Horror Romance Speculative

Baroness Belle stood on the stage as everyone applauded. She wore a red silk mermaid dress and a set of pearls.

“Thank you! You are all too kind!” She replied as the applause faded.

  She raised a glass of rose water.

“I want to thank all of you for coming to my beloved home. In honor of my father, and his father, and everyone who has owned this mansion, I welcome all of you to dance the night away under the watch of his portrait. He had always loved dancing.” she spoke.

  The applause rose again. Music played. The Baroness watched as many young women in colorful dresses danced with men in the finest suits. She watched as though the crab-cakes and horderves disappeared, one by one. She didn’t feel like dancing. She didn’t feel like eating. She felt dread creeping up on her as the guest slipped out the door, one by one. She walked around the mansion. Maybe, just maybe, if she would stay awake…

 She sat down. Her eyelids grew heavy. She was too tired to keep walking. She knew she couldn’t avoid it forever. She closed her eyes.

 When she opened her eyes again, she was in a forest. The trees were gray and bone-like. The sky was heavy and dark. There was not a single growing thing inside. It’s the curse. Her father described it too well. All she had to do now was walk. She came to a clearing in the forest. A violent shiver shot down her spine like lightning. It was her. The girl. Her long black hair hung over her face. She wore a dress with brown spots. Old blood. In front of her was a table with three bottles. The girl stuck out a shaky hand.

“Choose.” her voice rasped.

  Belle trembled. The bottles were all identical. She didn’t want to choose one, but she knew that if she didn’t, she would suffer some horrible death. She picked one in the middle. The girl nodded, still not showing her face.

“Good choice.” She hissed.

  She faded away. The bottle that Belle opened burst open, revealing a blinding light. The sound of an organ played.

 Belle jolted awake. She looked around. She was in the parlor. Thin strips of light appeared through the red curtains. She sighed. Her father wasn’t allowed to tell her what happened if she opened a certain bottle. Her stomach growled. It had occurred to her that she hadn’t eaten anything. She stood up and walked into the kitchen. The chef wasn’t here yet. She grabbed a box of saltine crackers. She ate them absent-mindedly. Something should happen soon. She should feel an urge. Then it happened. She walked into her room. Every step she took felt nonexistent, for she couldn’t feel a single thing. When she was out of her room, she was in a leather jacket, black leggings, and bright red high heels. The high heels happened to be very thin. 

  Next thing she knew, she was walking down a street downtown. Belle came to herself again. She was confused.

“The bride just wanted me to take a walk?” she whispered to herself.

  Then her high heel got stuck on a grate. She looked down, annoyed. She pulled at it. It slipped off of her foot. She grabbed her high heel and pulled. When it was unstuck, she fell back, only to be caught by someone.

“Whoa! Are you okay?!” a voice asked.

  She looked up to see that she was in the arms of a young man. He had the brightest smile and the kindest eyes she had ever seen. She got up quickly.

“Yes! I’m fine!” she blurted in embarrassment.

The man’s eyes widened. She looked down.

“Sorry. Thank you.” She added quietly.

  The young man smiled.

“I like your shoes. They may not be the best walking shoes though…” he complimented humorously.

  Belle blushed.

“Yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking.” she replied.

  The young man put a hand out.

“I’m Tanner by the way…” he informed her.


She stuck out the hand that had her high heel in it. She blushed even more in realization. Tanner took the shoe and bent down. He held it out. Belle slipped her foot in.

“There. Just like Cinderella.” he told her.

 Belle smiled. Tanner stood back up.

“Well, I better go off to work. I work at Lionel's Bistro. Stop by anytime, Belle.” he replied.

  Belle nodded.

“Thank you.” She replied.

  Tanner walked by her. Belle looked at him, still smiling. She felt good for the rest of the day. So good, she forgot about the curse. She went back to her bed and fell asleep. The same thing happened. The forest, the bottles, the girl.

“Choose.” her voice rasped.

  Belle chose a bottle, hoping for the same result. The girl looked up. Her face is still hidden in hair. She rested a diamond ringed finger on her knee. She said nothing, but faded away. The bottle burst open. Crying can be heard from a distance.

 She woke up in her room. Dread washed over her. Then the same numbness as yesterday washed over her. The next thing she knew, she was at Lionel’s Bistro. To her luck, Tanner was her server. He showed her the same kind smile as yesterday. Belle was so distracted that she didn’t realize what she had ordered. She had ordered the special, she knew that, but she didn’t know what it was. It was chicken pot pie. She talked to Tanner while he was on break. She was sweating a lot. She dismissed it as the result of being nervous. Then there was a sickening feeling in her stomach. Her breath grew rapid. Tanner looked worried.

“Belle… Are you okay? You look a little green…” he inquired.

  Belle pursed her lips and ran to the bathroom. She slammed into a businessman.

“Watch where you’re going!” He snapped.

  Belle tried to apologize. No words came out of her mouth. Vomit did. The entire bistro froze. There was half-digested chicken pot pie all over the businessman's suit. All Belle could do was stare in horror. The rest that happened was a blur. The businessman screamed at her, the owner of the bistro apologized to everyone excessively and practically begged for everyone not to sue, and Tanner rushed Belle to the hospital. When the doctor was sure she was now okay, she sent them out. Tanner drove her back to the mansion. They stepped out of the car. Bell looked down, embarrassed.

“I’m sorry.” Belle whispered.

 Tanner chuckled. 

“Ah Belle! From getting your shoe stuck on the grate to barfing on some guy, you are very unlucky!” he told her.

 Belle looked up. She sighed and shook her head.

“You have no idea.” she muttered.

“Were you cursed by a witch or something?” he asked jokingly.

“No… but one of my ancestors had a brother who kind of put a curse on us.”

“Whoa-what?! Explain!”

 Belle hesitated. She usually wasn’t comfortable about sharing her family's curse, but Tanner seemed to be trustworthy. Many other people just think she’s the luckiest person in the world because of her family. She told him about the night where the brother was going to marry this girl, but changed his mind, so he killed her, and died soon after. His eyes widened at each detail.

“...And her ghost haunts us to this day.” she finished.

    Tanner stared at her.

“You’re not gonna kill me if I ask you out, are you?” he asked.

  Belle shook her head.

“No. I won’t. I don’t want to hurt anyone.” she replied.

  Tanner gave a fake sigh of relief and smiled.

“What a relief! Because I want to take you to the movies on Wednesday.” he told her.

  Belle smiled.

“I would love to.”



  Tanner said goodbye and drove away.

 The night before the date came. The girl sat in front of her.

“Choose.” she rasped.

  Belle hesitated. She didn’t want to ruin this date with Tanner.

“Pick one! Everyone in your family has to pick one!” The girl snapped.

  Belle snatched one of the bottles in fear. At first, nothing happened. The girl stood up. Belle froze in horror. She wanted to desperately run, but she could not move. She glimpsed at the bottle, hoping it would open. Belle saw that in her hand was no longer a bottle, but a rusty knife. The girl stood there for what seemed an eternity. Her hair flew out of her face. Her face was covered in fresh open scars. She screamed in rage and launched herself at Belle. Darkness enveloped her.

  Belle and Tanner walked to the movie theater. Belle was wearing her favorite pearls. Tanner talked to an old friend by an alleyway. Something was rummaging through the trash. Belle saw in horror that it was a woman. The woman had scabs all over her face. She had sheer desperation in her bloodshot eyes. She was eyeing her pearls. Belle could only stare at her. Then the woman pulled out a rusty knife and rushed at her. Belle screamed.

  She woke up at the hospital. Tanner was beside her bed. His expression was full of worry. The doctor came in.

“Don’t worry, Miss Belle. The woman who attacked you is currently in incarceration. Thanks to Tanner and his friend, you're alive. She gave you pretty nasty scars though. It’s unbelievable that she was that desperate for money, that she would attack in an open space. Like I said, you’re all scarred up, but you will be fine.” she informed her.

August 28, 2022 04:31

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Shaney Gabbott
18:58 Sep 08, 2022

this is beautifully written and i love it


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Paula Young
13:13 Sep 04, 2022

Not my genre, but an interesting story!


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