender and loving. The Boutique for Lost Souls is a tale about ghosts and running and dancing and falling in love. It’s origins are in a story I was once working on about a secret shop in which the visiting customers had to shrink to the size of a mouse before entering. It was loosely inspired by tales such as Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, and The Borrowers. The Boutique for Lost Souls has ended up a much different beast, though it still explores the theme of being or becoming small. And so here I present to you two versions of it: the long version, and the short version.


Ford 🙂

The Boutique for Lost Souls (long version)

I once was a dancer who learned how to run, to run from a monster who was after my blood, and each time I turned he was one pace closer, and I felt his vile breath like fingers on my back, as I ran and ran until I thought I might collapse, on and on, and on, the monster always there, bigger than I, taller, wicked and agile, with spinning discs of barbarous eyes, with cutlas teeth and grotesque smile, a tongue versed in spells and ancient rhymes – it was all I could do but run for my life, like a dog with its tail set alight.

And at last, near-destroyed, my lungs seething with fire, I came to a town at the end of the world, and in it a boutique with windows aglow – a hideout I prayed might save my soul; a shelter, a safe house, a temple for the pursued – and so I pushed open the door and asked for refuge.

And inside was a woman who smoked a cigar, and her eyes brimmed with wisdom, perception and guile, and she said to me: “You’ll be safe here in my little boutique, if you hide somewhere good and don’t make a peep!”

And I saw many objects of antiquity and art: instruments and barometers, timepieces and charts; optical lenses for near and far; microscopes for bugs, telescopes for stars; violins and cellos, pianos and harps; paintings and drawings, books and cards; and a music box which when opened by the woman, held a tiny ballerina spinning to Swan Lake, and I – a dancer alike – beheld this twirling figure with my lovestruck eyes, as the woman urged me on: “Hurry up and join her, there isn’t much time!”

And I duly obliged, and scampered inside, not questioning how I shrank to such a small size, as the woman closed the lid and stepped aside, and puffed on her cigar as the beast stormed inside her little boutique at the end of the world, and how he hollered and bellowed and boomed and yelled: “Where is that fool dancer, tell me, old crone, or I’ll break your boutique into thousands of pieces, and then one by one your snappity-snap bones!”

And the woman pointed a finger to a door which said: LAST EXIT FOR FOOLS, and there the beast fled into a boundless chase of the phantom of a dancer which I once was – and may he chase my steadfast ghost as the fool master of the hunt he will always be – while I, safe forevermore in the music box, with my ballerina soulmate dancing at my side, ballerina, ballerina, O angels did you see her, how she mended my heart when it was broken in two, and a pirouette later, said: “My beautiful dancer, I so love you.”


The Boutique for Lost Souls (short version)

“Take heart if you are running from an ancient curse

For here is a love story set in verse

About monsters and ghosts and a charming boutique

And how love and dancing may set you free

Do not despair you will find that place

Of sanctuary and a loving soulmate.”


20 thoughts on “October horror shorts: The Boutique for Lost Souls

  1. I really like your beautiful blog. A pleasure to come stroll on your pages. A great discovery and a very interesting blog. I will come back to visit you. Do not hesitate to visit my universe. See you soon. 🙂


    • Thank you. Yes, I agree many more stories are in there. It’s as tempting to go back and revsit as it is to walk into a real boutique in town selling trinkets and curisoities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Apart from a Huge , Phenomenal well done you wrote about an ancient curse…so here you go from the Book of the Dead (let’s give them something to run from) :

    “Book of Secertes for him who is in the netherworld, initiating the blessed [deceased] into the Mind of Re… secrets of the Nether World, mysteries such as how to cleave mountains and penetrate valleys…secrets wholly unknown”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! And yes again to those books and curses. The runner is indeed cursed by the ‘monster’ (or cursed by the actor who unleashed the monster) with no reason or crime stated.

      “How to cleave mountains and penetrate valleys” is astonishing to be stated, and powerful. What images, what mystery!

      Spira my good friend, thanks as always for your thoughts and words here 😎

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank so much, FT, and what a brilliant thought! In the piece I mentioned ‘timepieces’ and a ‘piano’ … so maybe some mini soulmates are inhabiting a Grandfather clock, or the insides of a grand piano?
      Love it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A right Fabergé of a Six, one brief view reflected in the longer… (btw, totally flashed on the ‘mirror scene’ from ‘Enter the Dragon’ towards the end of the ‘wider’ Six.)

    Gots to try me the semi-poem thing, which is archaically intimidating* even at this stage of my foray into the world of fiction writing.

    Love the phrase, ‘…at the end of the world.’ a most universally evocative name/description.

    That, (creating/discovering/fashioning) a standalone-cool phrase/name/description has got to be the best thing about this whole writing thing.
    Sure, we all have the skills to paint enjoyable word pictures and elicit a range of emotional responses in the Reader, but it’s those times, often when we’re not trying (at least not consciously) ordinary words combine and become more than the sum of their parts and one can’t help but smile and say, “Damn! Good ‘un”

    *nothing else in my experience writing would have been predictable if view from my interests and attitudes pre-Doctrine blog. Somehow, (I attribute this to the Doctrine), I have not been subject to the ‘wait, I can’t do this/everyone will laugh and make fun of you’ that tends to be an element in my base personalty. But poetry and such… it does make me slow down, and think, ‘ok are you sure you wanna try this:’ lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, the mirror scene was pretty powerful, haven’t seen it in a long time.

      Even if you do it for the hell of/don’t keep it/don’t post it publically/burn it … writing poetry is so liberating.

      My Six this week didn’t know if it wanted to be a poem or a story, and is a bit of both in the end – as you say, ‘semi-poem thing’

      Thanks as always for the words 🙂


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