The Yoretime Spiral Series/A Thricket in the Palace

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


Believe it or not, I wrote this story while living in Buchtel. It is what the wise counselor calls the beauty that I created in a world where there was no beauty. The Yoretime Spiral Series stories
are my baby, my beautiful literary child. There are so many stories and so much art that belongs as a part of the whole of the Spiral. This story is about a little girl that makes an unlikely
friend. This friendship changes her whole world and outlook on life. The friendship doesn't however, change her heart but rather enhances what is already there.

Submitted: July 16, 2018

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Submitted: July 16, 2018

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THE YORETIME SPIRAL SERIES

A THRICKET IN THE PALACE

 

Out in the Yoretime Spiral the seasons are changing from late summer to the early days of Autumn. The days are still warm but the nights are turning chilly. There is a feeling of change in the air.

 

All the citizens of the Yoretime Spiral are winding down their last days of summer and preparing for the busy harvest season ahead.

 

In the Yoretime Palace big changes are afoot. Princess Alexi has turned the magical age of thirteen and is now about to attend her first year at the Daughter’s of the Witches Academy. Alexi’s excitement cannot be contained as she is packing and memorizing the “Witches Oath.” She can barely wait to get to the Academy and learn about the old ways of magic, fly on a broom, and mix some serious potions.

Princess Maddie is also preparing for her first year of schooling with the tutor that comes to the Palace. She is apprehensive and sad that her Zissy, her constant companion, and often partner in crime, is about to leave her for five days a week to attend the Academy. This has made Maddie weepy and at times downright grumpy.

 

The Princesses and their upcoming schooling is not the only change the Palace is about to undergo. Soon the Princesses and the Palace will find themselves with a new resident.

 

 

The day finds the Princesses outdoors taking a walk through the stone pathway of the Spiral. They are holding hands and Alexi is trying to reassure Maddie that she will be alright while Alexi is away at school.

Maddie is very sad this day. Time with her Zissy is running short and she has never been on her own in the Palace with only the Queen Momma, King CharChar, and the servants. She is also a bit afraid of the sour-faced tutor that taught Alexi the year before. Nearly in tears Maddie turns to her sister and asks, “Who will play with me in the attic room in the winter now, Zissy?”

Alexi says, “Maddie, I will be home every weekend to play in the attic with you and every other Thursday you get to come to the Academy and spend an entire afternoon with me. Won’t that be fun? And besides that, Queen Annabelle will come and play with you.”

A tear slips out of Maddie’s eye and she says, “It won’t be the same, Zissy.”

Alexi hugs her sister and tells her that change is hard but it is something that happens as you grow up. She also tells her that maybe the Great Source of All will send her a new best friend. One that will spend time with her, play with her, and protect her from the fearsome tutor.

 

The girls continue to stroll slowly along the stone pathway talking and holding hands. They know their time together is short so they spend as much time with each other that they can.

 

Meanwhile, in the Yoretime Palace, a series of events is taking place that brings about the next big change.

 

Zarah, the Palace cook, has decided to air out the kitchen before the chill air sets in. She has opened all the windows and the door. A rather regal looking cricket has taken the open door as an invitation and has entered the Palace. He has been searching for the perfect winter abode. He spotted the lovely Yoretime Palace from his summer home in a tree on Forestree Row. He has traveled a long way to reach the Palace and is determined to winter in the comfort and luxury that this Palace offers. The thoughts of spending another winter underground just does not appeal to his tender sensibilities. He is after all, Count Vladimir Von Cricketov. He is quite the handsome little fellow in his black top hat, red vest, black coat, and dashing red cape. With him he is carrying a large red satchel that contains all of his worldly goods.

Count Vlad looks around him for the perfect place to set up housekeeping. The kitchen that he has entered seems cozy enough but also too busy with too many feet for him. He moves on to the dining hall. It is too open, too big, and not at all cozy. He goes through each room on the lower floor. The parlor, the library, the classroom, all the pantries, the sitting room, and finds none of them fit for a Count. Finally he comes to a grand staircase. He hops up and up and up until he is on the second floor of the Palace where the bedchambers are. Perhaps there are suitable living quarters for him on this floor.

 

Count Vlad enters the bedchamber of the King and Queen and finds it too big and a wee bit stuffy. He moves on to Princess Alexi’s room. It’s way too brightly colored, smells like perfume, and has too many windows. He also picks up the lightest scent of Binky Boos in there. Wearily, he enters the last door in the hallway. It is Princess Maddie’s room. Count Vlad finds this room perfect. It is somewhat messy with shoes strewn all over the place, but when you are a stowaway cricket, shoes make great hiding places. There is a cozy pink comforter on the bed, many fluffy pillows, and best of all a warm fireplace hearth. Princess Maddie’s room meets with the Count’s approval. It is warm, cozy, and fit for a Count.

Count Vlad goes to the fireplace hearth and begins unpacking. He opens his satchel and takes out his bed and makes it up on the hearth, he sets his night stand and lamp beside the bed along with his journal and quill pen, finally, he straightens his clothing in the satchel that doubles as a wardrobe.

 

Count Vlad finds that he is quite tired after his long day of moving in so he lays down on his little bed and falls into a deep sleep.

 

In the late afternoon, Princess Maddie comes into her bedchamber to wash up and dress for dinner. Maddie is still upset over her Zissy leaving and is sniffling and in bad temper. She flops down on her bed and grumbles about why she has to dress for dinner when she is already dressed. All that sniffling and grumbling awakens the Count. He sits up on his bed and cautiously looks in the direction of all the noise. He spies Maddie and is relieved that it is just a little girl, who is unlikely to throw him out of his new found home. Count Vlad lies back down and waits for Maddie to leave the room so he can explore his new surroundings.

Soon Maddie washes her face and hands, puts on a new dress, rakes a comb through her hair, puts on her socks and shoes, and joins her family for dinner downstairs.

 

Count Vlad takes the time Maddie is at dinner to explore his new home. He thinks it is a bit messy. There are countless numbers of shoes, her dolls are scattered all over the floor, and the learning table is stacked high with drawings, notebooks, pencils, pens, and markers. After a good look around Count Vlad decides that though messy it is still cozy and a fine place to winter.

Count Vlad was just settling into his journal entry when the door of the bedchamber bangs open and Maddie enters followed by a lovely creature with long red hair, green eyes, and a fine crown. He is mesmerized by Queen Annabelle and the fact that her crown has an invisible quality to it. He cannot take his eyes off her and his heart is thudding in his chest. He is smitten with love. The Count watches closely as Annabelle tells Maddie to change into a nightgown and she will tell her a story and tuck her in.

“Change this! Change that! I do not like change!” grouches Maddie as she pulls her nightgown from her chest of drawers. She flings her dress off and rips her nightgown over her head in a huff.

Queen Annabelle patiently settles Maddie into her bed and tells her that change is often very hard, but in the long run everything happens for a reason, and in time the Great Source of All will reveal the reason for the change to her, but she must be patient.

Count Vlad is also listening and is more smitten than he was a moment ago.

Finally, Maddie settles down and drifts off to sleep. Queen Annabelle kisses Maddie on top of her head and tucks the covers in around her. Annabelle then stands and blinks her eyes three times and the chaos of Maddie’s bedchamber is brought to order.

As Annabelle is about to take her leave, Maddie says, “Love you Annaboo.”

Queen Annabelle replies, “Love you, Maddie Moo.”

 

When all is quiet in Maddie’s bedchamber and Count Vlad thinks Maddie is asleep, he begins to loudly chirp out a love song for Annabelle. This loud chirping awakens Maddie. She sits up in bed and says, “Who there? Who singing love song for my Annaboo?” Count Vlad goes silent. Maddie tells herself that she is dreaming and falls back asleep. Count Vlad once again begins his loud chirping love song. Again Maddie awakens, sits up, covers to her chin and says, “Who singing love song to my Annaboo?” Count Vlad goes silent. Maddie lays back down but only pretends to be asleep. Once again Count Vlad begins his loud chirping love song. This time Maddie bolts out of her room and tears into her sister’s room saying, “Zissy, wake up! There’s a devil in my room singing love songs to my Annaboo!”

“What?” questions the rudely awaken Alexi, then, “Sis, devils do not sing love songs silly girl. Now go back to bed!”

Alexi tries to go back to sleep but Maddie crawls into bed with her and tells her again about how the devil is singing love songs to Annaboo.

Finally, Alexi gives up and says, “Okay. Okay. Let’s go to your room and you can show me this devil that is singing these love songs to Annabelle.”

 

The girls go quietly into Maddie’s room and crawl into her bed. Maddie whispers, “Pretend to be asleep, then him will sing.”

Sure enough, as soon as Count Vlad thought the girls were asleep be began chirping out a loud love song for Annabelle. Both girls sat up in bed. Count Vlad went silent.

Alexi looked at Maddie’s very worried expression in the moonlight and said, “Sis, I don’t think it’s a devil. I think it’s a cricket.”

“Why a thricket be singing to my Annaboo?” asked Maddie.

“I don’t know, but we have to find him and put him outside.”

At the word outside, Count Vlad dove into a shoe and hid. The girls switched on the lights and searched Maddie’s entire bedchamber. They found nothing more than a tiny bed, a bed stand, lamp, and wardrobe. The cricket was nowhere to be found.

Maddie, finally having had enough of this nonsense said, “You devil! You thricket! You come out now!”

Cautiously Count Vlad came out of his hiding place in one of Maddie’s many shoes. He stood before the girls in a regal smoking jacket and said, “I am not a devil! I am the great Count Vladimir Von Cricketov!”

“No you the devil! Look at you horns!” yelled Maddie.

Alexi said, “Sis, calm down, he is not a devil, he is a cricket and those are not horns, they are antennae. And just look how cute he is all dressed up in his little jacket.”

“But Zissy! Him sings love songs to my Annaboo! He a devil! Throw him out! Yuck!”

Alexi looked at Count Vlad and asked, “How did you get in here and why are you singing love songs to Annabelle?”

I entered through the grand kitchen door and I have claimed this bedchamber as my own for the chilly winter season. I sing songs for Annabelle because I am smitten with her and soon will ask her to be my bride,” replied Count Vlad.

At that Maddie picked up a notebook and began to chase Count Vlad all over the bedchamber swatting at him. She yelled, “No devil is marrying my Annaboo! You devil! You thricket!”

Count Vlad weaved and dodged Maddie’s furious swats and finally hid behind her wardrobe. Alexi chased after both of them saying, “Stop Sis! Stop!”

Maddie, near tears and more furious than ever, stomped to the door and declared, “I’m telling the Queen Momma on you, you bad thricket!”

Just as Maddie was about to take her leave, the Queen Momma opened the door and said, “Girls! It’s late! What in the world is all this ruckus in here?”

Maddie began to cry and said, “A devil thricket is in me bedchamber! He says it’s his now! He is so bad, he sings love songs to Annaboo and him wants her to be him bride!”

The Queen Momma, having heard nearly every wild story possible from her youngest who had a wicked imagination was a bit taken aback by this one. Not knowing what to do or think or say, she began to giggle. This was truly the best of all tall tales from her youngest.

When the Queen recovered from her fit of giggles, she looked to her eldest for an explanation. Alexi explained that there was a cricket in Maddie’s bedchamber and it had claimed her room for his own. She told her mother that the cricket had fallen head over heels in love with Annabelle and had awaken Maddie with his loud singing of love songs for her. And the worst thing was, the cricket intended to marry Annabelle.

The Queen Momma took one look at her youngest. She was standing with her arms crossed and a very huffy look on her face. This again struck the Queen Momma’s funny bone and she gave way to another fit of giggles. When the Queen Momma recovered yet again, she said, “Alexi, you are growing up and I am trusting you to handle this situation. Goodluck!” And with that the Queen giggled all the way back to her bedchamber.

Alexi took her sister by the arm and dragged her over to her little learning table and chairs and plopped her down in one chair, then sat in the other one herself. Alexi let her sister calm down a bit then said, “Count Vladimir, please join us at the table so that we can find a solution to this problem we have.”

Count Vlad peeked from behind the wardrobe and said, “No swatting!”

When he felt it was safe, Count Vlad cautiously hopped over to the table and joined the sisters. He looked them over and they in turn looked him over. “Please do not send me back into the cold where I will be forced to burrow underground until Spring. I am a refined gentleman cricket and do not wish to live in the dirt,” plead the Count.

 

“Get out!” screamed Maddie. “No devils allowed in the Palace!”

 

Alexi, always having been a lover of nature and creatures, took pity on the little Count and asked him if he would consider living in another room of the Palace for the winter, rather than risk the cold, or worse, the wrath of Maddie.

“What do you have in mind, Princess?” asked Count Vlad.

“Yeah Zissy, what you have in mind for the devil?” Maddie demanded.

“Well the perfect solution, the attic. The attic is warm and cozy. It has lots of nooks and crannies, just right for a cricket to burrow in and no one would be disturbed by loud chirping at night.”

“No!” said Maddie. “Him can go in the scary basement, where Annaboo won’t hear him sing to her!”

“Well Maddie, one of you are staying in this bedchamber and one of you are going to the attic. We are not turning the Count out into the cold or sending him to the basement.”

“Fine!’ said Maddie. “Then him stay up there all by himself!”

Maddie when I go off to the Academy you will have to feed the Count and be sure he has plenty to drink. Until then, I will take care of him but it would sure be easier if you would try to make up to him.”

“Fine!” said Maddie. “I put on me ear muffs and throw food and water at him!”

After much squabbling between Maddie and the Count an agreement was finally reached. Count Vlad would move into the attic. Princess Alexi would care for him until she went to the Academy. After that Maddie would care for him through the week, then Alexi would take over on the weekends. Count Vlad was forbidden to sing any songs when Maddie was in the attic.

 

That very night, Alexi helped Count Vlad pack and move into the attic. The Count found the attic to be charming and fit for a Count. Everyday Alexi brought him food and drink on a tiny tray she had the cook prepare for him. She would also take time to chat with the Count and found him to be a gentleman cricket and quite smart. The Count was very content until Alexi told him over his dinner that she would be leaving for the Academy the next morning. Alexi told the Count that she was worried about Maddie missing her and that she felt her sister needed a friend that would ease her loneliness. She asked the Count to try to overlook Maddie’s temper and the fact that she referred to him as a devil and try to make friends with her. She explained to him that if they could make up neither one of them would be lonely in the Palace through the week while she was away.

Next Alexi stopped in her sister’s bedchamber and crawled into bed with her. She made Maddie promise to be kind to the Count and to stop calling him the devil. She told Maddie that the Count was a very nice gentleman cricket and would make her a good friend if she would just give him a chance. Alexi also reminded her sister to take the Count’s tray of food and drink to him. Maddie held her sister’s hand and said, “Okay, I be nice to him, but him still look like a devil to me!”

 

Bright and early the next morning, Alexi, Maddie, and the Queen Momma, set off on foot to the Daughter’s of the Witches Academy on Lightwings Row. Maddie and the Queen helped Alexi unpack and settle into her dormitory room. They stayed with Alexi as she walked through her “Witches Oath” ceremony. Then it was time for Maddie and the Queen Momma to go home. The Queen hugged her eldest daughter tight and told her how proud she was of her. Maddie hugged Alexi and promised to see her Thursday afternoon for Family Day.

The Queen Momma held Princess Maddie’s hand as they took their leave. In the stone pathway Maddie burst into tears and cried all the way home. All through their walk home, Maddie’s friends of the Spiral kept coming out to the stone pathway with hugs and words of comfort for the weeping Princess. They could not bear to see her cry. On Artista Row, Queen Annabelle met them in the stone pathway and walked them the rest of the way home. Each Queen held one of Maddie’s hands as they went.

 

At the Palace, Zarah had tea and sweet cookies waiting for them. Maddie was fond of Zarah so she cried into her apron for her Zissy. Zarah, a kind old soul, patted Maddie’s back and gently reminded her that she had promised her sister that she would care for Count Vlad while she was away. Zarah had made the Count’s tiny tray up and told Maddie to take it up to him.

The mention of Count Vlad put Maddie in a bad temper, so she grabbed his tiny tray and stomped up all three flights of steps to the attic room. As soon as she opened the door she heard Count Vlad chirping out a love song for Annabelle. He had seen her approach from the attic window and was overcome with love.

Maddie stomped into the attic and said, “You shut up, you devil! Queen Annaboo don’t like thrickets!”

With that Maddie suddenly remembered her promise to Alexi and set the Count’s tray down on his table nicely and said, “There’s your tea and cookies. Goodbye!”

When lunch was served, Maddie again brought the Count his tray. She set it down nicely but did not talk to him.

When Maddie brought the Count’s dinner tray to him she surprised him by saying, “Zissy said talk to you, what you want to talk about?”

Count Vlad was speechless. Finally Maddie wanted to talk to him and he did not know what to say.

“Well!” said Maddie, impatiently. “You the Count! Count! One, two, three, four!”

Count Vlad tilted his head back and laughed. “You silly girl, Counts don’t count. The word Count is a title given to a noble cricket.”

“Explain noble,” demanded Maddie.

“Noble means of refined breeding, like yourself. Your title is Princess, which means you are a fine person and others think so too,” the Count explained.

Maddie was intrigued. Maybe Count Vlad was not a devil after all. She pulled a cushion out of an abandon chair and plopped down on it in front of Count Vlad’s table.

“What else you know Count?” asked Maddie.

“Lots and lots of things…..just ask away,” he said.

 

The Count and Maddie had a lively conversation that first night Alexi was away. They talked about all kinds of things. Maddie found the Count to be funny and very smart. The Count thought Maddie was spunky but kind of heart.

Maddie stayed with the Count until the Queen Momma herself came to fetch her for bed.

Thus began the nightly conversations between Count Vlad and Princess Maddie. The discussed a wide variety of topics. The Count even helped Maddie with her schoolwork. By the end of the week, Maddie and the Count were forging an unlikely friendship.

During many of the conversations that the Count and Maddie had that first week, they talked about the many citizens of the Spiral. Maddie talked about those she was most fond of, Flora, WeeWee, the Palace Gate Keepers and the cobbler’s wife, Letticia. Maddie was very cautious not to talk about Queen Annaboo for fear it would cause an argument between her and the Count. The Count told Maddie stories of his home on Forestree Row and of the beautiful Gypsy Queen, Leahalee. But, he too, never talked or asked about Queen Annabelle.

 

Alexi came home for her weekend break and was pleased to see that the Count and Maddie were on good terms. The three of them would gather around Count Vlad’s table and talk and play cards.

 

When Monday morning came, it was once again time to walk Alexi back to the Academy. Maddie hugged her sister tight and promised that she would take good care of the Count that week.

 

On the walk home with the Queen Momma, Maddie was very quiet, she was thinking some things over…….

 

At home, Maddie took Count Vlad his tray of tea and cookies. She flopped down at the table with him and just quietly looked him over.

Finally, Maddie said, “Count Vlad, why you love my Annaboo and sing her love songs for?”

Count Vlad took a deep breath and said, “Maddie, refined gentlemen such as myself are smitten with beautiful creatures like Queen Annabelle. She inspires my soul. And when something inspires your soul, one wishes to express it in some way. Like...painting a lovely picture, writing a poem, or singing a love song.”

“Are you going to marry Annaboo and take her far away to Forestree Row? I am not allowed on Forestree Row without an adult and I would miss her.”

“Oh heavens no! Annabelle is a human and I am a cricket. Humans and crickets cannot marry. I can dream of it though and I can sing about it.”

“Annaboo says dreams is good things,” said Maddie.

“They most certainly are,” said Count Vlad.

After a thinking for a bit Maddie said, “I think you should sing Annaboo songs any old time you want Count.”

“But will it cause you a bad temper and get you to call me a devil again?” asked Count Vlad.

“No devil names Vlad. We friends now!”

With that Maddie got up and began packing all of the Count’s things into his satchel. She then giggled and said, “You devil! You thricket! You friend! You come live on my fireplace hearth now so we not be so lonely in big Palace!’

 

After that, Maddie and Count Vlad became the best of friends and roommates. They often talked long into the night and the Queen Momma would have to hush them. Count Vlad even taught Maddie how to whistle and chirp.

Maddie introduced Annabelle to Count Vlad and they too became friends and enjoyed many lively talks at Maddie’s hearth.

 

 

In the Spring the trees of Forestree Row filled with the sounds of the crickets that had gone underground for the cold season. The sound of their song called to Count Vlad and reminded him that it was time to come home for the warm season.

By this time Maddie had grown quite attached to Count Vlad. He was a fine cricket and a dear friend.

Queen Annabelle, Alexi, and Maddie walked Count Vlad back to his summer home on Forestree Row. When it was time to say goodbye, both Maddie and the Count had tears in their eyes. Count Vlad promised Maddie that he would return to her fireplace hearth at the first sign of cool weather. Maddie promised she would never forget him and would save his place on her hearth just for him.

Over the Autumn and Winter seasons that had just passed, Maddie had grown up so much and learned so many lessons of life. She had learned about change and all the surprises it can bring. She learned about letting go of someone you love and having faith that one day that love would bring them back to you. She also learned that sometimes your best friend appears in your life when you least expect it but need it.

 

When Annabelle and Alexi each took one of Maddie’s hands to walk her home, Maddie was determined not to cry. Instead she turned back one more time and said, “Love you, you devil, you thricket! Come home soon!” Then she burst into tears and cried into Annabelle’s skirts. Annabelle held her tight and whispered, “Oh Maddie Moo, perhaps it is your heart that has been smitten after all!”

 

Change is hard. Often we don’t understand the changes as they are happening. But….if we keep an open heart and an open mind, time always reveals the reason…..and maybe even an unlikely friend.

And so it was, that cool day at the end of the summer in the Yoretime Spiral when a lonely little girl and a stowaway cricket became friends for life.


© Copyright 2020 Old BallBall. All rights reserved.

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