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One Helping of Pride, Please
My life changed on a sunny day. That day began like any other, in the wintry fairy city of Silithin, Divisions. I woke, dressed warmly, for I had errands, kissed my mother goodbye, and proceeded into the frozen streets with my sister. Eight years old, Madeline chattered incessantly the entire way.
“Yvette!” she shrieked, “It's snowing!”
Before my eyes, soft fluff drifted down. Madeline began to twirl and laugh.
“Madeline!” I admonished, “ Have you no shame? We are well born fairies, of a proud line.”
Madeline, the scoundrel, only smiled wider. Suddenly, I saw a few royal guards flutter by, grim and purposeful. The clouds obscured the sun, and the snow fell heavier. Oddly, I grew anxious and frightened. Madeline saw my mood, and quieted.
“Let us return, sister,” I said, “I dislike this weather.”
We hurried home. There, in our magnificent house, I gazed upon the lifeless shells that were once my parents. Had I only thought of it, I would have shielded Madeline from the gore. Blood, silver as the moon, dripped and pooled.
“Mommy?” whispered Madeline.
A guard hurried over and snatched her from the sight. As for me, I stared, struck to the core. It was not only grief that seized me; it was also the deafening, cascading roar of my life shattering. What could I do? Even though I am well into my fourteenth year, I had yet to be married. With no dowry, no influence, and no status, how was I to provide for Madeline? It was bitter indeed knowing that had less than year passed, I would have been an adult and an heiress.
The days passed and slowly, painfully, our fortune reverted to the throne. Our parents were buried, our grand house was sold, and Madeline and I grew hungry on the streets. One day, when we had naught to eat but crusts, a meddling woman passed us as we sat upon the stones of Buttercup Lane.
“Poor things,” observed the presumptuous woman, “would you like a meal?”
Madeline leapt to her feet, her manner and hopeful eyes betraying our hunger. However, before one word left her mouth to shame us, I interjected,
“Thank you, kind matron, but we claim no want.”
The woman cast a sorrowful glance at our rough clothes and jutting bones, but she possessed sufficient grace to rest the matter.
Madeline whirled on me.
“Sister, how could you refuse her?” Madeline's eyes filled with tears of frustration, “I'm hungry!”
“Where has the pride in your noble fairy blood hidden?” I rebuked, “We may be struggling, but we must not forget from whence we originated!”
“But, Yvette, we cannot eat pride!”
“Madeline...” I began, not knowing what to say.
She darted away from me; I could not catch her. I scoured the streets in search. I checked all the alleys, nooks, crannies, and every conceivable place that an eight year old could hide, but to no avail. Had she fled to the nearby forest, La Ligne? Fear gripped me for the day was dying. Madeline, due to her youth, did not know of the monsters that lurked in La Ligne. I, however, knew a reptile of terrifying proportions haunted the forest. Quick steps brought me there.
When I found her, it was a different kind of monster that had preyed on my sweet sister. It was a vampire, one of the terrible barbarians that live wildly to the east. He had drained her dry. Nothing but shriveled, collapsed skin remained of her. Satiated and smiling, he waved at me, a mere wiggle of his fingers, and sauntered away. I buried Madeline in a scant hour; there wasn't much left to bury. Stumbling, I returned to the city. The sun rose in brilliant fire as I sank upon a stoop, exhausted, grief-stricken, and disoriented. Its beauty was too much for me to bear; how could I suffer such display when Madeline died because of me, and my pride!
Yvette closed her eyes and let herself drift away. The hunger was sharp, but it was bitterness and sorrow that accompanied her to the final darkness.