Harperpages

The blog of author Harper Alexander

A Grand Entrance – Queen of Spades Excerpt

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When I took a deep breath and entered the ballroom, all eyes turned to me, a hundred or more people peeping through their masks at the arrival of the guest of honor.
   I had thought my own mask a great bother up until that point, but was suddenly very thankful to be wearing it, to be hiding behind whatever I could for my grand entrance.
   And grand it was. The hush that fell over the room sent goosebumps down my arms, and a draft came in from the balcony just then, hissing with the ghostly chuckle of joker gargoyles and making the heart-lanterns flicker as it swept through the chamber. Confetti wasn’t the only thing strewn across the floor – there were cards interspersed as well – and as the breeze issued forth from the opposite side of the room, a dozen aces of spades overturned across the floor before me to line my path. The train of my gown was like an ocean stretched out behind me, dragging the floor clean of confetti in my wake.
   I stopped in the center of the room. Let everyone stare at the grand spectacle that I created. Tried to endure the self-consciousness, the sound of my heartbeat rising to a crescendo in my head.
   And then, all at once, there came a whoop from the balcony – a couple, in fact – and a company of jesters materialized from behind the joker gargoyles, jumping down from the balustrade and tumbling into the ballroom.
   Their acrobatics fanned out and spilled through the gathering, until one of them initiated a series of back-hand-springs in my direction and ended with a back-flip directly in front of me, exploding into a rain of cards that fluttered to the marble floor at my feet. No sign of a human presence remained.

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