Little Alegra

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Twisted, twined, sickly enthralled.

Submitted: November 28, 2011

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Submitted: November 28, 2011

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Alegra. All alone in a broken house, dangling her feet from the third story window. Little Alegra, with her cottony white hair and aqua-blue bandana, letting eddies of wind carry her away.

She was a sailor once, you know, a long time ago when the dolphins where nicer and Uncle Patch wasn’t so fat. That was before the pirates but after her induction into the Guild of Great Minds. Julian the Raucous had inducted her, his pudgy face solemn with its tribal marks of mud as he said the magic words. And placed a tin bowl over the crown of her head. It stayed suspended over her scalp on the cloudy frizz of her hair. She was the triumphant Queen, but only until the day the raiders came.

Rain slicked the glass. Alegra opened her window wider, but pulled her feet in. People had died in this house, she knew. And not in that someplace-far-away-in-a-year-long-passed way that all her lives were. People had died here weeks ago. People she knew. She wanted to feel their ghostly eyes on her and hear their haunted muttering. Crazed, huffing sentences- like lunatics. She wouldn’t be afraid, even though Mom wasn’t home and Dad wasn’t even relevant enough to cross her mind. She wouldn’t be afraid because that’s the way the adventurous girls are in all the books- they did the stupidest things, made the worst choices, and get the best stories from it. Alegra knew that she needed a story worth living.

She wrote her story as the house bucked and sighed beneath her in a summer gale. She didn’t notice when the power flickered and died in the windows up and down the street- electricity was a foreign notion in the Hathaway house; it takes grown-ups with money to turn the lights on. And Alegra hadn’t been a grown-up in a long, long time.

Her story inched across pages. Candles dripped themselves dry over her pen marks, and days bled themselves out under her tireless wrists. Alegra wanted a life worth living, so she penned it out from ink and dreams.

It didn’t take long for them to come to her door. They peered in her dark windows and rattled her locked doors. She kept them out at first with deadbolts, but those got sawed off, torn away. Then she kept them at bay with a horde of honor-bound bandits- they rose from her pages in misty masses, each one more muscled and scarred than the last. Dark, light, man, woman, thin, thick, all holding honed knives. Alegra stamped her bare foot and refused to surrender the house. She would rather die. Here was the only thing that had ever made her mother happy- a window that opened onto a bed of the sweetest, bluest zinnias. They ‘sighed with the sweetness of Cupid’ whispered Elizabeth Hathaway. She would place a small white fluttering hand over her bosom and say it, only softer. ‘The breath of youth’, she would sigh. Alegra couldn’t let them take the house. She had her bandits pour out the windows and attack the men in suits, making them run and scream. And die. 

More people came. They were ready. They came hunting Alegra herself. But her book still wasn’t done. Her story had dark twists and turns, tunnels, caverns, kisses and tears, but it didn’t end right. Alegra tried every night to finish it, working long past nightfall and through midnight, into the next morning, but she would re-read it, snarl, and tare it up. It was never quite right. She had told the part about Gargantuan, the spectacled sand monster she’d fought and killed, her allegiance with the Order of Aizrad, how she’d become a rock star and fucked a thousand screaming fans in one week, about her great invention- methamphetamine with low environmental impact, and loaned her good friend Andy Warhol a can of soup. All of that was true, but ending it just made her sad. She could never be satisfied that it was done. She would add a few chapters, the forgotten excursion to Dragon Island and her fleeting affair with Marilyn Monroe. Time streached on, and the people who hunted her became the hunted. She wrote into existence a slew of sprites with cyanide saliva that spat down upon the heads of her rivals until the grass at their feet shriveled and died. Her rivals did likewise.

Every time she heard a whisper through the wallpaper, every footstep on her crushed-shell driveway, she would write new horrors into existence. Men came now to find all the missing men. And they went missing too. Blood ran greasy thick across the floorboards of the Hathaway house, and some days she scrubbed it away, and some of the bodies she buried in the back yard, but just when she felt like it. It was done late at night with a groaning yellow moon as witness. She felt caustic at midnight with just a trowel, spewing dirt over glossy corpses.  With a theatrical flick, she dropped them into the ground, just like planting saplings, like she had with Elizabeth Hathaway so long ago. She wrote about that, too.

Too many burials later, she found herself screaming at the sky- ‘Just give me a few more weeks! Just let me finish my book in peace!’ But Alegra couldn’t.

One mild afternoon, her pen ran out of ink. She grumbled and rustled around in her side drawer for a spare. She’d used those up, too. And all the ones in the jar downstairs. The stains in the kitchen confused her. She swore and went out into the world to get another pen. The man behind the counter stared. His long hair shook as he rung up her small purchase, silently. He forgot to give her a receipt. How rude. She left the store without a backward glance. You’d think he’d never seen a retired aviator-philanthopist-wicca-Mayan queen-beast slayer-acrobatic-dragon slayer-zen peace activist-guru before, she thought, contemptuously.

They were waiting. Behind the shrubbery, inside the fountain, more of them then she’d ever seen before, and all of her mother’s zinnia’s were trampled. She sighed and reached into the tiny plastic bag, pulling out the newest weapon. She had the pen, but no paper. She would have to make do with just her arm. The thought made her a bit nervous, but there was a first time for everything, Alegra reminded herself. There was a first time she rode a mutant capybara through a marsh full of enraged carpenter bees and flaming quicksand, she scolded herself. And started writing. Twenty Naiads armed to the teeth, all in flowing green robes, levitating. Inhumanly beautiful in their rage. They will do my bidding. The shapes pulsed at her skin, and she screamed. They couldn’t emerge. She cried and tried to scrub the ink from her wrist. Men surrounded her, took her power, just like they had been all her life. Every single one of her fourteen years on planet earth. They held her down and she screamed about Elizabeth’s zinnias. Nobody listened. They shook their heads as they strapped her wriggling body into a cast, coming to the conclusion that things are never what they seem. They had found a bleached white tibia sticking out of the soil in her vegetable garden.

In the Ward for the Clinically Disturbed, she met a man named Jack who told her that he could talk to elves; that he talked, and they listened. She asked him to teach her, and he just laughed. People whispered about Jack even more then they whispered about Alegra. Tall dark Jack had slaughtered thousands, all innocent, killed them with a cold gentlemanly grace. She’d only taken a few dozen. The nurses in the Ward were conflicted about Alegra’s murders. Some thought it was impressive. Others decided it was simply impossible. And a select few were just horrified. She liked these best- she drooled and snapped when they came near.

Jack told her stories. Late at night he would come into her room as she cried and whisper about beautiful blood and the sleaziest, sparklyest nightclubs. The ones with black velvet curtains and cheep synthetic lingerie. That was his homeland- he never touched those people, just the high-class ones with tilted chins and a tasteful amount of mascara.

She tried to write, but they wouldn’t give her a pen. Those things can do a lot of damage, you know. In frustration, she tried writing in blood, not her own, but they tied her down.

One night Jack came into her room with a belt. She was still tied, strapped to a rubber gurney with a plastic bedpan. There was a contraption wedged between her jaws. To keep her from biting her tongue, they said. Jack didn’t tell her a story that night.

When she woke up, there was a pen clutched in her fist, and the IV leads were gone. Her eyes went wide, and she held her breath. Nobody came to take it away. Her arms were free, and she didn't ache anymore. It just took a moment- there were typed sheets of paper on the bedside table; she flipped them over and started scrawling. She finished her story.

When the last sentence was scratched out, she lay back and sighed. The universe sighed with her, and it all melted into crystals, or molten metal, or maybe just tears.

She was back in reality.

Little Alegra, with her feet out the window. Nobody could see her, and she liked it better that way.


© Copyright 2017 Tania Darkling. All rights reserved.

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