Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A story about a strange affliction begins after the photo.
Genre: Fable/Steampunk/Historical/I don’t know what to call it.
Word Count: 375
Sifting Through Hay
“I hate masked balls.” grated Adrienne. “They bring out my affliction!”
“You father feels it best,” said her elderly assistant, Emily.
“Father knows not that I’m cursed. He would never believe me,” complained Adrienne. “The pain I suffer at their boasting is intolerable.”
Emily shushed her as a squadron of eligible bachelors descended upon the lovely, and rich, Adrienne.
“Gordon Willifry,” said the first. “My hotels are the finest in London!”
Adrienne’s eye began to twitch painfully. “Hovels by any other name,” murmured Emily.
The next stepped in. “Howard Jones, Leading the front of the 17th cavalry.”
Adrienne groaned with a sudden headache. “In charge of the stables apparently,” whispered Emily.
More bachelors introduced themselves, boasting elaborately, until Adrienne could no longer stand. Emily spied a shy young man in the back, pushed out by his more assertive peers. “What about you?” she pointed imperiously.
“Albert Kincaid,” he murmured. “Engineer at Sopwith Aviation.”
“Aviation? protested a bachelor. “A mere fad.”
“A fool’s errand.”
Emily watched Adrienne’s face. No reaction to Kincaid. An opportunity? “Pray continue, Albert.”
He talked more of his dreams for aviation and the joy he found at flying. The wealthier bachelors scoffed at every word. Emily observed her sickly charge. Adrienne’s afflictions began to heal as Kincaid spoke. The girl’s skin began to glow with health. “That will be all, gentleman. Thank you.” announced Emily. She snatched the hands of Adrienne and Albert and dragged them through the masked crowd to Adrienne’s father, the Baron.
“This one!” crowed Emily, shaking Albert’s hand.
“Well, young man,” rumbled the Baron. “You’re husband material?”
“Husband?” squeaked Albert and Adrienne simultaneously.
“Of course,” said the Baron. “My daughter needs an honest man. Apparently that’s you.”
“Father! You knew?”
“You’re my daughter, child. Of course I knew.” He winked at Emily. “I’m sorry for your pain, my sweet. Sussing out an honest man for you, amongst this lot, is like seeking a needle in a haystack!
“To find a needle, one must sift through the hay,” observed Emily.
“But sir,” stammered Albert. “I’m a mere tinkerer. Not worthy of a Baron’s daughter.”
Adrienne cringed at a sudden ear ache.
Emily whacked Albert’s head. “That’s your first lie to your future wife. Let there not be a second!”
Each week, Alastair Forbes presents an original photo as a writing prompt. The length may be between 100-200 (up to 400 in a literary emergency). Apparently, I had such an emergency this time around. This week’s prompt may be found here: http://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/sunday-photo-fiction-november-3rd-2013/