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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)

TITLE: Midnight Masquerade
By Jennifer Wetter


I gazed around at the hustle and bustle of our rather tainted and taunting group of individuals. Many of us struggled to maintain our poise as we giggled with excitement and anticipation as we hurriedly attempted to finish our last minute preparations. With so much of our time, our talents and ourselves invested we could not afford a single mistake. Any small oversight, insight or hindsight would be definitively disastrous to everything we’ve worked for and everything we are.

Perhaps to us it’s truly a matter of life and death; it’s a definition of our lives and the very essence of who we are and what we are meant to be. We are meant for greatness, greatness beyond our simple and saturated our existence.

I smiled smugly as my mind was intertwined with thoughts of greatness and grandeur about my best idea ever. After all it was my idea that included all the decorations and preparations and therefore everything must be perfect just as I am. It was my brilliant and blazing idea to entertain our guests with gala of the century, the Midnight Masquerade.

“Yes, I am ever so creative,” I encouraged myself. “Oh and we must not forget charming and clever as well.”

“And oh so full of yourself as well,” a daunting voice interrupted my thoughts.

I sneered, “Well I certainly wasn’t talking about you. Was I?”

“No, I suppose not,” he muttered. “Since all you ever talk about is yourself.”

I laughed, “Well I suppose pride goes before a fall....but unfortunately for you I haven’t tripped yet.”

“Remember all good things must come to an end,” he jeered. “And I suppose that must also include you.”

“Ahem....” another voice interrupted our jousting match. “Excuse me....”

In unison we both replied,” What do you want?”

“To let you know,” the breathless voice replied. “The master is on his way to ensure the decorations and preparations are ready for tonight.”

My eyes widened.” When.....will....he....be....here.”
“In less than an hour,” the breathless voice muttered.

I still had so much to do in which so little time to do it. The red carpets, the food and the decorations still need to be hung.

The voice continued. “He also wants everyone in their costume as well.”

My voice loudly raised above the clamor and collectiveness of the crowd that had quickly gathered around. I began to diligently and directly dole out tasks to each and every individual gathered amongst the crowd.

Finally an hour later I was able to relax and sigh in peace as the glorious gala decorations and preparations were finally complete. The master gaily walked through seemingly genuinely impressed by the completed decorations and preparations.

Tonight was the night...it was finally our night to silence the halls of heaven; to darken the halos of heaven and to echo into eternity. Tonight the glitz and glimmer of Hollywood’s once shining stars would be dim in comparison with elegance and etherealness of tonight’s event.

The brilliant blood red carpet was gracefully rolled out upon the ground in eager anticipation of our guests’ arrival. Within an hour’s time the Midnight Masquerade was a macabre of masquerades, masks and mayhem.

Music and laughter reverberated through the magnificent marble halls. Lost in the laughter and in my own loud thoughts I realized I’d almost forgotten than in less than an hour we’d finally reveal ourselves to our guest...our real selves.

I managed to mingle and mix myself within every crowd at tonight’s glorious gala. And for the first time in my life I was able to step out beyond myself and into someone else’s shoes. Tonight for the first time in my life I felt gracious and genuine as I mingled within the crowds compliment and caring about others.

Cautiously I glanced at my watch aware that I only had a few moments left...a few moments until my charade ended and my true character could be revealed.

A hand gently tapped me on the shoulder. “Who are you supposed to be?”

“Humility,” I replied.

“I just wanted to say how beautiful you look tonight,” she continued.

I smiled. “Thank you that’s so thoughtful of you to say.”

The clock finally struck midnight.

My true character was finally revealed. The young girl gaped in horror, “Now who are you.”

I smugly replied. “Pride and I am about to make sure you have plenty of it too.”

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”-Matthew 7:15

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Member Comments
Member Date
Yvette Roelofse08/21/08
Somehow, this reminded me of Poe's "Masque of the Read Death". Very interesting piece.
Yvette Roelofse08/21/08
Ahem...make the RED Death :oops:
Jan Ackerson 08/22/08
Interesting allegory!

I was a bit confused by the vaugeness of the first few paragraphs, but once I got into the swing of things, I enjoyed it very much. Would have liked a bit more falling action...

This had a creepy feel to it--very well done with the atmosphere!
Marlene Austin08/22/08
The generalness of the first paragraphs made me think this was a story about any party. It wasn't until I got to the end that I realized it was an allegory. IMHO, I think I would have felt the impact of the MC's actions at the party and the "special guest" more if the allegory had been revealed somewhat sooner. Great creativeness on the topic. :)
Patty Wysong08/25/08
Oh, you got me--and that's what pride often does.