Welcome to the 8LW 25 Days of Stories. Today we’re continuing with another story, based on the rules from the first year of our annual “Christmas Week Short Story Challenge” — a holiday version of our Friday Writing Sprints — featuring a short story of no more than 500 words including ‘Derbyshire’ and at least three of the following: Darcy, Rhinoceros, Woolly, Admire, Love, Mine, Villain, Volcano, Ghost. Extra kudos for including more than three, and kudos with sparkles for Christmas references.
So here, courtesy of 8L Elizabeth, is today’s story.
The Christmas Wager
“Oh, Papa, what have you done now?” Charlotte asked her father as he sat at the table calmly eating his Christmas pudding.
He raised his head and peered at her over the top of his spectacles with a frown. “What have I done?”
Charlotte pointed to the man standing in the doorway. “Lord Bickershaw has your note of hand for this house. He claims he won it from you.”
“Oh. That.” Lord Atherton sighed. “Meant to tell you about that, my dear. I was testing my new mathematical theory–“
“By gambling?” she interrupted.
He rubbed his forehead as if trying to erase a bad memory. “I don’t know where I went wrong. Things were going splendidly all evening, then all of the sudden they took turn for the worse.”
“About the time Lord Bickershaw joined your table, was it?” she asked, with a glare toward the doorway. “Everyone knows he cheats.”
“How dare besmirch my honor,” Lord Bickershaw interrupted. “If you were a man I would call you out.”
“Don’t let my sex dissuade you. I must warn you however, I’m equally skilled with both pistol and rapier.”
“A little spitfire, aren’t you.” Lord Bickershaw looked her up and down. “Perhaps you’d care to make a wager of your own.” Continue reading