As I pulled back on the gold crusted handle, I was met with a hot air that swept out of the tall building. I glanced back at the men sweeping the sidewalk before entering to meet Mother before we went out dress shopping. The New York streets were expected to be extraordinarily busy in the last week of December. Everyone was anxiously awaiting for a new year. But this year is different. As we get ready to cross into a new century, the city workers are cleaning the streets and dirt paths, restaurants are squeezing in extra and makeshift tables, stores are packing their shelves with celebratory wines and decorations, and the rich have their servants bustling to get their lavash parties ready for Tuesday night. My family would normally throw our own New Year's Eve extravaganza, but this year we have received an invention for a party. I mean we do every year, but we either don't go or throw our own. However, this was an important party. Crucial, for Father to attend to.
Having a well-respected father like I, though he was forgotten by history, it is no wonder that we would be attending the Rockefeller's 1800 New Year's Eve Count Down Party. This was an exclusive, invite-only, super formal event. My father was ecstatic and nervous all at once to meet Mr. Rockefeller. He had hoped that Mr. Rockefeller would be impressed with him and his knowledge of the oil industry. It's all Father ever talked about. Working alongside Mr. Rockefeller in his oil empire. It's not that my family wasn't rich, I mean we were as people now say, loaded. My father just felt guilty, only having one child, a daughter, none the less. He had no one to provide for him after he got old and could no longer work. He loved me. He did. He really did. He hoped that if he were to be employed by Mr. Rockefeller, that I would begin to attract more, fitting, suitors. I wasn't exactly the New York IT girl. I was pretty, round-faced with brown eyes and soft silky long hair of the same color, just under five and a half feet and slender, just not what you would consider, in a man's mind, pulsingly of that in a sexual way, kind of attractive.
"Oh, darling look! If it isn't the luxury collection from Paris. Go on down past Elm Street and I'll meet you at Luminaire's. Go on, now. See you in a bit, my child." Mother quickly ducked into the hat dresser's studio lightly dusting the snow off the lip of her shoulder. I strolled along Main until I wandered to the alleyway, only this wasn't an alleyway, it was Elm street. Funny, I don't remember this street, not well at least. There was something about this street that caught my eye. Savi's Handsewn Luxury Party Dresses. I've never noticed nor heard of such a store, but the soft colors of their windows drew me closer to the front door. Before I knew it, I felt a chill come from the store colder than the air outside, but this air didn't have quite a bite. It had a... feeling. No one had been in the store from what I could see. I was the only one, I assumed the workers were in the back taking a smoke.
I wandered around looking at the ensembles, at their delicate lace, their elaborate embroidery, and their hefty price tags. Some of the dresses were upward of $200. But the one in the back, the one that had caught my attention, the one I heard calling my name, was upward of $500. That's enough to feed all of New York. I stood there in awe, gazing at the masterpiece. "It's an exact replica of the one Queen Marie Antoinette of France wore the day she was executed nearly 7 years ago. You can try it on... if you'd like." The man's screeching voice put me off. Then I saw his clothes. They looked as something that was brought across with the Mayflower. A rather odd style, but Father told me that everything always comes back into style. If that is so, this man is really pushing that philosophy. "I'm sorry, where are my manners? My name is Constantine. I am the owner. The store was passed to me by my father, Saviaire. So you like the dress, yes? Here, here. I'll have the Old Dress Keeper come to assist you behind the last curtain."
Old? I thought. Before I could ask any questions, Constantine ushered me passed the rows of draped cloth to the back wall.
"It's gorgeous on you, ma' lady. Absolutlé stunnin'. So, what dyou thank?" The woman was utterly pale and her voice sounded like she was fresh off the boat from Britain. Her dress could make you think she had been the help at a gala a hundred years earlier.
"It's beautiful, but Father would never approve of such a price."
"Such a pretty girl."
"What?" I replied confused.
"They will love you. A perfect fit, I think so. You will be divine."
"Oh, um thank you, madam."
"All done, Miss. Come on now. Out ta-da mirror."
The woman shoved me out of the curtain and in front of the giant mirror at the back of the shop. As I gazed back at my own reflection, it's as if all my imperfections faded away. My breast seemed to bulge out of the tightly fitted corset, my lips were fuller and filled with a vibrant, bright natural red, and my waist shrunk by at least three inches. This dress... this dress, it was timeless, it made me look... Oh the way it made me look would have all the boys from the Upper East Side falling all over me!
"I love it, I never want to take this dress off! I've never loved anything this much."
Why did I feel this way? I felt as though these emotions were being forced upon me. Like someone, was forcing me to say these things. I never would love a piece of clothing like this. It made me look beautiful, yes, but I was never someone to want to... show myself off.
"I really love it!" I said unwillingly.
Constantine was visibly pleased by this statement. His grin quickly turned cynical. "Good." He clapped his hands in a slap-like position with his arms lengthened all the way out in front of him. The thunder clapped, the wind blew out the candles, and the mirror cracked and shattered sending enormous shards of glass flying in every which way.
Her voice, Oh my God, her overwhelming voice. I couldn't bear it any longer. The room was spinning out of control. I was toppling from my head to my toes over and over again. The pressure began to build in my head. I screamed out in agony, but I could not feel my body anymore so I'm not sure if even a peep came from my lips. The only thing that I could feel was the hot wetness seeping from my eyelids and running down my cheeks. I felt like I was about to vomit. Just as I thought I couldn't take it anymore, my head felt as if it exploded. It just popped. The world went black and my surroundings were silent.
"Welcome." I heard a voice call out. "Welcome to The Little Shop on Elm Street. You are now the phantom. One we haven't had in a few million years. Since the human-like race of Yilians. All confusing, I know, but this may be to you humans and your utterly significant lack of knowledge. You think you know, but you don't and you never will. I've seen your futures, and they lead to a war across galaxies. Your greed for space, and your curiosities, will lead to your inevitable peril. You must be here as the Phantom, and educate those you meet. Warn them of what will happen. Haunt them until they accept."
I looked to the floor dazed and gawked at what my body was. Pale, lifeless, and blue lips that could barely be seen under buckets of blood. The dagger-like shard of glass covered in my own blood laid next to me as the man picked it up.
"Hey, I found her! Slit throat by the looks of it. Probably had too much to drink, had too much of a great New Year. You. Go to the family. Tell em we found their her."
I looked around realizing that the store was gone and my body lay naked on the floor of an abandoned warehouse that was used to store excess Carnegie Steel.
They arrested many people over the course of the next few months, but they could never find who had murdered the innocent daughter of a failed businessman. My father never did go to Mr. Rockefeller's party nor did he ever get another job after he was fired from the one he had. Instead, he threw himself from the tallest bridge that he could find. My mother quickly followed; found with a rope around her neck and a note pleading to God that she be reunited with her child and to please forgive her for what she will do, and now has done.
I've been trapped here for over 220 years. I have waited and waited for someone to come along and relieve me of my duties, to let me go on to the next life. The other phantoms have told me stories from when they've gone to visit, and I wish I could leave. They have now fixed the realms now. Phantoms can no longer cross between them. This feels like a punishment. I stay here watching the world slowly burned from the inside out. What will happen when all of the everything ends, huh? Will I just be left here to wonder why I had to be stuck with this punishment.
A war across galaxies is not what will end you. All of you think you're burning on the surface, but deep down lurks an evil that the human mind cannot comprehend. That will be the end of the Earth. The end of everything.
Author Notes: Thank y'all for reading my story. I really loved making this story. Historical fiction is something I've really wanted to tackle for a while now, and I'm so excited that I finally did. I really hope you enjoyed and found this story interesting. Please make sure to rate my story from 1-5 stars in the comment section and tell me what you thought. Lot's of love! <3