Project 52: Toppling Atlas

1 short story a week. 52 weeks a year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week Thirty Four: October 18th - October 24th

Amanda's Nocturne

     The year is 1789, and pools of light from finely worked iron lanterns reflect off the waters surface in the canals in Venice. The way the rivers glowed, it seemed as if they were alive; the city itself, excited. The wind carries the smells of October, and an army of masks marching in the streets speaks of Carnival. Loud music is drown out by even louder laughter barging out of every window and door in the town. The entire city seems to be drunk, and enjoying themselves.
     A large white building with big red doors in the rich district sounds awkwardly muffled as compared to the rest of the city. Windows and front doors both tightly shut and covered from the inside, this is a party for the upper class. The secretive nature of the party only appears to be under the guise of social elitism at first. Watching the mannerism of the people behind the female masks, we can tell not all of these are women of nobility. It's quite common for the wealthy and bored to invite pretty young peasant girls to parties in order to seduce them for a night.
     These poor girls were drunken sheep, never feeling the puppet strings being wrapped around their wrists by all of the wolves. They would dance about, and take the drinks offered to them, before one of the male masks would take them by the arm to a back room. The band inside played loud enough that none could hear, but through the haze of the wine and the elevation of the noses, no one would have worried anyway. This goes on for an hour or two, before the alcohol starts to fade, and the rich take up their positions for a group dance. The music turns to discord for a second as the large red doors fling open to allow a couple draped with black cloaks.
     An overweight man, who probably owns the estate, throws his hands up in the air a few times, and the music hesitantly starts back up. Walking with their heads to the ground, the onlookers can only see the gold and silver of their masks reflecting in the dim light from under their hoods. The portly man starts to throw his hands up in anger, and the band starts to play a song of faster pace. Still stuck between curiosity, the other people dance hesitantly, as they watch the couple proceed to the middle of the ballroom.
     Arriving at the middle, the couple cast of their cloaks, and the crowd explodes into a symphony of exclamation. The male wears an off-white mask with a long protruding nose, decorated with music notes. His eyes are completely black, much like the suit he wears. Black paint drips from his mouth down his chin, and his hair is messily slicked back to his scalp. The woman wears a smaller mask of silver an elegant vinework, with the same matching music notes. Her white dress is form fitting, and her dainty body distracts the men from her equally black eyes, and the black paint running out from them down her face. They gently touch hands, and the man flashes an inky grin.
     They start to dance around the room, and the crowds voices shrink as their eyes grow in size. Sometimes seeming suspended in air, the couple dances more beautifully than anything these people have ever seen. Spinning her lightly in his strong arms, and her circling him with a mysterious grin, the couple never miss a beat. Watching in ecstasy, the collective crowd starts to froth and bubble as they nervously giggle and twitch as if being hit with sensual pangs. A sea of arms reach out from the wall of masks, and reach towards the dancers, but they gracefully sidestep the tearing fingers and continue their dancing. Both smiling with black covered teeth, a hysterical laughter is heard from the woman as the man pulls her to his chest. Roaring his head back, the man joins her in laughing.
     The people are vibrating now, screaming and yelling, trying to reach the couple. The reverberating sound of an instrument string snapping is heard for a second before the crowd turns into a mob, and charges forward, foaming from the mouth. The woman claps her hands, and the lights blow out. As shadows rush to take their places in the lack of light, the couples rise up like waves and crash into the darkness, merging, and disappearing. When the lights come back on, the rich and the poor alike look around in confusion, returning to their senses, and flustered by the feelings in their stomachs. Not knowing what to do, half begin to cry and half begin to laugh. They sit in mass hysteria for a few minutes before coming to their senses, and getting up to leave. They walk to their homes defeated, and sleep off the shame from something they cannot remember for the night.
     They say on some nights, in the beautiful city, if you find yourself on the right bridge in the right kind of moonlight, you can see them dancing on the water, feet so graceful they don't even produce a ripple. For just a few fleeting seconds, you can witness both true beauty and horror, as the two are only different by a hair. I warn you dear reader, to look away and run if you can, for if not, you'll end up like me, walking the bridges every night for just one more taste of what I experienced at that masquerade ball.  


  1. It certainly is :]

    With other elements. Love, adultery, the wonderful era of venetian masquerade, and addiction.

    This was my For Halloween story :]