Halloween Masquerade Costume Series #7: The Cursed Sisters, Part 6

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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!

Halloween Masquerade Costume Series #6: The Cursed Sisters, Part 5

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“Look at that one,” he said, pointing to a woman in a white and red gown. “How brazen to wear such a thing.”

“What do you mean? It’s kind of an odd color combination, but…”

“Considering poor Lenora’s fate, it’s downright indecent.” He shook his head. “She must not have known, or she’d have never worn such a thing tonight.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before,” Linnetta replied, “so I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.”

“It seems to me Lenora’s story is the most tragic of all of your sisters,” her partner said. “How horrible her last days must have been.”

“It wasn’t her fault though. About Georgiana and Ginevra, I mean…”

“Who’s to say for sure? She thought it was. Maybe Georgiana was just an accident, but she did deliver the poison to Ginevra.”

“Shall we dance again?” Linnetta asked, hoping to stop the conversation, but she regretted the words as soon as they were said. Just getting to her feet made her feel light-headed, and she clung to her partner as they made their way to the dance floor. Where was her father? Once she could have counted on thoughtful Ginevra to save her from such a predicament, or for Celestine to cause some sort of distraction.

“It’s all right,” he said. “This will be the last dance before the announcement of the queen.” She could hardly pay attention to the dance or the music; she had to fight back the feeling of being overwhelmed. It didn’t help that her partner was still talking about her family.

“I’ve heard,” he said, “that towards the end, Emmeline became paranoid, which I suppose was a reasonable reaction given the circumstances. She said Celestine complained of a crushing feeling right behind her eyes, shortly before her unfortunate boating accident, and that Lenora refused to see anyone before she took her life, blaming a horrible headache. And so when she started getting headaches herself, her own retreat was foretold.”

“You know more than I do, I’m afraid,” Linnetta said, her eyes downcast. “I was so dreadfully sick that the whole time is still such a blur. My father shielded me from the details, too…”

“Of course. You wouldn’t have needed to know things like that,” her dancing partner replied.


BitterLilly sent me colored versions of the two most recent black and white dresses – they’re very delicate and cute! Click for the princess gown and for the masquerade gown. And as before, vote for next week and… uh… start suggesting literary character Halloween costumes, because I was counting on fairies winning and I haven’t thought of any. I’d like them to be Halloween related in some way though. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is probably in, for example. Assuming that fairies don’t make a comeback…

Halloween Masquerade Costume Series #5: The Cursed Sisters, Part 4

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When her partner suggested they sit, Linnetta agreed immediately, hoping that it wasn’t obvious that she was stumbling, rather than gliding, to the edge of the dance floor. He guided her to a chair beside another stranger, a woman dressed in shades of blue that seemed to shift and flow. Linnetta’s fatigue must have been getting to her; her head was swimming. Linnetta accepted a glass of punch, and — when she’d finished the whole thing in one decidedly un-aristocratic gulp — the woman in the blue gown had gone.

“I think I had better leave soon,” Linnetta said tentatively. “I’m exhausted… I think I’ve been overdoing it tonight.”

“But you can’t leave yet,” her dance partner answered, “the queen of the ball hasn’t been announced!” He leaned towards her and whispered conspiratorially, “You’re bound to win…”

This cheerful thought made her sit up a little straighter, eyeing her competitors. Certainly no other gown was as striking as hers, and no one else had a prayer of causing as much sensation as she had simply by showing up. Her partner scanned the crowd too, frowning.


… Some dresses, like yesterday’s, take pages and pages of sketching and redrawing, and some dresses you sketch with a cheap pen while waiting for your car to be repaired and they come right together and couldn’t be any other way. Not complaining. I like this one, although the two middle blue shades are more different on the original than they are in the scan. (Today, after a good night’s sleep, I like the green one too…) The poll is still up, so please vote.

Halloween Masquerade Costume Series #4: The Cursed Sisters, Part 3

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The song was slow, and Linnetta found it positively mournful. Her partner seemed to be concentrating on the music as well, dancing ever more lightly to make up for her slow pace and dulled movements.

“Do you really believe that your family is cursed, Linnetta?” he asked suddenly.

“What, did you place a bet on my death too?” she replied, her fingers tightening on his shoulder. “How will I die? A sudden relapse perhaps, or does an assassin lurk nearby? Or will I slip and crack my head during the next song?”

“I’m rather of the opinion that you will live for quite a long time.”

“It’s good to know that someone thinks so,” she said.

Off to the side, Linnetta could see a woman in a sickly green gown whispering to the another woman, the previous arrival in spangled black. Those two together made her uneasy. Undoubtedly they were watching her, but then again so was everyone else. She would have felt elated at all the attention, if not for those women.


I’m sorry about the delay for today, this dress just was impossible! Hopefully tomorrow’s should go easier. Amelia guessed the contest answer, which I’m embarrassed to say was the Spice Girls, yes, no kidding, I know nothing about them except a couple bars of that one song and that flag dress, but apparently one of them had a gold dress I tried to draw at some point back in high school. And, what’s going on, fairies are losing? I thought for sure they had it this week. Well, vote, vote…