My Sleeping Beauty

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
What really happened to Sleeping Beauty? Was she really freed from eternal slumber by her prince, or was it naught but a girl's fantasy? For cocowriting's (courtney's) first short story contest. :3

Submitted: September 17, 2013

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Submitted: September 17, 2013

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Long ago, in a kingdom long past, there was a tragedy. A great king lost his wife to childbirth. With him she left a tiny princess with cherry lips and golden locks of hair; her skin was white as snow. But most beautiful of all were her sparkling blue eyes that reflected the bright morning sky.

The king, though saddened by his loss, was more enraptured with joy as he held his daughter for the first time. Tears slipped from his red-rimmed eyes and soaked into his coarse red beard, under which was a smile. “I will treasure her always,” he said to himself in a choked voice, “for not only is she a piece of me, in her is also my beloved queen.”

The princess was named Patricia Angelic Beatrix, for one name could not portray all of her beauty. The king could not take his eyes off of the girl, only unhanding her so that a wet nurse could feed her; even then he was reluctant to part. Patricia Angelic Beatrix was the clamor of the castlehold.

That very night, a stranger visited the king’s castle, claiming to come bearing the baby princess’s fortune. The king, excited to hear of what great ruler his daughter would become and what great nobility she should marry, quickly had the servants bring her into his home. The fortune-teller was old, haggard; she wore a dusty gray cloak that obscured most of her stooped figure. The old woman was invited by the king himself to sit on his own throne, the most comfortable seat by far; he was a very kind king. Once she had settled herself and had drank her fill of wine, the king gladly handed her his child.

The stranger stared hard at Patricia Angelic Beatrix for a long while without moving. The baby princess looked back with brilliant blue eyes. The king waited patiently, kneeling at the teller’s feet as though he were beneath her.

“On Patricia Angelic Beatrix’s fifteenth birthday,” the teller began in a voice cracked with age, “she will prick her finger on a spinning needle, and then she will fall into a deep, never-ending sleep. That is the fortune of the princess.”

The king’s smile faded into a wide-eyed expression of horror, as well as the few servants who had remained in the room. The teller stood wordlessly and returned the burbling princess to her father, then requested to be led to the castle doors so that she may go to her home.

All spinning needles were banished from his kingdom. Soldiers and servants of the king collected every spinning needle they could find and placed them in a pile as tall as the castle itself. The king came out to supervise as the needles were burned to the ground, then buried far out in the country. Unfortunately, he could not control other kingdoms, but he could control what was brought into his own.

The king and Patricia Angelic Beatrix lived peacefully for years. He proudly watched as she grew from drooling infant to babbling, bowl-legged toddler, and then to a small, beautiful young girl. He had the finest dresses made for her, the prettiest shoes, hired the best hairdressers, and made sure that she could bathe in clean water as often as she liked. The king spared no expenses for her. Patricia Angelic Beatrix and he were as close as father and daughter could be; their love for one another knew no bounds. The king took her education even upon himself; he taught her to read, to write, to do arithmetics, and to horseback ride. He also secretly taught her to do activities that were frowned upon for little princesses to do: archery, climbing, drinking games, and hunting. The king did, however, have women hired in order to teach his daughter to embroider, cook, sing, and to play the harp.

As her fifteenth birthday inched closer and closer, the king began to grow nervous. He had weekly raids to search for spinning needles throughout his kingdom. He would not take chances. When the daily reports came back to him that the amount of spinning needles being found was a tall number, the king panicked a bit more each day.

Finally, he took Patricia Angelic Beatrix to the highest room in the tallest tower of his castle and locked her away. No one was allowed to set eyes upon his daughter, and the girl was never seen nor heard from again. Only the king went upstairs everyday to deliver her meals and companionship, and so this lasted until the princess’s existence had all but faded from everyone’s memories.

 

500 Years Later

 

“Where the heck am I?” he asked himself, peering into the dimness that surrounded him. The lanky teen had long ago given up trying to listen for his tour guide’s voice and had resorted to retracing his steps so that he could find the entrance to the old sightseeing castle. It was no doubt a magnificent castle, but one that was far too easy in which to get lost.

The boy shuddered in the damp, chilly air. The restorers installed fluorescent lights throughout the castle in the torch holds, but the light was made to replicate what light was seen in the Middle Ages and proved insufficient for his eyesight. Every horror film he had ever seen came to mind, and he quickly repressed the terrifying images that flashed through his thoughts, knowing that nothing existed of those sorts.

Reprimanding himself, he continued onwards until coming across a door on which was posted a sign that read in big black letters: “Employees Only.” He entered immediately, hoping to run into another human being. To his dismay he found a stone staircase spiraling up into darkness. Here there were no lights.

He was about to turn and try his luck elsewhere when the walls along the stairs flared to life. These were actual torches rather than the fluorescents, which startled him. Then he decided against himself and ascended the steps. He could feel the heat from the flames as he passed; he knew they were real.

He called up the stairs, his voice echoing before him and behind him. There was no reply from above, but upon catching sight of the a light at what appeared to be the top, his heart fluttered with relief and he climbed a little more quickly despite the burning in his thighs. He wondered just how high he was going; it had already felt like he’d been walking upwards forever.

At last he had reached the top, where his eyes immediately fell upon a door. Light spilled out from the gap between the floor and the bottom of the door, splashing his sneakers in yellow light. It did not flicker, so he surmised that it must be electricity. The teenager pushed the door open without a second thought, ready to get out of the creepy old castle.

No electricity appeared to be in the room; rather, the sunlight was pouring in from the opened balcony, silk curtains billowing in the wind. There was someone in the room, yes, but sleeping in an ornate bed and surrounded by a pretty room full of trinkets, jewelry, mirrors, ribbons, dresses, shoes, dolls, and combs. But though the room’s contents were pretty, they were scattered throughout the place, as though they had been thrown about in a fit of rage. Several things lay broken, and a cracked mirror displayed replicas of the boy’s gaping face as he looked more closely at the figure sleeping in the queen-size bed.

It was a girl, perhaps only a little younger than him, with long blonde hair splaying out on her lush feather pillow under her. Flawless pale skin covered her flesh, and her skin was covered by a pure white nightdress. She was not under the silken blankets, so he could discern her lovely figure more clearly; her budding bosom rose and fell with each slow breath. Her lips were full and pink, and her closed eyes made a beautiful shape, accentuated by long, thick eyelashes.

The boy let out a breath in awe, then hesitated to come near. She looked so peaceful that he didn’t wish to disturb her, but...No, he needed help to find his way out. He solemnly paced over to her and said lowly, “Excuse me, Miss.”

Her breathing remained unperturbed, her eyes did not open a crack.

He tried a bit more loudly: “Excuse me.”

Nothing.

The teen tapped her lightly on the shoulder, and when that didn’t work, he shook her a bit. As that did not wake her either, he became frustrated and grabbed both of her shoulders and shook her. The girl’s head lolled limply, and she did not wake. He dropped her back to the bed and sat down heavily beside her, scowling.

“What’s it going to take, huh?” he asked her. “Are you sleeping beauty or something? Would a kiss wake you up?” He glanced at her to see if she was really just pranking him by pretending to sleep, but she remained as comatose as ever. He sighed. “I guess it’s worth a try.”

No longer so entranced by her beauty as he was frustrated and tired, he leaned over her and pushed his lips clumsily against hers. Nothing happened for a moment, but when he pulled away, he was startled to see that her eyes were open.

He jumped back and stumbled over a crumpled dress. As he fell to the decorated rug, the girl sat up and looked at him with wide, tearful blue eyes.

“I’m, I’m sorry,” the boy stuttered, holding up his hands as though to surrender, “I didn’t mean it!”

“You’ve saved me,” she breathed gratefully, lifting her legs over the edge of her bed and standing. She lowered herself to her knees and shuffled towards him. He scooted away from her, but she was unrelenting. “Thank you, noble sir.”

“Um, noble sir?” he repeated, raising an eyebrow. The girl embraced him in her sleeved arms.

“Thank you, thank you,” she reiterated.

“Wait,” the boy said. “I know what you are. You’re one of those, uh, history re-enactors, aren’t you?”

“I beg your pardon, sir?” the girl asked, releasing him momentarily in order to search his eyes with her own.

The boy suddenly became aware of how uncomfortably close she was to him. He averted his eyes and tried to back away from her, but her vice-like grip made it impossible. “S--Say,” he laughed nervously, “what say you to taking me to the front door? I’m kind of, well, lost in here.”

The girl’s eyes widened. “Of course, noble sir, I know every nook and niche of this castle. I will take you wherever you would wish!”

“Thanks,” he said. “Please let go of me.”

“Of course, noble sir! Please, come,” she said excitedly. She stood and padded quickly to the door of the room and opened it to reveal the same, torch-lit staircase. The boy did as she told.

As they descended the stairs, the girl chattered endlessly, her echoing voice driving him insane. She suddenly stopped both voice and feet and turned to look back at him shyly. “Um, noble sir, might I ask what is your name?”

“Huh? Oh, it’s Alexander,” he replied. “What’s yours?”

Her eyes brightened at his inquiry. “My name is Patricia Angelic Beatrix, Sir Alexander.”

“Just Alex, okay?”

“You, you wish me to address you as Alex, sir?” she asked in surprise.

“Yes.”

“Oh, yes, Alex.” She giggled and continued downwards, a flounce in her step. Alex irritably followed behind, hands shoved deep in his pockets.

As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she pushed open the door and was in the corridor. “Come, this way,” she said, turning sharply to the left. Patricia Angelic Beatrix seemed to gain momentum as she advanced, and Alex had a little trouble keeping up with her. Occasionally she orated vague directions such as “This way and that way, then yonder!”

Eventually, they made their to the entrance of the castle. The broad oak double doors were still open, allowing the bright sunlight of the day to spill in and illuminate the ancient stoneworks.

“Wow, thanks,” Alex grinned with relief. “See you.”

“Where will you go, Alex?” Patricia Angelic Beatrix asked, slowing to a stop.

“Uh, home,” scoffed he, giving her an obvious look. Her pretty face fell, and she appeared to lose the excitement she had exhibited earlier.

“Then who will free me from my father?” she asked sadly.

“What? Just walk out the door.”

She gave him a skeptical look, then took a tentative step forward, then another.

Suddenly: “Stop!” cried a cracked voice.

Patricia Angelic Beatrix wheeled around in surprise, her mouth forming an o. Alex frowned and squinted back into the dark.

A hunched figure emerged from the shadows, moving as slowly as a snail. Its old limbs creaked audibly as it shuffled, leaning heavily on a dusty, adorned staff. A moth-eaten red robe hung about its emaciated shoulders, and clothes hung loosely on its frame; an ornate crown rested atop a head of sparse white hair. Alex then saw that it was a man, but not like any man he had ever seen. His sunken face was ancient, the skin so saggy that it seemed that it would simply drop away. Deep creases lined nearly every inch of his skin; his eyes were haunting and set so deeply into his sockets that they were almost completely obscured by shadows. A rank smell soon reached Alex’s nostrils.

“Father,” the girl uttered, obviously frightened. She swallowed hard and clasped her hands nervously in front of her.

“You cannot leave,” said the ancient king in a scratchy voice, raising a gnarled hand to point at her. His fingernail was long and yellow. “Go back to your tower. You are safe there.”

Patricia Angelic Beatrix looked helplessly at Alex, who stood with mouth agape at the turn of events. She looked crestfallen, but then she squared her shoulders and raised her head to look her father in the eye. “I will not,” she said daringly.

The king began to advance on her, slowly, menacingly. Patricia Angelic Beatrix faltered for a moment, but then regrouped herself. “I shall not, Father,” she boldly declared once more. “I shall not return to the tower, for you murdered me!”

The king recoiled as though he had been struck. “I did no such thing, daughter,” he wheezed, though he seemed shaken.

“ ‘Twas you indeed!” she shouted, tears in her eyes. “You murdered me, murdered me!”

“It was to protect you!” the king replied weakly, shaking his head, his loose skin flopping with the motion. “You were to sleep for all eternity had you lived. I spared you,” he said, a sincere regret in his hollow eyes.

“Murder!” Patricia Angelic Beatrix retorted in a hysterical shriek, her voice echoing off the stonework.

The ancient king’s face suddenly hardened, and he advanced towards her with an outstretched hand at alarming speed. Patricia Angelic Beatrix flinched with terror, but before the revolting hand could reach her throat, the man cried out and fell back. Alex stood betwixt the two, breathing heavily and staring the king down. It was he who had pushed the undead man back, and the king now lay unable to get up.

“No!” wailed the king, hand still held out towards his long-dead daughter.

A bright light shined behind him, prompting Alex to turn and gawk at the sight of Patricia Angelic Beatrix--glowing. She smiled radiantly at him, joyful tears slipping down her rosy cheeks. “You are indeed noble, Sir Alex,” she said as her being faded into the white light. The light then dissipated into that of a few sparkles, which floated towards Alex’s chest and disappeared into it. A warm feeling filled his heart and then spread throughout his body.

Alex heard a clatter and returned his attention to the king. The crown rolled to a stop at his feet. A pile of dust and a majestic attire lay where the ancient king once was. No longer was he, the ruler of a once great kingdom.

On an impulse, Alex stooped and picked up the crown to study it. It was really made of a solid gold and bejeweled with finely-cut gems of assorted color and size. Amazing craftmanship, all in all. He decided to try it on.

 

“Your majesty!”

The king jolted awake and sat upright, looking around his throne room wildly. He straightened his crown on his head and peered sleepily at the panicked servant who had just burst into the room. “Yes,” he cleared his throat with concern.

“King Alexander,” panted the servant, “it’s the princess. Patricia Angelic Beatrix, she’s, she’s pricked her finger on a spinning needle. It was in the late majesty’s room, no one knew it was there all these years.” The servant wrung his hat nervously. “Her maid was with her when it happened, and this is what she told.”

A look of horror crossed the king’s features. He was petrified on his throne.

“Princess Patricia Angelic Beatrix, when she saw the spot of blood on her finger--you know how she’s afraid of blood, especially her own--she fainted and hit her head...She hasn’t woken, your majesty, I’m afraid…”

Tears spilled from the king’s eyes and he sorrowfully placed his hands over them. “My daughter,” he wept. “My sleeping beauty!”

It is said that in a kingdom long past, a tragedy foretold by a fortune teller struck, and a king’s sorrow could be heard for miles. Many believe that if one were to look at the topmost window of the tallest tower of the castle, one might see a shadow. If one watched closely enough, one might see that shadow jump from the balcony and fall to the ground. One might hear a horrible splat, as well, and a whispering wind might carry the words:

“My sleeping beauty...”

 

 


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