“The James, at Lake & Honor, welcomes our luxury guests to this exclusive all-inclusive weekend. Be sure to check in at the front desk – we wouldn’t want any… oversights, would we?”
“Look at that.” “What?” “He’s… Well, he’s smiling.” “He was laughing only a few minutes ago.” … “We’ll have to find his fiance.” “What? Why?” “He was getting married, Miss Jones, I’m sure the bride will want to know he’s dead.”
“Has she done this in front of an audience before?” “What do you mean?” “Radio talents don’t always hold up on stage. I just want to be sure of my… investment.” “Don’t you worry, Mr. Connor, I’d say your investment is safe.” “It had better be, Mr. Reed. It’d better be.”
One of the other girls found her and assumed she had passed out drunk. The champagne bottle nearby was empty and no one questioned it until the governess tried to wake her up. She was dead and everyone panicked.
She paused as she reached out, the jellyfish pulling back from her. The group glowed with a soft blue light and shimmered as they floated around the room. She took a deep breath, partially to steady herself and partially to prove to herself that she wasn’t dead.
“It almost feels like your real wings, I’m sure.” His words echoed in her mind with every step as the golden feathers brushed against her bare skin, every touch a reminder of what he stole. It was a game, but she refused to play by his rules.
The smoky ring swirled over him and the deserted road, as if it knew he was the sole witness. Who else could he tell at two in the morning? No one. But he knew, from the twisting knot in his gut, that someone needed to know.
“What?” Her hand wavered over the girl’s ear. The girl shrugged and started to walk away, but she grabbed her arm. “What did that mean?”
The girl smiled at her and said, “I get it. She chose you for a good reason, didn’t she, Violet?”
Violet tightened her grip, searching for the meaning behind the girl’s words. She let go: “I don’t know what you mean.”
She wasn’t quite queen yet, but no one was particularly surprised by how eager she was to inherit the crown as her father became weaker and weaker. Her stepmother was furious but didn’t dare speak out for fear the princess’ wrath would fall on her too. Survival outweighed common sense in this court as everyone waited for the coming storm.
The energy throbbed around and through the outer hall, emerging at the back and dying off as it reached the front, with small sparks and a whine. The observer stood at the deck rail and carefully avoided the walls; they eyed the semi-hidden door in the smooth wall surface, taking a deep steadying breath.
“Let my hand be steady, my heart be strong, and my mind be firm.” The blade shone dimly as it wavered in her hands. With a deep breath she lowered her arms and gazed through the mist. “Today is a dark day. I’ll be fighting the fear before I even reach the battle.”
To the crowd, they were pretty bows. To her, they were part of a high-fashion straitjacket, and the people who forced her into it weren’t going to let her out any time soon.
The sheer fabric over her eyes did little to obscure their route through the building. She supposed it was purely ceremonial, until she noticed the other girls voluntarily keeping their eyes tight shut.
Stay tuned for more prompt updates!