Once Upon A Time...

August 27, 2008
By Cassandra LeAnn Chalmers, Greenville, OH

Once upon a time there was a little girl named LeAnn. She lived with her queen mother and king stepfather in a castle in the faraway land known as Dayton.

To everyone outside, her life seemed perfect. It was far from that.

LeAnn lived with four other girls, one was a toddler and another nearly an infant. Each one was older than the other. She was very close with the others, almost like sisters. During the day, the children were to clean the castle to the king’s liking. There were plenty of chores, more often that not, and the five girls never seemed to finish them.

The king spent his days battling dragons and holding off dangers from the city. When in reality, he spent his days with knights around the Round Table or hunting wild boar in a nearby forest.

Each day before he left on his missions, he would demand that the castle be clean and orderly before his return, which would usually be at sunset. LeAnn and the other girls always rushed to get their many chores done, cleaning what they could.

On top of all of her chores, LeAnn was to care for the four girls while the king and queen were away. She was to make sure everyone was bathed and well-kept. She also had to cook all the meals. Dinner was most important because the king demanded it cooked and steaming hot when he arrived home.

Another of LeAnn’s jobs were to care for the toddler and the infant for these two were most important to the king. LeAnn treated them with great care. She would often play with them and read them stories. She changed their diapers and kissed scraped knees. All this would take much time out of Leann’s schedule, but she loved all of the children like they were her own.

When the sun would set, the children knew their day would be coming to an end. They would hurry to clean up last minute items.

“The day went by so fast,” the children, sadly, thought. “What will the king’s punishment be for us?”

At that moment, the door blew open revealing a stumbling King. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.

“What have you been doing all day!” yelled the king. “You’re all lazy little children!”

Each of the children would step forward to report their accomplishment of the day. LeAnn was the last child to report.

“My kingship, sir, I have cooked for all of thy children, sir,” LeAnn spoke quietly. “I have cared for them. I have cleaned the living and dining rooms.”

“Well, you have done a horrible job,” angrily said the king. ” All of you have done a horrible job and you will receive proper punishment for not completing your work.”

All of the children filed into the back room. From outside the house you could hear the children crying from their beatings.

The queen returned the next day. The children told her of their hardships, but she simply dismissed their stories.

“You must do better children. You must be doing something wrong,” she said. “If you don’t improve you will be punished again.”

She then released the children to go to dinner, which LeAnn had prepared.

When the children retired to bed most of them sank quickly into dreams of far-off lands, but not LeAnn. LeAnn would lay, restless, staring into space. The arguing downstairs below her prevented her sleep. Often she heard shattering glass and other items breaking. She knew that tomorrow there would be much to clean.

The days continued on like this. Months passed… and eventually years. One day LeAnn looked out the window. The sun was shining and birds were chirping. She decided to call for help. She picked up the phone and in less than an hour later her father, also a king, had saved her.

He took her to a land far, far, away. It was a land of green pastures. It was beautiful. She had found she had two prince brothers and a stepmother queen. She returned to her education in the land of green pastures and had great success.

After being trapped in the castle so long, she realized she had no real friends. Alas, no more, she had finally found her first real friends, Maiden Mac and Maiden Renee Ann.

She got involved in her kingdom. She found out that she loved to write and she liked to help people. She got involved in the kingdom’s newspaper “Ye Olde Advocate.”

With her family’s support, she found she could do anything. She could climb any mountain or conquer any demon.

LeAnn continued to battle the demons of verbal and physical abuse for a long time. Healing from not just physical bruises, but the emotional ones as well. She overcame obstacles she never dreamed she could.

Most importantly of all, she found she could smile and that she could make others smile.

And that, boys and girls, is a happy ever after. For real.

The author's comments:
From a very young age, I was abused. I wrote this piece in hopes that reader will understand that sometimes life is not a fairy tale. For me, it was a neverending nightmare. Now that I am free from the pain I have endured, I am very active in my community, fighting to end physical and emotional violence. I feel it is my duty to have my story shared to bring understanding to the inside view of child abuse.

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