Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Short Story Challenge : Late For the Ball - Heather Gray

Last night I gave the authors a challenge - create a short story about attending a ball {no other instructions were given}. We'll be featuring these stories over the next few weeks. ~Angieleigh

Late for the Ball

Oh no! I'm going to be late to the ball! Fashionably late is one thing, but this is beyond the pale!

Myra looked at herself in the mirror and studied what she saw. Her silver-blonde hair was piled high atop her head and decorated with blue feathers. Her gown was the finest French satin a girl could find in London and of the softest sky blue. No evening primrose for me! I've seen animals make messes prettier than that color! Her blue eyes sparkled with… Let's face it. That's dread you see there, girl! Her skin was ivory, and her complexion was smooth. She reached up and pinched her cheeks to add a little color and then studied her lips, full and red. Father always said I had the mouth of a harlot. Too bad I finally got old enough to understand what he meant.

Tonight was the night. She was supposed to meet the Earl of Allegory. Her parents had already signed the betrothal contract. She'd never met the man but had heard much about him. He had black hair, darkly tanned skin, the blackest eyes and was said to be able to see right through a person to their very soul. Myra was sure the stories were untrue. No man could be quite as menacing as the rumors made the Earl seem. Then again…

Myra ran down the stairs, her slippers making no sound on the grand staircase. Jenkins, the butler, was waiting for her and opened the door with a grand bow. "Thank you Jenkins. Say a prayer for me. I'm to meet the devil himself tonight," were her parting words to the faithful servant. Her parents were not accompanying her to the ball. Her father was at his club, and her mother had retired early with another headache. They signed away the rest of her life but couldn't be bothered to introduce her to the man themselves.

When she arrived at the Atelier Ball, the footman opened the door for her and said, "Best wishes, My Lady. I'm sure it'll work out." How she loved her staff! They treated her with all the kindness that her parents failed to do.

"Thank you Lewis. I shall survive it, I'm certain."

As she reached the top of the grand entrance, the Atelier's butler announced her. "Lady Myra Sedulous." His voice rang out across the ballroom as she entered. Her name wasn't important enough to warrant much attention. However, being late as she was, more than a few heads turned in her direction. Not accustomed to the amount of scrutiny she received from the other guests, she quickly made her way over to the refreshments. She was about to reach for a glass of lemonade when a voice stilled her.

"You must be my betrothed."

Myra turned to look at the man. Taller than any other man at the ball, he was also broad-shouldered and fearsome in appearance. Determined to smile, she instead felt the corners of her mouth droop as his eyes burned into her. "And you are?" she asked, a quiver in her voice.

He threw his head back and laughed, but it was not the laugh of a man meeting his betrothed. It was the laugh of a wild animal about to devour its prey. "Why, I am the Earl of Allegory, of course. And you, my dear, are all mine."

Fear sliced through Myra's middle. She reached a hand out to the refreshment table, hoping to steady herself. In the process, she knocked over a cup of lemonade, and her glove became soaked with the sticky mess. How shall I ever escape this madness?

Just then, a cacophony arose from the other side of the ballroom. She could not see what was making the noise, but the sound grew increasingly insistent, drawing her toward it. Leaving the Earl standing at the lemonade table, she ran toward the noise.

With a start, Myra awoke and reached a hand out to silence her alarm only to find it wasn't where she normally left it. No, wait a minute. You're the one who's not in the right place. Looking about her room, she saw her stuffed bear and tiger sitting on her bed. "Good morning Lewis. Good morning Jenkins," she said sleepily. The alarm finally stopped buzzing of its own accord. She'd fallen asleep at her desk again, this time studying for an algebra test. Ooh, gross. I drooled on my math book and my hand. Reaching for a tissue to wipe up the mess, her eyes fell on her clock, and she realized she'd set the alarm for the wrong time. Oh no! I'm going to be late!

Myra's mother poked her head in around her bedroom door. "You can't get out of this algebra test, and I can't go with you. You're going to have to face it alone, but I hope you'll be able to do so with a smile on your face. I'm sure you've done your best to prepare for it."

"You're throwing me to the wolves Mom, and you know it."

Her mother laughed as she moved down the hallway and away from Myra's room. Nonetheless, her singsong voice reached back to where Myra stood, still wiping her hand and book off. "Think of it as a lovely ball or something. I'm sure that'll make it easier to handle."


  1. Darling story, very enjoyable. Speaks to so many of us who stressed over a test or two! Brought a smile to my Tuesday morning. :)

  2. I love it. Sure was not what I expected when I found it to be a dream. Very enjoyable.