Child Queen (a freewrite)

in #fiction2 years ago


castle-4087360_1920.jpg

Sleepless in the cold night-dark, she wrapped her shawl around her pale shoulders. Bone-thin shoulders, those of a girl, not yet a woman, and yet, standing here, clattering on the edge of her shattered palace, the figure in silk felt like a girl no longer. Too much water had rushed down her throat, in hopes of drowning her, too many secrets crowded her pretty head, secrets she could tell no one.
On the brink of her new life, the woman in her shawl stood alone, clattering in the prim, early-morning air, her skin prickling, neither in delight nor disgust. Absently, the princess glanced down and saw them, the prisoners walking their last path.

To the gallows.

She hadn't realized it had gotten so late, or perhaps so early. Surely, she should have been asleep by now, reveling in her soft, silk-bed for the few brief hours of rest that were awarded to her each night for keeping the kingdom safe one more day. In the night, the girl could allow herself to be fragile, to think, for there was no one to see her, in the dark. She permitted no visitors to her chambers, although several had vied for the opportunity. To even be considered as a potential lover in a princess's bed was the highest honor most young men in the kingdom could hope for, and yet, she refused to confer her favors upon any one man. Her nights were for thought, not for pleasures.
In the night, she let herself wonder how much longer until her father came back. It had already been too many moons since the king had gone, and no word to be had in over two weeks. In the silence of her heart, the princess worried. Here, she dared think that maybe her task would not be for one more day, but for forever, or at least, for as long as the Gods saw fit to give her.
The princess, who in the moonlight could've passed for a woman, did not want much. She'd understood early in her childhood that living was a burden, not to be cherished, but endured. This, she'd learned form her Grandmother, the venerable queen from beyond, who 'd gone to her grave in agony, though never uttered so much as a scream. From her, the princess had learned that life, and particularly the life of monarchs, was harrowing and regretful.

Carefully balancing herself on the edge of her balcony, the queen-to-be wondered, dreaded, wished. In whispers, she asked the Gods to spare her this fate, for she did not want to be a ruler, and although the Gods never whispered back, she knew she was praying to them in vain, for they had other plans for her. She'd been born a princess and she would rule until her dying day. But not now, not yet, please, let Father return, if only for a little while, she begged of the clear, pitch-black sky. Let me speak to him one more time and then, I'll be ready.
But the princess prayed in lies - for we are never ready for our parents to die.

In the early morning distance, she thought she saw a figure, a shape a-riding towards her crumbling castle. And watching it with bittersweet tears already clouding her vision, the princess knew there would be no more sleeping for her this night. The girl-woman stood, waiting for the sun to come out, for the news to reach her, and prepared herself to face it head held high, regardless if it was good or bad, for thus was the way of monarchs.

And in the departing night, one solitary tear trickled down her porcelain cheek. For her father, mayhaps. For the girl who'd once lived here, but was now nowhere to be found.

Based on @mariannewest's prompt 'shawl'. Truly a 5 minute freewrite. Thanks for reading.

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On the happy pills again Hon? As smooth as silk, as cold as ice...a haunting story better read thrice than once.

Thank you, what a lovely compliment, D :) To be honest, i don't know where my mind was with that.

Oooh, I love how you wrung a complicated and captivating story out of one little prompt. You inspire me to try fiction again; I've gotten away from it.

Thank you and best of luck getting back to it! :)

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