A totally random sleeping beauty origin story in which the king and queen go to outside help to conceive. the gorgons, the creatures that lay in the belly of the swamps, slithering in the boiling pools, grant the couple’s request. they are loyal subjects, after all.
they promise that the child will live a long life. they promise that she will have great strength, will speak many tongues, and that she will strike awe into the hearts of men.
the queen thanks them, but before she can go they stop her with one last promise: if the child is not loved, then they must give her back.
I will love my child, say the two, and race off atop a shimmering steed.
9 months pass and the queen gives birth to a child, a healthy baby girl. but as time goes on, things start going wrong. servants start burning from the inside out, objects begin to vibrate from the toddler’s cries. the princess howls like a never-ending night, and nursemaids leave blind.
this cannot go on, the people hiss. this cannot go on.
and so the king and queen place her away from the castle’s inhabitants, far up in a tower. there she may scream and the world may tremble. there she may cry and no one’s ears will bleed. there she may live her life, among four stone walls. alone.
they send instructors up to the tower, one by one. a professor. a sorcerer. a hunter. a tamer. each attempt more desperate.
until there is nothing left to do. and so the princess is left in her tower, viewed as more monster than girl, fed by scraps through the door.
the parents do not fulfill their promise.
they do not give her back.
the princess, in filthy tatters and between clawed walls, pleads to be let out. i will be good, she promises tearfully. i will be good, just let me see them. I want to see them.
but she cannot control her nature, these sick powers she has been given. so she is left, often starved.
over time her pleas become bargains. i will not scream, if you let me see them once. i will not look upon you, if you let me touch them. i will not kill you, if you only let me be with them one last time.
none of these are accepted.
the princess turns fourteen. she grows strong. she speaks many tongues. and she strikes awe into the hearts of whoever she meets.
and why not? her eyes are yellow, like a deathly hawk. her hair hangs low, like the night. her teeth shine brightly, like the fang of a beast. her skin, though. oh, her skin. it glistens and glimmers and it is cold, like a reptile.
and her heart grows stunted. small. shattered.
they did not love her. no one did. they did not give her back, either.
months pass and crowds gather, swooping into the castle in courtly procession. the princess stares down in curiousity, but also longing. why are they here? what has happened below?
for the first time in her life, she escapes. i will not tell you how. perhaps because it is terrible and wicked. perhaps because it is clever. and perhaps because it is boring.
only you really know.
“the baby princess,” the people whisper to each other, while she clings to the shadows. “the baby princess.”
she is not a baby though, is she.
and so the christening begins, golden plates and golden goblets set down. each numbered correctly, one for each guest.
the fairies of the glen. oh, how beautiful they are. their wings gleam like dewdrops in the morning, and their hair slips over their shoulders like the sun peeking through trees. they have made this possible, everyone murmurs. we must be thankful to the fairies, for they have given the rulers their daughter.
they all sit down to dine, and the princess–the eldest, the first born, the forgotten–stumbles in. her hair is lank. her eyes bleed tears. and her skin is cracking, old and scaly. oh, she is gruesome. the courtiers gag at the sight of her.
“leave, witch!” they order, but she pays them no heed. she walks up to the throne, and smiles at the king and queen.
“remember me?” she murmurs, teeth sharp but smile pleasant. she looks around. “every plate and every goblet. every person has a setting. except for me. now, why wasn’t I invited?”
“we don’t know who you are,” they reply fearfully.
the ground begins to shake. the guests scream. people howl, ears bleeding.
“you should not have struck another bargain so soon, you know,” she says, glancing at the fairies’ iridescent wings. “for everyone knows that gifts from the forest folk are not gifts. song, beauty, grace, wealth. are these all not useful to the fairies? and they will get their gifts back.” she stares at her parents. “they always get their children back.”
“please,” beg the king and queen, kneeling before their daughter. “please.”
the girl steps aside and walks to the cradle.
the guards surge forward.
“I WANT TO SEE HER!” screams the princess. the guards collapse in a shot of ash. “I want to see her,” she whispers brokenly.
the girl inside is like the dawn, blonde and gold and rosy. noisy, too.
“come now,” she soothes the child, smoothing back a curl. “do not cry. out of the two of us, i am the more ugly one,” she teases. “you are my family, you know. my own little sister, wound by the spring petals as i was forged by the burning pools. we are together, in that. they will not understand half-beings such as us. in fact,” she looks up at the court, cracked lips winding into a smile. “i, too, would like to give a gift to the child.”
her parents recoil, but it is too late.
far, far too late now.
“she will be yours until she finds my tower. on that day, she will learn what has been done, all your great sins against me. i will take her with me, show her the chaos you wrought into our veins by asking the forest for what was not theirs to give. thus, i give you this last promise: if she does not love me, i will give her back.”
and the princess strode from the castle, ripping the stone walls down. only the tower remained.
what happened next was simple, really. it was just the middle and the ending. every story has to have it, as you well know. but the middle and the ending are vague things. you will have to decide what happens.
after all, this was just the beginning.