Fairest of Them All. Short Story.

I realised the other day that it has been a while since I’ve written in the first person, so I decided to give it a shot today. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected. Always good to try new things!
On with the show!

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair!”
Ugh. I sigh as I stand and move towards the window, leaning out I see a Prince, looking all full of himself, as usual.
“Sorry buddy, you’ve got the wrong tower.”

“But Rapunzel-”

“Names not Rapunzel.”
“Well I know that, but what the hell else am I supposed to call you?”
“Look, didn’t you do some research before you came charging out here?”
“No, I didn’t think I’d need to.”
Typical. All brawn, no brains. Great.

“I’m not Rapunzel, I don’t need rescuing.”
“Of course you do, you’re in a tower.”
“By choice. Look” I grasp my short pony tail and swing it over my shoulder,

“Nothing to climb here buddy. Go ride off into the sunset and find someone else.”

I closed the window shutter and instantly regretted it. Damn room was too dark to do any work in and I wouldn’t be able to open it again until the prince pissed off. I just hope he doesn’t find the door. After a few minutes, I heard the noise of a horse riding off slowly. I counted to twenty before standing and opening the shutters. Good, he’s gone. I feel kind of bad for him, but I’m sure there’s another tower around here. He’d find it eventually, they always do.

My name is Celeste, and I’m a princess.

I wish I could be more specific for you, I really do, but honestly, I don’t know what type. I know I’m not a Rapunzel, all that hair maintenance, no thanks. It would have grown as soon as I stepped foot into this tower, I’m not an Aurora, after all, I’ve pricked my finger plenty of times and I’m still awake. Not a Snow White either, my mother is still alive and kicking, much to her relief. I’m something different. According to every witch and wizard around, I’m an anomaly. Not that it’s stopped them trying to kill me you understand.

You’d think being a princess is all high class and fun, but it isn’t. It’s boring as hell. All manners and politeness. Apparently I’m supposed to just sit there while someone tries to kill me, maybe cower, and hope a prince arrives in time. No thank you. I’m much more proactive than you would think. I’ve got the princess looks going for me though, pale skin, beautiful chestnut hair, sparkling green eyes, the works. It sounds nice, and frankly, there is no effort in it, I just wake up perfect, lips glossed, cheeks blushed and eyes shadowed. When I was younger I suspected they were tattoos, but apparently, I just look like this. It’s great when you’re younger, up until I was five I didn’t have a care in the world. Do you know how much free shit a princess gets? I was swimming in toys and sweets, then the danger years started. It was a steep learning curve, my parents never taught me not to accept gifts from strangers, why would they? It was inevitable that something would happen to poison me, why fret? Worlds greatest parents they are. Suddenly all these evil bitches crawl out of the wood, trying to get me to try their luscious apples. Again, no thank you. I’m perfectly content breathing. No desire to choke to death. That wasn’t the only danger, there was also the combs, “oh, you’re hair is so beautiful, you need this comb, broach, clip, whateverthefuck.” My first arrest was at seven, I attacked a witch trying to stab me with a pin. I claimed self defence, she claimed it was her nature. Thank god my father is the king, otherwise I’d have been in a lot more trouble. Boy was he pissed, in my defence though, bitch had it coming. I was the twelfth princess she was trying to poison. She’d succeeded with all the others. As far as I know only one of them has been woken by her prince. The rest are all just lying there, life on pause, probably hoping their kingdom doesn’t collapse while they sleep the day away.

My parents knew something was wrong when I was four, by then there had been no outward signs of my destiny, normally I’d have manifested something that would give a hint as to what kind of princess I was. I had an affinity with animals, but that was par for the course with princesses, except I liked the odder ones, snakes, lizards, bugs, they were all my friends, though they didn’t flock to me as animals do with a Snow White. Then one day I came home with a baby dragon. I found him somewhere out in the woods, of course my father was horrified, I like to think my mother was amused. They took it away from me, no doubt killed the poor thing.

There used to be so many kinds of princesses, not just the typical ones, but there were fighters, warriors, but they died out. When I asked my mother she said it was because no one wanted to marry them. I think I’d have been a warrior princess if they weren’t extinct. My parents didn’t know what to do with me and, being an embarrassment to my father, the High King, I was allowed do what I liked, hence me moving to this tower. I knew the Rapunzel who used to live here, Ellie, she was nice, then she was married and whisked off to her happily ever after. Boring. I don’t want to sit at home all day, doing nothing. Here I could read, I had a few creatures to keep me company if I got bored and I was safe from attack. I think at this point I’ve become a sort of mythological creature to the local population of evil witches and fairies. There have been attempts on my life some failed due to me fighting back and others just fell apart. Obviously some force is protecting me until I find my destiny, but I’m perfectly content as I am. Sure it can be a bit tiring, but it beats the alternative. Sitting around sewing until I pop out a few babies, maybe prick my finger while sewing and end up forecasting my own death.

Officially there are thirteen kingdoms, but each one is broken down further. The thirteen kingdoms are ruled by High Kings, then each smaller kingdom has a king. There used to be fourteen kingdoms, but the fourteenth was stricken from all records. No one remembers why now. If you travel out to it, there is just sea. The mermaids have tried to swim into it, but there is nothing there, just sand and water. No life, not even signs of life. It’s empty. The thirteenth kingdom is underwater, they’re mostly separate until they produce an Ariel. Sometimes it even works out for them in the end. It’s rare, but it does happen.

Monty, my snake, looks up from the ground and hisses once, then a moment later someone is banging on the door. Goddamn it, that prince must have come back. I grab Monty and carefully wrap him across my shoulders, then I march down the stairs.

I pulled the door open, Monty knows the drill.

“Oh, I’m sorry dear, I couldn’t help but notice your tower, see, I’m selling apples.”
“I’m in a tower.”
“Yes? And? That doesn’t stop you buying some delicious apples. Look how luscious and shiny they are, so succulent, so delicious. Just take a bite, go on, you’ll be hooked!”
“If I’m in a tower I’m not a Snow White.”
“Excuse me? I don’t know what you mean, I’m just selling apples, that’s all.”
“Monty.” He raises himself and slithers along my arm, into striking distance.
“Oh, excuse me, I must have uhh made a mistake. I’ll just be on my way.”
I slam the door after her. Man, talk about unprofessional. Must be rough going out there. There were rumours of fewer princesses these days, if witches are trying to muscle in on the others business, it must be true. Hate to be them.

I walked back up the stairs, thankful that I was able to stand up for myself. Some poor Rapunzel would probably go for it, take a bite and end up sleeping permanently. Their prince would never find them, he would be looking in all the wrong places.

Back in my tower, I put Monty down, he slithers off to his usual spot while I sit at the table. I really need to get back to studying, but it’s just been one distraction after another today. I pull a book forward, read the first sentence, then sigh. I don’t really want to start this all again. Standing, I stretch and go to the window. At least the view up here is nice. I spot the witch skulking around the edges of the forest, the same one with the apples.
“I can see you!” I make my voice as cheery as possible, the witch jumps, then looks up at me, I wave energetically. “Hi!”
She scurries off into the woods, hopefully she won’t come back, but normally out and out refusal was enough to scare them off. I’d have to prepare myself for when she eventually returned, particularly if hunting didn’t go well for her. Well crap. There’s another one, I pick up a pebble and toss it at her. It lands nearby and six witches run from bushes, each one melting back into the forest.

Damn. Looks like I’m going to have to move back home for a while. At least until they’ve calmed themselves. I didn’t like the thought of it, but there would be guards at least.

I sigh again, it’s starting to become my favourite pastime, Goddamn it dad, why the hell didn’t you let me keep that dragon?


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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