BAD FICTION #2: A Wolf in Gentleman’s clothing // Melissa Osburn
This is the first piece of bad fiction we’re putting up as part of our contest [not including that Icy Lake thing, that was done by us as an example]
It was written by Melissa Osburn, it’s about a werewolf, and it’s mostly shit.
If you want to see Melissa’s good fiction/stuff, go here:
A Wolf in Gentleman’s Clothing
[AKA: Holy Fuck, it’s Wolf-man, man]
It was a stormy night. The winds howled, they were insatiable hungry beasts and thunder roared with indignation. The occasional blinding forks of lightning splashed the landscape in bright, haunting light. The trees swayed, called to dance with abandon and their skeletal limbs grazed the windows of the house, scraping with frenzied cries of help along the glass. You could hear the SOS in their branches tapping on the glass.
The occupants of the house paid no mind to the tempest outside, having lit fires in their hearths to stave off the infernal cold drafts and lit lamps to fill the rooms with light that also fought off the cold. Soft, light jazz wafted from the parlor, the scratchy sound of the record lent a reassuring air to the cozy interior but all was not well for another storm was brewing within. A quiet storm, a familial storm, a tempest brewing within the family because something had come to light that made several of them unhappy.
“She’s deplorable and horrible, Sophia is,” Thomas said hotly. The newspaper in his hands shivered as if caught in a storm.
“Oh, Thomas, don’t be such a worrying ninny,” Maddie laughed, her hands deftly working on a bit of needlepoint, which she had worked on yesterday as well and was continuing to work on now. “She’s only a child for Heaven’s sake and your daughter.” The last was pointed, a barb intended to silently pierce Thomas’s heart and release a flood of dark, gooey guilt. Guilt marred Thomas’s face, twisting it with regret and remorse. The newspaper ceased its shivering, quieting its rustle.
“You know, love, you’re right, Maddie dear. I guess I am often too hard on Sophia. I just expect so much from Sophia. As our only child, much is expected from Sophia,” Thomas said softly. Maddie nodded in agreement, agreeing with what he said.
“I often wonder why you are so hard on Sophia and I guess I finally got my answer. Much is expected from her because she is our only child and heir to our fortune,” Maddie said with enlightenment.
“You’re such a great mummy, Maddie. I don’t know what I’d do without you,” Thomas said lovingly.
“Sophia is such a dear girl at heart and you must remember that Sophia is a young lady, Thomas and will pull on the reins of your authority every now and then,” Maddie replied gently.
“Yes, by consorting with Charles,” Thomas said, barking with anger. The anger had returned as he thought of his daughter’s beau. “He’s a bad influence on her, and I won’t have him influencing her.”
“Now, now, Thomas. Calm yourself, please. You know, Charles isn’t all that bad and it could be worse,” Maddie said reproachfully.
“How? I’d like to know how it could be worse. Give me an example,” Thomas demanded. Lightning struck outside the window, singing a myrtle bush, and it reflected Thomas’s growing ire which was blossoming into fury.
“He could be a rogue, a cad, a rake or a blackguard, Thomas. I have seen the two of them together, Charles and Sophia. He’s very nice and I kind of like him,” Maddie said soothingly.
“He may be nice and you might kind of like him but he has no family connections and is an orphan crying out loud, Maddie. We don’t even know his parents, they’re dead! How is he better for Sophia than Maxwell Copper?” Thomas asked with exasperation.
“I know that you advocate Maxwell Copper, Thomas, but he is a dandy if there ever was one and a fop to boot! Would you like for him to break Sophia’s heart or impregnate her?” Maddie asked with concern.
“Nonsense, Maddie, don’t let your foolish notions make you foolish. That whole scandal with Ammaria Topaz was cleared up. She was sent away after trying to blackmail the Coppers, and the child was not his. Besides, I have explicitly forbidden Sophia from seeing Charles and that has settled the matter,” Thomas said smugly. He grinned with satisfaction. “Because I am Sophia’s father and master of this house.”
“No maid is safe in the Copper household,” Maddie said quietly under her breath. She scowled at her husband as he went back to reading his newspaper. “Not even the old ones.”
Sophia Culdesack watched the raging storm from the safety of her window seat, a romance novel open upon her lap but her angelic and cherubic face was turned to peer out the window. Her index finger held her spot amid the pages rife with romantic adventure and dashing heroes. She too had her own real-life dashing hero but he was a shop clerk. And on a night like this, with the outside world filled with such blatant rage, Sophia found it easy to reminisce on her own romance. Because there wasn’t anything quite so romantic as a thunderstorm.
They had met at Sarah Tyne’s Christmas party last winter. From the moment their eyes had met, Sophia was lost upon the seas of his eyes, pulled effortlessly into the green oceanic pools of his eyes. He had been invited as a social nicety, being employed by Mr. Tyne as a shop clerk. Sophia sighed, remembering their first dance, a waltz. His hands had fluttered nervously about her waist, unsure and nervous as the music swelled, but he proved to be a skilled dancer and had led her in the waltz with much skill. By the time the music had regretfully ended, Sophia had been transported to another world of swirling color and soaring music. It was with a form of despair that she crashed back down into a reality where she could never be with Charles. He was beneath her in status, belonging to the working class while she was an aristocratic heiress with a pedigree going back to the dawn of time.
But from that first meeting, an illicit affair had begun, although her maidenhood was still intact and therefore she was virtuous. The trysts were contrived and planned during the day. One afternoon, Sophia perused the shelves of Tyne’s Mercantile and needed Charles’s help desperately with retrieving a bolt of material from the display. His fingers had danced along the skin of her arms, his face perilously close to hers and she’d feel her heart soar within her, almost choking her with love. Kisses were stolen in the stockroom and passionate embraces under the smiling face of the crescent moon whenever they arranged to meet. Even the moon approved of their love!
It was the nights that proved difficult. Sophia preferred to meet during the full moon so that she needn’t bother with a lantern but Charles refused, often with an expression of great melancholy stamped fiercely upon his sad face. It wasn’t until the previous month that Sophia learned Charles’s secret. It was at that moment that the first stirrings of doubt, not to mention fear!, entered her mind. Given time, the secret seemed endearing and of course it was not his fault, this…this…
“Hello, dearest,” Maddie said sweetly, opening Sophia’s bedchamber door. Sophie jerked, and her head spun from the window to face her mother.
“Hello, Mummy,” Sophia said amiably.
“I thought I’d come to check upon you, dearest,” Maddie said innocently, her eyes wide and innocent but she did not fool Sophia.
“You wanted to check on me to see if I was indeed still here, didn’t you, Mama?” Sophia asked in a voice that was half-exasperated, half-teasing, and half-petulant. Maddie shut the door behind her and sat in one of the blue velvet and silver tassel-lined, with a rose colored pillow, chair that sat near the canopied bed.
“You won’t leave here without telling me, will you?” Maddie asked concerned.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sophia said airily.
“I know that you will continue to see Charles, Sophia, even after your father has forbid it because you are contrary like that and that you love Charles so very much. I wonder if you will someday flee our ancestral home to roost with him. I don’t think I could bear that, you leaving and never coming back. Why don’t we invite Charles for supper a night this week? Perhaps you father would come to like him,” Maddie suggested optimistically.
“Do you think that is possible?” Sophia asked with hope. “Father is ever so snooty and a little snobby too!”
“Charles is charming and sweet, he works hard and your father is a romantic at heart. I think that if he sees how happy you are, he could not deny your happiness,” Maddie said honestly. Hope blossomed in Sophia’s heart, all her future dreams expanded into a dreamy panorama in her mind. Charles would make a good husband, and a good son-in-law. She just had to make her father see that and to see that the old conventions were old and needed to be ignored and tossed into the closet of antiquity!
“Just give me a day or two to convince your father to accept the idea, okay?” Maddie asked conspiratorially. Sophia smiled, beaming brightly.
“Oh, Mommy, you are a saint! If you pull this off, you will be the greatest mummy ever!” Sophia said ecstatically. She squealed and darted to her mother, enveloping Maddie in a tight embrace and kissing her cheek.
“You know, you shouldn’t go singing my praises yet, dearest, I haven’t done anything to deserve it,” Maddie said laughingly.
“No, but I am sure that you will, Mother,” Sophia said with a winky blink of her eye. “I am sure that you will.”
The next morning…the cajoling began…in sly earnest.
“Good morning, love,” Maddie said cheerfully as Thomas entered the dining room. Their maids, Susan and Clementine were busy doing what maids did in the morning, fetching the milk and orange juice, seeing to the delivery of breakfast to the dining room and presenting the morning paper to the master of the house, among other morning type things.
“Good morning, dearest,” Thomas said, bussing her cheek with a kiss before he sat down beside her.
“I was thinking, just this very moment when you walked into the room as matter of fact, that you are a man capable of great magnanimous generosity. That is the greatest trait, the trait that made me glad to choose you as a husband and what made me fall in love with you,” Maddie said sweetly. Clementine rolled her eyes behind Thomas’s back, knowing that the missus was about to request a favor and a doozy at that.
“Well, thank you darling! What made that come to mind?” Thomas asked cheerfully.
“I was remembering that one time when you had visited the Slater’s,” Maddie said slyly. The atmosphere changed subtly, the air thick with tension between and betwixt the couple. Thomas choked on his coffee.
“That is not a good example, love,” he admonished in a hissing whisper. His eyes darted to make sure they were alone, pointedly looking at the door until the maids, pouting, padded out of the room and shut the door behind them.
“Why isn’t it a good example, love?” Maddie asked with impish innocence. She gave him an impish grin. “I don’t think there is any shame in dressing like a dance hall girl with the lads. If I remember correctly, that crimson frock suited you very well. All that frothy lace and hairy legs.” She smirked as she lifted the tea cup to her grinning lips. “In fact, it was those legs that won my heart and the fact you have such a large magnanimously generous heart.”
Thomas’s face had gone beet red with remembrance and he flushed with embarrassment. He had been a willful, rebellious lad when he was younger and Binny and Ginny Slater were both of a roguish circle of friends. They had done it as a lark, that party long ago when Thomas had been young. The men dressed as women and the women dressed as men. He did remember how dashing Maddie appeared in a waistcoat and trousers, though, her dark hair slicked back and knotted behind her head. But they were both adults now and had left all that childish foolishness behind them…most of the time, there still was that crimson dress and a waistcoat in the back of the wardrobe.
“What do you want, Madeline?” Thomas asked, half-defeated, half-irate.
“I want to entertain Charles Lubbins an evening this week,” Maddie said sweetly.
“Bloody hell! For God’s sake, Maddie! I will not allow it! Not when Maxwell Copper is so close to proposing!” Thomas blustered stormily.
“Alright then, what if we invited both the young men to dinner?” Maddie asked sweetly but coyly. She knew that if the men were side-by-side it would only be a matter of time before Charles would shine and Thomas would see the lad’s potential.
“My choice against yours?” Thomas asked, his mouth widening into a wide grin. “You’ll lose and given that both with be in Sophia’s presence she’s bound to see reason. A pauper set against a prince!”
“Prince of vile lechers,” Maddie whispered vehemently under her breath.
“What’s that, love?” Thomas asked obliviously. He began to slather his English muffin with marmalade and butter.
“Nothing dearest,” Maddie said pleasantly. She grinned as she poked at her eggs. The yolk spilled out, a yellow flood inundated the sausages and bacon, foretelling the ominous events to come because like runny yolks, love cannot be stopped!
Wednesday, the 21st of October…two evenings later…and it was rather a pleasant night…
The dinner party was arranged for late afternoon. Sophia convinced Maddie to make it for afternoon since Charles had a previous engagement that he could not break. It was through much cajoling that Sophia convinced Charles that he could not postpone the invitation to the Culdesack’s dinner.
Briefly…back on Monday, the 19th of October…
“Dearest, I know that this might be an imposition but if you decline this invitation, my father will feel that he has won and I know that you can win him over,” Sophia said slightly whiningly but with sickly sweetness. “You must come to dinner, Charles my love.”
Faced with such a beauteous face, Charles could not deny his love anything. Her dark eyes, liquid pools of oil that shone with rainbow iridescence, always persuaded him. He sighed, a great release of air expelled from his lungs, and nodded, grasping her hands in his. He could see the importance of this opportunity; it was his only chance to impress Thomas Culdesack!
“Yes, precious, dearest love. I will go have dinner with your family,” Charles said lovingly.
Now…back to Wednesday, the 21st of October…and to the important stuff…
The table was set, the menu decided on (and it had been decided that they would serve roast beef with new potatoes, baby carrots, pearl onions, and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, gazpacho, two different salads: a green salad and a fruit salad, and the usual type of hors d’oeuvres that accompany such a feast) and the silver was brought out, and then fought over since the master of the house believed that one of his guests would be light-fingered, and he lost and the silver was placed on the dinner table which was covered in a fine, white, lace-edged, linen tablecloth.
It was beautiful, golden autumn afternoon. The sun shone in a dome of blue-azure sky and white clouds scuttled about like absent-minded sheep that drifted grazing sheep like. Shafts of sunshine drifted through the branches of the trees that lined the drive. Sophia stood in the parlor, her hands clasped before her heaving bosom, holding her breath in anticipation as the first carriage came down the drive. But she expelled the breath in irritation as she realized that the carriage belonged to Maxwell Copper and not her own true love Charles. She watched as Maxwell got out, the sunlight bouncing off his pale hair. He was wearing a buff colored suit and great coat and a white beaver hat, a gold –topped cane crooked over his arm. He smiled idiotically largely, gazing about Culdesack Hall like a prospective buyer, a lecherous gleam in his eyes.
“Good afternoon, Sophia,” Maxwell said lecherously as he greeted Sophia in the parlor and doffed his hat. His eye roamed over her staying too long in certain places and then coming back to those places when he had completed the lecherous survey of her, mentally bookmarking his favorite bits. Sophia felt dirty, soiled by those lecherous eyes and she frowned and turned away to watch for her beloved out the window.
“Afternoon, Mr. Copper,” Sophia said not facing him. Clementine entered a tray of hors d’oeuvres in her hands. She placed it on the parlor table and turned to leave. She let out a squeak as a phantom hand patted her bottom as she opened the door. Glancing behind her, Clementine noticed that there wasn’t anyone near. Frightened, Clementine scurried away.
“Ah, Maxwell, my boy, how are you?” Thomas asked with great pleasure at the sight of the young man.
“Well, Sir Culdesack, very well indeed,” Maxwell drawled lecherously, eyeing Sophia as if she was a gazelle and he was an octopus. Thomas did not notice the dangerously lecherous stare; instead he poured himself a sherry and popped a cube of cheese into his gob. He chewed slowly and with great relish while Maxwell thought of something he’d like to relish.
“He’s arriving! He’s coming! He’s here!” Sophia sighed with a squeal, bobbing up and down on the balls of her feet.
This carriage was a taxi, paid for by fare and shabby with a dark exterior. It halted where the driver stopped and Charles alighted like a fairytale prince in a frog’s disguise, that is to say he did not appear all that promising a figure but appeared very romantic to Sophia’s view. His dark curly hair curled elegantly around his handsome face, he was lean and thin but well-muscled, his green eyes were worried and he straightened his black, patched coat.
“Charles, darling,” Sophia sighed as he entered and she rushed to his side to grasp his hands in her own hands. Being the man that he was, Charles kissed the back of her hands before letting them go, aware that her father, Sir Thomas Culdesack, stood not far away and glowered with stormy disapproval.
“Good afternoon, Sir Thomas,” Charles said greeting the man he wanted to impress above all else with dignity.
“Charles,” Thomas said gruffly and popped a bit of spinach canapé into his mouth.
“Ah, Charles, how are you doing?” Maddie said airily and sweetly as she entered the parlor. She was careful to skirt widely around Maxwell who was already eyeing her much like a weasel eyes a chicken, hungrily with hungry eyes.
“Well, Lady Culdesack. Thank you,” Charles said pleasantly. Maddie shot her husband a look that said: see, I told you what a nice young man he is and still you choose that lecherous idiot! Her expression was very vocal but her husband’s brain was made of brick and he paid no attention to her expression.
“Shall we go have dinner, then?” Maddie asked hopefully.
They all left the parlor and went down the hall, turned left and went down another hall turned left and entered the dining room. Charles stood awkwardly until Sophia led him down the table to have him sit next to her. Sophia sat and Charles sat to her right while Maxwell sat to her left, his fingers trailing the bare skin of her arm. Sophia shivered feeling sick.
Dinner was served and everyone started eating and conversations broke out while everyone ate.
“So how was your day?” Maddie asked sweetly of Charles.
“It was fine. We got some bolts of linen and twenty five cases of canned beans. And then in the afternoon Mrs. Tyne came in with Mrs. Barker and Mrs. Tyne showed off the new linen but Mrs. Barker wasn’t interested in the linen, she was rather partial to the bolt of fine Irish lace that we all got this morning,” Charles stated in reply.
“Did you have a look at Barkley’s newest foal? I asked him where he bought that horse that he used to breed the foal,” Thomas said to Maxwell. Maxwell nodded and drank some of the nice, red wine that had been provided to accompany dinner.
“The pieces of lace were so fine, Mother. You could see through it!” Sophia said excitedly. “It would make the perfect trimming for a veil or curtains, maybe the edging for a tablecloth.”
“An ass, which is what Quincy said the horse resembled and you should have seen Barkley when those words were said, ha-ha his face turned five shades of crimson,” Maxwell said jovially, his hand tracing Sophia’s side to tweak her bottom.
“Ouch!” Sophia cried with anger and pain.
“What is it, dearest?” Thomas asked with concern, his brow knitted with worry.
“Nothing, Father, only an annoying insect, I think. It’s bugging me,” Sophia said with an angry glare to Maxwell. She kicked him under the table but Maxwell considered it a flirtation and was encouraged.
The meal wore on and much happiness ensued as the people assembled enjoyed themselves. Conversations were spoken and merged and diverged and then changed. After the meal was eaten, the party retired to the parlor for drinks of sherry and brandy and some wine, perhaps, and some light cookies and perhaps pie. There the conversations continued, although Thomas was looking upon Charles with some lenient animosity, meaning that he wasn’t as opposed as he first was, he still wasn’t fond enough of the lad to agree to his marrying his only child. Time flew fluidly, faster than the brain could comprehend, and too late did Charles realize that it was far later than he had expected.
“I’m sorry, but I must leave, already it far later than I expected,” Charles said hastily. In his haste he bolted to his feet from sitting.
“Where are you going? And it’s not that late,” Thomas asked a little roughly. He had perhaps a little too much sherry for his cheeks were crimson and his eyes glittered merrily like happy, shining glass. “We are all enjoying ourselves.”
“I have a previous engagement that I could not cancel—in fact I could not cancel it if I tried,” Charles said frightfully. He appeared agitated and scared, his eyes darting to the darkened windows. He suddenly appeared a little hairier than the first time he had entered the parlor.
“That’s rude. You should know that this more important than some back alley social,” Thomas cried with indignation.
“I think it is highly disrespectful,” Maxwell said indignantly and pinched Maddie’s bottom.
“Disrepectful,” Maddie cried, standing. “You lousy little trumped up lecherous fool. I have had enough of your roaming fingers, they do not sting lightly. You lecherous tart.”
“What’s all this, then?” Thomas asked with confused bemusement.
“Please forgive me but I must leave,” Charles shouted loudly, his face twisted in injured pain.
“If you leave I will not allow you to marry Sophia,” Thomas said angrily.
“If I don’t leave, I might not need your permission which I would certainly like, Sir Thomas,” Charles said in reply, his voice lisp-y due to his teeth suddenly a bit larger than they were a moment ago.
“What—what—I do not like your tone.” Thomas cried irately. He shook with his wrath.
“Please forgive my tone, Sir Thomas but it’s too late to stop it now if it ever could be stopped,” Charles barked with a howl. Sophia stood, her face draining of color and leaving her skin pale but she smiled with nervous joy.
“This hurts so much that it’s painful!” Charles cried, his fingers toying with his necktie.
The party watched the scene unfold before them. In an instant, Charles was gone and was replaced by a slobbery wolf, great and large and hairy, that stood before them. Lamp-like eyes glowed and saliva dribbled and stained the carpet. He growled and bristled. Thomas whimpered, his sherry sloshing in the glass and spilling upon him. And Charles-the-wolf lunged ahead straight at him.
“Heel. Sit.” Sophia ordered with authority. Charles skidded to a halt inches from Thomas and whined, casting his eyes at his beloved.
“No way in bloody hell are you marrying that monster.” Thomas cried with outrage.
“I will and you can’t stop me! I’ll elope if need be because I am not going to marry that dolt that chases anything in a skirt.” Sophia cried with passion, her finger pointed right at Maxwell’s cottage cheese colored face.
“Why…how could you love him?” Thomas asked with inquiry, truly puzzled.
“Because I love him,” Sophia cried passionately, her face flushed with love and the righteous flame of love turned her cheeks into red roses.
“But, dearest love,” Maddie said her voice a combination of fear and uncertainty, “darling, what if he hurts you?” Her eyes were super glued to the creature who padded back across the much abused Persian carpet, spilling drool from its slobbering mouth, and sat at Sophia’s feet.
“He hasn’t yet and he listens to me,” Sophia reassured with pride.
“See,” Sophia said slightly boastingly and with joy. “He’s harmless.” She knelt down on the carpeted floor and embraced the werewolf in a hug, burying her face in his dark scruffy fur. “Good boy, Charlie, good boy. I love you so much.”
“Thomas,” Maddie said with emotion, casting her tearful eyes at her astounded husband. “That is true love. We cannot deny true love, my love.” She wept then with the joy of one who knows true love when they see it, much like attendees at a wedding. With her hands before her mouth and her eyes fountaining tears of joy, Maddie looked at her daughter and her future son-in-law, overcome with emotion.
“No, dearest, I agree. I cannot deny true love,” Thomas agreed overwhelmed with the love in the room and remembered the love he felt for his family. That love was the most important love he believed in. Charles padded over to Thomas and rested his wolfy head on Thomas’s knee. Thomas was lost then, remembering that he once had wanted a dog and his own father had denied him his boyish rights. It’d be nice to have a son-in-law such as Charles.
“Well, I have had enough of this silly foolishness,” Maxwell said with irritation. “Good luck to all of you.” He walked calmly for the door, a noticeable dark splotch on his white suit and wafting an unpleasant smell. They heard Susan give a squeal from the hall as she showed Maxwell out. The Culdesacks laughed happily and Charles gave a bark that mimicked laughter. The night had been full of surprises, some not so pleasant but it ended well for most of them.
The Next Autumn…A Happy Occasion…
The gazebo was beautifully wreathed in pretty autumnal flowers and sprigs of lovely fall leaves. Outside the gazebo the invited guests stood in a ring, handkerchiefs glued to weeping eyes. Their eyes were on the couple at the gazebo’s center, the pair had their hands clasped together and they parroted the words spoken by the priest, the couple’s eyes glowing with love for each other and everyone. Sophia was a vision in miles of white silk and lace, the bodice beaded with shimmering ivory beads and scrolling rose beaded lace, her frothy gown almost taking up the whole gazebo floor. Charles was dashing in his new, dark suit, his curly hair barely tamed but still he looked to be the hero, the prince to all the romantic eyes that gazed upon him.
“I now pronounce you man and wife,” the priest said with great joy and beaming with happiness. “You may kiss the bride.”
“Yay! Congratulations!” The gathered cheered and applause erupted as Charles took Sophia in his arms and kissed her chastely with passion.
“It is my pleasure to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Culdesack-Lubber!” The priest announced joyfully. The air was boiling with all the happiness, the cheers and laughter and the couple were pelted with rose petals and rice as they emerged from the gazebo.
Maddie rushed to greet her daughter and son-in-law, embracing them both with tenderness.
“I want grandchildren as soon as possible and a great many to fill Culdesack Hall with the sound of pattering feet! My heart will fill with happiness when I can hear all those feet pattering about!” Maddie said, almost overcome with excitement and joy.
“You shall get your wish, Mother,” Sophia said with a secret gleam in her eyes. “For I am already with child!”
“Oh, Sophia, you mischievous creature,’ Maddie laughed with teasing happiness.
And they lived happily ever after…The End…or is it?