Watching through the lashes of my down-cast eyes, I see the tsar Alexis turn towards the Modest Five, and away from the Miserable One. I take a few more tiny steps to separate myself from the others.

Chosen from the 200 fine young women of the bride-show, what did he find specially pleasing? What does he see when he gazes upon us? Our elaborate gowns, rich furs, fine jewelry? Our modestly downcast eyes examining his remarkable royal boots? Our pale complexions made paler by fear? Who shall receive the tokens of his affection – handkerchief and ring – the invitation to his marriage bed?

Ivanka,  betrays her pride thinking she will be tsaritsa, unclasps her hands. He will turn again. “Not to me,” I pray, taking another tiny step. Perchance I can flee. Run for the Steppes. Run to the taiga. Run far past home.

The room is still, silent except for six pounding hearts, and a man in the shadows, softly humming a popular folk tune.*


For Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge # 21: The Choice; Image: Tsar Alexei chooses his bride by Grigory Sedov.

*Dr. Teagarten has a fondness for young girls and humming. The conclusion to Champagne Love, an earlier Dr. Teagarten story written for Jane’s Microfiction Challenge can be found here. (Key to the Park)


© my frilly freudian slip