Amelia spun in a circle, twirling madly, her red and black and white ball gown fanning around her. She knew that Prince Prospero was following her every move. He was quite enamored with her, but her heart did not belong to him. She gazed at the masked man who held her hand. She gave him a coy smile and spun away from him, passing from one garishly colored room to the other. She laughed and danced until the clock chimed. For the tolling of the bells she felt a sickening chill growing and freezing over her insides. Once the chiming ended the raucous party began anew, with more vigor than before. Amelia spun. faster, faster, until again the chime rang out. This time the sickening feeling grew worse with each of the eleven gongs. After the gonging had ceased, the party grew louder than before, relief fueling the intensity. She danced and danced, forgetting the plague just outside the walls of the fortress. Just as the bell chimed the first strain of midnight, a figure strode through the room. He wore a funeral shroud the color of the gray sky before a storm, a misty gray. She watched him make his way through the room and felt a choking fear gripping her limbs. Her gaze traveled to the masked man who had danced with her all evening, and fighting with all her strength against the fear, she reached out to grasp his fingers. He was warm and solid and real. His heart beat just under her gloved fingertips. Prince Prospero rebuked the hooded figure loudly. Amelia squeezed her man's hand tightly. Prince Prospero wished the grave figure with his own small silver dagger and uttered a horrible groan before falling over. He was dead! The prince was dead and he hadn't even touched the figure! People began to crumble then, with each fell gong of the clock, color fading from their cheeks but appearing on their lips in a bloody red liquid, the exact color of the light streaming in through the red tinted glass behind the hooded figure. Amelia squeezed her masked man's fingers and he squeezed back as she sank towards the floor, feeling the Red Death choking away her life.
September 22, 2011