Happy Sunday everyone! Today I'm sharing a short story I wrote, as an entry to Amy L's writing challenge. :) This was my first time writing first person, present tense. I think it went pretty well. So go ahead and give me your opinion. ;)
Word Count: 977, plus the prompt
The door handle was pure crystal glass. Did she dare touch it? Did she even know what might be beyond that simple door, with a knob of crystal glass? She did not know. Her hand reached out again, this was her moment. But...she once again drew back her hand. She didn't really want to know what was beyond the door. Would there be joy? Hardships? But yet, the girl did want to know and continued. This time, summoning all her willpower, she turned the knob slowly. Then it came to pass. She opened the door, and a crowd erupted with applause.This girl was a princess, dressed in a modern yellow dress. And this was her moment to change the world. For the better. She took a deep breath, smiled her wide, cheerful smile, and waved like she had been taught so many times before. Even so, this was her first day of putting it into practice.
I jolt from my daze with a start. Moving across the room, I scold my heart for beating so furiously.
It's only someone bringing my lunch. I take the plate and listen to the door being locked behind the middle–aged servant.
Plopping down on the narrow, springy bed, I set the plate on my lap and pick at the food.
As I eat my meager meal, my thoughts return to my reminiscing. If only things had gone as expected when I stepped through that door… But they hadn't.
So much for making things better for the people of Mayslia. Can't make things better when I'm not even there.
That's going to change tonight though and I quickly remind myself of that fact, of the escape plans arranged by a young guard here at the castle. He's a quiet, almost intimidating young man with a strange scar on his cheek. My circumstances couldn't get much worse so I agreed to go with him.
Now I just have to wait. And hope this Leon fellow shows up.
It's been dark for hours when a tapping comes to my door.
I wait without speaking and the door swings open. Leon stands there in the shadows, motioning to me.
I'm already wearing my cloak, so I soundlessly slip out. Leon locks the door to the room where I've been held and starts down the dark hallway. I closely follow.
A slamming is heard elsewhere in the palace. Leon grabs my arm as I struggle to keep up with his long strides.
We rush through countless doors and halls before sliding through a narrow crevice and finding ourselves outdoors.
I don't have time to get my bearings before Leon is again pulling me off through the darkness.
We duck under some trees and I hear him mumbling.
“They must've found the horses I hid. One of them is gone.”
I can feel his eyes on me.
“We’ll have to ride double. You can't weigh much.”
I frown, thinking it improper of him to say such a thing to a princess, but take his hand when its offered and mount the horse behind him.
None too happy about these arrangements, I wrap my arms around the stranger’s waist.
And we’re gone – galloping away into the night. Imprisonment far behind us.
We’ve been journeying for two days before Leon allows a campfire when we stop for the night.
As he reaches across the fire to hand me my supper, his other sleeve catches afire.
I gasp. “Leon, your hand!”
He let out a yelp and dropped to extinguish the flames in the dewy grasses.
I hurry over to where he's kneeling. “Did it burn you? Let me see.”
With a sigh, he allows me to inspect and bandage his scorched wrist.
This is the first time I’ve got a good look at his face. He's definitely young – about ten years older than my own fourteen years, I would guess.
He catches me studying him and I look to my feet, blushing.
We eat supper, rations snagged by Leon, and enjoy the warmth and light the fire provides.
He says my name so tenderly that I quickly look back up to meet his gaze. He's always called me princess until now; I didn't think he knew my name.
Across the dying embers, Leon looks so serious. A lock of dark, curly hair has fallen over his forehead, nearly hiding his eyes. The jagged scar stands out in dark contrast to his tanned face.
“I need to tell you something.” He speaks so softly I wonder if I heard him right. “Before we get home.”
We? I lean forward and wait for him to continue.
Instead of speaking, he peels the bandage away from his wrist and rolls up his sleeve.
“What are you doing?” The words fly out of my mouth with more sharpness than I intended.
He doesn’t seem to notice, only motions me over.
I skirt around the bed of coals and sit on the log with him.
He turns his arm over, palm up, and my gaze goes to the singed skin.
I wince. “That looks painful.”
“Not that.” He chuckles, easing the tension, and points to a spot near his elbow.
I just...stare. It can't be. I slowly look up to his face, then back to his arm.
The familiar face, the scar, the birthmark… The birthmark – simply a small ring of discolored skin. Just like…
No. I squeeze my eyes shut. That's impossible… Isn't it?
“Brett?” I whisper.
He nods, still watching me. “Hey, little sister.”
The next thing I know I'm in his arms. Brett, my brother, who's been away for years, his fate unknown.
I sniff and wipe my face. “Why didn't you say anything sooner?”
He kisses my cheek. “The truth?”
Brett sighs, long and deep. “I wasn’t sure if I should. I didn't know what you had...been told of me.”
“Only good things,” I assure him. “Before she died, Mama knew about your work to protect Mayslia.”
He smiles sadly. “I'm glad.”
We reach our palace home the next evening with dusk...and with the enemy king who kidnapped me trailing us.
We dismount behind the stables and abandon the horse. The king’s men have the palace grounds surrounded.
“We’re gonna get killed,” Brett pants as we duck behind some shrubbery. “If not by them, then by Papa’s own guards.”
“No, we’re not,” I mutter, memories flitting by. “Come on.”
Leaving the safety of our hiding spot, I run across the lawn toward the palace, Brett’s heavy footsteps following me.
Locating the door, I push back the vines hiding it and behold the crystal doorknob.
At Brett’s nudging, I grasp it and carefully turn. It gives way and we step into safety.
Have a blessed Sunday all! :D