Thursday, 10 January 2013

Twelfth Night Masquerade Flash Fiction Contest #No.1

The wonderful Meg McNulty has come up with a wonderful idea for a Flash Fiction Contest over on her site From Darcy to Dionysus, and I could not resist when I found this first picture on the Pinterst Board dedicated to it. (There was another, that will be coming soon).


Elizabeth hadn’t expected to be invited, so when the postman rang the doorbell her stomach lept at the sight of the envelope; the gold filigree giving away the contents.  But when he produced a parcel from another sender, she was a little puzzled.

She found the contents enchanting; the mask and ballet shoes in her favourite colour, which matched her dress perfectly. But there was no note with it, or return address, so who had sent them to her?

The shoes were a perfect fit as she twirled around the lounge trying them out, remembering the steps she had learnt at the academy. Then a question came into her head and she stopped mid step, how did they know her size as well as the colour? 

Everyone at the academy knew purple was her favourite colour, there was no mystery there, but her shoe size was different; she could only think of a handful of people that might.

These thoughts slowed Elizabeth’s preparations, but not her excitement as she donned her petite tulle-bottomed dress that evening. The ballet shoes set it off perfectly, and she left her hair down to help the mask obscure her face.
As the taxi pulled away, leaving her at the steps to the great hall, butterflies took flight in her stomach. But she donned the mask, taking courage from its anonymity and joined the others making their way inside.

Feelings of apprehension were soon forgotten when Elizabeth found everyone inside was as concealed as she was. A sense of freedom took over as she agreed to dance upon dance with men she could only guess the identity of, due to speaking while dancing being strictly forbidden.

But then there was one who whispered in her ear and almost caused her to lose her footing. “Are they comfortable? I knew they’d look beautiful on your dainty feet.”

Elizabeth could only study the eyes and mouth of her masked dance partner; the hard black lines of intricate inlaid spirals obscuring most of his face and giving nothing away.

At the end of the dance he let her go without a word, moving away to engage with other guests. She stood bereft, still not recognising his manner, although there his carriage and stance were familiar. Who was he?

The next couple of dances she may as well have been floating for all the presence she gave her suitor; her mind gone, searching for a further clue to the identity of the man behind the black mask.

It was only during a dance where they had to change partners and he appeared in front of her again, that she returned. She searched his face with intent and curiosity and he smiled, whispering again, “I’ve always been here, you just never saw me before.”

And that was it; she knew and laughed out loud, letting him swing her round faster. And then, at the end, he swept her into his arms and she met his lips for a kiss.

499 Words


  1. A mystery resolved, and yet no answer. Nice way to keep me thinking about the character in the story.

  2. I love how we are left wondering how he was, yet happy that she knows who it is. Really enjoyed the flow of this, breaking it down into little segments was perfect :)

  3. Like the others really pleased she guessed and we don't know, lovely touch! I could feel her tension and then her relief!

    1. Strangely I didn't intend to leave the reader hanging - must be all that suspense I read! LOL

      He was someone who was a friend at the academy, and who she didn't take a second look at until he was masked - play on the whole mask theme - she never saw him UNTIL he was masked! (;>

  4. Lovely :) It reminds me of internet dating in reverse... Behind a computer screen, charming and enigmatic, in real life: dull. Heh!

  5. I love that you've taken a theme of masks REVEALING - which I truly believe can happen. It's sometimes only then that people can really be themselves. Her excitement is palpable!

  6. Gah! I am dying to know who this guy was -- and how he knew so much! It must be a strange feeling to know someone will be able to identify YOU at a masque, because they gave you a piece of your costume, but you won't have the foggiest clue who they are, going in. It's like an intimate secret, shared between lovers.

  7. I really enjoyed your play on the masks. And the picture caught my eye too. So beautiful!

  8. "She donned the mask, took courage in its anonymity." I love this line, and it genuinely resonated with me. Sometimes masks DO give us courage & allow us to blend into a sea of souls & let us be observers, no longer constrained by our former fears. And as your charming story pointed out, they ironically allow us to "see" in others what we never percieved before (hence the attraction of your story!). I really enjoyed how your story evoked all these themes in a deceptively simple way—yet the ramifications are endless. : )

  9. I really want to know who he is, name and all, but at the same time I love that I don't. Love the expression "...may as well have been floating"
    I noticed the picture as well, I have a similar one in pink, haven't worn it though.

  10. As Meg says, it's very cool that you used the prompt to explore what masks reveal rather than what they hide. A tale full of mystery and romance--very nicely done!

  11. Great articles and great layout. Your blog post deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting. Best Masquerade Masks for Men in 2018