The Mayor’s Bride by Noémi Scheiring-Olah

The villagers gather like crimson clouds over the cobblestones, looking up at the Mayor’s gleaming-granite balcony, thirsty for blood.

They call her The Eighth, The Pure, The Hope, The Youngest. Anything, but her name.

They’ve given their fattest swine, sweetest wine, their life’s harvest, and their wives, waiting to wash the stained sheet by the river, attracting coyotes. Anything, for her blood. 

But the balcony stays empty.

Whispers sweep the square from men who’ve been here all night and heard the Mayor scream, but not the bride, and how it should be the other way round. Gossip grows about the ghosts of all the brides who came before, screaming, screaming, screaming in pain or pleasure, because for a woman, the men say, those are one and the same.

But this bride, The Eighth, is not from the village. She walked these stones barefoot when she was spotted, saying nothing, mute – a most precious gift for a man of the Mayor’s calibre.

But the balcony stays empty.

When the men start clutching the back of their necks, aching from straining for the treasured mark of fresh scarlet, the clouds above them burst in a penetrating crash and bathe them in blood.

They scream, scream, scream, trying to escape, but their legs are sinking in the furious flood.

Noémi grew up in a small flat at the edge of a Hungarian town. She’s now a nomad in a small world. Her writing is in New Flash Fiction Review, Moonflake Press, Janus Literary, Sledgehammer Lit, Ellipsis Zine, Reflex Fiction, FlashFlood, The Write-In. Writers’ HQ member.  Tweets: @itssonoemi | Home: