Since starting this blog I’ve been going through some of the older pieces I have written. This little piece was from an assignment. I was given a picture of a little girl sitting by herself on black and white checkered patterned floor and told to write a short piece. I think it’s more of a character snapshot than a story and I think my love for children’s literature guided where it went… This is the first time I’ve ever let anyone see one of these ‘snapshots.’ (Besides my professor…obviously) I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts!
It was near now, very near. Mariana felt the air around her grow warmer and warmer until it was quite hot. There was no time to move. She must stay as still as she possibly could. The floor shook with the beast’s approach and as it grew closer the hot air began to fill with the stench of rotting flesh. Mariana’s heart began to pound with a deep throbbing that made her chest ache with every beat. Faster and faster it pulsed until she was sure it would betray her to the monster.
From behind her fingers she could just see the front of the green beast slither into the room.
Where was the prince? Wasn’t it his job to slay the dragon and rescue the lonely princess from her doom? Mariana had been waiting for the prince for what seemed like forever. The wicked queen had locked her away in this tower such a long time ago that she could only guess at how long she had been here. She couldn’t remember what it felt like to have the sun shining on her face, and she couldn’t recall the last time she laughed. This room, far away from the rest of the life in the house, was so very dull. There was nothing interesting about the plain white walls or the black and white checkered floor that repeated itself into oblivion. Her little mural was all she had to comfort herself.
The mural was a reminder of happier times when the kingdom was alive with excitement and cheer. She remembered frolicking about the green countryside and looking for fairies in the nooks of the trees and in the garden that overflowed with flowers of all types and hues. It seemed the sun always smiled for the kingdom in those days. She was sure that if her prison had windows she would behold stormy weather in the fields she loved so much.
It had all changed when the baby arrived. Her mother and father had tried for so long to have a second child, a son, to carry on the family name and rule in their stead. Their wait was lengthy but not in vain. In April of the past year her mother, the queen, had successfully delivered a healthy baby boy, three days later he was christened Eliot, and two days after that the princess was left to fend for herself. Everyone wanted to see baby Eliot and only Eliot. From that moment forward Mariana had begun to despise her brother. It was because of her brother she was locked away now.
The green monster continued to make its way into the room. The heat was incredible and Mariana began to sweat. A drop rolled down her cheek, and because of the way her head was tilted, made its way towards her nose, tickling the whole way. Mariana tried not to move, but the sweat continued to dance around her face brushing her skin so lightly and tickling her. Finally she could stand it no longer, beast or no beast she couldn’t fight the sneeze that had risen inside her and was introducing itself to her nostrils.
The monster heard her and turned to face her, teeth bared and eyes wide with fire.
“My goodness that was a big sneeze! Bless you.”
Mariana froze at the sound of the monster’s voice.
“Mariana I said, ‘bless you’, now what do you say,” her mother asked as she brushed a few crumbs off of her very green sweater.
“Thank you.” Mariana mumbled.
“Have you thought about what you have done?”
“And I promise I won’t do it again,” she grumbled in an attempt to get the whole awkward moment over with. Isn’t that what you were supposed to say? Isn’t that what the monster had wanted to hear all along?
“Won’t do what exactly young lady?” This was one mean beast.
“I won’t try to give Eliot away to the neighbors anymore.”
The beast let loose a fiery breath, and then the real roaring began…
“I don’t want anything like that to happen again do you hear me? Ever. You have got to start being nicer to your little brother. He hasn’t done anything to you. You have to act like a big sister now. It’s a good thing Mrs. Kain called me; I was worried sick about you two.”
A short silence followed. Princess Mariana had surrendered to the monster. Her prince hadn’t rescued her. The fight was over.
“Go ahead. Wash your hands, dinner is almost ready.”
Written January 20, 2010