Issue 88 Sep 2020
When King Frederic passed, he left his eldest daughter an inheritance of death— the death of her nation and the death of her dreams. They say it always comes in threes, so Elyse was not surprised.
She would rule for less than a month, governing a wasteland populated by the gaunt and restless, as they waited to be consumed by the hungry lands to the north. Lands free from drought, buffered by springs that brought water from below, with no need to beg the heartless, empty skies for rain as her people did. A land eager to expand.
King Frederic’s final decree secured this expansion, saving the country as it shattered Elyse’s world. She was to marry King Geoffrey of the Northlands, and he would supply his new wife’s countrymen with all they needed. Once they were sworn and loyal subjects, of course. Once she was sworn and loyal.
That would be the hard part, she thought as she fled the stifling castle walls. With every step she took, she felt more herself, and she wasn’t ready to give that up. The yellowed thirsty grass crunched beneath her feet, reminding her of leaves in the fall. It used to be a welcome sound, a sign of holidays to come. Now, it was just a bitter reminder of all they had lost when the rain stopped falling.
I hate snow. I hate the way it falls unannounced and engulfs all that’s around without permission. I despise the way it shamelessly gives this dreary and sepulchral world the false illusion of a milky haven. The way kids squeal with joy makes my heart squeeze at the thought of the past I never had. I detest the sight of couples walking hand in hand and families leaving the comforts of their humble homes just to be greeted with the strong gusts of the cool air. I loathe this show I am unwilling to watch, yet everyone spectates with great interest. I hate snow. I hate snowy days.
I hate the man who made me hate snow.
I hate today.
‘Ma’am, what would you like to order?’ A soft, female voice sounded. It took me a moment to realize the question was directed towards me. I looked up and gazed at the beautiful, tall woman with a gentle smile. Her slender hands were soft and delicate with a sparkling diamond adorning her ring finger. The pink of her cheeks was filled with love and contentment. Her bright face was radiant and unscarred with a florid complexion contrary to my pallid skin, and her sparkling eyes had a twinkle of hope in them that I had now lost.
She had everything I could ever ask for.