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My Dream Story
I stood in the ballroom. It was dark and barren, as it had been for three years. The once joyful room was now covered in dust and grime. The gold trimming from that fateful night still stood. The merry pink color was now a mere reminder of that haunting memory. The thrones, which had once been filled with two loving happy people, stood empty and full of gloom. I breathed in deeply, controlling my emotions, yes, this was the room where my father had spent his last moments of life.
I was twelve; it was the eve of our kingdom’s grand ball. We had it every year to celebrate the union of my mother, Ella, and my father, Philip. They had met in the romantic ball that everyone had heard of. My mother was the daughter of a poor man who married an awful woman with two horrid daughters after his wife died. My mother grew up abused and used as a slave. When she turned sixteen the prince held a ball and she snuck off to attend it. Of course, you know the rest, but what you don’t know about is me. I am their daughter, Princess Annalisa Charming. The night of the ball was perfect, except that I was being forced to dance with many different princes and young dukes. I only did so to please my parents. I was dancing when I looked up to smile at my father, but something was wrong; his face was pained. I stopped dancing abruptly and the boy I was dancing with stepped on my foot.
“Ouch!” I turned to look at him for a second and I heard everyone gasp. I whipped around, my father was lying on the floor, dead. No one was quite sure what happened, but we eventually discovered it was poison.
Nobody else was affected that night. For months we searched for the murderer, for surely my father would not have poisoned himself. It was hardest on my mother. She had lost so much in her life: her mother, her father, and now the love of her life. She was broken down and could do nothing for weeks. When she finally snapped out of her zombie state, her first action was to protect me and find the killer. We never did find the killer, and the rest of the country started to consider the possibility of my father committing suicide. Both my mother and I knew that was simply not possible. My father loved us both too much to do that. She refused to give up, but after a year the panel of my father’s advisors decided to make rule things for my mother until she was ready to take back power. I trusted them just as my father had. My mom made a few rules before she declined her throne. I was forced to keep within the castle walls, banned from ever going outside. And all of the servants were to stay in the palace as well, to make sure that I was safe. Things that my father had loved to do were outlawed, it was unnecessary, but my mother would not be swayed. I mourned along side with my mother for about a year, but when I reached age thirteen I became restless and angry. My father would not have allowed this. I wore boring black dresses everyday and had my lessons in a special “classroom” and had to attend council meetings for my mother. I was a young teenager locked in a cage. I had no friends and my mother could barely pull herself through daily life. In the time that I needed social life the most, I was alone.
A month after my fourteenth birthday, I started my plan. I decided that I was going to sneak out. I had been locked up for two years and hadn’t been outside since I was twelve. I was beginning to think that there was no outside beyond the palace garden. I craved for people, a friend or a pet. My mother kept me on a three inch leash and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was beginning my rebellious phase, but I had no one to rebel against. I never saw my mother, not even at meal times. She ate alone in her private quarters while I ate with my teacher and personal assistant, Nancy. Nancy was scarcely older than me and didn’t expect much respect from me. We didn’t talk other than when I read literature and poetry to her. Dinner was silent, even our silverware made no noise. I was tired of the silence and the structure. I wanted to go jump in a puddle somewhere or scream and run around. Had I done that, I would be severely punished.
And, exactly one month after my fourteenth birthday, I found myself in the very room that had started my prison. If I was to escape, I would need time and a good plan. I knew I would need a distraction as well, but I had no one to help me. I quietly left the room and started wandering the halls. I was on a break from my lessons for the day because it was a Sunday and it was Nancy’s only day to relax. I usually spent the day reading about the world outside of my castle, but today I needed to find an alliance, someone to help my escape plan. I was about to give in and find a snack when I saw a boy around my age pop his head of a nearby hallway and look around. He didn’t see me and he started to tip toe down the hallway towards the door that led outside. He held a large silver key in his hand. I followed him, curiosity getting the best of me. I saw him head straight for the door and I knew what he was doing, perfect.
“What are you doing?” I demanded, pretending to be angry. The boy turned and a look of pure terror spread across his face.
“Prin- P- Princess” he stammered. “I was, well you see, it’s my job to um…”
“What’s your position?” I demanded once more, if I could only trick him into following me I might be able to get to know him.
He gave up and miserably lowered his head. “Fire boy, miss” he said.
“And your job is to make sure all of the palace fires are lit and going?” I clarified. This Princess stuff was actually fun. He nodded, to miserable to answer. “Come with me then” I told him and watched, satisfied, as he followed me.
He followed along silently as I led him in the direction of my mother’s quarters. When I made an unexpected turn towards my quarters, he looked up confused. “Excuse me, your majesty, but where are we going?” he asked shyly.
“None of your business” I said simply and imperiously. I turned and faced my door. I opened it and pointed inside. “Go inside” I ordered. He looked bewildered, but obeyed. I motioned to the chair at my desk that I used to study at. He sat down, looking uncomfortable. I pulled up my comfortable throne-like arm chair and sat facing him. He quivered with fear as I tapped my fingers on the table. I had to make sure he was trustworthy before I told him of my plan.
“What is your name?” I asked harshly.
“Nicolas” he said simply, but bravely.
“I presume you were trying to leave the palace” I accused. He only nodded, so I continued. “And this key you are holding, unlocks the door to outside.” I made it sound like a statement, not a question so I would disguise my real purpose. He once again nodded, but this time decided to add a statement.
“Yes, miss, but I didn’t steal it” I arched my eyebrows. And he explained, “I was given the duty of protecting this key from any traitors” he smiled slightly, “because I’m brave.” I glared at him and his smile instantly melted.
“You do realize that by leaving the palace and disobeying your orders, you are breaking multiple laws. I could easily send you to the dungeon right now” I said.
“Yes your highness, but I simply can’t stand inside walls forever. I’ve been locked in this palace since I was twelve.” So he was the same age as me that was perfect. I knew he would have similar feelings. We were both at that age where you needed to explore and be out in the open, not cooped up in a fancy cage. I decided to test him once more, and then reveal my secret.
“Well, have you done this before?” I demanded furiously. He nodded simply, but not miserably.
“Yes, I have, and I’m not ashamed” he nodded his head as if assuring his self.
“Good” I nodded and he stared curiously at me. “You’ll need a will of iron to follow through with what I’m about to ask of you.”
“Pardon me, I thought you were going to punish me” he said sheepishly.
“Well you obviously thought wrong” I laughed. He looked angry, but I sobered. “Look, I need someone’s help. Someone that’s not afraid to break the rules.” I looked at him with pleading eyes and tried to look as desperate as I could. It worked because he softened and leaned forward, his eyes gleaming.
“I’m up for any challenge.” And that was that, I had my first key step in my plan. A trustworthy alliance that would help and I always had the option of blackmail…
Nicolas looked at me expectantly, but the clock chimed for dinner.
“I’m sorry Nicolas, but I have to have dinner with my um teacher” I told him. He nodded and quickly stood.
“Of course, princess…”
I jumped up as well and cut him off, “please call me Annalisa” I told him and smiled. He smiled warmly back and said,
“Than I’m Nick” he bowed, and just to prove my point I curtsied back. He laughed and then suddenly grew quiet. “This is a secret, right?” he asked.
“Of course, I will explain it next time we meet. But stay quiet” I warned. He nodded solemnly. “When are you available to um meet again?” I hesitated.
“I have Sundays off and I get to take a break when the castle is lit. As soon as the sun goes down I have to start the night fires” he looked embarrassed.
“I have Sundays off as well… from my lessons. And I have breaks in the evening to relax and read. Do you do the fire in my room?” I asked, slightly uncomfortable. He nodded, but didn’t say anything. I hastily continued, “Maybe you could visit my room last so that you could stay for a few extra minutes to discuss plans….” I drifted off and his face brightened once more.
“That’s a brilliant plan!” he reached out to high five me, and then turned a violent crimson. I couldn’t help myself, I laughed out loud. And then I high fived him and he grinned a grin so wide; it stretched from ear to ear. The clock chimed again, I was five minutes late!
“I’m sorry Nick, I have to leave” I rushed off before he could say goodbye.