Author's note: I wrote this based on "Beauty and the Beast". I did the article about it first. I have kept my... Show full author's note »
One Awful DaySadira returned to her room with fresh bruises. She wasn’t badly hurt physically, but the pain was mostly on the inside. Uther had done this to her again, as he had for as long as she had been here. She had lost count of the days she had lived in this strange castle. She didn’t care now, but she felt like she’d been here for eternity. She was almost certain she was never going to see her papa or her friends ever again. She collapsed on her bed and thought back to that awful day it all began.
She and her father were outside pulling the weeds when he excused himself from the garden. Sadira thought that this was strange since her father was usually a hard worker. She worried about him while she pulled the rest of the weeds. She could barely concentrate, but she didn’t stop until the garden was as good as new. After she did her work, she rushed inside to see what the matter was. Her heart dropped when she saw her papa weeping on the table, something he had not done since her mother died.
This raised 15-year-old Sadira’s curiosity and her worry as she rushed to her papa’s side. “Papa,” she asked, “what’s wrong? I haven’t seen you like this since Mama died.” “Oh, my little flower,” he choked, “I have done something terrible when you were just an infant.” She was confused, so she asked, “Papa, what could have you possibly done that would have been so terrible?” “A long time ago,” he sighed, “I was a gardener, and I was employed by a mysterious being that lived in an extravagant castle. Extravagant, but foreboding at the same time.”
“Did a person of royalty live there?” Sadira asked. Her father shook his head, “I do not think so. I think that whoever owned the castle was very wealthy and powerful. Very powerful. I swear, if you heard his voice, it could chase away storm clouds.” Sadira chose not to believe that, but she continued to ask, “What was he like?”
Her father shuddered, “He had the demeanor of a lion. This made him fearsome and tall. I dared not cross him, so I did everything I could to please him. He had the most ravishing garden, though. It was as large as a jungle and filled with exotic plants from places you’ve never seen before. Some even got lost in his garden for a matter of days, even weeks.
“I was newly married to your mother when I was working with the Lion, our nickname for our employer. He let me take some of the flowers home to her as long as there was more than one of each in the garden. I was able to surprise your mother with gifts from the garden. Then, you were born and that made my work all the while. When you were six months old, however, I was so distracted that I accidentally clipped off one of the Lion’s most prized flowers.
“I had seen what happened if he was angered: he would punish the poor soul who crossed him and execute them. I pleaded for my life and accidentally blurted about you. The Lion spared my life, but with a cost. We made a deal in which you would come live with him and marry him when you’re 16. After the bargain was made, I had lost my job and was warned never to come back. While you grew up, I hoped and I prayed that somehow he would die or forget all about you. But alas, all those hopes were dashed when this arrived yesterday.”
He pulled out an envelope with a cream-colored envelope and a gold-colored stamp carrying the emblem of a lion. Sadira took it and opened it up. She read the elegant yet scrawled handwriting that read:
My former employee,
The time has come for you to deliver your end of the bargain. You remember that I have chosen to spare your life in exchange for your daughter’s hand in marriage when she turned sixteen. I have decided to let her live with me before then to see if she is suitable enough to wed. Bring her to the castle within three days or I shall come after you and take your daughter by force. I hope you have agreed to cooperate with me.
Sadira was in shock and decided to go to the castle in order to keep her father safe. It took some hours before her father agreed to take her to the castle and risk losing her altogether. Before the appointed time was up, Sadira and her father rode to the castle where a servant was waiting for them. Sadira and her father said their goodbyes and separated. Her father rode back home in regret, for he thought he might never see her again.
Sadira was in regret, too, about agreeing to come to the place she now regarded as her prison. Not too long after she arrived, she met Uther, an anthropomorphic lion! She was very terrified of his appearance, but still, she kept a very stone face. Uther gave her specific instructions about everything and just as her father had warned her, Sadira dared not cross him. Uther also gave her the benefit of a doubt about marrying at 16 and let her choose whether or not to marry him when that time came. She did everything she could to please him, but he did almost nothing to please her.
One night during dinner, Uther was displeased with a servant and beat her. Sadira was appalled with this and decided to do something. But after dinner, the injured servant came to her room and begged her not to pick a fight with Uther. It was only after a few times did Sadira begin to stand up for her own self and others. Alas, those efforts were usually met with arguments and beatings. By then, Sadira was almost convinced that he was a brutal creature.