The Winter Ball was the party of the season for the town. Thrown in the Town Hall, it played host to the popular and the influential, the guest list merticulously checked and details gone over. The outfits the ladies wore were always of note, each woman informing the Mayor’s office ahead of time what they would be wearing. So much planning and preparation went into it, from the hiring of caterers (all local to the town and the ingredients as locally sourced as possible) to the selection of drinks on offer (thanks to the substantial micro- and home-brewery circle). For days various volunteers had worked to do up the town hall with decorations and arranging the chairs and the tables.
The hard work had paid off though, and even just gone eight the party was in full swing. The town’s football team were in attendance, dressed up in suits and posing with their partners for the newspaper’s photographer, and the Mayor worked hard to keep the rugby squad away from them. Even a few years on, the Great Winter Brawl was still talked about among some of the more gossiping individuals. It would be a different matter this year though.
At half past eight, Miss Barton arrived. Swanning in, the hairdresser was clad in a white and black dress that came down to the ankles, a long split running up her left leg. The spaghetti straps clung to her shoulders, supporting the somewhat low cut of the material over her chest.
‘You can’t wear that here, Miss Barton!’ One of the doorman almost yelled, running up to her.
‘That other thing I was going to wear was just so last season, I simply had to change!’ Miss Barton replied dismissively, turning her nose up at the fishmonger.
‘You’ve got to leave now, you-‘ he trailed off, face going ashen. Mrs Clarkson, owner and propriator of the hobby store had just emerged from the ladies bathrooms, wearing the exact same dress. Her eyes bulged as she caught sight of Miss Barton.
‘What… oh, oh no…’ Miss Barton gasped, trying to take her dress off. It was too late though. Arcs of lightning had already begun to leap between the Miss and the Mrs, drawing them closer as well.
‘Mr Clarkson, help!’ She screamed for her husband, trying to grasp at anything to keep her from being pulled away.
‘Help me, please!’ Miss Barton cried out, before with a lurch, the force building between them swept her off her feet. She screamed as she collided into the shop owner, the lights flickering in the town hall before the elements settled down, not a trace of them to be seen.
‘Well, this will be something to go into the papers. A harsh reminder.’ Mister Oakes, the Health and Safety officer to the town council, sniffed to the reporter nearby. ‘No changes to dress without notification.’
‘Yeah…’ Said the reporter, watching Mr Clarkson stare at the space his wife was standing in with a slack-jawed expression. ‘Every woman’s worst nightmare.’