Charity’s Ball
By Daisy Jones
Date: November 18, 2015
Ch. 1Wake-Up Call

The first day of October in the year 1912 blew autumn’s spirited breath onto the sleepy little town of Proctor, waking everyone from the eleventh hour of their half-life existence. The month had a purpose that would culminate in the climax of the annual Monster Ball & Fall Festival.

October 1st was Charity’s birthday, although no one else acknowledged it. She was born from the union of a clairvoyant and a shaman twenty-five years earlier. Spared from the acquiescent spell that had claimed the souls of most of its citizens, Charity lived alone in a small cottage fringed on the outskirts of town.

Foresight and seven years of first-hand experience told her that at the stroke of midnight on November 1st, the citizens of Proctor would all return to their comfortably numb lives, oblivious to the fabric of Earth’s magic veil. Tired old spinsters would resume the systematic placation of school-aged children while farmers attempted to coax healthy vegetation from dusty fields and shop keepers pursued their quiet lives hidden behind glass-fronted facades.

This year, Charity made it her personal mission to ensure something would be different. Months earlier, she discovered her father’s notebook, buried in a corner of the garden shed. His handwritten notes, sketches, and diagrams were all neatly preserved inside a custom-made leather cover that completely enveloped the parchment paper contents with over-lapping folds and two brass buckle straps. Her father was gone before her fifth birthday, so Charity only had vague memories of his presence in her life and barely a possession of his to cherish. Her mother, Sarah, lived for another twelve years, but told Charity little more than was necessary to preserve fond, yet vague memories of his existence.

She was consumed by the information at her fingertips. Charity delved into her father’s articulate notes, intent on perfecting a potion that would ignite a spark into Proctor’s compliant masses. Preciously following the instructions of the recipe she selected, Charity began to gather the necessary ingredients. Her elixir was born from the good things of Earth, like rose petal extract and butterfly wings, assuring a beautiful transformation when blended into her spiced apple cider, a mainstay on the refreshment table at the upcoming Monster Ball. There were eight other ingredients, all measured and weighed with precision and purpose. Charity’s cider was a by-product of a thriving apple orchid, a legacy established by her parents the year she was born. Last year, she dabbled in a variety of recipes to enhance the sweet mystery of her red-skinned wonders, but without benefit of her father’s extra ingredients. It brought an instant smile to everyone that imbibed in her fresh cider. She was curious why her mother never used the information in her father’s notebook or bothered to reveal its’ existence before her passing. Eight years earlier, Sarah passed away peacefully in her sleep, leaving Charity behind. Although Charity repeated her mother’s history by being left alone at the age of seventeen, Sarah laid the groundwork to provide a home and somewhat obscured legacy for her daughter. There would be no vagabond lifestyle for Charity, wandering dusty roads in search of a home. She had details to attend to, and untapped resources to accomplish the task.

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color