Running through streets with bands of masked and costumed figures, she was led past candle-lit palazzos dusted with snow. In the cold of the floating city, she felt time burning as she danced with masked men and drank wine that flowed incessantly in a hothouse of pleasure.
She ran down slippery, dimly-lit streets, going deeper and deeper into the unknown Venice.
A party of people carried her along a narrow and treacherous path.
Out of the darkness, a man grabbed her hand as fireworks exploded high above the Grand Canal.
The stranger led her upstairs to an apartment where they slow danced. The party was so crowded that they simply swayed from side to side in a room blue with smoke. The masked women were ethereal beauties in rustling silky gowns while the men dazzled in capes, tight trousers and shiny boots. Her man was masked but her imagination raced to fill in every detail of his features.
‘I’m Count de Rozario,’ he said.
‘All men are counts at Carnevale.’
She bowed. ‘My count.’
‘My servant,’ he said, then disappeared.
She walked again through the snow, her feet freezing. Men lounged in alleyways, smoking, watching her from behind lacquered masks.
A man appeared from out of the mist, alone.
He took her hand, hurrying her through passages and beneath arches until they came upon a magnificent doorway. He led her up a flight of stairs to a large bedroom, dazzling in moonlight, its rich red furnishings and lush brocade setting her senses on fire.
His mouth tasted like wine, sea and smoke as they surrendered themselves to the madness of the night.
Footsteps on the stairs.
‘My contessa comes. Go.’
He thrust clothes into her arms and pushed her onto the balcony where she huddled, shivering with cold and shock.
The contessa passed by so closely she could have reached out and touched her.
‘Ah, Contessa, come, I’ve been waiting.’
‘I, too, my count.’
Tears running down her frozen cheeks, she tiptoed down the stairs into the bewildering night, lost in Venice's black cape.
I hope you liked my Dire Moment. If you'd like to write a romance story of this length (400 words) on a Friday, go here to the Romantic Friday Writers blog to read how...
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