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A Dark Wedding Bell

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The machine spit out another white dress, another chain soon to be wrapped in another young girl’s dreams. It was covered in a clear plastic sheet, allowing on-lookers to see its lace and starch white color, with its veil included it traveled down the line like all the rest. It was placed in a large shipping crate, and soon that crate would be placed inside a truck heading to an airplane to be placed inside of a large jet liner, and so on, and so on.

That was until it reached a large store, filled with hundred’s of other dresses just like it. The pretty ones hung on mannequins in the front window, displaying beautiful robotic craftsmanship. Of course it could've been some little Thai girl that worked hours on end to make one, and thank god those little Thai girls care so much for our own, they barely know how happy they’ll make some lucky girl in the future.

As the most expensive dresses sat in the front, the more “undesirables” stayed, alone, in the back of the building, in what they call the “dress purgatory”. This is where the unlucky poor girls have to go; to buy the cheaper versions of the ones out front. The bell perched above the small glass door rung as a young patron entered, she was in her mid twenties, blonde, green eyed and, most of all, in love.

“I’m am absolutely in love with this dress!” She exclaimed holding up a large ivory Vera Wang that sat on a mannequin, she noticed it immediately through the front door.

“Oh god, that does look nice,” an older woman agreed, she stood next to the blonde, and although she had some graying they appeared to be almost twins standing next to each other. She nearly pushed the younger girl to the ground as she examined the dress, she noticed the lightly colored veil, and floral prints were embedded deeply into its construction. She ran her hand along the side of the dress, but not before finding a price tag, she lifted it, winced, and then tried her hardest to persuade the younger girl to find another dress.

"But mom," she cried out "this dress is amazing, and this is the most important day of my life!” The workers at the store have heard it all before however.

“Maybe so, but you and I both don’t have that kind of money,” her face saddened,

“I’m sorry.” The young girl walked across the store furiously, lightly stomping her feet, so lightly as to displace anger without appearing childish. She scanned the dresses that hung on the wall, a sea of white, all the same and yet, completely different. She found one that looked reminiscent of a cocktail dress and exclaimed, “This one looks fun!” The older girl was not amused, “Maybe if you’re a sl**, but you’re not a sl** are you Princess?” The younger girl looked to her feet, Ashamed.

“No, I’m not a sl** mom.”

Hours passed in the store, and every dress the young girl found, every dream she had, was crushed by a price tag or a size limit. Soon a representative appeared, she was an old woman, her hair, like the mother’s was graying, and her nails were like long claws extending from each individual finger. She often helped young girls pick out the dress of their dreams, like the one that now stood before her.

“Can I help with anything?” She asked the young girl hopefully, the girl caught a smell from the old woman, and she smelled like hairspray and cheap Californian Champagne. The mother broke in between the two, not letting the young girl speak.

“We’re looking for a dress for my Princess, something in our price range.” She said sternly to the older woman, and the woman frowned at those two words ‘price range’.

“Well did you see this wonderful Vera Wang over here? Just came in today.” The old woman said bringing the two over to the first dress in the front of the store, the young girls was brightened by the sight of the dress. The mother saw her face and quickly dismissed the thought.

“Yes but I’m afraid that’s not in our Price Range,” she said, angry with the old woman.

“Oh,” was the only retort the old woman could think of, her mind was busy thinking of dresses to sell while still making a profit.

“We have some wonderful dresses in the back, does that sound good.” The young girl deflated at the sound of it, no, at the thought of it. She protested softly to her mother.

“Mom, please for the love of god, don’t get me a dress from the back, please!” The mother ignored her easily; she shook her head at the thought and proceeded telling her daughter,

“It’ll be fine Princess; they probably have even nicer dresses in the back.”

“Without a doubt dear,” confirmed the old woman as she led them towards the "purgatory". Inside felt like a freezer, the cold wrapped the three like tin foil, they saw their breath in the room. The dresses were displayed like meat on their hooks, and as they clung to the ceiling, preemptively swaying the girl from purchase. A small hanging light shone on a hooked dress, it had a small pink ribbon around it's waist, as well as a long flowing skirt that sang to the young girl.

"Anything you see honey?" The mother asked carefully as the young girl stared at the dress for just a moment, thinking to herself.

"No," she said quietly. "Nothing I see looks any good."

"Well, my dear, you've barely looked I-" The young girl broke in suddenly.

"Mom, you remember that nice pink dress out front?"

"No, I don't," The mother said, blatantly lying to her princess.

"How about the one by the desk, the plain one?" The mother looked questioningly to her Princess, she shook her head finally.

"Oh, yes, that one looked very nice. Is that what you want?" There was a long silence, as they left the purgatory to the other dress, the girl gazed back into the abyss of dresses, she only wished that the dress she saw was out front.

Months passed after the dress was bought, plans were made, thousands of dollars were spent. With a few days left, the two lovers practiced their promises, or to be most exact, their vows. The priest told them to kiss and they did, and finally the practice was over. The man stood firmly as the others left, his wive to be stood next to him, he was nearly a foot taller than the girl, but she exhibited great strength around the man.

"Just two more days, crazy huh?" Asked the man with a very obvious nervous chuckle as he placed a hand on the back of his neck, rubbing it gently.

"What? You don't want to get married?" Asked a now angry girl.

"No, no it's just that we've come so far is all." He said smiling faintly, he drew a deep breath and then began to ask.

"And I just don't get the whole thing, is all," He added.

"What don't you get?!" The girl said, now more angry than before.

"Why do we have to get married?" The man said as the girl looked on in confusion. The man continued, "Why can't we just stay together? Are we so childish that we can't just live and love together? Without some kiddy ceremony?" The girl calmed down a bit, she took in the information, chalking the outburst up to ignorance. She began to console him, she held him by the shoulders and hugged him, like a child.

"Honey, it's to show commitment, it's simple really." She said in a soft nurturing motherly voice.

"Well my thought was, that staying with you for five years was committed enough, but no! Apparently I have to sign some papers and waste five years worth of money on a single day! I have to vow! To never cheat, lie, or to leave you, I have to put a metal band around my finger to prove this to you!?"

The girl was shocked at the outburst, not fully understanding it, she felt tears form in her eyes, a small weeping sound came from her young mouth. The man, now shammed by making his love, his one and only, cry, moved closer to her. He put her round young head into his chest, absorbing tears and hate, all at once. He took her young head and kissed her, softly, without so much as a ring to do it. Within that one second of lust and love and want and need, they felt ever more in love than any date nor wedding could suffice for.

"I love you, and I want to prove it to you." He said staring into his lover's eyes.

"Lets stay together, not through some legal binding, or religious creed. Lets stay bound by our love, for as long as we both shall live." Silence hung between the two for just a moment, then the Woman answered, happily.

"I Do."





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