November 3, 2010

Hundreds of people in the room, and no one thinks to jump on the evil fairy before she lifts her hands over the baby. A flash of orange light fills the room. I barely see it, just the blue-greenish afterimage it leaves behind.

When I can see again, I expect the fairy to be gone, but she has one hip leaning on the crib. “The little princess is cursed to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel before her—“

I tackle the fairy. We fly backward and smack into the mosaic pattern on the floor with an “oof”. I lift my fist, but before it lands, the fairy is gone and I’m kneeling on the floor with the whole room staring at me.

No one says anything. For a really long time. Seriously, it’s starting to feel weird. So I stand up and brush myself off to stall for time. Then someone behind me wails. She sounds like an ambulance. I turn around. The queen is hunched over, surrounded by her ladies in waiting. “The princess is cursed.” The queen lifts her head and glares at me through puffy eyes. “And you let that witch go!”

Woah. What?

The king lifts a finger. “Take her away,” he booms. “She will rot in the dungeon.”

“No!” I back up until the wall presses into my back. “I can fix this. I know how to break the curse.”

The king hesitates. Fortunately, so do the guards. The queen goes back to squealing and crying.

“Is everyone here?” I ask. “I mean, all the nearby kingdoms?”

The king nods slowly.

I press my hands together. I banking on the prince being older than the princess. “Gather all the princes together and have them line up.”

The queen stops making that unbearable noise long enough to glare at me (again) and whine, “Shouldn’t we try and prevent this curse?” Sniff. “We should destroy all the spinning wheels.”

I shake me head as politely as I can. “That won’t work. The witch probably has one. The spell can be broken by a prince.”

It takes more back-and-forth arguing before the king decides to give my plan a try. “We can always throw her in the dungeons later.”

The queen pouts and trudges out of the room. Her ladies skitter behind. I fight to keep from rolling my eyes. They’ve probably never heard the term ‘drama queen’ and it’s a bad pun anyway.

The princes eventually get in a line. Some are toddlers, some are like forty. I really hope it’s not one of them. A few of the adults protest. Maybe they’re afraid the curse is contagious. The king puts guards at all the exits. “This is for the little princess. We’re going to try everything.”

After several threats and political moves, we finally get the princes to line up. The king turns to me.

“Okay. Now, have each prince kiss the princess. One of them will break the spell.” I hope.

The line of boys and grown men inches forward as one by one they kiss the princess. Most just give her a peck on the cheek. I hope that’s good enough.

A little boy, about four or five years old, looks like he’s about to pee in his pantaloons. Before the lady next to him can stop him, he scales the side of the crib and climbs in next to the baby princess. He whips of the puffy little hat on his head and leans over to give the gentlest kiss on top of the little girl’s head.

A blue-green flash lights up everything in the room. By the time the orange afterimage fades, I’m back in my bedroom.

I collapse on my bed. Thank goodness that worked.

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