Let me paint you a picture of my situation right now. Actually, we don't have time for that. Let me draw you a rough sketch. I'm tied to a chair. For reals. Like a mystery thriller drama. Over me, are standing two dark figures. Leering. Yes, they are actually leering over me. Behind me? I'm not really sure what's behind me seeing as we've got the whole tied of thing going on right now. Let's just scribble in a bunch of blackness because it definitely feels like cold wind from some void blowing up my back.
Got the picture? Cool. Let's begin. You're just in time for the end. A food lifts up and pushes me backward into the abyss. I was right about the blackness.
It was the whispering wood that woke me. I felt my warm sheets embrace me, but they couldn't hold me tight enough to dampen my curiosity. My feet slipped from the covers and padded to the door. My toes didn't even notice the cold of the snow. They were too focused on leading me across the white clearing into the black woods.
I had to go. I had to know. It was whispering inside my head. Telling me of all the secrets it was ready to reveal. I was the one chosen to know. The only one chosen to know. I was special. I alone was worthy.
"Hannah!" The shrill panic in the voice at my elbow was a hard slap to my senses. As the force of the proverbial blow shot a flash of light across my vision, I felt my senses awakening.
It was freezing here! My toes were throbbing with stabs of cold pain. I was barefoot, in my nighties, and headed out out into the old woods behind the pasture! Why was I here? A faint memory of something like a...buzzing fly? It was there. Tickling at the back of my mind, but I just didn't know what I was doing way out here.
Anna sighed in relief.
"Thank God you're awake! I'm so glad I even looked out my window this time of night. You looked just like the ghost stories they used to tell about this place!"
There was some kind of something in my head. It could have been that I left the door unlocked again. Or my senses alerting me of something I hadn't actually noticed yet. Or even the warning Todd had whispered as we parted ways. Still, he was paranoid right? We all always called hi paranoid.
Whatever it was, was creeping into my stomach. As it passed my heart, it gave it a quick nudge to start it thumping. Hackles up, pounding heart, and churning stomach. Not a recommended recipe for robbing mansions. Things like that can cause your fingers to fumble while trying to climb in a window fifty feet off the ground.
Princess Featherbottom was afraid she had ruined her dress again. An hour walking in the streets had been known to do that. It wasn’t the look of her gown that concerned her. It was the horrified look that her head laundress would try to hide when she returned.
Of course, no one would dare actually censure a future queen. They wouldn’t even dare have too expressive of a face where anyone might see. Still, she hadn’t meant to destroy her seamstress’ hours of meticulous labor. She had really only meant to step out of her carriage in order to say hello to one fruit vendor.
Now, if she had realized she would be visiting her baser subjects (convention rejected her calling them her friends), she would have worn the something different. For instance, the special frock made for the express purpose of these streets Also, the boots. Oh the boots! Princess Featherbottom did, in fact long for the protection of the boots. Despite her love of these visits, it was the boots that kept her stomach from churning when she encountered the squish. For the smell, she already had her nosegay. For the squish, she had only her slippers.
It was time to go if she wished to appear more “royal” than “royal on hard times” before her court. She shook the hand of the boy she had been about to speak with, and turned back toward the palace. That was the precise moment she did become a royal fallen on hard times.
I have a notebook that helped me rediscover joy in writing. Between long hours at work, caring for a family, and watching Netflix, I write snippets of things that I think sound exciting. I then send them to my best friend who usually wants to know what happens next, but I tend to leave each idea in the dust as soon as I can't think of the next thing. I may never finish a project, but it doesn't mean the small joys need stay in the dust.