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A Storm of Butterflies

January 05, 2021  •  1 Comment

  A Storm of ButterfliesA Storm of Butterflies
 
 D
appled sunlight played across her vision before she even opened her eyes, and she lay there a moment trying to remember how she came to be on the beach. She could smell the calm waters and feel the sand beneath her, hear the wind in the poplars above and the distant cry of waterbirds, and she tasted strong wine as if she had only just sipped it seconds before. Ah, yes. The jug of ’29 Red they’d swiped from the kitchens last night during the revelries in the Great Hall. That would account for ending up sleeping out of doors, and for the headache as well. Through aching eyelids she became aware of silhouettes flitting across her vision; not the gentle twinkling of sun rays through trees, but darker and more insistent shadows, and she startled now as one blotted out her shuteye view and something tangible landed on her brow. Gasping, Violet opened her eyes and bolted upright.
  “It’s only a butterfly”, came the sleepy voice of Marina, who was sitting nearby, staring out over the water. “There must be hundreds of them. Look.”
  As her shadowy assailant flew circles around her, Violet brushed sand from her face and smoothed stray hairs, and looked about; she was astonished to see the air filled with fluttering insects, mostly blue butterflies, but some of differing shapes and sizes as well. She was also astonished to discover she was wearing an exquisite and expensive Elven cloak over a one-of-a-kind goddess gown.
  “Oh, Hades! Marina! I’m wearing Her Ladyship’s new costume! We’re as good as dead! Just look at you! We’ve got to get back to the castle!” She scrambled to her feet.
  Marina glanced down at her pricelessly bejewelled frock and shrugged. “It shouldn’t really matter now regardless. Not after what happened last night.”
  Violet felt a chill despite the humid morning air hanging thick around them. Last night… she struggled to think, as if in a fog. “The wine? Nobody will even notice. Her Ladyship won’t…”
  She was interrupted by a derisive snort and sideways glance from her co-conspirator. “The wine, Violet? Really?” Marina got to her feet and swayed in place for a moment, smirking. “You don’t remember, do you?” She batted at a butterfly intent on tickling her eyelashes.
  “Tell me.”
  Infuriatingly, Marina resumed staring out over the lake.
  “Well, go on then,” insisted Violet.
  There came no response.
  After several tense minutes of silence, Violet snatched the culpable wine jug from the sand where it sat empty, and huffed down the narrow pathway through the stinging beach grasses toward the shoreline. She desperately needed a drink of water, and a quick wash might restore her senses and her usually even temper. Splashing barefoot into the freshwater shallows, she began rinsing the jug, careful not to get her pilfered garment wet. Still mindful of the ominous situation, she brooded and frowned at her reflection. Why was Marina being so distant and vague? They had been ladies-in-waiting together going on eight years now. Surely they were friends. Yet Violet had the distinct feeling of being at odds with Marina this morning. She couldn’t shake a creeping feeling of unease.
  As if to exacerbate her mood, suddenly a rumble of thunder roared its displeasure from over the lake, making the very air accomplice to its upheaval. Violet’s coif stood on end, and her instincts told her to back away from the water. Lightning bolts lit the horizon with zig zags of warning. Clinging butterflies seemed to swarm her very soul, and whisking them aside, she quickly filled the jug with fresh water.
  She heard a muffled cry, as if in a dream… surely Marina was still alone, obscured on the beach? Violet stood just as a flash of lightning illuminated the landscape, highlighting each blade of grass and every stone gleaming in sand. She was suddenly struck with a memory as clear and powerful as the electricity that seared the sky. She remembered what they had done the previous evening. She saw everything in crystal clarity, and her heart seemed to turn to ice.
  The thunder rumbled closer this time.
  “Oh, Hades,” said Violet.
____________________________

  Every so often I am going to publish these "penny dreadful" stories on my blog here, and also on my Facebook page. They will be small snippets of a tale, meant to be unfinished. A picture will accompany each to set the scene and portray the character(s). The first story in this series was originally published on Facebook in January 2019, and I have had many requests and messages since for more of that particular tale. However, I only ever meant to write cliffhangers, mostly to annoy you. (You're welcome!) Each story will be all new, but I anticipate the events and characters will all have a connection of some sort. 
  I hope you enjoy my creative writing! Please leave me comments - it really encourages me, for one thing! Thanks for reading. 

Model: Thora Violet  
Hair/MUA/Assistant: Sharon Lytle 
Photography, editing, story: Sarah Chisholm 

 

 


Comments

Krokodili(non-registered)
I love reading penny dreadfuls. Waiting for more :)
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