By: Mason Bushell
Natalya screamed, cowering inside her walk-in wardrobe. Never had the weather been this violent. Why of all days did the storm come on prom night? A howl of wind was followed by the sound of windows breaking; things falling in the rooms below her. Waves of water pounded the house causing the walls to shake. The storm raged for two hours, never calming, never showing mercy on the city.
“Please, stop, I beg you.” Natalya shuddered under a violent rumble of thunder, then a strange silence fell. Leaving the wardrobe she moved around her bed, looking out of the rain-soaked window. Stars were becoming visible in the sky – the storm was breaking. Natalya smoothed out the sparkling gold bodice of her dress and left her room. She was the daughter of the Marquess. Her home was a grand palace on the beach. Coming to the sweeping oak stairs she began to descend. A palm tree had come through a window in the regal entranceway. Natalya placed a hand over her mouth with tears forming in her eyes at the destruction around her. The heavy carved-oak front-doors were hanging off the hinges. Leaving the stairs, she stepped into ankle-deep water. The misty-blue tulle skirts of her dress floated majestically about her as she took in the room. Flood water had reached the lowest parts of the royal blue and gold marble-tiled wall. Natalya approached a side table and took up a long taper. With it aflame, she reached to light the candles of the four pearl-stringed candelabra hanging from the alabaster ceiling. Wading through the water her feet found all kinds of debris from pebbles and stones, to bits of broken furniture and ornaments. She pushed passed a broken jardiniere to light another and gasped. Something had hammered against a door within the house.
“Natty, where are you? Are you okay?” called a rich male voice, deepened with concern.
“I’m here and fine, Hugo.” Natalya continued to light the candles. Behind her, the handsome young man announced himself by the sloshing of water around his formerly shiny shoes. He entered wearing a full black tuxedo and a look of relief.
“Oh, Dear Natalya. You’re alive. I …” his eyes found her and his mouth dropped open. “Why even that beastly storm was not enough to dislodge your beauty. You stand within the debris of your home, looking like a ship-wrecked princess.”
Natalya let out a little giggle. “Is that a compliment, or misplaced shock, Hugo?”
“Maybe both. I fear the prom is over before it even began. The storm has wreaked havoc across the city.” Hugo crossed the room, his eyes locked on hers.
“I feared as much. If my house couldn’t withstand. The citizens smaller ones surely would not.” Natalya lowered her arm, extinguishing the taper. Turning to him she gave a small smile that didn’t hide her sadness. “It’s so awful, Hugo.”
He wrapped his arms about her, she felt them on her back beneath her elegantly curled tresses of cherry-red hair as he embraced her. “Never fear, everything will be rebuilt anew. Our city will be fine,” he said
“That will bring me great joy.” Natalya freed herself and looked to her feet. “I must admit, it woes me that my dainty prom shoes and dress are ruined, and I never got to dance with you.”
“That is a shame.” Hugo glanced about him, then up the stairs. There a smile crossed his face. “Maybe, all is not lost.”
“How so?” Natalya allowed him to take her hand. He raced up the stairs with her. On the landing, he made her squeal by turning her in pirouette that flared her skirts in a shower of water droplets. He pushed through the doors to the master balcony. Natalya could do nothing but follow, as he took her outside. The storm had gone leaving the calmest of nights in its wake.
“Come, my princess.” Hugo grinned, he raced up the spiral staircase still holding his giggling prom date by the hand. The roof was the most remarkable space, surrounded by stunning white stone railings. “Here beneath the silvery moon, we shall have our dance.”
“Oh, Hugo.” That’s so romantic. Natalya fixed her eyes on his as they began to waltz. Tomorrow they knew, they must lead the clean-up. However, until then the destruction around the palace melted away. Until morning came the two would dance lost in love as a couple on prom night should.