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Prey of the Princess

(Eds--this is the first in a series of short stories based on NSHS student requests)

Many years ago, there was a young girl. Her name must not be important because I cannot tell you what it is. I can tell you that she was a beautiful girl with a kind soul and no one in this world deserved her. Her sweet nature must have come from her mother, for her father was a hateful man with no room in his heart for love for his daughter. She spent most of her life in his servitude. As tales like this often have it, the young girl had fallen in love. I never knew the name of the man who held her heart so I cannot tell you that either. I do know that this man is perhaps the only person who could be considered worthy of her love. He matched her in beauty and kindness. However, her father forbade a union between the two for the young man was a peasant. Though he did not love his daughter as he should have, he had a great love of riches and longed for he and his family to attain some. And so the young girl was torn from her peasant love and sold to a prince for the price of riches and land. 

Her sweet nature must have come from her mother, for her father was a hateful man with no room in his heart for love for his daughter.

The young girl had begged and pleaded with her father to change his mind but the

marriage proceeded and she was wed in a gown of red and gold. I do not remember that night very well, for mead and wine and ale were supplied in multitudes. But from what I have heard told, the wedding night was celebrated by all who attended, dancing through the night, save for the new princess who alone sat and promised herself revenge on her father. 

The princess could not have imagined a life worse than her previous home. Her prince was a terrible man who viewed his new wife as nothing more than a trophy to parade around when she wasn’t locked away. The princess lived her last days as nothing more than a toy for her husband. If you can imagine it, this was not the worst the prince did. He found great pleasure in drawing blood from her skin; watching the scarlet drip down her skin of porcelain brought a sick look of joy to his face. The sunset marked each torturous day that passed until the day she lost count. When the prince was not with her, she would pass the time dreaming of her peasant love rescuing her. A princess trapped in a castle, waiting for anyone but a prince to save her. It is believed that her dreams became a haven. She was so very lost in her own mind that she thought not of food or drink and she began to waste away. We do not know for certain if this was a choice she made or the results of madness. 

The princess was given a proper burial, the remnants of her skeletal body buried in the churchyard not far from here, near the Strongbow’s Tree. The prince appeared as a formality, his new wife hanging onto his arm as his last was lowered into the ground. As you well know, it is common practice to place rocks atop graves to prevent the dead from rising. But I suppose the people of the town remembered their princess as the sweet girl who had once lived, for they did not cover her grave with these stones. The girl that everyone knew had died long before she was buried, her good spirit mangled by the torture she lived through. The very night of her burial, the groundskeeper came running into the village, shouting of a disturbed grave. Dressed all in night clothes, the townspeople crowded around the princess’s grave to see; the dirt piled freshly just hours before was moved aside, leaving a hole right down to the casket. 

All I am telling you comes from what I have heard, so take this story as you shall, but I believe it all to be true. What happened next is very unclear. I suppose in all the commotion that followed, no one quite remembers things the same way. Where the stories meet again is the following morning, when it was discovered that the princess’ father was missing from his bed. It was the groundskeeper again who made the discovery that attracted the townspeople. The princess’ grave had been left excavated and so remained the hole down to the casket. The coming of the sun made it easier to see down to the dirt, and more importantly, to the body at the bottom of the six foot hole. Though the skin was paler than it should have been it was clear to see the body belonged to the princess’ father. 

The common belief was that the father, in a drunken state of sorrow, had wandered to his daughter’s grave, perhaps with some sort of guilt he’d never before felt and had fallen into the hole. While his wife and sons grieved, the rest of the town moved on. If you remember, the father was a terrible man and so he was not missed by more than his family.  

I am very uncertain about the events after this, as I was not there. I do know that people began to go missing. Men, women, children. Each body turned up in the princess’ grave, and it was decided this was the doing of the princess. Once a kind girl, she was now a killer. Claims were made of a beautifully haunting song being sung in the night, luring the victims from their beds into the darkness. The townspeople turned to their prince for help, but he was unequipped to deal with such a monster. So he hid. It seemed only reasonable for him to believe the princess he once tortured would come for him just as she had her father. 

For many years, he hid, evaded her call as best as he could while the populations dwindled. Those who didn’t die, fled. The prince became a king but there was no longer anyone to rule. And so he wandered the halls of the castle, fear twisting his guts before making each turn in the corridors, every noise perhaps the last he’d ever hear. It was not a life he was living any longer. 

Night had fallen once again, darkening the castle and making it impossible to see his reflection in the mirror. Without an audience, his story was over. The king spun his crown in his hands, waiting. He was the only one left now. No wife, no townspeople, no castle staff even. It was a lonely world, and even his books were becoming unreadable. He sat in the silence, wondering how long this would take. How painful this would be. He’d managed to stave off fate for this long, but in doing so, had lost all aspect of a world. 

Though the room was impossibly dark, he knew when she’d arrived. Her eyes practically glowed in the mirror, her silver gaze stuck on him. 

“Hello, princess,” he greeted, a smile appearing on his lips. “I’m done hiding now.”

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1 commento

the ending of this was really good

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