The Monster And The Other Princess


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Scene Title The Monster and the Other Princess
Synopsis In which Delia and Reuben awaken a monster and get the ogre’s attention.
Date November 26, 2010

”Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds.”

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Along the second floor balcony inside the grand foyer, the seven statues animated by Delia’s fairy dust stand at attention like the most proper of Buckingham Palace guards. The two red-haired children stand on the left side of the open hallway of sorts, before a small door with a heavy lock on it.

Inside, the muffled sounds of a television set can be made out, and both children have taken turns pressing their ears to the wood to hear, and their eyes to the keyhole to see. But the only view afforded them is that of the back of a large armchair and one beastly, burly arm.

Reuben stands straight and pulls down the hem of his shirt, his lips pressed together and his cheeks slightly inflated. He puffs out his chest, the black silk tied about his neck draped with splendor over one shoulder. “Okay,” he says with a nod, the word coming out more air than sound. “It’s like Princess November said. You’ve gotta be super brave.”

A smirk slides onto his face, and he puts his head on one side as he looks down at the slightly smaller girl. “Since you have that wand now, you should give me the sword. Cause I don’t have anything, and you’ve got three things.” Because clearly the tiara gives the girl even more power than she had already. Power taken from part of the castle, just like the wand.

Outside, the storm still thunders and wails, but not so much that the creaks and groans of the house itself can’t be heard. Footsteps plague Reuben, and for all his bravery, every time the ceiling - what would be the third storey’s floorboards - squeak or whine in protest, he snaps to attention like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

The little girl’s face screws up in concentration as she actually considers the request. Her eyes travel upward to where the tiara rests on her head, then to the wand in her hand, then she twists her head over her shoulder to the pack on her back and then back at Reuben. “No. The sword is mine, I brought it with me.” Then raising her nose in a haughty little manner, she continues. “A king gave it to me.”

Stretching out the hand with the wand in it, she places it in the boy’s palm and nods firmly. “You can have that.” When she is no longer touching it, the glittering wand becomes nothing more than an ordinary dowel again. A thin stick that’s not much use in the possession of a boy.

Reuben looks at the unmagicked piece of wood in his hand and frowns. “I just want to borrow it. You’re a fairy queen,” he reminds her in his effort to plead his case. “Fairy Queens need wands, or else they aren’t faires, are they? And I’m a prince, and the ogre stole my sword, so I need to borrow yours. Just until we-” but Reuben stops himself, looking warily to the ceiling again.

“Just until we you know what.”

“No.” The single word of denial is repeated, this time without explanation. The stubborn set to Delia’s jaw and the two little fists on her hips as she stands akimbo in front of him do more for the word than the tone itself.

“You can make your army get your sword back, you can’t have mine.” Never mind that the army was brought to life with the now dead wand, who knows if they’re animated any more. Round eyes sweeping over the boy focus on the scarf around his neck and the little girl wrinkles her nose and points at it. “You have Princess November’s flavor, that’s something. So now you have two things and I have two things. So it’s fair.”

It’s a logical argument, but that only serves to upset Reuben all the more. “It is not fair!” he counters, his voice rising in volume as well as pitch. “This isn’t a wand anymore! You un-made it when you gave it to me because you’re stupid and mean and now that you have a crown you don’t want to help me because you’re selfish and horrible and a big bully! It’s…it’s just a stick!” Reuben sniffs, then lifts the dowel higher.

“Now give me the sword!” he all but shrieks, “Queens don’t have swords, they have wands! Now givittame!””

“It’s mine!!” She screams back, stomping her feet in a tantrum that reaches tantamount proportions, rivaling that of her redheaded counterpart. “You can’t have it because you’re a stinky doodoohead and the king didn’t give it to you he gave it to me!!” Her shrill scream at the end echoes through the cavernous hallways, shaking picture frames and rattling locked doors.

The scream, so much like the raging call of a banshee, upsets the delicate balance of the nature outside. A rumble of thunder that shakes the house accompanied by a flash of lightning causes her to jump and silence immediately. Where it came from, she doesn’t know… but she’s not about to start again for fear of it happening again.

The house is plunged into silence after Delia’s scream and the punctuating bolt of lightning. But for once, Reuben is staring in horror at the ceiling, or with rage at Delia. Instead, the small boy’s pale eyes are trained on the door.

The padlock jumps with a hollow, metallic thump.

Reuben takes a step back, edging behind the statue of a man in a zippered hoodie and a baseball cap drawn low over his eyes. “Open it,” he hisses at Delia, his eyes narrowing slightly when he steals a glance at her.

The little girl’s eyes widen at the answer of the lock to her shriek. Chancing a look to Reuben, she takes in a deep breath and holds it for a moment, not daring to venture any closer. “A-are you sure?” she whispers, only to be answered by yet another one of those metallic thumps from the lock. Something inside wants to come out.

A sense of dread overcomes Delia as she steps a little closer and reaches toward the lock with one finger. The lock glows slightly, turning an angry red before the assembly drops from its hook, leaving whatever is inside free to burst out. The springy haired little girl is nowhere to be found by then, hiding behind the same statue as her counterpart, she waits for whatever wicked might this way come.

It slowly opens, the electronic blue glow filling the doorway. But standing there is the hulking silhouette of a stoop-shouldered something, with hair that stands out like cobwebs around a crowning bald patch. He sucks in air, seemingly draining it from the hall, his shoulders rising and falling with the great whooshing effort.

He steps into the dim light of the hall, his head slightly lowered. “I don’t have time to play hide and seek,” he growls, his voice low and gravely, a slight East coast accent to the words. “Damn kids.”

Reuben has slipped all the way behind the statue with the baseball cap, where he stands slightly hunched and shivering, half-clinging to the stone. Slowly, ice crystals climb like frosty spiders from around the edges of the doorway, branching and crawling their way into the hall and bringing a deathly chill with them as the steal away the warmth.

Little clouds of air puff out from Delia’s open mouth as she cowers away from the giant man and closer to Reuben. He’s not exactly a safety net, but for some reason, the little girl is terrified of the thing they just let out of the room. “I- I don’t like this game anymore,” she whispers in a trembling voice. The brimming of the tears in her eyes threaten another flood of tears as she looks up at the boy.

Curling up into a little ball on the floor, she tries to make herself as small as possible in hopes that the large man won’t find her. The looks that she’s tossing to her counterpart are quite clear that she’ll be thinking twice before following his direction again.

With a moan, the statues shift forward, moving from their sentry positions to create a wall between the behemoth and the children. Their movements are slow and made even more laborious by the ice that has begun to coat the wooden floorboards. Without his shield, Reuben runs toward Delia to hide behind her, his hands on her back trembling and frigid.

“The hell are you?!” the man bellows as he tries to see past the statues that move to corner him. He snorts - a guttural sound of frustration - and jerks his head slightly to one side. As if he slipped his finger over a small red button, the head of the only statue dressed in a suit explodes, sending dust and small fragments of rock into the air.

A laugh echoes across the icy hall, breaking one of the spires that now hangs from the balcony and sending it to the floor far below to shatter into a million little pieces. “You think you’re slick, comin’ here with them,” he calls out past the army of golems, “but you’re wrong. Shouldn’t have expected anything less, though. Hiding behind something bigger than you, because you’re too scared to deal with it like a man.”

Upstairs, a baby howls.

The man sucks in air and staggers back at the noise, even when it’s followed by the echoes of a woman comforting the child with coos that slowly morph into a lullaby. It has no words, but the comforting sounds slowly begin to ease the infant.

With a trembling chin, Delia moves away from Reuben and glares at him. The fact that he’s hiding behind her is … well there’s no words that the glare can’t cover. “This is all your fault…” she whispers harshly to the boy, “I’m telling on you!” Hearing the sound of the woman’s voice, the little girl looks up at the ceiling and a tiny smirk of triumph crosses her features. “You’re in so much trouble…

Crawling on her hands and knees, the little girl creeps to the other statue just in time for the head to explode and the bits of gravel and rock shower over her like nuclear ash. Eyes wide with terror, she begins to scream a high pitched little girl scream, maybe the woman will hear her too.

Reuben flinches at the sound of the baby, but the woman’s voice doesn’t reverse his reaction. Still holding the dowel, he grips it tightly as he cowers. His shaking hands shake the dowel in turn, and two statues who are depicted in a combination of shirt, tie, and Kevlar move closer to the man they’ve been assigned to detain while the others move to fill the gap they left. The headless one lurches, threatening to fall into one whose been sculpted to wear a loose flannel shirt. If the little boy hears Delia’s threats or even registers the ferocity of her glare, he doesn’t show it.

Wherever it may be in the house, the baby quiets under the tender ministrations of the woman, but her lullaby doesn’t cease. But overlayed over top of the wordless melody comes a whisper, riding a wave of warm air that sweeps down the hall and curls around Delia.

Come on now. I won’t let him hurt you.

At the same time, the same warmth flows past Delia, Reuben, and their wall of statues, transforming the ice it comes across into soft moss springing with small white flowers. Vines curl up around the legs of their sculpted soldiers, restricting their already stilted movement. But the hulk that they keep at bay backs up even further, going so far as to cling to the door frame.

Whore,” he seethes, the word as much a roar as it is a his, as if he had two mouth with which to speak.

Getting up to her feet, Delia pulls the little sword out of her pack and turns toward Reuben. “I’m telling!” The yell booms down the hallway and the springy haired child runs as fast as her little feet can carry her. Once she is out of the shadow of the statues, she freezes, as if possessed by an insatiable curiosity.

Turning, she lets the tip of her sword drop down a little and stares at the hulking man. Her knuckles whiten around the hilt of the little weapon and her breath, though in the warm air, comes out chillingly cold at the sight of him. Looking up at the ceiling, she clenches her teeth and runs toward the giant in the doorway. A little bellow that doubles as a warrior’s cry comes from the child as she hits the giant man in the stomach. “SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!”

All the icy air in the giant is pushed out of him with a “OOF!” when Delia rams into his belly, and the man is rocketed back into the room from whence he came. When he tries to stand, chains with heads like snakes slither their way with rattling links to wind around his limbs and hold him once again. The man roars in angry protest and tries to fight the shackles, but before Delia has a chance to see the outcome of the struggle, the door swings shut with a whine, and a new lock forms on door, and several deadbolts and chains join it, until the entire height of the doorway is covered with mechanisms.

When Delia turns, Reuben is still cowering with the dowel rod, but he is no longer focused so intently on their now vanquished adversary. In the middle of the arc made by the statues stands a woman dressed in an elegant rosy pink evening gown, half of her dark hair swept up in a tidy style while the rest falls to her shoulders. A string of pearls hugs her stately neck, following the line of her collarbone.

She turns from Reuben to face the little girl, her disapproving expression falling away and replaced by warm acceptance. “Hello,” she says with a nod, her voice almost ethereal. She bends at the knee, the chiffon of her dress sweeping out to spread the flowering moss even further. She extends a hand gloved past the elbow in black satin, the large diamond rings on her various fingers catching what little light is present in order to shine. “You’ve done quite a lot since you arrived here, little one. What’s your name?”

With a pursed lip and narrow eyed glare sent to Reuben, Delia turns her head to the pretty woman in front of her and smiles brightly. After giving a prim little curtsy and then twirling around on the point of one foot, the little redheaded girl lifts her chin and flutters her eyelashes. “My name is Queen Delia of the faries and unicorns and abberjinninies.” The proud tone of her voice as well as the straight postured manner that she carries herself, lends itself to the assumption that the little girl is trying to impress the pretty woman herself.

“I’m hungry, do you have any peanut budder sammiches?” She holds the little wooden sword in one hand, the tip pointed down, for safety’s sake. “He made me spilt my hot chonklit all over!!” Her other hand is used to point accusingly at Reuben. “AND he told me that the ogre’s going to eat us!! You don’t let the ogre eat us, will you?!”

The woman withdraws her hand and arches an eyebrow, her smile momentarily melting from her face. “I can’t make that promise,” she says with a slow, grave shake of her head, looking to Rueben for a moment. The boy falls over the foot of one of the statues, landing with a thump and sending up a cloud of rock dust and flowers.

“The ogre,” the woman continues, leaning heavily on the term, “only eats boys and girls who have been bad. I know you have been playing here, but it is not up to me to decide whether or not you’ve been bad or good. Come.” She stands again, reaching her hand once more, but it is turned this time so that her palm is open to Delia. “I will see what can be done for you.”

She pauses, and after a moment, she looks once again to Reuben. “You as well,” she says, but her voice has changed from it’s gentle maternal tone to the harsher bark of an autocrat.

Delia’s lips turn downward in a heartbreaking little sad face. Slumping her shoulders and hanging her head, she plods a little closer to the woman and looks up at her with big blue watery eyes. “Am I going to get a time out?” Her voice cracks at the end, like she’s about to burst into tears but she holds back.

Reaching for the woman’s hand, she sniffles loudly and blinks back her tears. “I’m sorry… Please don’t make me grounded…”

When Delia’s fingers reach the woman’s hand, there’s nothing there for her to hold. There is only warm air. But she hasn’t long to marvel over the oddity before she is careening through a kaleidoscope of colors and sounds. The chaos of fear. Screaming. Gunshots. A woman pleading through sobs. And the sounds only seem to be getting louder.

A force pulls against their trajectory, threatening to rend Delia in two in the process. Through the blur of images, no culprit can be found - only the painful evidence of the struggle. But whatever leads them forward is stronger, and while the other force still puts up a resistance, they move ultimately upward.

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