The bride was late.
After waiting 40 minutes, the celebrant sat down to ease his knees and had fallen asleep. After an hour and a half, the bridesmaids had given up on decorum and were flirting outrageously with the groomsmen, who had pulled out a flask and were offering it around. The flower girl had flopped down at one end of the aisle. Her party dress, victim to the ravages of the lawn, was covered in grass stains. Disappointed by the lack of cake she proceeded to eat the petals in her basket.
Only the groom remained in place, staring up the aisle with a smile that declared his utter devotion and love for the woman he was about to marry.
The bride was known for her tardiness, particularly when it came to events that required beautification, which, in her opinion, was any time she left the house.
“This level of beauty requires time and effort,” she would say, tossing her curls momentously over one shoulder.
So none of the guests were terribly worried by her lateness, though some were becoming a little faint in the heat of the sun. The mother of the groom was being fanned by relatives. Before long, one of the bridesmaids had passed out, whether from the heat or the contents of the groomsman’s flask, no one was sure. The elderly celebrant had stopped snoring but after a necessary check, the guests were assured that his pulse continued to beat, just.
As soon as the bride appeared, however, everyone revived.
Even the flower girl, now feeling somewhat queasy, stood up and began the motion of sprinkling petals despite her lack thereof. A string quartet started up and from the sky a flock of bluebirds swooped down to fly ceremoniously above the bride.
“Sorry I’m late, darlings,” she declared waving her hand in a way that made it clear she wasn’t sorry at all. “Let’s get this party started.”
Patting the head of the flower girl, while unsuccessfully attempting to conceal a sneer at the sight of her dress, the bride took her place beside the groom.
“Do you take this woman to be your wife?” asked the celebrant.
“I do,” said the groom, barely able to suppress tears of joy.
“And do you take this man to be your husband?”
“I do,” said the bride as the birds above her head flew up and out of formation, disappearing dramatically into nearby clouds. The back of the bride’s dress quivered and bulged. Her fingernails began to elongate, her cheek bones and ears formed points that were both hideous and beautiful at the same time, and vines crept down from her head weaving through her hair. Huge wings sprouted from her back.
“Come here, dearest,” the Dark Fairy Queen pulled her newest husband close, kissing him hard before devouring him whole.
She licked the tips of her fingers and smiled out at her silent guests. “Right then,” she said, “It must be time for cake.”
“Time for Cake” was written as a gift for Anna Mead to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. My regular readers might remember Anna as the winner of my recent zombie flash fiction competition, while others will know her as the Dark Fairy Queen. Anna is the loveliest and naughtiest fairy queen, keeping so many of us writers in line online… or out of line online, as the case most usually is. All of us cherish her dearly and have come together to write stories celebrating her special day as part of a the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower, organised by Laura, Miranda & Rebekah. You can read more of the stories here:
Details for the DFQWBS: “Time for Cake” by Holly Kench, eBook: Yes.