Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: One
Title: The Secret Ball
Ella knew it was wrong but she had been suspicious of the annual ball for a few years now so when Beckie’s invite arrived invite post, Ella took it for herself. It was the only way to see for herself, to report on this secret but highly sort after event. No amount of digging could unearth anyone who had attended one of these super Royal balls and now Ella could report from the inside.
Layers of pale blue tulle and silk bellowed around her as she sat in the taxi, placing the silvery blue eye mask over her face. She wasn’t sure how people were selected for the ball and Ella was similar in height and hair colour to Beckie as well as age but the mask was a relief and security for Ella as she walked through a tall stone arch towards the lavish building.
A thick red carpet blanketed marble steps to the main entrance where a tall man stood. Without a word, he took Ella’s invite, giving her the once over before setting his eyes on hers. His stare seemed to go on for ages and Ella could feel her nerves starting to fray. But with a nod, he let her pass.
The ball had already started as Ella stood at the top of the stairs looking down at all the pretty dresses twirling around the dance floor. A hand took her elbow gently.
“May I have this dance?”
Ella turned. She felt her cheeks blush at the impossibly beautiful masked face staring back. Through the black bejewelled eye mask, steel blue eyes sparkled. Without waiting for an answer, he lead Ella to the dance floor, placing a hand firmly around her waist.
“Yes,” Ella replied. She thought she’s take a few classes in preparation for the ball and as he took her hand she found herself gliding across the floor. All the questions she wanted to ask remained in her head as the dance and the man captivated her. And she was quite out of breath by the end.
“Drink?” he asked, leading her to the bar. He handed her a flute of champagne.
She sipped it, trying not to gulp it down, keeping her eyes on the man. It was then she noticed the Royal crest on his collar, and reddened deeply.
He smiled. “What’s your name?”
“I thought you’d know seeing as you invited me.”
“My staff sort the invites. The same thing every year. A ball full of young men and women, all gorgeous, all full of life with their lives’ ahead of them.”
“And what’s it all in aid of?”
“It’s rather old fashioned. To find me a wife.”
Ella spluttered. “Sorry,” she said, wiping the drink from his lapel. “It is rather old fashioned and very Disney,” she laughed nervously.
“I like old fashioned. I’ve been around a bit and don’t care for change.”
She regarded him; his smooth young face beneath the mask, sculptured cheeks and flawless skin. “Remind me to get whatever it is you use. You look amazingly young, well younger than you’re making out.”
“Thank you for the compliment. And if I may give you one? You seem to fit in well, looking like a Disney princess in your gown.”
“There’s quite a bit of it.” She laughed, smoothing down her dress.
“I like it . . . I like you.” He leaned in towards her, inhaling deeply as his lips grazed her cheek. He pulled back. “Sorry.”
“No, don’t be.” Ella forgot all about her investigation into the secret balls as she gently kissed him on his lips.
“Do you believe in love at first sight?” he asked.
“Yes,” she whispered, kissing him again.
A scream pierced the moment and Ella tried to look around her. But darkness enveloped her along with a sudden rush of air. Still in the grip of the man’s arms, Ella looked up and found herself in the gardens, sprawled across the damp grass.
“How did we get here? What’s going on?”
“I don’t want you to see what’s going on in there.”
It was then Ella heard the terrified screams, magnifying by the second.
“We need to help them. I need to call the police.”
“No you don’t. What you need to do is make a choice.” He knelt down beside her, taking off his eye mask revealing his full beauty. His finger traced her cheek, along her chin, and tilted her head up towards him. His lips met hers as gentle and as cold as a snowflake before hunger got the better of him, crushing her lips to his. “Make a choice,” he mumbled.
“And it will stop? The screaming will stop?”
“Yes, No more balls, no more hunting for a wife, if you say yes.”
“But I’m not who you think. I’m Ella, not Beckie. The invite wasn’t meant for me. I stole it.”
“I don’t care.” His lips ran down her neck, the smell of her blood fuelling his excitement. “But I need to know now.”
“The people in there, they’re not leaving are they?”
“You know the answer to that.”
He stared into her eyes and smiled as her hand reached up to his face; silky smooth and cold. So cold. He could hear her heart thump loudly against her chest, could see the curiosity in her eyes, the lust oozing from every pore. He didn’t need an answer and couldn’t wait as he lunged forward, kissing her neck, listening to her moan with pleasure then pain. He ignored it, continuing to feed, her body growing limp. Pulling away, Ella fell to the grass, her heart beat shallow, almost gone.
“My beautiful Ella,” he whispered, offering her his punctured wrist. “Welcome to the family,” he said as she drank.
Like what you just read? Have a question or concern? Leave a note for the author! We appreciate your feedback!
I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x