This story was written for the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower, in honor of Anna Meade and Michael Loy’s upcoming nuptials. To the joyous couple: May you have an ecstatic life together, full of shared sunsets and fairy dust. And Anna: watch out for Krakens!
The bride stepped gingerly into her wedding dress, and two maids carefully laced the gown up her back. The gown sparkled like the starry night above her, aglow with thousands of diamonds sewn into the white thread. She waited patiently as the maids attended the dress, lacing, smoothing, gathering the long train around her feet. The maids then addressed the glorious mane of her hair, taming her wild dark curls. They ran exotic oils through her tresses, till her ringlets shone and shimmered. With diamond-encrusted ivory combs they captured her hair atop her head, while wayward curls framed her alabaster face and spilled down her back. With sweet berry juices they delicately colored her full lips, her creamy cheeks.
The wind swirled around her and she looked up to the night sky. A distant howl echoed, and she shivered.
The queen emerged from the shadows, and her eyes widened as she regarded the bride.
“You look glorious, my child,” an approving smile curved her blood-red lips.
The bride cast her eyes downward, blushing.
The queen came towards her, then circled around her, lightly fussing with her gown, running her taloned fingers through her curls. As the queen came round and faced the bride, she gently caressed the bride’s cheek, attempting a comforting smile.
“Are you nervous about the wedding night?” she purred.
The bride said nothing, but trembled, her blush deepening.
The queen leaned in, her lips against the brides ear. The bride could feel her warm, cloying breath as she whispered, “There is nothing to fear. It will be over before you know it.”
Tears sprung to the bride’s eyes.
“You must yield to him,” the queen murmured, capturing a single tear on the bride’s cheek with her long, thin finger, “Your body must be wholly his. Your skin…” she ran her finger down her cheek, her neck, tracing the soft, swelling flesh of her decoutage, “…must be warm. You body must open to him.”
The queen stepped back, leaving the bride’s heart pounding, her exposed white skin shivering.
“It is time,” the queen growled to the maids, averting her eyes from the bride.
The maids gently led the bride across the sand, to the cliff that overlooked the churning ocean. The wind whipped her curls, the salty spray of the sea stinging her eyes. Blinking the mist from her dark lashes, she looked up at the night sky, trying to swallow the tears and bile that rose up in her throat.
The maids pressed the bride’s body reverently against the rock face, captured her delicate wrists in heavy chains. The ocean waves heightened, swelled, and her gown was soon soaked by sea water.
The queen came to her once more, her large eyes wet with tears. Capturing her face in her hands, the queen planted one last kiss upon the bride’s cheek. The queen closed her eyes, breathing in the sweet and salty scent of the bride’s curls, then turned away.
The bride sobbed as the queen disappeared into the darkness.
A deep howl swept across the ocean, echoing above the ocean waves which rose higher and higher, now lapping at her feet. In the dark water, the bride could see an even darker shadow beneath its surface, impossibly huge, travelling with horrifying speed towards the cliff.
The bride breathed one last desperate sob, then, at the queen’s behest, relaxed her chained arms, softened her shoulders, weakened her knees. She yielded to her groom, who, with a triumphant and deafening wail, rose to meet and consume her.
Title: The Bride
Author: Christina Ramey