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The ladies walk through the moonbeams with their hands laced together, rose-cheeked, rose-lipped, their gossamer gowns floating all round them. Their eyes are dark with secrets, their smiles sharp-toothed, knowing.

A rawboned shadow dances after them, catlike, twitching and pulling at the ladies’ drifting sleeves. “Listen – uh – I’m sorry, but –”

She is a gaunt and pale-faced thing, with stubble growing in along the square line of her jaw, her skirt and blouse well-tattered beneath the grime. The ladies barely deign to glance at her. Beneath their radiance she is nothing, less than nothing: still she follows after them, nimble-footed, a fool’s last hope still shining in her eyes.

At last they turn to her, and speak in voices like shattered starlight in glass:

“Who are you, then, who calls us from behind?
Know you not who stands before you now?
Have you no fear of death? of sharp-toothed smiles?
No wariness of shining in the night?”

The shadow shrinks back, but soon rallies. “I’m sorry,” she says again. “Can you spare some change for gas? I – I need to get out of here. Fast. You get that, right?” Her eyes linger on their fastened hands.

But the ladies’ smiles are unwavering, and full of secrets.

“So does the mouse seek shelter from the wolf.
Poor frightened mouse: we ate this day before.
What use have we for more? Go, run:
a nimble mouse may live to see the dawn.”

“Right,” says the beggar. “Okay. I get it. You’re a pair of creepy motherfuckers who want to eat me or whatever. Vampire fairies, or something. I don’t care. Here’s the thing: I can’t run. Because, like I said, I’m broke. And if you guys won’t help me…” She stops, takes a deep breath, and faces them down. “What do I need to do for you to help me?”

The ladies smile at each other, and their eyes speak loudly in the silence.

“We pity you, O girl without a home.
We have no coin to give you; hearken still:
we’ll take you far from this unhappy land
if you’ll but come with us, and have no fear.”

Their teeth are sharp and glinting. She thinks for a moment of tricking them, or robbing them, or running: but in the end she casts trickery aside, and makes the sacrifice willingly.

She steps into the ladies’ glow without fear, and as they devour her she flies away to freedom.
Written for Flash Fiction Month 2018, day 14, challenge 7: write a story whose wordcount is a multiple of 37, including a Shakespearean fool, a tragic death, and a character who speaks only in verse; it must include at least ten words which originated with Shakespeare. Shakespeare words: moonbeam, rose-cheeked, rose-lipped, rawboned, radiance, grime, pale-faced, nimble-footed, catlike, dawn, unhappy, glow. This year I'm also fulfilling a challenge by an anonymous contributor: Every character must be queer.

I've also been somehow finagled into taking on another challenge by joe-wright:

The All-Star challenge.
Over the course of FFM, your oeuvre must address the following items:
  • -Something somebody once told you
  • -The sharpest tool
  • -A finger and a thumb
  • -The shape of an L
  • -What does it mean to be 'fed to the rules'?
  • -A smart brain and a dumb head
  • -"You'll never shine if you don't glow"
  • -Definitive proof that all that glitters is in fact gold
  • -A shooting star that breaks the mold
  • -The meteor men, and the hole in the satellite picture
  • -Skating on thin ice
  • -The world on fire
  • -"Can you spare some change for gas?"
  • -An all-star, getting their game on, and going to play, or alternatively and perhaps easier, a rock star, getting the show on, and getting paid.
  • -Shrek
This is my fifth year doing FFM, and this is the first time a challenge has thrown me this far off.

The rest of the day's stories can be found here.

Edit 15.08.2018: Added quotation marks around the dialogue spoken in verse.

Wordcount: 407.

If you've enjoyed this story, you may be interested in the collection of all my FFM stories this year: Beyond Dreams. You may also enjoy my FFM collections from the previous four years: Borrowed Strength, Ephemeron, Palalgia, and Changeling.
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TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2018  Student Writer
So does the mouse seek shelter from the wolf.

I loved this line. Imagined it in a really creepy sing-song voice
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2018   Writer
Creepy sing-song voice was exactly what I was going for with the verse, so that's awesome. :D Thank you!
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2018  Student Writer
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018
Your word choice here is excellent! And I love that (sort of) twist ending. Those sharp-toothed creatures were pretty interesting as well.
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018   Writer
Thank you! This one was kind of an experiment (it had to be, with that challenge :XD:), but the pretty language was the glue that held it together.
inksoaked Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
So this was very sad and very beautiful. I love your language use here, very floral. I love the abrupt difference in the way the protag spoke and the vampire women. 

It felt a lot like a metaphor also; in order to be part of something society demands you to be, it can completely drain you to try and fit such a mold. 
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018   Writer
Thank you so much. I'm especially glad that metaphor came through: it was intended, but with this challenge I really wasn't sure how anything was going to come across.
inksoaked Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Good, haha. I'm glad! It's hard to know what's going to come across and what isn't.
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Ooh, I actually really liked this.
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018   Writer
I'm very glad to hear that. Honestly I'm still not sure how to feel about it myself, but as long as someone enjoys it that's the main thing. Thank you!
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I know the feeling. I feel like most of my stories this year have been kinda "phoned in". Darn this getting mentally well thing for eating my creativity!
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2018   Writer
Worth it. :heart: You just gotta learn to work with Different Brain.
camelopardalisinblue Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, definitely. There'll be a lot of rubbish while I do, but that's okay. As I just said to someone else -- better a lot of rubbish and an occasional gem than a whole lot of nothing at all.
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018   Writer
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July 14, 2018


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