Short Story: The Masquerade Ball Presence

Welcome to Part 3 of my contribution to Eclecticali’s Masquerade blog party. This might be it. But I’m not sure.

If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you might want to start there.

The Presence

cloak

James re-entered the hallway, baffled. Something had pulled Taliana into the library, but the room was empty and dark, neglected on what was to be a night of revelry in the ballroom.

With no other option, he headed back to the party, which had continued on as though nothing strange had occurred.  A new dance had just begun. A young woman standing still in the middle of the moving couples caught James’ attention.

From the back, she looked like Taliana. But how could that be? He’d left her in the library… or somewhere. He crept around her side to get a better look, but he kept his distance to keep from attracting her attention.

It was her! How did she get back here?

There could only be one explanation. This old house must have secret passageways, meant for servants. But what had pulled her into the room?

He tried not to think about it because she was here now, staring towards the middle of the dance floor at…nothing. Her gaze moved upwards, towards the ceiling, then back to the middle of the floor. After a minute, she slowly moved through the crowd, as though following something.

James followed her at a respectable distance. When they reached the hallway, a dark shadow appeared in front of Taliana, but only for a moment. It was more of a presence, sporadically showing itself, than a tangible thing. This had to be what she followed.

She moved her hands over and in front of her again, like she was untying knots. James caught sight of the presence two more times before she reached another door.

Afraid she’d be forcefully pulled into this one as well, James ran up to her. “Taliana!”

She turned and smiled in spite of the concern on her face. “James. What are you doing out here? Is everything all right in the party?”

He nodded. “I just saw you leaving and wanted to know where you were going.” Wanting her to know he wasn’t following her for no reason, he added, “I saw you get pulled into the other room.”

She placed a hand on his shoulder, making his heart race. “It’s complicated. But if you’re willing to open your mind, I can show you.”

“Open my mind?”

She nodded, took his hand, and looked as if she was about to place something invisible into it with hers.

When she moved her fingers away from his palm, he gasped.

A collection of colored threads, some tangled, rested there. They weaved their way through the house, along the ceilings and through the doors.

“Whoa.”

2 thoughts on “Short Story: The Masquerade Ball Presence

  1. Pingback: Short Story: The Masquerade Ball Pursuit | Allison Maruska

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