[In honor of Halloween, I decided to share a Sabrina Rue story. Be safe out there!]
Walking through the antique store in a sleepy New Hampshire town, the dress brought Dominique to a stop. Most of the knickknacks were covered in a light layer of dust but it seemed the proprietor had gone to great lengths to protect the fabric.
She recognized it instantly.
Contrary to the card affixed to the display, it wasn’t the actual wedding dress. The overdress had been destroyed beyond repair. The shopkeeper was selling the underdress that was worn beneath the extravagant overlay.
Beautiful, certainly, but it paled in comparison to the rest. Dominique knew because she’d sewn the entire ensemble herself. It had taken her almost a year to complete while she waited for her wedding.
At the back, just beneath the corset, was a pink glass button. No reason. No purpose. Just a pretty button she thought would be good luck on her wedding day…
Not so much.
Thinking back, she remembered the church, the dappled forest, the carriage meant to sweep her and her new husband away to the little cottage he built them.
Simple plans for a simple life.
Walking up the steps that long ago summer, the smell of iron was almost overpowering. It reminded her of the slaughterhouse on butchering days. A brilliant red stain seeped into the hem of her gown. It was flowing from inside the church.
Bending, she lifted the bottom of her now-vintage dress to inspect it. The stain had faded to a slight pink where once it had been the intense red of a human heart.
Straightening, Dominique circled the mannequin and considered buying it for a laugh. Instead, she reached beneath the corset and removed the pink glass button. She tossed it up and down in her palm.
Then she walked out of the shop and continued on her way.
The dress represented her old life. The life that could have been. In a dappled forest, across a tempestuous ocean, more than two centuries in her past.
The day her village was slaughtered by powerful travelers not seeking their coin. By sunset, every man, woman, and child lay dead.
That was the day Dominique’s future changed because she alone was allowed to live.
The mercy was granted on one condition.
Her agreement to be turned into a Vampire and take the life of the last human still breathing. The man she was intended to marry. The man who built her a cottage. The man who walked to the church with his parents and siblings so he could take her as his wife.
Dominique quickly caved to the need clawing at her insides. As she drank her fiancé’s life blood, he whispered weakly in her ear, “Live, Dominique. Live.”
For hundreds of years, she had.
It wasn’t a bad wedding gift, if you thought about it.
© Sabrina Rue