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Not all fairy tales have happy endings: Twisted Tales from Oona's Childhood #1
Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess with long curly hair as dark as the night sky, eyes as bright as stars, lips as red as blood, and skin as pale and flawless as freshly fallen snow. Her smile was as bright as a full moon, and her laughter chimed like the gates of heaven opening. She was charming and priceless.
Sadly, her life was a different thing all together. As light and wondrous a spirt as she was, Oona lived behind tall, gilded gates within a dark, tall mansion with no windows and only doors, all barred from with. Everything in her life was silence and shadows.
Her only playmates were her mom, a beautiful, failed princess in her own right, and the pale-skinned, mute thralls. To say she was bored would be an understatement. Still, Oona skittered, skipped, and explored the locked confines of her domain. Often though, the only game worth playing was bounce the ball off the thrall. Not a very fulfilling thing to do, but they did make such silly thumping noises.
But as with all such stories, even ones as quiet and dark as Oona's was up to this point, a shadow descended upon her life. Oona's father had returned, and the world tilted. Oona's mom faded to the point it was hard to tell her from a ghost. The thralls seemed to meld into the very stone of the walls in attempts to escape notice. But Oona, she was oblivious to it all with the naïve glee of an innocent.
"Father, can I have a pony?"
"No child, we have no place for such a creature in these halls."
"But father, I am soooo bored!"
"So be it child. Thrall! You shall now be my child's pony."
And Oona had her pony. But as with all such dark gifts, it turned foul and rotted. The "pony" galloped and frolicked at first. But as the days progressed her new pet began to falter, and finally move no more. Then one day the "pony" was gone.
"Father, it so hard to see you clearly."
"Come here child, and look closely upon me. You can see into the shadows for you are mine."
"Oh father what big ears you have," Oona giggled.
"Little one," he laughed, "they are not big, but very sharp for I can hear your heartbeat, and your mother's heartbeat, and even the pretty fishmonger's wife's heartbeat down the street,"
Oona's eyes got big.
A moment later she said, "what big eyes you have father, " and she giggled again.
"All the better to see you in the dark with."
And without a pause Oona said, "what big teeth you have father."
For a moment the silence between them owned the darkness and shadows. Then suddenly they both laughed. Oona hopped away and scampered into the depths of the mansion. She hardly even noticed the tickling in her mind, like the skitter of rats beneath her skull. For the moment, she was happy.
Weeks later Oona asked, "father, I am lonely. Can I have a friend?"
In the a moment of seeming kindness, he said, "yes child."
Within a day or two, a brother and a sister arrived. Frightful, pale children they were. But Oona did not care. For weeks she played with her sullen cohort. Finally, with soft, breathy whispers, her little "friends" confessed, "he bites us, Onna."
She did not believe them, and ran off into the shadows. Oona played with no one the rest of the day. That night she approached her father with her usual carefree swagger and challenged her father, "my friends call you Mr. Bitey, father." Darkness filled the room like ink. The feeling of rats scrambled across the edge of Oona's mind again. She screamed and fled as fast as her little feet would take her.
Then there were no more friends. No more jokes. Nothing. All Oona had left was solitude and silence. Days later, her father left.
"Oona, you have offended your father," said her mother.
"Why? How?" Asked Oona.
Oona's mother looked sadly upon her daughter and said in a quiet voice, "leave it be Oona. You have done what is done. From now on, you need to be unseen and unheard. Do not tempt your father's ire, and whatever you do, leave his things and places alone. Especially, Oona, never touch the cellar door."
Within the hour, she opened the cellar door. And she saw,... the sky.
Now Oona understood. The world snapped into focus, forever.