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a minuet in V

By Aaron MorrisonPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Marcel checks his pocket watch before he steps to the center of the ballroom as the harpsichord begins to play.

The melody, written by Marcel himself, keeps the ¾ time and standard repetition of two sections of eight bars each, but with his own special twist weaved within the music.

The toe of his right shoe taps the floor lightly as he extends his stockinged leg, his weight on his back leg, and, with a flourish, flips the tail of his copper colored coat back with his left hand and extends his right, palm up, and bows toward his dance partner.

The hem of her wide skirt swishes over the marble floor with each nimble, and self assured step. The confident and graceful way she carries herself cannot be hidden beneath the petticoat, stay, layers, and all, just as her beauty cannot be hidden beneath the raven mask that covers the majority of her face.


She places her hand gently into his.

Even in their silent communication, her voice sounds like honey to him.


Their thoughts are shared instantaneously, eliminating the waste of time and energy spent on speaking.

I appreciate you indulging me in this, my lady, though when I first proposed this, you seemed hesitant at best.

It is certainly not how these things are usually done, but you piqued my curiosity, and I am not one to dismiss things out of hand.

They step back, circle around each other, and join back together.

How long did you say this would take again?

So eager to be rid of me? Marcel feigns hurt.

A simple reiteration of your plan. Annette counters playfully.

A quarter of the length of a normal minuet. So no more than a minute.

As they step and turn, Marcel keeps his visual focus on Annette as much as he can.

He did not care for golden walls and marble pillars of excess and decadence, nor for the crowd around him and Annette in their silks and lace. He could see their true selves whether they wore masks of lions, moons, ones with phallic noses, and the like. He despised the lustful gaze of the men and women around them, but their attention was a necessary evil. In his mind’s eye he could see tongues licking the grease from duck meat off conniving lips. The spilling of wine. Hands groping into petticoats and trousers. These degenerates that fancied themselves artists and intellectuals who did nothing but indulge in their basest of desires, all the while looking down their noses at the lower class. There was vile wickedness among the poor, no doubt, but at least they did not pretend to be more than they are.

Hypocrites. Worms.

Thinking of the Magistrates again? Annette teases.

No. Marcel laughs. Though I do believe they are not particularly fond of me.

Have you thought that it is the showiness in your execution, and not your ideas themselves, that irritates the others? Like this plan of yours. Theatrical.

Perhaps. But would you rather mingle for hours, putting up with their boring conversation at best, vile machinations at worst? This method of disseminating our charme is the more efficient choice. Much like our chosen way of communication. So yes, perhaps this is a bit ‘theatrical’ as you say. And whether it works as intended or not, this is much more enjoyable than how we have done things in the past. At least for me.

Despite what you seem to think, Marcel, I do not dislike you. My position within the Eldest House comes with certain attitudes and traditions that, at least for now, must be upheld. But truly, if I felt any measure of disdain toward you, I would not be here. And yes, I find your plans and ideas to range from the unorthodox, to the bizarre, but I do find myself warming to you.

Marcel smiles, and, as if with perfect timing, the harpsichord suddenly stops playing.

Marcel bows, and, with a curtsy, Annette’s hand tenderly slides over Marcel’s palm as they gracefully separate.

“Impressive.” Annette looks at the now still and silent partygoers and gives Marcel a sly and seductive smile. “Seems like your plan worked quite well.”

“Thank you, my lady.” Marcel checks his pocket watch. “And ten seconds to spare.” He looks at Annette. “Shall we?”

“Indeed, dear sir.” She smiles broadly. “Let us feast.”

Short StoryHorror

About the Creator

Aaron Morrison

Writer. Artist. I write horror primarily, but dabble in other genres here and there.

Influenced by Poe, Hawthorne, Ligotti, John Carpenter, and others.

Everyone has a story to tell.

Author of Miscellany Farrago

instagram: @theaaronmorrison

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  • Antoinette L Breyabout a month ago

    I have to agree sometimes the conventions of society are boring

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