~On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…~
~Two turtle doves~
~And a partridge in a pear tree~
~On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree~
Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, and for those of you who don’t, I hope you can still find some amusement in birds. Lots of birds.
… I know, I know. I do some of the best dresses I’ve ever drawn, and then I up and vanish on you. I’m very sorry, everyone… I do tend to swing between obsessions, and I don’t know if it’s quite time to return to paperdolls, but my mom was quite right when she said it’s past time for the fire gown to be the first thing everyone sees when they look at the site. This isn’t the December birthday dress or anything… it’s just pretty. I hope. I’m kind of rusty. And it’s blue because I’m feeling blue about being such a lousy paperdoll blog maintainer. Kidding. Sort of.
I will have another couple of updates in the coming days, but for now I thought I had just better post something, apologize for the complete and total neglect, and get it over with!
Click for larger version (PNG); click for PDF version. Click here for the list of dolls.
The buzz of voices around them grew so loud, and her partner seemed so tense, that Linnetta squeezed her eyes shut, wishing herself anywhere else.
“Whoever that one is, she’s gone too far,” he said quietly, and she forced her eyes open and found the cause of the commotion: at the top of the stairs, a newcomer in a black and orange gown. “This must be unbearable for you,” he continued. “Or do you know her?”
“I don’t,” she said uneasily. “It’s someone’s idea of a joke…”
“Perhaps,” he replied. “Or perhaps not.”
As they were talking, the strange women Linnetta had been trying not to notice all night had gathered at the base of the stairs; the other revelers had given the five of them a wide berth, and they stood motionless, staring out at the dance floor.
“I think you do know who she is,” her partner continued. “I think you’ve known each of them since you saw the third one; possibly the second.”
“No,” she said, shaking her head. Wisps of hair fell out of her updo, sticking to her face. “It must be some kind of joke. A trick, to try to scare everybody.”
“I’m afraid not.”
“But how? How is it even possible that they’re…?”
“They have made their own pacts,” he answered lightly. “There are other powers than those you have dealt with, you know.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“Liar,” he replied, with an indulgent smile. “I know all about the bargain you made… Almost all, anyways. Was it that you were already sick, and you traded their lives for your own? Or was your illness part of the ruse, so you could avoid suspicion?”
“I — I could never do such a thing,” Linnetta whispered, but it was unconvincing even to her.
“And so you were able to possess them, and manufacture their deaths one by one. But Georgiana has been seeking her revenge ever since the night you directed her off that cliff. Did you think she could let such a thing rest, even in death?”
Linnetta turned reflexively towards the woman in the black spangled dress, and her eyes were so captivating that she didn’t even realize the queen of the ball was being announced. Her partner had to give her a little push towards the center of the dance floor; a crown was placed on her head and everyone started applauding. She smiled graciously and waved, but faltered when she saw her sisters. Why had no one else noticed they had taken their masks off? While everyone else was clapping, they stood motionless, their hands linked, their faces mangled and ghastly; the only face she could bear to look at was Lenora’s, bloodless and as pale as her gown. Panicking, Linnetta turned back to her dance partner, and while he still wore his mask there seemed to be no difference between it and the skin beneath. He reached for her hand; the embroidery on the cuff of his sleeve pulsed as if stitched with blood vessels, and the bright lining of her gown was setting her skin on fire.
I hope you enjoyed my little Halloween story… In the end it really was just an excuse to do some creepy masquerade gowns, but it was fun to write too. Thanks to my husband Brian for brainstorming the original idea with me and editing it.
No thanks to Brian for writing a Python script to vote automatically for fairies 20 times. That’s right, the proper fairy vote count ought to be whatever-it-is-minus-nineteen… That means it looks like literary characters get next week, probably, since I doubt he’s going to try a stunt like that again.
You know I had to do this poll… vote for your favorite masquerade costume!