Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

The Masquerade By Isla Gaw

I’d been searching for weeks with no success. The ball was fast approaching and I was rapidly running out of options. After a distressed phone call, my mother offered to meet me in town for some retail therapy and a last-chance shot at finding a mask.

I got one within two minutes of being at the tiny farmers market just outside the centre of the city.

It was perfect; black lace and shaped like a butterfly- it would complement the gold and bronze tones of my princess ball gown perfectly. Excitement consuming me, I rushed off to find my mother to tell her about the ‘one of a kind’ ‘handmade’ piece, and the amazing deal the old lady gave me on it. Seeing its beauty and a bargain, she trekked to the stand not ten minutes later to try and negotiate one for herself that would match her outfit for the upcoming evening; but the stall was gone. I assumed that in the time it’d taken me to find her, the rest of the town cashed in on the goods, as everyone from the small rural area would be attending the masquerade in a mere three days.

I teased her about my good luck the rest of the afternoon.

The evening of the event was pure chaos. A small group gathered in my sister-in-law’s house to get ready- her idea of course, as it helped fill an otherwise empty mansion since her husband had left. It was relatively close to the cathedral in which the ball would commence also making it more convenient. The limo ride with seven other giggling women was relatively short, much to my delight. However, uneven terrain and a short walk through a pitiful excuse for a forest was the only way to get from the road to the building, which meant more time with the bubbly bundle.

We teased each other the entire trek about the things rumoured to haunt the woodland, some putting on their masks as we approached. I opted not to until I reached my husband and minutes later I found myself in his embrace as he tied the silk of my beautiful mask behind my head.

The night had begun.

The sound of the six am local news woke me with a start, the volume on full. In my haziness, I reached around the bed for the remote only to lay my hand in something sticky. Lifting it up, what looked like blood covered my hand- and entire body.

“The ball ended in the slaughter of all attendees by a local woman in 1908, who was never found. She became known as the Black Butterfly Killer, due to the colour and shape of her mask. To mark the reopening of the cathedral and remember the townsfolk, everyone attending tonight’s masquerade ball in the building is asked to wear white in a show of unity and purity at what is thought to have once been the site of a Satanic Ritual.”

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