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A/n: I’m sorry, this story is a little long :I It still fits the three page guidelines, though. I hope you enjoy~
She sits, a delicate creature dressed in flowing chiffon fabrics, perched on the quaint wooden stool. Remnants of a rose rest in her hands, its velvet petals strewn over the floor as she whispers “he loves me, he loves me not.” The room around her is warmly lit by the morning sun, the light reflecting off the mirror of the vanity table, where trays upon trays of beauty implements reside inside. Stuffed toys and porcelain dolls are balanced on her lush four poster bed, smiling brightly at her.
A pebble was thrown at the window, catching on the shutters, a metallic twang that startles her out of her reverie. She stands hurriedly as a person climbs through.
“Who are you?” she asks. They shrug, looking around.
“Are you always in here?” They ask, and she nods. She inquires their identity once more.
“I am here to save you,” they say. “I am whoever you want me to be.”
She nods slowly, not really understanding. He stands up a little straighter, and passes her an empty, hardcover notebook. She looks at him questioningly.
“Every time you learn something useful, write it in there.” And with that, he was gone.
Later that day, as she brushes a dolly’s pretty hair, she wonders why that person visited her and why he left so quickly. She wonders why she needs to write, what she is supposed to write… did she ever know how to write, at all? Suspicious eyes lock onto the window where her visitor had passed through and it seems to fade in and out of sight, the wind whispering through the wooden slices.
Sometime later, she wakes to golden sunlight streaming in through the window. She hears a mutter and then her saviour comes through, carrying a few books and pens, landing heavily on the soft carpet. They pass her one of each, before starting to teach her how to read and write. She frowns halfway through. The words are devastatingly familiar, but like sweet cravings balanced on the tip of one’s tongue or fuzzy early morning dreams floating in her peripheral.
1. Don’t be afraid to learn and think.
The routine continues for several days… or was it weeks? The other person said it was longer than that, and she acquiesces. Surely they were right, after all. What did they have to gain through her deception? She was taught history and about society, about structures and the necessity for their world’s system. She hungered for more, to read more, to learn more, to see more.
“What’s it like outside?” she asks him one day.
“Why don’t you just go?” He replies. “Just walk out the door.”
“I don’t know,” she says. “I can’t.” It’s not right, and even though he says it’s okay, something niggles at the back of her mind. It’s not right.
“While we’re at it, let’s get rid of these ridiculous trinkets and toys. A woman has no need of these.” She implores him to leave some behind, and he allows only a few – her favourite doll, a tube of lipstick and her little notebook of Important Things.
When the other person is gone, she stares at the door. It’s painted alabaster white and has a golden keyhole below where a… where a… where something should be. Why didn’t she just leave? She couldn’t, of course. That was why. Her arms wrap around a lone doll, however it’s difficult to hold and she doesn’t want to break it so she reaches for a stuffed rabbit instead, but nothing is there.
She dreams fitfully. In her nightmare she claws at the door, the paint peeling off in long scrapes. Crimson dots stain the white shockingly, but all she can think of is opening the door. She has to open the door, but she can’t. It’s the only way to get out. She has to get out…
It consumes her mind and distracts her.
Some days, weeks, months perhaps, but later, she tells her saviour about the dream and he sighs and tuts and tell her it’s probably a bad idea as he has made her upset. He doesn’t want to upset her, he says. It’s no use though, once an idea has taken root in her mind – it won’t stop growing and blossoming into an ideal.
2. Don’t let others tell you what to think or do.
She decides to ask him when they’re sitting at the vanity table, poring over more bland books about topics they’ve glossed over frequently. Her little book of Important Things is clutched in one hand.
“Will you help me leave this place?” she asks.
“Why?” He doesn’t look up, sifting through the pages.
“I want to see outside.” Her resolve is starting to waver.
“If you see outside, you will have to leave behind everything. You can’t go. You’ll be sad.”
“No,” she says, her voice trembling a little. “I want to go.”
“There’s no point! Look at this,” he waves a hand around her room, which is now empty of plush toys and dolls and make up. Only books, all on the same few subjects, remain. “Do you want to leave this behind?”
“Once you told me once it was okay!” Her voice is stronger now.
“That was then… this is now. Don’t you care about me? What will I do?”
“I will leave! I don’t care what you do!” Conviction strains at her vocal chords, urging her on. She stands abruptly.
“Where are you going to go? Where can you go to? How can you get out? You can’t. You’re useless without me, and you know it, and I won’t help you.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she says. She’s clutching her book harder. She picks up her lone lipstick and pockets it. The doll is too big to carry with her, but she memorises its face, and that is enough for her.
“You’re worthless without me.” He glares at her and moves towards her.
She disagrees, and with ease, she climbs through the window she’s seen her saviour pass through many times. It surprises her that the ground is closer than it’s been made out to be.
3. Don’t be afraid to hope and believe.
“Worthless!” her self-proclaimed saviour yells after her but it’s no use. She’s gone.
It’s been many weeks since then.
She finds that the world is bigger and scarier and more beautiful than she’s ever expected. She sees kindness and cruelty, bravery and selfishness. There are people who try to trap her like that person once did, but she’s stronger now. She still falls; however, it becomes easier and easier to get back up, for they can try to tell her what is Right and what is Wrong, but only she can choose what to have faith in.
She writes it all down in her little notebook of Important Things, making sure that everything she experiences is in there. There are sketches of her doll and signatures of the strange friends she has made. She writes about other people, she writes about herself and she writes about her adventures. She even writes about that time she was in that room.
4. C.S. Lewis once said “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
And that story is the prologue.
Author note: We are not stories. We are anthologies, of experiences and meetings and emotions and understanding. Some stories are snapshots, the early morning sunrise stroll or the midnight park rendezvous that leaves us with epiphanies about the human condition; others span for several years with smaller chapters and far more character/plot development. We are never stagnant, always constant, interwoven in the libraries of other anthologies. As such, this short story is an interpretative summary of my “character growth” in the past few years – however like the prologue to a collection, it is merely the beginning, and hopefully, relatable in various aspects. I still have a novel to fill, filled with the good and the bad, but all these experiences make my anthology unique to another’s.
There’s an obvious interpretation of this story of min, but I’d actually be interested to hear any other interpretations you got from reading this.
I have a literature blog by the way - here. I don't have much up there at the moment, but more is coming so stay tuned~
My fashion blog is here.
NOTE: My story was less than 3 pages in Calibri, font size 12, with 1.15 spacing and is 1217 words long.