Tag Archives: creative writing

The Girl in the Electric Blue Dress – Part Three

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Here are parts 1 & 2 if you missed them 🙂

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In the morning, he walked me home. I had so many questions, but didn’t know how to ask them, so we walked in silence.

As we approached the street my house was on, I could sense something was wrong. There was a tension in the air. We turned the corner and I stopped dead. There was my father, shouting orders at the guards.

“He wasn’t due back until tomorrow,” I could feel the fear spreading through my veins like ice.

Jack took my hand, “we’ll figure something out.”

We started forward slowly, hand in hand. My father didn’t see us straightaway, too busy berating the guards for my absence. We stopped behind him and Jack coughed politely. “Mr Mayor,” he began, “I have come to request permission to court your daughter.”

My father turned and grabbed me by the arm. “My daughter,” his voice was low, cold, hard, “knows she will marry only who I tell her to marry. She also knows better than to leave the house, unchaperoned,” he added, almost as an afterthought. He stabbed a finger at Jack, “I should have you arrested for kidnapping her. And I will, if I ever see you again.”

He started pulling me toward the house. Jack made as if to follow, but I shook my head. I’ll be fine, keep yourself safe, I tried to tell him with a look.

My father dragged me into the house. He had such long strides, my feet could barely keep up. He slammed the door and then the yelling came, about my lack of regard for his reputation, leaving the house dressed as I was, staying out all night in the company of someone of a lower class and a known revolutionary. “And you let That Woman into the house, when you know I have forbidden it.”

I stopped cold, “how did you know about that?”

“The servants, at least, are loyal to me,” he snapped, yanking my arm to get me moving again. He dragged me to the basement, flung open the door and pushed me down into the darkness. “You’ll be down there until you learn some obedience.” I heard the door slam, and the lock click shut.

I sat in the cold and dark. I pulled my coat tighter around me. It was Jack’s that I had borrowed the night before. It made me feel safer, knowing he was outside, even though he couldn’t help. I hoped he wouldn’t try anything stupid. This was the angriest I’d seen my father since that night long ago, the last time I’d seen my mother. I had just turned six. She told me to stay in my room, and I had hidden under the bed, afraid of the shouting and crashing I could hear through the floorboards. When I had crept downstairs in the morning, she was gone. Even at that age, I knew better than to ask where she was.

It made me shudder to think of it. I tried to conjure up memories of her, but they were elusive. I put my hands in the pockets of the coat for warmth and found something tucked inside. The photo from Jack’s mantelpiece. My mother smiled out at me. Whatever happened, she had never been afraid of my father. As I looked at the photo, a faint memory drifted into my mind of a lullaby she would sing to me as a child. I hummed it softly and gradually drifted off into a fitful sleep.

A storm broke in the night and I was woken sharply by a flash of lightning and a crash of thunder. As the thunder died, I realised I could hear the melody of the lullaby faintly echoing around the room. I suddenly knew I was no longer alone. I could feel her presence next to me.

In the next flash of lightning I could see her, the same blue dress, pale skin, dark hair styled elegantly. She leant forward to kiss my forehead and then looked deep into my eyes, as if she were memorising my features. I felt rather than heard her say she would make things right. And then she was gone.

 

I don’t know how long I was in the cellar. I wondered what punishment my father had in store for me. But when the door eventually creaked open, it wasn’t him but my Godmother who was standing at the top of the stairs. She gently drew me up into the house, settled me on the drawing room sofa, gave me water and sent a servant to find me some food.

“He was found this morning,” she was saying. “He was slumped over his desk, gun in his hand.”

She showed me the note he had left. It said, simply, “I killed my wife.” But the writing wasn’t his.

I held up the photo I was still clutching tightly and showed my Godmother.

“I saw her,” I whispered. “She did this, she rescued me. It’s her writing.” And then I wept, not for him, but for her.

My Godmother held me until the tears subsided.

When I had recovered, she told me that soon she would help me pack what I needed to move in with her family, as she would now be my guardian. “But first,” she said, “if you are up to it, you have a visitor.”

I nodded, curious, and she went to open the door. Jack was sitting out in the corridor, but now he jumped to his feet. As I stood up to greet him, she whispered in my ear, “Guess who gets to arrange your marriage now.” She had that magic twinkle in her eye again.

 

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Thanks for reading! I’d love to know what you think of the story – feel free to leave comments below or connect via my Facebook or Twitter

The Girl in the Electric Blue Dress – Part One

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I knew it made me stand out. It was a shot of colour in a drab town.

My Godmother presented it to me on my 21st birthday. For my “coming-of-age” she told me, smiling but with sadness in her eyes and a sigh on her lips. I understood. Traditionally, mothers would throw a massive party for their daughter’s coming of age, as if to say, “Look, my daughter is an adult, she is here!” The ladies of the town would gather for wine and sweetmeats, and the mother would instruct the girl on how to make her way in the world as an adult. With no mother, it would fall to my Godmother to induct me into adulthood, but the rules were strict. There would be no gathering, as only a mother could announce her daughter’s age publically. My Godmother could give me advice, but my entrance into public life would be without ceremony.

I eased the dress out from the whispering paper and help it up against myself. The air seemed to vibrate around it. In had never seen anything so beautiful.

My Godmother helped me into the dress. She had chosen well as the fit was perfect.

“Be careful how you wear it, there is power in this dress,” she said, the twinkle back in her eye.

She led me to the mirror so I could see the effect. Then she hugged me and whispered, “Your mother would have been proud”. Momentarily, time seemed to stand still as I held my breath and glanced around. But the world kept turning. No one had talked of my mother in this house for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t done to speak of those who had gone. And though my father was away on business, he had ears everywhere.

My Godmother winked as she released me from her embrace. I knew then that I would be safe. There was magic in her, and I knew she would watch over me.

I made us tea, and she began to speak, teaching me the ways of the world. We saw in the dawn together, marking my entry into adulthood, then she returned to her own family, leaving me to face the new world on my own.

 

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Part two will follow soon! Image free from pixabay.com

#30by30 number 16 – finish writing “The Girl in the Electric Blue Dress”

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I often have really vivid dreams that stay with me a long time after I wake up. Sometimes these are just the jumbled meanderings of my subconscious trying to make sense of my life – like the time I was stressed about work and dreamt that someone had rearranged the office over the weekend and I couldn’t find my desk. Occasionally, though, a crazy dream brings me the nugget of an idea for a story. I had one such dream last summer.

It started with a picture of a girl wearing, you guessed it, and electric blue dress. Actually, when I woke up the story was nearly fully formed, I just needed to write it down. But finding time to put pen to paper is never easy and that first day after the dream I just had time to sketch out the first scene. Then life happened and my creative writing ended up on the back burner again.

But the girl in the dress stayed in the back of my mind, and I knew I needed to tell her story. So it only seemed fair to her to make it part of my #30by30 challenge. In November I was meeting up with a friend in Bath so I took my notebook and pencil on the train and used the journey time to write, but it wasn’t quite long enough. So my notebook went on holiday with me over Christmas (it’s a big ole notebook so I could have done without the weight, I probably should get a smaller one… if you’re wondering, that is my notebook in the picture, in a former life it was my teacher’s planner. I hate to be wasteful). I finished the story in my hotel room overlooking the sea.

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I spent last weekend typing it up and editing it, although, being so short, it didn’t need much work to make it presentable. And I’m going to share it here over the next couple of weeks. I’ll put the first part up later today (I know, two posts in one day! What is the world coming to?!)

I’ve had a hard time explaining the genre to my friends, it’s part urban fantasy, part dystopian, part ghost story. Actually, when I thought about it, I decided the best way of explaining it is as a fairy story. There’s a kind of princess, a sort of wicked king, an almost knight in shining armour and a definite fairy godmother so I think that’s what I’ll call it – a modern fairytale.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

Do Not Mess With The Dress – a short story

Write about a time you were in trouble with your parents, a school principal or teacher, or the law, but write it from the point of view of the person in authority.*

This is meant to be a quality establishment, for the cream of society. The best, the richest, the most fashionable – people of taste, discernment, and judgement.

Not any more. Now it’s a tourist attraction for the riffraff. Day trippers from The North, or, worse, kids on school trips to the ‘Big City’ – let out of their classrooms for “enriching activities” or some such nonsense.

I should be able to take pride in my work. I help the most glamorous of brides to find the perfect gown for the most important day of their lives, evoking jealousy in the hearts of all who behold them. Only the elite can afford these dresses, so, in my view, only the elite should be allowed to look at them.

Instead, I have to put up with a bunch of silly kids cooing over my dresses, dresses they (or their parents) coulee never in a million years afford, pawing at them with their sticky hands. Disgusting.

So I decided to scare a few today. They were taking photos – the cheek of it! So I told them I would be calling the police – after all, for all I knew they were trying to steal our designs (and who wouldn’t want to steal them?!)

Well, they looked suitably chastised, and I suppose they didn’t really mean any harm, so, begrudgingly, I let them go.

 

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When I was 14 I thought I was going to be arrested for taking a photo of a wedding dress in a famous London department store. This is from the store assistant’s perspective. This was written as part of my lent creative writing challenge.

 

*This writing prompt is from 642 Tiny Things to Write About (2014) by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto