At least we hope to avoid being too negative. We always start with a positive statement before we rip it to … ahem … provide more critical statements.
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Once Upon a Fantasy – by Hannah
Sunlight and shadow flashed across the mountain and shone through the open window as the sun set. Annabelle’s hands shook as “her personal maid” put the last touch on the curls that she could feel piled on her head. The woman wouldn’t let her look until she was completely ready.
“Are you ready to get into your dress?” the maid asked.
She nodded, unable to speak. The dress had been laid out and the maid picked it up gently. She instructed Annabelle to step into the neck of the dress and she guided it over the slip and up her hips, just like she was a real princess. Her heart fluttered as the maid tied the silken bow and the dress tightened around her slight frame. She fingered the blue gauze that cascaded like a waterfall down to her ankles, her pulse a butterfly beneath her fingers. The maid pulled out a box and set it on the vanity and opened it.
A gasp escaped her at the sight of two glass slippers resting on black velvet, sparkling as though made of stardust. “The finishing touch,” the maid whispered, gently taking them out. How did he find those? She pressed on Annabelle’s shoulders lightly and she sat. She guided her feet into the shoes and then instructed her to stand and turn. The mirror stood behind her. She turned and caught her breath. She even looked like a princess. She wasn’t ugly like Dad had always told her. Brenden even took her modesty into mind as the sleeves were elegantly long and the neckline didn’t swoop too low. Not too much makeup either. She was herself. She was beautiful. She was a princess. Her reflection blurred.
“Your prince is waiting.”
The door was opened for her and she stepped out into the dimness, determined to be brave about this and not burst into tears at the pure bliss of all this. A spotlight flashed, bathing her in a soft white light. She stepped forward and it followed her. Another light illuminated him, stepping toward her. She had to clench her teeth to keep from bursting into tears, seeing him, so handsome and princely-looking in his suit.
This was the scene she always daydreamed about. Back two years ago when she was sixteen and all she had to hold onto was the forgotten collection of fairy tales that used to be her mother’s. She’d imagine she had a prince and that he’d rescued her from Dad.
He motioned for her to come closer. She stepped forward again, trembling. The stair case in front of her was short, connecting with the one in front of him. It joined and led down to a beautiful ballroom. She realized she was smiling as she lifted her skirts a bit and began to make her way down the steps. He met her at the landing and offered his arm. She slid her hand around the crook of his elbow and they descended the last flight of stairs together. “You’re breathtaking,” he said softly.
Her breath caught and she couldn’t respond. She was breathtaking.
They reached the base of the stairs. “Do you know how to dance?”
She nodded. “I taught myself,” she said, softly. She taught herself to keep herself sane back when Dad beat her every day. It helped her forget, to pretend she was a princess in the arms of a prince. Of someone who loved her.
“Now you can dance with someone,” he whispered, putting a hand on her waist. The music emanated around them and like a fairy-tale come to life, they danced in the glow of the white spotlight.
Categories: Critique Group