He preened in front of the mirror, arranging his golden hair, just so, admiring his own glorious skin. He knew himself to be irresistible. At last he was ready, and made his way down to the great gallery, where they waited for him, a line of living works of art. All he had to do was choose one.
He strutted down the line of women, rating them: a seven, a three, a six, another seven, definitely an eight. They kept their heads down, demurely. He was not to be rated. He was to be obeyed and adored.
Outside, the mob roared, pitchforks shaking in angry hands, torches raised. The city was burning. In here, there were only his footsteps, and the quiet breaths of the women.
He made his choice. He stepped forward to claim her, to grab what was his right. He didn’t expect the flash of metal from every sleeve as each young woman pulled forth a silver blade. He didn’t expect the pain.
They left him there, alone in his great gallery. He heard their footsteps as they ran, down the long hallway, out to freedom.
Microfiction for Jane Dougherty.