by Lucy Brennan
She came to the palace in a dress made of flowing blue fabric, that shone in the sunlight like water. It clung to her, falling past her feet and trailing behind her, gathering dust as she walked down the cobblestone road. From a distance, the guards at the palace gates saw only a slim girl in a very nice dress, and wondered why someone wearing something that looked so expensive was walking unaccompanied. As she got closer, the men froze in fear, some screamed in terror. They drew their swords and brandished them at her with shaking hands. The captain of the guards was the first to speak.
“Leave this place beast!” he yelled. His training served him well, his voice did not betray his fear. The beast’s lips curled in what might have been a smile. She raised her hands in what looked like surrender, but as she did so the guards dropped like flies. Only the commander who had spoken was left standing, shaking in terror and surrounded by his fallen comrades.
“I’d like to request an audience with the prince.” she said, her smile widening into a truly horrific grin that spread across most of her face and revealed rows of sharp teeth. The terrified commander looked down at the fallen men and realized they were not dead but sleeping. Still he chose his words carefully.
“I don’t have the authority to give you what you want. I ask only for mercy for me and my men, and I warn you that the royal family would sooner kill you then let you near their first born.”
She laughed at his words.
“Kill me? And how do you think they’d manage that?”
Deciding this monster girl was too much for him to handle, the captain retreated slowly, eyes trained on her face, and she watched in amusement as he rang the alarm bell.
Soldiers streamed through the gates, and were quickly put to sleep with a flick of the girl’s hands. She turned again to the commander.
“The gates are open, take me to the prince, bind my wrists if they’ll let you in faster.”
He did as she asked, tying her up carefully, and escorting her though the gates.
It did not take long for him to convince the soldiers left in the palace that her demands were to be met, it had been years since the people of the kingdom has seen magic like hers and they had been taught to fear it above all else. Her wrists were freed, she was given a comfortable chair to sit in the grand hall, and was supplied with tea and jelly tarts. They assured her that she would get her meeting with the prince if she exercised just a bit of patience.
An important general, renowned for his bravery was sent into the throne room to negotiate, and found her sitting cross legged, licking jelly from, her fingers. He realized that her face, despite being so hideous it was hard to decipher any sort of indication of age, had a certain softness that resembled that of a teenage girl. He cleared his throat.
“Pleasure to meet you, may I inquire as to your reasoning for wanting to see our prince?” She laughed at his manners, she has been showed nothing but fear since her arrival.
“I want to marry him!” Of all the possible answers she could have given him, the general was prepared for this the least.
“You want -- you want to marry him?”
“It is my fondest wish.”
“Is what you seek the rule of our kingdom?” She looked confused.
“Oh I guess I would be queen, that would be fun I suppose, but no. I just want to marry him. I snuck into this little village once in my cloak that covers my face because I heard they were having a parade. I just wanted to hear the music, but then I saw him, he was riding on a float and smiling down on his subjects like long lost friends. I knew right then that he was made to be mine.”
The general reported what he had been told to the king and queen and the council they had gathered. They’re was much debate on what to do, was she telling the truth? What if her real intentions were to kill the prince? And if she was being truthful, what would she do when her proposal was inevitably rejected? The prince could not marry a monster. Eventually it was decided that no matter her intentions, it seemed that she could probably kill them all if she desired, and hopefully if they met her demands their compliance would be rewarded.
The 15 year old prince was summoned and the situation was explained. He seemed willing, almost excited to see her. He had never met a monster before. His mother insisted on coming with him. She clutched his hand and he felt her trembling. They walked together into the grand hall and the monsters face split into a grin at the sight of him. He was just how she remembered, tall and scrawny, with brown hair sticking up in all directions, and the kindest brown eyes she had ever seen.
He took her in all at once. Her skin was porcelain white and clung to her sunken, almost skeletal frame. She had six beady black eyes, like an insect’s. Fangs protruded from both her bottom and top lip, her white hair was styled into a braided crown and the hem of her dress had become tattered and torn.
The queen gasped in horror, and clutched her son’s hand tighter.
“Mother,” He said looking up at her with bright eyes, “isn’t she just the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen?”
Lucy Brennan in 15 years old. She lives in Hadley and goes to Northampton High School. Her favorite thing about Woven Word Young Writers is the community it creates.