Friday, November 19, 2010


    Emma hid in an unused corridor where she hoped no one would think to look for her, scrunching up to sit on the floor. She just needed to be alone. Tiny creatures had been pawing at her all day - braiding white flowers into her hair and trussing her up in elaborate gowns - trying to force joy into her through their own smiles. They only meant to please her, but could not understand her sadness. Human emotions were sometimes too complex for them. The paper she clenched in her hands crinkled up at the edges, the picture fading from so much recent use. She stared at the muted colors again, tracing their images with fingers that had grown too thin. Tears made their way down her face, discoloring the page as they dripped down. “Tomorrow,” she told the photograph, “I marry a king.”
    Sobs shook her frail form until she finally drifted to sleep, where hauntingly beautiful images chased her in her dreams. The sound of footfalls jarred her awake much later, clacking slowly and getting louder with each step. Him. She shivered and pushed herself further up against the wall, tucking her elaborate dress in around her. She all but stopped breathing, willing herself to become invisible. The footsteps stopped suddenly, hesitating, then picked up again, quicker and much louder. He rounded the corner, a dark shadow against the dusky light filling the hall. Those perfect sapphire eyes found her immediately, and a small sob escaped from her throat.
    He sighed, as if he could read her mind, or at least the fear on her face. Her heart still longed to find some trace of the love she had once imagined in his eyes, but a still place inside said to give up the hope. “Emma,” he whispered, lowering himself to meet her gaze. “I am afraid that we need to talk. It seems that I was wrong about you.” She whimpered. That horrible, beautiful monster.