Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Black Wings

It's time to start the story shenanigans today! The first story of the blog is one from yours truly, and we'll just call it a light warm-up compared to the rest of the awesome stories that'll be coming your way over the next 12 days! Enjoy!

Black Wings

“Alice! I thought I told you to make tea,” Miranda Annalese stood at the frame of the door, hands on the hips of her frumpy, slightly moth-eaten dress. “I swear, you get to be like your mother with each passing day. Skittish, forgetful wretch…”

Alice glanced up, the small leather-bound novel held gingerly in her hands. In her truthfulness, Alice hadn’t heard anything her aunt had said since she’d touched the book in her hands. She’d gotten lost in the tale of fairies, blackened forests, and forbidden kisses that rose goose bumps on her arms. Glancing up to her aunt’s expectant glare, Alice smoothed her face out, placing the expressionless mask she knew so well in place to please her aunt.

“Apologies, Aunt Miranda,” Alice whispered as she stood, bowing her head slightly as she dipped down with her skirts held at her sides. It always had to be prim and proper, nothing less.

Miranda waved a hand dismissively, adjusting her glasses. “It’s quite alright, darling. Let’s go,” her gloved hand hung out toward Alice.

Alice hesitated, eyes scanning the room for a bookmark to keep the story where she left off.

“Could I have a moment, Aunt Miranda? I’d like to organize my mess.” Her hand swept the room, showing the random strewing of books she’d left in her wake.

“Humph, yes, yes, but hurry. The ladies will be here any moment, and I do not wish to stall them on their tea simply because my niece is lost in her fantasies. Women should not read; it gives them ideas that cannot be reached,” Miranda made a disgusted face at the book nearest her, flicking it with her hand. Turning, she left, the door quietly snapping shut behind her.

Alice counted to five before she sighed, setting the little book back on the shelf where she’d first discovered it. As she turned, she paused at the frostbitten window, soft petals of snow drifting onto the ground. She pressed a palm against the chilled glass, gazing out the window without truly seeing.

“Maybe if you thought for yourself once in your life, Aunt Miranda, you’d see how much we can reach,” she whispered, nibbling on her lower lip as she struggled not to cry. It wasn’t fair to be confined to tea parties and corsets, bearing children and housekeeping. Just once in her life she wished she could do something wild, something that didn’t stay within the limits of what was expected of women. Her eyes turned to the trees, watching as their limbs became coated in the translucent ice.

Her eyes narrowed between the trees as something moved. It was soft, almost too subtle to be noticed. Alice pressed closer to the glass, tempted to open the window and peer further.

He looked nothing short of a god, standing in the snow with nothing but a pair of trousers chopped off at the knees. His skin looked unimaginably pale, a milky ivory that reminded Alice of honeysuckle. His hair was short, wind-ridden, and dark, like his eyes. Yet something about him made her think of the porcelain dolls she owned, something gave her the impression that he was fragile.

He turned his eyes up towards the heavens, two black figures spreading from his back. Alice gasped, staggering back from the window. She grasped onto the chair, her eyes as wide as saucers.

“Wings!” She half-screamed, her voice echoing off the walls and into the distance as the door opened behind her.

“Alice!” Miranda had returned, perhaps angrier than before. “What have you been up to? Everyone is waiting on you, and you play these ridiculous games by hiding up here-“

“He had wings!” Alice turned to her aunt, grabbing onto her arm. “I swear it, Aunt Miranda, he had black wings as dark as the devil himself!”

Miranda stepped back, shaking Alice off her arm. She regarded her for a good, long moment. “Are you feeling alright, child? You have been reading far, far too much. Come now, a good round of needlework will fix your head right.”

But Alice had already turned back to the window, pressing against it as she searched for the dark angel. Her eyes narrowed on a figure on the ground in the snow, the small heap quiet, lifeless.

“Aunt Miranda, there’s a man down there in the snow,” Alice breathed, not daring to tear her eyes away from the window. What if the body vanished, too?

She heard footsteps approach her side, a firm grip taking hold of her wrist. “Now see here, child, I will not stand for this behavior. You will come down this instant and-“

“Will you look out the damned window?” Alice yelled, taking both by surprise. She’d never cursed, not once in her entire life. To curse in front of a guardian was stepping into the first ring of hell barefoot. Miranda, still too shocked to administer punishment, turned to the window, squinting at first, then letting her eyes widen like Alice’s had moments ago.

“Heaven almighty, there’s a body out there. Alice, call the police, quickly,” Miranda turned to face Alice, watching her niece shake her head.

“No, he needs help now. You call,” Alice turned and swiped her coat off the coat rack by the door, draping her shoulders as she pushed past the maid and ran through the open promenade door. Her boots trudged through the deepening snow, the hem of her skirts dampening with each passing second she spent in the bitter cold. Her heart was pounding viciously in her chest, threatening to drown out every other thought as she approached the motionless body lying facedown in the snow.

“Hello?” Alice called to the man lying in the snow, slowing her run to a trot, stopping as she stood with her toes touching the body. “Hello?” She reached out, her gloved hands shaking terribly. With all the force her light form could muster, she pressed into the body, turning it over and screaming in shock as a pair of lifeless, clouded eyes met hers.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking about this on and off all day, and finally had a chance to check it out. Great job, great story. Looking forward to the next 12!