You check the time on the huge clock in the foyer. Perfect. You’ve arrived late.
“Madam! You’re la-” a servant comes by and starts speaking, but you hold up your hand to stop him.
“Ah-ah, a queen is never late. Everyone else is simply early.” you say, smiling to yourself as you make your way to the ballroom. You’ve always wanted to say that. Making sure all the components of your outfit are in place, you push open the doors of the entrance to the ballroom.
Everyone turns to stare. You slowly make your way to through the huge room, allowing your tall heels to dramatically echo in the silence as they hit the marble floors.
Gradually, the shock fades from the party, and the orchestra begins again. Everyone bows down, and then resumes their business. You begin making your way to the dessert table, your gown swishing around your legs.
“Your majesty. You look lovely tonight.” The Duke says, and bows down.
“Why thank you, sir. You look quite charming yourself.”you reply, and curtsy.
“These cookies are delightful. Would you like one?”
“No, I can’t. I’m on a diet.” you reply, sadly looking down at the offering. The conversation seems to have ended, so you start aimlessly walking away, knowing that someone will eventually stop you.
“My utmost condolences in regard of your mother,”someone with a familiar face with a name you can't quite place says.
“Oh. Thank you.”you say, a little flustered at the mention of your dead mother, who had passed a month ago. Her death was the only reason you are standing here, now, as the queen. Bizarre, really, how the world works sometimes. Break your heart to fulfill your utmost desires. You’ve zoned out in thought of your mother when the man who was just speaking to you taps you on the shoulder.
“Oh! Sorry...I must have been lost in thought. Did you say something?” you say, feeling heat rise to your cheeks.
“No, no. It’s just, you’ve grown pale your majesty.”
“Oh...I must need some fresh air, that’s all.”
“Shall I accompany you to the gardens?”
“No, no, I shall be quite fine on my own thank you. Have a nice time and enjoy the party.” you say quickly rushing to pick up your gown and make your way to the castle garden. Despite your popularity and title, no one notices your departure. Hoping no servants will see you, you make your way to the garden, stepping as quietly as possible, wishing you weren’t wearing such high heels.
Finally you make it and plop down on your favorite bench, the white one under the arch with the roses. Deep Breaths, you think to yourself. She’s in a better place now. For a moment, you just sit there and enjoy the scenery, but something in the corner of your eye catches your attention.
It’s just a bush moving in the breeze, you think. You’re overreacting, jumping at everything that moves.
A white bunny with one brown spot over his right eye hops near the bench. He’s adorable, and you reach down to hold him. When your hands meet his fur, he hisses.
Bunnies don’t hiss, you think. Something’s wrong. The bunny hops away. You have the faint thought that you should maybe go back inside, to the party now, but you can’t bring yourself to get up.
Suddenly, you feel something touch your leg. You jump up, nearly dropping the bench. The same bunny is on the ground, giving you a puzzled expression.
His eyes are red. You hold your breath, waiting for what horrors await you.
The bunny simply hops away. You let out your breath.
“It was just a bunny. Everything’s alright. You’re being crazy Antionette.”you say aloud to yourself. You decide to sit back down on the bench to catch your breath a little before going back to the loud, bright party.
Just as you're recovering from the odd bunny scene, a hand clamps over your mouth.
“Don’t. Say. A word. Don’t even move. You hear me?” a voice, you presume is coming from the owner of the hand, says. You slowly nod, afraid any movement might cause the person to harm you.
Seconds later, you feel a sharp surface brushing across the delicate skin along your neck.
Your breath turns more and more shallow by the second.
“This here, on your neck? This is my trusty dagger. Move, and I might just let it taste your blood. Understood?” You nod again, this time even slower, your chin brushing across the dagger.
You want to yell, to scream, to break out of the mysterious person’s grip, but you fear for your own life.
“Now, this has been all fun and games, but I’m sure both of us want to get back to our lives, no? I’ll take that shaky breath as a yes. So, let me tell you how this is going to work. You give me what I want, and I leave you and your perfect little royal life alone. You don’t give me what I want, I make sure you never live to see another dinner party again.” the person says. You can almost see their smirk, though you don’t dare turn back and look at their face.
“I know you’re now wondering what it is I might want. I mean, I have you at my will now. I could ask for anything. Come to think of it, let’s just start with the basics. You’re going to, very slowly, take off any and all jewelry you have on. I’m going to , very lightly, loosen my grip so you can move without fear of being penetrated, got it?” You nod again, willing to do whatever it takes to make the stranger go away.
Your shaking hands make their way to the back of your neck as you unbuckle the two necklaces you are wearing. You then reach to your ears, and carefully detach the long, golden earrings that dangle. Finally, you reach to your wrist, and pull off the golden bangles that you wear with almost all of your gowns.
“Good, good, that’s it, just reach your hand back.” You do as she says, and you feel your precious belongings being stripped from you.
“Now, I’m sure you feel much lighter. It’s time to clear your head, and think about what I might want. Take your time. I’ve got all night.”
Your mind races, your heart beats faster and faster, as you think about what someone could possibly want from you.
You don’t have much, at least not on you….
To Be Continued