The Locket

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The Locket

My name is Alice Lockbridge, I am sixteen, and after the night of November 17th, I will never sleep again...

         

"May I have this dance Miss?" a gentleman's voice asked softly.

 However, the meaning of his question was lost as it rushed straight in one ear and out of the other. My attention was no longer present in the brightly lit ballroom; it had floated away into daydream as usual. All that filled my head now were silent memories of my sister laughing and dancing with the young man who loved her with all the passion in the world. Their relationship was one of the most beautiful things that I'd ever seen. As she twirled effortlessly around the ballroom floor her lavender gown billowed out around her waist like a delicate cloud and her deep chocolate eyes glinted with pure excitement. That memory of her was the last beautiful one of her that I had - her first dance in the ballroom with all the graceful adults. Never did I want to see her as she was the very last time that I saw her again. Thinking about that only unearthed the horrendous image of her from my mind. Her eyes dead and black, streaming tears, her face twisted and distorted with pain, her mouth hanging open to let out a spine-tingling scream burst out and her body freakishly thin, melting away into nothing. It was at midnight when she ran towards the Great Hall of our manor, screeching and screaming like a strangled cat. I had chased her along the shadowed corridors faster than I'd ever run before in my life, yet it wasn't fast enough. Before I could follow her inside or get a grip on her wrist, the heavy iron plated door slammed shut, locking me and everyone else out. That was when I began to wonder if she hadn't run in there, had she been dragged...?

By the time the servants smashed the bolts and wrenched the doors open, she had vanished and no-one dared to take a step inside the threshold. The worst thing was knowing deep inside that whatever happened to her had not been pleasant, the thought still made me shudder in fear.

"Miss, may I have this dance?" the young man's voice asked again, now ever so slightly anxious at my distraction. I snapped out of it almost instantly, took two deep breaths and smiled up at him politely.

"Of course," I whispered softly, placing my hand into his with total false confidence. This was father's annual dance, held to celebrate the ending autumn and coming winter. It was November 16th every single year without fault. So now I twirled and twirled with this man, putting on a mask of fake happiness for the show. With every additional second that he led me around the floor I couldn't stop thinking that it should be Maria up here, and not me. She should be the Lord's eldest daughter catching everyone's eyes and having the time of her life. Not me, though I wouldn't say that I was enjoying myself or particularly catching anybodies eyes for that matter. I was far too bland and boring for that. Fate had chosen the wrong person to send into deaths arms, if anyone had deserved it, it was me.

"May I say that you look more beautiful than any other lady in this room, any other lady around, tonight," the man murmured into my ear as we slid between the mass of elegant dancers - contradicting my thoughts as if he could hear them perfectly.

I sighed, "I bet you say that to every girl you come across on your travels Sir. For my sister was far more ladylike and perfect than me."

"Maria was also divinely beautiful, but unfortunately her death has scraped away the memories of her from the minds of many, even the closest to her."

Anger thundered through my veins as he spoke. My sister's body may be gone in physical form - or maybe not - but memories of her would never fade. Never, ever, ever, I had made a silent promise to her soul.

"Excuse me Sir," I snapped, dropping his hands and beginning to make my way across the room. The dancers were now arranged in a complicated formation, bowing and curtseying to each other with embarrassed smiles and welcoming grins. How I wished for my spirit to be free enough to enjoy myself as much as our guests. How I longed for my mind to reflect my age as I feared it never would again, not after seeing what happened with my own wide eyes.

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