I promised you guys that I would get back to the prompt I missed in between being traveling and sick, so here it is, my response to Writing Prompt #16. If you don’t remember, it was that lovely photo of two women looking in a mirror from the 40s or 50s. But I’m feeling like twisting some things around here…
Lucille couldn’t believe it was actually dark. She had been nearly hysterical all day, waiting and waiting for the sun to set, finally submitting to her sister’s ministrations only when the daylight had started to dim. No more would she have to stay home with those too old to go out; she was finally old enough to join her parents and sister on the streets after dark.
She had watched Linda go through her White Night two years ago when she turned 18, had helped her pin up her curls and lace up her dress. Her longing to join Linda on that night had been excruciating. But she had still been too young, and she hadn’t passed the safety exam yet. At least she had passed on her first try two months ago, unlike her year-mate Shirley who had to take the test five times before she was allowed out after dark.
The test was long and some of the questions were designed deliberately to try and trick you into the wrong answers, like,
On a young man’s White Night, is it permissible to
a) proposition him
b) ignore him
c) fight with him
d) none of the above
The answer was, of course, none of the above. The rules for White Nights dictated that the young person was allowed to proposition any of the above things, but no one could proposition them. The newly aged member of the community must do all of the approaching on their first night. This rule was instituted after a particularly sordid affair involving the mayor’s son and his friends taking advantage of a string of White Night girls. If you got that question wrong, you automatically failed and had to try again the following month to pass the test.
But Lucille was about to step out of the house on her own White Night, dressed in a flowing white sheath she had made herself. It had classic, simple lines; she would have nothing to do with the current trend of pleats and ruffles, unlike her sister. Linda’s dress for the evening as her escort was a proper shade of midnight blue, but was an almost hideous combination of velvet, taffeta and gathers.
The church bells pealed out their sundown pattern and Lucille turned back to the mirror one last time. Smiling at her sister behind her, she asked, “How do I look?”
Linda beamed back, her eyes glistening. “You’re all grown up, Luce. I’m so proud of you. You look absolutely ravishing.”
“Well let’s hope so, cause isn’t the whole point of the evening to be ravished?”
Her sister’s smile faded a bit. “Yes and no. Luce, just be careful tonight. I’ll be right beside you the whole time, ok?”
Lucille turned from the mirror and embraced her sister hard. “I know. But I passed the test the same as everyone else, I’m ready to Go Out.”