Masquerade

December 21, 2007
By
Chaos.
People ran around the luxurious front lobby of the Grand Opera House, scrambling for exits. He ran down the marble steps, shedding his jacket, looking wildly for her. He tore off his mask, opening his sweat- drenched face. His brown hair hung in strands on his face. He rushed through a door at the side of the stairs, dodging people that were running for the front lobby. He came upon a cross between three hallways. He inhaled deeply, coughing as he took in a breath full of smoke. He ran down the hallway toward the ballroom dodging more patrons who had attended that nights masquerade ball. When he entered the ballroom he saw her lying under a rafter, “No!” he cried. Rushing toward her he whispered to himself, “Please God, not her.” He kneeled down and placed her head in his lap, “Elizabeth! Elizabeth, speak to me!” She opened her eyes softly.
“Elizabeth!”
“What are you doing? Get out of here, now!”
“I’m not leaving you.” Suddenly a chandelier fell.
“I’m not leaving you,” He whispered as flames danced around them.
“I’m not leaving you, love.” A large rafter cracked and splintered. It came crashing down on the lovers.
Earlier that day, Elizabeth was sitting in the parlor talking with her father. “Father, please. It is only one dance.”
“No, Elizabeth. I have told you time and time again. I will not have you attending some masquerade with a middle class man!” Her father stood up and left the parlor. She sat, stubbornly, looking out the window, watching carriages and people passing by. “Father, I’m going out.” She called as she stood up. James was waiting outside her house, waiting. As the door opened he stood up straight and smiled. Elizabeth stepped outside, sun in her golden hair. He walked over to her and leed her down the cobblestone street. “Elizabeth, it is a wonder to see you.”
“And you.”
“And, your father?” James asked eagerly.
“Has once again destroyed our hopes of our night together.” They continued walking down the street, coming upon a park, they sat down on the grass, conversing. “This is not good.”
“Not at all”
James jumped up, “Well, then we will have to elude him. I am persistent to get you to the masquerade.”
“Yes.”
“Then I shall see you at the Grand Opera House, tonight!” With that James kissed her and leapt away walking towards his home. Elizabeth stood up and walked off in the direction of her home. Upon entering the house she found her father in his study. She bustled up the stairs and closed the door to her room. Opening the wardrobe she pulled out a long, think box. As she opened it her heart leapt with joy, “I am going to the masquerade, father. If you like it or not,” she whispered to herself. Suddenly there was a loud knock at the door. She jumped and gave a small scream, “Madame, it is only me,” the maid, Theresa, called from the other side, “your father wishes you to join him downstairs for supper.”
Elizabeth sighed, “Tell him I will be down soon.” She heard Theresa’s footsteps down the stairs as she covered the box and put it in her wardrobe again. Walking down the stairs she thought of herself in a beautiful white gown and James in a handsome black suit. Her mask had white feathers and small diamonds on it, and his was half black and half white. With these thoughts filling her head she sat down to eat, her father’s ramblings about his day going right over her. Finishing, she stood up and went to Theresa, “Could you help me upstairs with something?”
“Certainly, Madame.” The two hurried up the stairs, closing the door behind them. Elizabeth pulled the gown out of the wardrobe, and opened it. Theresa gasped, “Oh, Madame, it is beautiful. There is no other in London like it!” Elizabeth smiled, Theresa was her best friend she could trust her with anything. As Theresa helped Elizabeth into the gown, Elizabeth began to think of the ball again. She began to talk of the upcoming masquerade, “Oh Theresa, it will be wonderful! The first night I will be able to spend with my love!”
“It will be truly magnificent, Madame,” Theresa agreed as her hands deftly tied the corset.
“Yes it will. A truly, wonderfully, marvelous night.”
“But I do not understand, why does your father hate James so?”
“My father is a man of the aristocracy. As I am his daughter, I am a daughter of the aristocracy. He wants it to stay that way. It does not matter to my father if I am in love with a man truly wonderful as James. If he is not in the aristocracy then I am not aloud to be with him.”
“All because James is middle class?”
“Sadly that is true.”
“I see, Madame. That is most saddening.” Theresa said as she finished tying the strings on the back of Elizabeth’s gown.
“Thank you Theresa.” Elizabeth said as she hugged Theresa. She quietly ran down the stairs, checked for her father, and crept out the door.
Arriving at the Grand Opera House, she searched everywhere for James. “He is already inside,” she decided. Entering the doors, a boy dressed as a Turkish slave came and collected her cloak. She entered the hall of mirrors, searching fervently for him. Suddenly a man, dressed in a black suit, with a black and white appeared in front of her, “Oh James,” she breathed, “I thought I would never find you. There are so many people here.”
“Yes,” James replied.
“Oh, love, may we go to the ballroom so we may dance and converse?”
“Certainly, love.” They continued down the hall of mirrors, until coming upon the ballroom. As they entered, the band was playing a waltz tune. James extended a hand, “Let us dance this night away, my dear.” Elizabeth took his hand and began to dance. The pair spun around the ballroom, a bull let loose from its pen. They continued to dance, Elizabeth staring into his eyes the entire time. Suddenly, she looked away from him for one minute to see a familiar figure standing in the doorway. Elizabeth looked up at the man she was dancing with and tore off his mask. “Your not James!” she screamed. The real James ran out the doorway Elizabeth stared at him. “Who are you?” she cried.
“I am Alexander Danelle,” The man said bowing, “Your father has arranged for us to be married.”
Elizabeth stood still as a statue, “What?”
“Yes, arranged to be married.” With this last mention of the atrocity Elizabeth ran out the door. Running back threw the hall of mirrors she tore her mask off calling, “James! James, my love where are you?” She came upon the front lobby and found him on top of the marble steps. She ascended the stairs and stared into his eyes, “James, you must realize, I did not know.”
“How long have you been lying to me?” James said, unable to look at Elizabeth.
“What? I have never lied to you, James, ever!”
“I can’t believe that.”
“But you must. He was dressed exactly as you. And my father has arranged him to marry me!”
“You know that you want to.”
“But I don’t love him.”
“Yes you do.” James began to walk into the main part of the theatre. Elizabeth stopped him, “I don’t love him.”
“Do no lie to me.” With that James walked into the theatre and ascended the stairs to the balcony. Alexander suddenly appeared next to Elizabeth, “Come my love, let us go and leave him.” Elizabeth wrenched away from his grip, “I am not going anywhere with you, you… you monster!” she cried as she ran down the stairs and into the hall of mirrors. Alexander watched her leave and felt a wrenching in his chest, “If you wont love me, than I will not allow you to love him.” He whispered to himself. He walked into the theatre, ascending the stairs to the balcony. James was standing on the ledge surrounding the ceiling. Alexander walked quietly towards him. “Leave me alone. Have you not already caused me enough pain?” James said, contempt in his voice.
“I see that we both love the same woman, but she loves only one of us.”
“Yes, and it is you. Be glad that you have ruined the one good thing in my life.”
Alexander chuckled, “Actually, it you that she loves.” James looked up at him, “It is true do not doubt it.” Alexander replied with the hint of a smirk on his face,
“How could this be? And I just denied…”
“Yes she was very upset over that.” Alexander had one arm behind his back. Secretly he had a knife in that hand ready to strike at the precise moment. “Then I must go to her.” James cried, wildly.
“Not so fast,” Alexander put his arm on the wall, blacking his passage to the stairs, “she does not love me, but you. Have you any idea what that feels like?”
“Yes…”
“I do not think you do.” Alexander said, a look of contempt on his face. Saying this he pulled his hand out from behind his back, revealing the knife, “if I can not love her. Than you most certainly are not aloud to.” He brought the knife down, swiping at James chest. James fell to the ground, dodging the swipe. He ran across the walkway, heading for a door in the wall. Opening it he came to the room that held the ropes and gears for the chandelier. Alexander followed him, in a maddened rage. He continued to slash at James, while James continued to successfully dodge the blows. Suddenly, Alexander swiped at James’ face. James dodged the attack. Alexander carried on by momentum, swiped across the rope that held the chandelier. They heard a great lurch, and a magnificent crumbling sound. James rushed out the door and stared on in horror as the chandelier fell to the ground. The stage suddenly lit into flames, burning everything in its path. Alexander seeing the seed of his wrath, rushed past James, running down the stairs. He careened out the theatre doors screaming, “FIRE! FIRE!” He ran down the marble steps stumbling on the last step. He fell to the ground, the knife clattering to the floor. He stood up and ran out the door, only caring for his life. James was out of the theatre by then, searching wildly whispering to himself, “Elizabeth, I must find Elizabeth.”
Chaos.
People ran around the luxurious front lobby of the Grand Opera House, scrambling for exits. He ran down the marble steps, shedding his jacket, looking wildly for her. He tore off his mask, opening his sweat- drenched face. His brown hair hung in strands on his face. He rushed through a door at the side of the stairs, dodging people that were running for the front lobby. He came upon a cross between three hallways. He inhaled deeply, coughing as he took in a breath full of smoke. He ran down the hall of mirrors toward the ballroom dodging more patrons who had attended that nights masquerade ball. When he entered the ballroom he saw her lying under a rafter, “No!” he cried. Rushing toward her he whispered to himself, “Please God, not her.” He kneeled down and placed her head in his lap, “Elizabeth! Elizabeth, speak to me!” She opened her eyes softly.
“Elizabeth!”
“What are you doing? Get out of here, now!”
“I’m not leaving you.” Suddenly a chandelier fell.
“I’m not leaving you,” He whispered as flames danced around them.
“I’m not leaving you, love.” A large rafter cracked and splintered. It came crashing down on the lovers.





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