Title: In the Flutter of a Butterfly's Wings
Fandom: The Corpse Bride: A timid young man who is engaged to be married accidentally marries a corpse. He winds up caught between two worlds while trying to save the living love of his life from a murderer with a mild God complex. I don't own it! Belongs to Tim Burton!
Taunt: My fandom knows how to party, and the cockroaches are invited!
The last thing Emily could remember seeing was a butterfly.
A shiver ran through her as she waited in the dark and the cold. Why her lover would want to meet out here escaped her. On the one side, she realized that in order for them to successfully run away and be happy together, they had to make their escape without being seen. On the other hand, there were many suitable places that were far less cold.
And far less frightening.
The forest was horrible at night. Village children sometimes whispered of the monsters and spirits said to roam there, especially during the darkest hours of the night. Boys would occasionally offer a challenge to their playfellows to sneak out to the forest at night and bring back a certain item left there during the day to prove bravery. When these outrageous dares were hissed on the walk home from school or over the mild games allowed by their parents, the challenged boy would inevitably pale, and any girls nearby would gasp and sigh and fidget with their skirts, as was ladylike and proper.
At least one boy had died on such a dare. He had tripped, his foot catching on an exposed tree root, and he had fallen into the shallow brook that twisted and turned its way through the trees. His head struck a rock, and he had drowned. His body had not been discovered until the following morning, which put an effective end to the dares for a while.
The forest, where shadows grew and crept with a life of their own, and where it felt like the ghosts could truly come out to play and interact with any living souls who wandered into their midst. This was the meeting place her dear lover had chosen.
She shifted and smoothed down the skirt of her dress. It was her mother's wedding gown. Perhaps it was a bit old-fashioned in respect of design and cut, and it had certainly taken a few repairs to mend the spots where time and moths had done their work on the old lace. But now it fit her perfectly. Emily was no slouch with a needle and thread, a proper skill for a girl to have when she came of marrying age.
There were two bags at her feet: a suitcase and a satchel. The former held clothes, necessities, small items of sentimental value, and the like in terms of personal effects. The latter held what money she had been able to find and scrape together, as well as some jewelry and gold she had been able to pilfer. She felt a bit guilty about it, but her father was being so atrociously stubborn over this whole matter that she resolved not to feel badly at all.
Perhaps they could come back to the village someday. They could return here and show her father that he had been wrong. Maybe he would forgive her when he saw how happy they were as a married couple. And if there were children…they would be his grandchildren. She would be a mother. He could not turn them away then, could he?
She shivered again, listening as the clock in the village nearby chimed. It was a quarter to three in the morning, their appointed meeting time. Where was he? Had he been detained? Or worse, had he changed his mind about running away to marry her?
And then Emily noticed the butterfly.
She did think it was a bit odd that there would be such a creature out in the forest on such a cold night. It was not the season for them, and yet there it was. A tiny winged creature, its pale wings shimmering like silver in the ghostly moonlight as it sat on a branch of the old oak tree underneath which she waited eagerly for her beloved.
Smiling even as her teeth chattered, Emily reached up a hand towards the tiny being. She had always had luck with butterflies, from the time she was a child; they would usually come right into her hands.
She remembered sitting in church as a young child, quietly and obediently with her parents, listening to Pastor Galswells preach and warn them against sinful acts, lest they be cast into Hell, where they would be subject to eternal fire and torment. The good and devout, he said, were carried up to Heaven to find their eternal reward.
As they left church that day, Emily told her mother that she hoped she could be good so that when she died, her soul could become a butterfly and fly up to Heaven like that. Mother had given her a strange look, but simply said that she should try very hard to be good.
Those were her two dreams as a child. She dreamt of becoming a bride someday, and she wished that she could be carried to Heaven by butterflies. Her mother had not outright discounted either, especially the idea of her becoming a bride, so she held to them as good, proper dreams.
Her fingers were almost there. The butterfly was just out of her reach…
She heard the creak of snow behind her, and saw the butterfly's wings flutter as it took flight.
Emily turned around—and she had time to scream before everything spiraled into darkness.
If her heart did not beat, could it still break? It certainly felt like it had. Still, Emily smiled through the tears and the pain that had become so commonplace to her afterlife. But at the same time, she could not regret the events of the last few days.
She had met Victor.
She had gone to the altar as a bride.
She had found the man who had murdered her under that tree so long ago, now attempting to do the same to another young woman (the woman Victor truly loved), and left him to his just desserts at the hands of her friends in the Netherworld.
In the end, she could not do it. She could not separate Victor and the young woman, Victoria. They loved each other, and they were both still living. It was the hardest decision of her life and her afterlife, but she returned his ring and freed him from the promise he had made to her. This was the way it was meant to be, and no amount of dreaming would change that.
…but she had walked to the altar as a bride, and found a man she loved waiting there for her, just as she had always dreamt would happen. Wasn't that enough?
Giving Victor and Victoria one last smile as they stood there, hand in hand, she gathered her bouquet and walked back down the aisle alone. She felt the wind in her veil and skirts, and saw the clear moonlight night above. A perfect winter's night.
Two dreams as a child. To be a bride, and…
Emily looked up at the sky and closed her eyes as she let it all go.
As her beloved Victor stood with his beloved Victoria and watched, Emily vanished. In her place were so many blue-white butterflies, their wings sparkling in the moonlight just like one had so many years ago when it bore the only witness to a horrific crime.
Their wings fluttered, shimmering like the magic they truly were, and flew away into the starry night sky.
PS. I have no idea where this came from. But I had fun writing it! Thanks for reading, all! Much love!