Unmasked – Sunday Photo Fiction

Here is my offering for Sunday Photo Fiction this week, inspired by the photo below.  Why not take part? And why not visit Alastair’s photography and writing blog to take a look at his other photos…?

Copyright - Kattermonran

Copyright – Kattermonran

– Unmasked –

I should be ecstatic. Earlier, as I draped myself in liquid silk, I had imagined myself gazing down at the old me, a rat-child from the slums, and smiled. If only I had known.

If only.

It was only yesterday. I had trawled through the crooked streets behind the shopping district, searching for the perfect foil to my emerald gown.

The shopkeeper’s eyes had lit up at my request. He disappeared into the depths of his ramshackle shop, finally hobbling towards me with an impossibly glamorous box, triumphant.

He pushed it into my outstretched hands, let me open it and grinned at the gasp I had no time to hide. “For you, my lady, this mask is free. A gift for your first night at the palace.”

I protested, but not too hard. He bounced on his feet, ushered me out of the door, slapped the ‘Closed’ sign against the glass and turned off the lights behind me.

I had the perfect mask.

Perfect for clearing my vision. Perfect for revealing the dirty, twisted, conniving, bitter, preening souls of the sycophants thronging the ballroom, desperate for royalty’s favour.

And I was one of them.

 

Mouse – Trifecta Week 87

Below is my offering for week 87′s Trifecta challenge word, which is ‘charm’. As you will see from the relevant blog post, the challenge is to write between 33 and 333 words of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose, based on the 3rd definition from the Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary. This week the 3rd definition of ‘charm’ is:

– to control (an animal) by charms (as the playing of music)

Here’s my offering below – I hope you like it! Please check here for the other entries!

*****

– Mouse –

Graham can charm anyone. It’s just how she is.

Of course, her name is the best ice-breaker ever. ‘Oh, Mum is American,’ she says, as if that explains everything. In middle-of-nowhere, suburban England, it works like magic.

She accompanies that breezy statement with a flick of her perfect blond hair. Everything is so effortless for her. I adored basking in her reflected rays when I was younger. I was ‘Graham’s friend’. Often it was ‘Graham and Sarah’, like we came as a package, which we did. Still do, really.

All that innocence and mystery started getting to me when I reached that awkward teenage stage. I got spots – she developed breasts. My chest remained flat as a pancake for so long, even my mum wondered if I should go to the doctors, muttering about hormones.

I really resented all the attention she got from boys. They couldn’t keep away – she was perfect, a vision of youth and beauty. I stood in her shadow, getting her cast-offs who were just not interested in a short, stocky, brown-haired, teachers’ daughter.

I was jealous. I admit it.

Then, I wasn’t. I must have been about fifteen. I turned up at Graham’s one day, unannounced. I’d left my cherry lip-gloss in her bedroom and I really, really needed it. So, I sneaked into their house, quiet and unobtrusive, like the mouse that Mrs Edwards chose to call me.

There was Graham in the kitchen, cowering in front of her shouting, red-faced mother.

‘You will not do that ever again! Do you hear me? When I tell you to cook the dinner, I mean prepare it properly, not just heat up leftovers in the oven!’

And then she swept all the plates, the cups, the saucers, the food, everything off the table. Crockery smashed, cutlery bounced and food spattered, mostly over Graham herself. She stood, dripping in gravy, head down.

I backed out, unseen.

Envy cured, instantly.

Trifecta