Fallen London (a delightful browser based story game about an alternate darker, weirder, Victorian London) had a flash fiction story contest about how one’s character would spend New Year’s Eve. My character, Bonny Kate, came to London to avenge the death of someone she loved. But it has been so long since I started playing that I have forgotten who that person was. I thought that perhaps Bonny Kate had also forgotten.

~ ~ ~

It is the middle of a raucous party atop a spire, a soiree fit for a princess in exile, and Bonny Kate is melancholy.

The finest Morelways drip with condensation in their chilled baths in the kitchen sink, the bath, the laundry tub. The tables are heaped with with mushrooms stuffed with soft red cheese, fried crackling rubbery lumps, exorbitantly expensive candied fruits from the surface.

Bonny Kate stands by herself in a corner, her glass of wine grown warm, untouched. She watches actors laughing as the wine overflows their glasses, artists dancing forbidden waltzes, authors reciting limericks that grow more bawdy as the night progresses. In the corner an artist is painting a tableau, his models flush with wine. Prisoner’s honey gleams golden from crystal carafes in every room.

She always feels a little lost on New Year’s Eve. The last time she saw the person she loved most in the world or below was on New Year’s Eve, nine years ago.

But she cannot remember their face or even their name. She cannot remember if it was her brother or her lover. She only knows that they were murdered nine years ago, that she swore revenge, that she has not fulfilled her vow, that she loved them more than life.

She has forgotten their eyes, their laughter, their name, as thoroughly as she has forgotten what it is to live under the golden sun. She is not sure when these memories slipped away – whether they dissolved gently in the cave of irrigo that washes away cares and memories, or were lost among the mirror-marches like a dropped glove, or slipped away in the bliss of honeyed dreams, or whether they simply faded away through the passage of time.

She is not usually given to introspection. She would rather live merrily, drink deeply, dream often, and try to be as good as a woman may be in the Neath.

Every New Year’s Eve she tries to forgot her grief with a fete more extravagant than the last – the feast more lavish, the wine more intoxicating, the dances more scandalous, the guests more numerous. As though the dancing and flirting and drinking would somehow be enough. She wills herself to forget.

It never works.

Every year her grief finds her again in the dark before the new year.

And then the clocks strike midnight, all across the Neath, a fury of glorious dissonance, of church bells ringing and urchins and socialites crashing pots and pans and musicians playing bright brassy fanfares, shaking her from her thoughts, and she is pulling her consort into an embrace. She kisses her consort and drinks her wine laced with prisoner’s honey, until she forgets and is merry, until the next year comes again.

Categories: Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *