Not all knights ride horses

“Some day my prince will come…”

“Shut up Judith, what princes do you know? Been to Europe lately? This isn’t a fairy tale, princes don’t just show up on your doorstep.”

Teary eyed, Judith countered, “What about the white knight on his valiant steed?”

“When was the last time you saw someone riding a horse?”

“Margie you’re just being mean now.”

“I’m being realistic. There isn’t anyone who is going to save you, you’ve got to save yourself. If there’s someone you want go for them. You can’t wait around and complain when you’ve done literally nothing to further your cause.”

Margie looked over the moat of lava that imprisoned them in the tower, it had been there their whole lives.¬†“Judith no one even knows we’re alive in here.”

“Well I can dream its like the stories can’t I?”

“Dream all you want, its not going to get us out of here any sooner than your mythical prince will.”

“Like your plans will work any better…”

Margie marched over to the door and flung it open, she stomped through their vegetable garden and right to the edge of the moat. She strung the bow she had crafted from part of the door frame loaded the arrow with a rope attached and took aim for a tree on the other side of the moat. Years of planning and calculating had gone into this moment. Hundreds of hours of practicing her aim.

She let the arrow fly. She watched it soar across the lava and embed itself into the tree. She tied the rest of the rope on her end around a pillar of stone and began her way across. She would get of of that God forsaken castle, and she didn’t need a prince to help her.

The heat made her sweat as she inched across. Her hands growing slippery on the rope but her legs holding firm. She continued as her body grew tired. Once she was back on the ground she collapsed exhausted but relieved to be safe again.

She walked a few feet into the forest and found a camp of young men, sitting around a fire eating mutton and laughing. She crept over not paying any attention to the holes in her clothes or the smoke and sweat stains.

She walked right up and helped herself to a chunk of meat. The men fell silent.

“Miss, what are you doing?”

“I am eating, what does it look like?”

“That’s our food.”

“You have plenty, and I just climbed across a moat of lava, I deserve a bite to eat.”

“What moat of lava?”

She gestured in the direction she had come from.

All of the men stood up and marched that way. She heard gasps. She took her hunk of meat with her.

“That’s the rope I used, and there’s the lava.”

“A little thing like you crossed that huge moat?”

“I am not that little!”

“You wouldn’t have happened to be guarded by a dragon would you?”

“The dragon left us a few years ago, not enough food.”

A strained laugh went through the group.

“How many years were you there for little girl.”

“My name is Margie,. I use to live there with my little sister Judith. A knight never ever tried to rescue us, our whole lives were spent there. Twenty years of waiting. So I rescued myself.”

There was some soft murmuring. Obvious guilt. Margie smirked.

“Now I will be on my way to town, I’ve got to get some supplies to get my sister out of there.”

“Well if there is no dragon… Maybe one of us could make the trip?”

“Try if you want…” Margie licked the grease off of her fingers and walked away. She would hit a town eventually and be able to get some supplies to get her sister over the moat of lava.

It took weeks to get the structures to be safe enough for her sister to come back over the moat. Meanwhile the men tried various measures to get over the moat themselves. Most of their attempts ended in death. There were only two men left when she finished her moat crossing system.

She looked between the two of them. With a sigh she spoke, “Would one of you be willing to cross the river of lava in this basket and retrieve my little sister. She’s always wanted to be rescued by a knight or a prince.”

“Neither one of us is a knight or a prince. We’re just squires.”

“Can’t you pretend?”

There was some shoving and muttering about which one would go and save the girl. Once that was settled the man climbed into the basket. Margie rolled him across the river of lava her plan working perfectly.

She waited with the other squire for his friend and her sister to return. The squire sent her sister over first and then Margie pulled her sister’s rescuer back across the lava.

Judith was ecstatic.

“Lets go into town.” Margie suggested after her sister had finished gushing about the very heroic rescue.

Judith insisted on marrying the man who had rescued her the whole way into town, and through dinner.

Margie couldn’t find it in her heart to spoil her sister’s excitement, that she had rescued her not this ‘valiant knight.’

 

 

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Weather

Her sadness was the reason that snow collected up under the bridges. Why it floated across the top of almost frozen lakes and rivers. It was why the snow clung to blades of dead grass and piled up around the base of trees. The bite in the air, the crunch of everything underfoot, it was all because she felt the melancholy.

The snow fell because he was happy. Streams of tears of joy down to the earth, only to be frozen by her icy bite.

When she was glad his joy became rain. Sucked into the earth with eagerness, and the plants were all thankful. When he was angry he would hold the rain off, leave the sun to beat the earth mercilessly. The sun stole all of her moisture, until she was baking and beaten. He would return with his life giving rain too late to save her feelings. She was already broken.

To try to repair their relationship while the sun was less forceful. His joyful tears could linger and heal.

She was slow to come around to him again. She left his apologies on the frosty ground. Eventually she would feel he had suffered enough and she would thaw. The air would warm and the plants would thrive. Their joy together.

book bombing

(There is an artistic movement called book bombing were you leave slips of paper inside books at a library or bookstore with artwork or advice)

She browsed the bookstore looking for that one book, the one that she would read for the next three to fourteen days. She had just finished a particularly large volume about a dystopian society where children were forced to fight to gain food for their friends and family.

She was thinking she wanted something happier, something lighter. She browsed the romance section and nothing caught her eye, strolled through historical fiction, pausing momentarily to read the blurb on the back of one book. She continued though fantasy and science fiction, through children’s books and all of the non fiction section. With a sigh she sat in one of the over stuffed chairs. She looked at the cover and opened the historical fiction book to a random page seeing if she liked the writers style.

A tiny piece of paper slid out as she flipped the pages.

She picked it up out of her lap and looked at the picture on it, a black and white fish with lots of detail. It looked like it would be a perfect bookmark. It was signed by whoever made the fish with their email address on the back.

She thought it might be a sign to read this particular book. A little more page flipping and a crisp five dollar bill slid out. She looked at it with surprise. It was almost enough to pay for the book.

“Huh…” She stood up with the five dollars, and the fish drawing, and the book. ¬†“I guess I’ll get it.”

She headed to the front desk and plopped the book down on the counter. Paid for it and headed home to send the artist a quick email.

“Hello,

I wanted to thank you for the book you bought me today. And the fish it is really cute.”

She signed it and sent it off. Sighing she read the book that had come recommended by this total stranger.

Ashes

In a black suit, with his box of ashes clutched in his arms he boarded the plane. This wasn’t how he imagined Christmas would end up. Unopened presents still sat under the tree at home. A plethora of plush for his new born daughter, and diamonds for his wife. They were supposed to be opened when they got back, just thinking about home made him choke up.

He placed the box of ashes on the seat next to him. The woman next to him gave him a dirty look when he buckled the box in.

“That should go under the seat.” She venom of annoyance in her voice.

He punched her in the face.

Choice of Leaving

She fiddled with the tiny piece of broken silver. Her overpriced cup of coffee growing cold beside her. She watched how the light danced off the facets and cracks. She kept her nose down not wanting to talk to anyone else.

‘Its the last thing I have…’ She thought making the dim coffee house lights play off the surface. ‘The last thing from her.’

She pulled her worn backpack onto her shoulders and walked out the door. Every time she went somewhere it was both the first and last time she entered the building. She made every choice intentionally, she would not be helpless in her own life any more.