“1929 and Bleeding”
By: Bethany Joy Galeotti
The Cape Fear River laps up against the rotten wood and stone below the backyard gardens of No. 21 Ann Street. In the distance there is a delicious murmur of some gay affair– music, chatter and the occasional, irritating laughter of that one inevitable party guest who is three sheets to the wind and determined to capture the attention of the crowd. If you were to have peeked your little face over that rotten wood and stone, you would have seen this very thing.
And, if you had known what you were looking for amidst this blithe flock, you would also have seen the subtle exchange of a note, from the hand of an overweening young man holding a match, to the end of gold-lacquered fingernails clutching the cigarette in play, and belonging to a young, brunette female. Her eyes are all fire and wit, her skin is porcelain and powdered, her red lips stretch around a crooked and coquettish smile; her hair is, her dress is, her shoes are everything they ought to be for a vogue of 1929. She is the clear belle of the ball, and he –her swaggering, cigarette-lighting young man–, is one of many admirers this evening, but the only one enterprising enough to approach.
Our couple share a impassioned glance as those long, gold fingers curl around the little page in her palm. And as she tucks the note into the strap of her gown, a new hand, attached to a Mr. Hayworth, slides around her waist. She breaks her gaze with our vain young man, and her eyes shift into a new personality all together; she is now the doting bride, demure and gracious, innocent in all her charms, and wholly focused on the man who is pulling her close to his side and saying to a stout and gawking couple, “I’d like to introduce you to my wife…”
And it is for this reason that in a few short hours, Annabell Hayworth will be lying still on a marble floor with a bullet in her stomach, and blood draining all over that expensive, pretty little gown.