Geraldine sighed casting one quick glance to the mask set on her dresser. Philippa’s insidious comments and plotting had convinced her but not quite. Her cousin had coaxed, pleaded, implied and every other trick in the book to ensure Geraldine would give in. She loved her cousin but she wasn’t entirely sure Philippa truly had her best interest at heart. Still she was right on one account: it was time to let go.

Tonight, even though most of the guests who assembled at the Duke’s Masquerade were former acquaintances, nobody would know her name. The prospect was as terrifying as it was thrilling; a name was such a trivial thing. Yet it also meant so much: history, family, power, honour. Hers was now associated with deceit, cheating, treason. She shook her head: Altschmerz would serve no purpose tonight.

She picked up the mask: deceptively simple, it represented a mouse and her pearly white gown matched its colour. Philippa had helped her choose both the domino and the dress, for which she was grateful. For four years, she’d been a pariah in society and fashion was a thing she couldn’t indulge in. She was rather surprised how the cleavage of the dress enhanced the cleft between her breasts but Philippa knew better.

To think these years of exile were all because of her husband. He was a fool… and a traitor. But he never kept her in his confidence: theirs had been a marriage of convenience. He wanted, needed her dowry: her father wanted a title for her. She didn’t expect more so she accepted: love was for the lucky ones. What her husband did with the money, she never knew. It was a weak argument. But she was weak then; after his sentencing, the Crown reclaimed most of his titles, lands and what money remained. She was left to fend for herself, abandoned even by her family. Except Philippa. She must be grateful for that, even though she knew perfectly well her cousin also helped her so she could gloat. Geraldine was the favoured child and now she must seek refuge with one who was looked down upon because of the rather modest alliance she’d made.

“Enough.” She admonished herself. No more bitterness about the past: it was useless, empty.
Tonight was a new beginning; at least she hoped it would. She placed the mask on her face and exited her room to meet her cousin downstairs.

They made good time and they arrived quickly at their destination. When they entered the ballroom, Geraldine had the sudden impression everyone turned: the costume she wore seemed even more appropriate. She truly felt like a mouse trapped, pinned under society’s gaze. Her cousin hooked her arm at her elbow and guided her through the throngs of people present. No one would know her, she kept repeating herself. How wrong she was.


In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Wordle #149
1. Cleft 2. Simple 3. Pearl 4. Altschmerz n. weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had—the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years, which leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago. 5. Cheat 6. Name 7. Assemble 8. Meant 9. Lattice 10. Weak 11. Insidious adj. intended to entrap or beguile: stealthily treacherous or deceitful: operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect 12. Let
Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem
The words can appear in an alternate form


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh wow Stephanie this is so well-written, I love the psychology of it and the way you used the Wordle image as well as the words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much 🙏🏻🙏🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael says:

    Excellent use of the words Stephanie in a very engaging piece, the first of future parts? I had this sense of wanting to know more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know maybe… probably. The last sentence does invite a follow-up: Wordles have inspired multiple part stories for me before so it’s a possibility. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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