The Nightmares Had Just Begun

Submitted into Contest #62 in response to: Write about a character preparing to go into stasis for decades (or centuries).... view prompt


Romance Fantasy

“Happy birthday Highness.”

A smile stretched across my face. I should’ve known he’d be the first one to think to look for me here. 

“Oh, hush. Don’t remind me,” I opened my eyes, shading my face with my hand and peering up at his face looking down on me. “I came out here to forget about all that nonsense.”

It was springtime and life was perfect. 

Well, not quite perfect. 

The fact remained that I was one year older, one year closer…..

“This time next year……”

“Oh, hush,” he complained, laying down in the grass beside me. “Don’t remind me.”

I sat up and laughed, picking pieces of grass out of my hair, absently wondering how long I’d been gone and how long until someone else started looking for me.

“Sometimes I wonder what kind of fantasy world you’re living in, where you can just act like the future doesn’t exist. It seems nice there.”

He laughs, keeping his eyes closed. “It is nice there. You should come visit sometime.”

I lay back down, resting my head on his chest. “What’s it like?”

He lets out a sigh, wrapping an arm around me. “It’s you and it’s me. No curse, no magic. Courtship. Marriage. Children.”

“6 of them?”

I hear the smile in his voice. “As many as you want.”

I give a satisfied nod.

“We’ll grow old and die together. Happily ever after. The end.”

“Wow. It sounds wonderful,” I admitted. “But I can’t believe you still believe in happily ever afters.”

He sits up, looking down at me with an incredulous and pitying look.

“Sometimes I wonder what kind of nightmarish fantasy world you’re living in, where you can stand to imagine happily ever after doesn’t exist. It seems horrible.”

“It’s called reality. And you really should come visit sometime.”

“I’ll pass.” He starts picking at the grass, gazing out in the distance.

“‘On the eve of her 16th birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die,”’ I recite.

“‘And from this slumber she shall wake when true love’s first kiss the spell shall break’. Yes, Highness, I’ve heard the curse. I refuse to accept that as reality.”

“Why not?”

He sighed. “I don’t want to believe it Highness. I don’t….” he shook his head.

“If you don’t believe it why won’t you kiss me?”

He held up a hand, blocking my attempts.

“You know I can’t. Your father would have my head.”

“You’re not scared of my father….”

He didn’t argue so I persisted, leaning towards him.

“Please, Highness. Not yet.”

“And why ever not yet?” I batted my eyelashes innocently.

He scowled, grudgingly giving in. “Hypothetically, if the curse was real, the one and only chance of reversing it would be for me to kiss you awake.”

“But, hypothetically, what if I didn’t believe in the curse?”

He bit his lip, smiling at the ground, shaking his head.

“You’re fighting dirty, but it's not going to work, Highness.”


He silenced me by placing a finger to my lips, hopping up and offering me his hand.

“Come on, we wouldn’t want you to be late to your own party, would we?”


A year later and he was the one who was late. 

I bit a finger nervously. 

Where was he? He promised he’d come.

The party was nearly over and I needed…. my breath caught in my throat …. I needed to tell him goodbye.

The mood was somber, the tension so thick it was suffocating, everyone dressed for a funeral rather than a party. Stark contrast to last year, and all the years past. Years when we were celebrating rather than mourning.

“I need some air,” I whispered, excusing myself. No one stopped me.

I practically ran outside, the night air cold and sharp against my exposed skin. I shivered as I ran through the garden, my breathing coming in gasps and sobs. I could see below the town square and the clock tower. 


I hesitated. 

If I could run far enough fast enough, just long enough for the deadline to pass...…. 

But what point was there in trying to avoid a predestined fate? I had believed, once upon a time, that maybe, just maybe, he was right. I would spend the next hundred years having picnics in the meadow and watching our children grow up, not cursed to sleep as everyone I ever knew and loved slowly aged away, long dead by the time anyone would be able to wake me up.

A part of me had always believed it. Believed in him and his silly fantasies. 

Believed in us.

But a part of him had always believed me too. 

Believed in the curse. 

Believed that happily ever after was just a fairytale after all.

“I love you,” I whispered, letting the words float away on the breeze, letting them find their way to him, wherever he was.

An apology.


With that I let myself wander upstairs to my room, a single handkerchief on my dresser, ink still drying the words; “I love you too”

A promise.

He would come find me. One way or another, he would come back. Free me of my curse or sweep me off my feet, and finally, finally, finally, I would get my kiss and he would get his happily ever after.

It would all work out.

I sat down, brushing the roses out of my hair. A dark object in the corner, covered by a thin blanket, caught my eye in the reflection of the mirror. Another present perhaps?

Removing the blanket I could see clearly the spinning wheel, perfectly polished, the needle shimmering in the moonlight. 

I glanced out the window at the clock tower.



No need to fear. It was only sleep. Wasn’t it? 

But sleep came with dreams and dreams could very well mean nightmares. 


I watched the drop of blood forming on my previously unscathed finger.


It wasn’t supposed to hurt this much, was it? 

One prick, one drop, one kiss.


My finger throbbed. I grabbed the handkerchief, trying to stop the bleeding.


Oh, but it wouldn’t stop. I was getting light headed.


I closed my eyes.


“Happy birthday Highness.”

I opened my eyes in surprise. There we were in the meadow. He was smiling at me lovingly.

“Just as I promised. It’s you and it’s me. No curse, no magic.”

It was springtime and life was perfect. 

Too perfect.

Too good to be true.

I glanced down at my finger, the scar from the needle the only thing out of place in this picture perfect scenario.

My breath caught in my throat, tears forming in my eyes. “I’m dreaming, aren’t I?”

His smile faltered momentarily. “Never mind that love. We’re together, as we should be.”

“In your fantasy world of yesteryear….”

“Exactly,” he took my hand and kissed my fingertip gently. “And when this is all over we’ll go back to reality.”

“How long do you think it will take you to break the curse?”

“Maybe one year, maybe ten, maybe a hundred, maybe a million, but I promise you, every breath, every heartbeat, every second of every day, for forever and always, I dedicate to breaking your curse.”

“But what about the thorns? The dragons?”

“What about them? They’re only nightmares, love, I won’t let them hurt you.”

“But what if it’s not worth it? Giving up 100 years of your life….”

“.... to give you back yours? That’s worth everything to me. Because you… ” his breath caught momentarily. “Because you always have been, and always will be, worth everything to me. If there was one person worth any wait, worth any pain, worth any sacrifice, that person would be you.”

And with that, I threw my arms around him, crying and laughing all at once.

The kingdom got it’s curse.

I got my kiss.

And his impossible dream of our happily ever after came true after all.


He gazed at the mountain of thorns separating them.

The dreams would keep her warm and hold her tight. She would be safe. 

And the nightmares? 

The roar of the dragon shook him from his thoughts reminding him that he had 100 long years ahead of him.

The nightmares had just begun.

October 09, 2020 21:00

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