Daisy, Skye and Saskia walked down the high street scanning shop windows for the perfect outfit. They were all going to Daisy's party on Friday and each girl wanted a new dress, a brand new outfit. Saskia wished for this especially because she wanted to impress her boyfriend Bailey.
Saskia glanced in at a window as they passed, not paying much attention to anything displayed there when it leaped out at her. Saskia gave a small cry and turned towards the shop door, entering as quickly as was humanly possible. Daisy and Skye followed her, wondering what their friend had spotted as to warrant this reaction.
"What is it, Saskia?" they asked.
"I've just seen the most beautiful dress which seemed to be speaking directly to me. Look." Saskia held out the dress to her friends.
It was a vintage dress with a swirling paisley pattern decorating blue material. The skirt was heavily pleated and gave the effect of each pleat being a tassel. It had a triangular low cut collar which seemed detached from the rest of the bodice; to be blunt, it was striking.
"Do you think Bailey will like it?" Saskia enquired.
"Of course. It's gorgeous!" her friends replied, looking at the dress in awe.
That evening, when Saskia returned home, she raced up to her room to try the dress on. She hadn't done so before but she'd had a strong sense that it would be a perfect fit, like it had been made just for her. It was so beautiful, the design intricate, willing her to wear it immediately.
It was true. The dress slipped on as a glove fits to a hand. Perfect. It looked fantastic, outlining her lovely figure and highlighting her chocolate brown hair and smooth caramel skin. Saskia smoothed the material on the skirt. It was soft and light; it made her feel as though she could fly without difficulty. As her hand touched the soft silky texture of the fabric something flashed into her mind. Saskia had no idea what it was, perhaps a memory of some variety.
I stood in the centre of the room. Pins poked and scratched at my skin and my arms ached from being held in the air for so long. Material was strewn over the floorboards where my mother sat adjusting the hem on the dress.
My mother, Mrs. Emily Richmond, was the head seamstress in the village so it was only natural for her to make my wedding dress. It wasn't a traditional design for a wedding dress though. I wanted a fashionable short skirted dress which would make me stand out, make me different. I didn’t want to look like everyone else did on their wedding day, I wanted to be unique. I just hope that Matthew, my fiancée approves and admires it.
"Rebecca," a voice calls my name and with a small inclination of my head they continue, "Matthew will love it. Your wedding will be one of the most magnificent weddings the village has ever witnessed."
The person comes into view and I realise it is Charlotte, one of my closest friends. I hadn't known she was visiting today. Maybe my mother had asked her to come so that she could help me with the final wedding preparations. I knew I needed some assistance, there was so much I needed to do.
"Saskia! Saskia, come down please."
The thoughts shattered as her hand fell from where she had been clutching at the dress. It was Harriet, Saskia's mum. They called each other by their Christian names because it made Harriet feel younger and happier! Saskia didn’t mind either, it was only a name after all.
"Coming!" Saskia shouted, slipping the dress off and tugging on some black leggings and an oversized violet t-shirt before racing down the stairs.
The next time that Saskia tried the dress on was the day of Daisy’s party. She hadn’t had a chance since the day she had purchased the garment. Saskia sat in the kitchen whilst Harriet tied her hair up into twisted plait which looped around her hair and acted as a natural headband. When Saskia added a pink rose at one edge it looked perfect, splendid for meeting up properly with Bailey and all her friends.
Saskia returned to her room where she took the dress out of the wardrobe and carefully put it on.
Silence. No memories pulsed through the dress, opening themselves up to her as before. All was calm and still, except the dress held a warmth which hadn’t been there before. A warmth that hadn’t been present at the charity shop or before the memories had crept upon her. The dress had been activated and was now waiting for the time to emerge again, Saskia thought to herself with some excitement.
It was seven o clock. The party would start in forty five minutes. It was time to leave.
“Saskia, I hope you have a great time. Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to ring me when you want picking up.” Harriet called from the living room.
“I’ll be fine. Don’t worry!”
“I’m sure everything will be fine. Just be careful though.”
“Yes. See you later.” Saskia called, closing the door behind her, only half engaging in the conversation; another conversation had begun and Saskia felt certain that it was a memory from the dress.
“I'm sure everything will be fine. Come on,” a voice spoke softly to me, bringing me back to the present, away from the daydreaming I had been entertaining.
It was Charlotte again but this time her younger sister, Nicola, stood at her side. They both wore white dresses with a pattern of pink roses around the hem in a style very similar to the dress I was wearing, my wedding dress.
Nicola took my hand and led me to the mini idling outside, waiting for us. It was time to leave for the church.
Matthew would be there waiting for me with my mother who had left five minutes ago in the previous car.
Charlotte saw the look on my face and whispered, “It'll be fine. Don't worry. I won't abandon you just because you'll be married.”
And with Charlotte's advice ringing in my ears I got into the mini and the three of us headed off towards the church.
Saskia felt herself wake up from the reverie that the memories had held her in. She had better get moving too or she would be late to Daisy’s party. As Saskia walked briskly towards Daisy’s house her mind began working hard. Who was this person whose memories were entwined within the fibres of the dress? Was this the wedding dress the girl had mentioned? Why were the memories there? What meaning did they have? There wasn’t time to consider any answers for Saskia had arrived at Daisy’s house and Skye was standing waiting for her.
Skye was hovering by the door, looking round to see if Saskia was on her way. The party had started five minutes ago and it wasn’t like Saskia to be late. Skye checked her mobile again to see if Saskia had texted but there was nothing. Skye was about to ring and check Saskia was okay when she emerged from round the corner.
Skye gasped quietly. Saskia looked stunning. She was wearing the blue vintage dress with an oak coloured jacket and high heeled silver sandals. Her hair looked magnificent in its plait which surrounded her head like a halo.
“Saskia!” Skye breathed. “You look amazing, so sophisticated and picturesque! Bailey will love it and I’m sure everyone else here will too.”
“Thanks Skye. It’s beautiful isn’t it? It’s the dress I bought in the charity shop. Remember?”
Skye let out another gasp, “No way. This dress looks handmade, it’s fit for a wedding. This wasn’t the one from the charity shop, surely?”
“Yes. This is the one. And about the wedding, that bit may just have been true.” Saskia felt her voice drifting from her as the dress gripped onto her consciousness and stole her from reality.
The bells rang clearly and gaily as I arrived, the tune sweet and pure, perfect to accompany my marriage to Matthew. I waited by the church door, waited to enter my new life and waited for the love of my life to welcome me into his world and his sphere of existence. It seemed so special, so romantic when I imagined it.
Charlotte and Nicola stood behind me with my younger sister, Georgia. They were to be my bridesmaids. They looked gorgeous but Georgia thought I was the prettiest.
“Rebecca, you’re so pretty in that dress,” Georgia had told me, “that dress is perfect for this occasion, perfect for a wedding. Especially to Matthew, he’s charming too!”
Georgia giggled at that, apparently Matthew was a hilarious topic to her.
And the funny thing is, what seems ironic about the dress being perfect, was that what was about to happen made this entirely true.
The doors of the church opened and I began to walk gracefully down the aisle. The time had come. I was to become a married woman. Charlotte, Nicola and Georgia followed me, stepping in time to the rhythm of the bridal march. This was one of the best moments of my life and so it should have, been except for one tiny but prominent detail.
Saskia also stepped into Daisy’s house and followed Skye to the room where the party was currently taking place. Saskia noticed lots of people whom she recognised from school. After waving to a few of them and chatting for a bit Saskia glanced at the door and saw Bailey standing in the kitchen with a few mates. She decided to go over and talk to him, they were boyfriend and girlfriend after all. Somehow Saskia noticed knew this may not make a difference but she did not know why she understood this fact. A memory burst like a splatter of brightly coloured paint onto her field of vision.
As soon as I looked towards Matthew I could tell that there was something wrong. It was the way he stood, how he held himself and the way I could tell that his eyes were not focusing on me. I couldn’t place my finger on it but there was definitely a problem of some description.
At the front of the church I stood alone, save Matthew and the vicar, my shoulder next to Matthew’s. The vicar had been talking for a while and I longed for us to be able to take our vows and become married.
“And, finally, does anyone have an objection over the marriage of Matthew Robert Fairchild and Rebecca Louise Richmond?” queried the vicar.
There was no response so the vicar knelt to get the rings from where they sat on a wooden table, resting on a white cushion that had been embroidered with two entwined hearts and our initials, MRF and RLR.
Suddenly a woman burst into the church, her hair bushy, wild and unkempt as though she had only just got of bed and her eyes were slanted and heavy with sleep or alcohol, I wasn’t sure. She wore a turquoise green dress similar to my blue wedding dress.
“Stop! Stop sir!” the woman cried. “This ceremony cannot continue. Matthew Fairchild is engaged to me. He has been for many months but has continued to deceive Miss Rebecca Richmond.” She sank to the church floor as the vicar turned to Matthew. The vicar’s face mirrored that of the congregation; it was filled with a mixture of disbelief, horror and wariness.
“Matthew Fairchild, is it true? Are you engaged to this woman?”
Matthew stared at the vicar for what seemed like a century before answering.
“I cannot deny that I have had a relationship with this woman but we are not currently engaged.” He spoke with calm sincerity which unsettled me.
I spun round and glared at Matthew and spat “Not at the moment? Does this mean you have been recently and it may be so again soon? You have a mistress already, in this day and age? I thought you loved me and had willingly put yourself forward to me as I have to you. Think this over then, Matthew Fairchild. I will not marry a man whom I cannot wholeheartedly trust.”
And with that I stormed out of the church and began to run. Where to I did not know and at that moment I didn’t care. I needed to contemplate and forget what Matthew had done. Thankfully the dress was short and I was able to run with all the speed and agility I could master in my present state. Georgia was right, it was a perfect dress, perfect to escape the groom in.
When I finally stopped I was by the lake. I sank onto the damp June grass and that’s when the tears began to fall. Slowly at first but gradually getting heavier and faster, a torrent of salt water sliding down my face. My life and all my dreams had been shattered in a single careless moment. This had to be the end.
Saskia sat down next to Bailey. There was no chance she would ask Bailey if he had another girlfriend but the thought tackled with her conscience constantly. He had been seeing less of her lately but she relied on his older sister to tell her if their relationship was in jeopardy. Tamsin liked Saskia and wouldn't let Bailey get away with cheating on her. It didn’t suit the strict morals Tamsin kept to.
Bailey said goodbye to his mates and looked straight at Saskia.
"You look lovely. You always do. I can't imagine ever wanting someone as much as I want you."
Bailey lent forward and stopped Saskia from replying with a kiss on her lips. It was a tender and sweet kiss, not pushy but not too gentle. Perfect.
"Bailey, you won't leave me will you?" Saskia murmured, into his mouth.
"Never, darling. Of course I wouldn't. You're one of the best things that’s ever come into my life."
Saskia felt content with that answer so she relaxed and let Bailey hug and kiss her. Soon Saskia began to drift off into another world.
Voices came closer to where I sat and I considered running off but I knew I would have to face them soon, explain what was happening.
"Rebecca? Are you there?"
I nodded by head and let out a small murmur. It was Charlotte, Mum and Georgia.
"You weren't to know Matthew was that rotten. None of us had guessed anything of the sort. That woman who Matthew has been with, she's called Imogen Danewood and she's relatively new to this village. It seems she attended university with Matthew where they had a short relationship, nothing serious and she’s felt possessively attached to him ever since he broke up with her."
"And that's supposed to cheer me up?" I asked moodily.
"No. But you can't blame yourself for this. It wasn’t actually your fault."
"I'm not," I muttered, even though I was.
"Come on Rebecca. Let's go home."
"Okay." I replied and stood up letting them guide me home.
Saskia felt Bailey run his hand down the edge of her face, jolting her back to Daisy’s party.
“Hey Saskia,” Bailey said. “You fell asleep on me. I didn’t know what to do so I let you lie on lap and sleep. I hope that was ok. You are incredibly adorable, content and vulnerable looking in your sleep.”
“Thanks Bailey. It’s fine honestly. Sorry I spoiled the party for you.”
“It’s ok. Let me walk you home now. It’s late and you’re mum will be getting worried.”
Saskia pulled her mobile from her jacket pocket.
“Let me text her and then we can start walking. She wanted me to notify her when I left.”
“Sure,” Bailey smiled and wandered into the hall to get his jacket.
A few weeks later and we were planning on leaving the village. There were rumours flying round like moths as to what had happened at the wedding and Mum felt it best for our family to leave. We were beginning to develop a bad reputation.
The night before we left I took my wedding dress out of the wardrobe and laid it on my bed.
“You have ruined my life and made this happen. If I hadn’t been so engrossed in all the preparations perhaps I would have realised. Maybe I wouldn’t have been humiliated in this way.”
It was in this moment of madness that I laid the curse on the dress. On my own precious wedding dress.
“Whoever shalt wear this dress next, whether for good or bad, will experience what I experienced and they will not sleep light whilst they know and do not tell of the harm men can do to women.”
With that I packaged the dress up and wrote an address on the front. Hopefully I would never have to see that beautiful but destructive garment again in my entire life.
Since then there has been no news of Rebecca Fairchild or any other person of similar name and disposition. It is presumed that the curse she laid on her wedding dress is still there.
Saskia lent back in her bed and laid her head upon her pillow. So these memories were a part of the story of a young girl surrounded by a vintage world who had cursed her wedding dress because of her boyfriend rejecting her for another.
Well, Saskia thought, I might as well write this down. Rebecca seemed to want this tale shared and it will make a fantastic story. It’s so simple yet so heart-breaking and romantic.
Saskia picked up her pen, opened a new page in her notebook and started to write. She was going to let the world know the story of Rebecca Fairchild and her cursed vintage dress.