Friday, 12 October 2012

'Escape' by Cathy Bryant

I had been warned about the Enchanter's gifts - they always came with a sting in the tail. Yet how else could I escape from the castle dungeons? I needed his help if I was going to get away safely and reach my forbidden love, the young prince. He did not know I had been imprisoned, I was sure - he had sworn to marry me, and he would have rescued me if he had known what they had done to me.
So when the Enchanter had come to my cell and made his offer, I couldn't refuse.In exchange for my secrets - and a quiet, almost invisible kitchen maid in a castle knows many, you can be sure of that - the enchanter bespelled the guards long enough to give me a cloak of total invisibility.
"You cannot be seen, heard nor felt while you wear it," he explained. "Are you sure you want it?"
I nodded eagerly.
He smiled darkly and left.
After donning the dark, slithery garment, it was a simple matter of waiting until my disappearance was noticed. The guards rushed in and stared stupidly about the cell; I swept quickly out. The Enchanter was right - I was soundless as well as invisible.I raced up passages towards the royal apartments. On the way I passed the Enchanter's room.
I slipped in to thank him, and found him at his desk, poring over an old parchment. I tried to unfasten the cloak - and it wouldn't come off. It was stuck fast. I called, but the Enchanter couldn't hear me. In a panic, I knocked over his ink-pot, just to get his attention.
"Ah, it's you," he muttered. "Yes. I heard the alarm. I suppose you want to know how to get the cloak off."
I did.
"It will fall off when you are with your one true soulmate," said the Enchanter somewhat sadly. Perhaps he was lonely. I wrote my thanks in spilled ink, and sped on winged feet to the prince's chambers, dancing unperceived past the guards.
And there He was, and I gazed at him with the full force of my love and joy.And he couldn't see me at all...
I begged and pleaded and called; I caressed him and shook him and clutched at him, none of which he could feel; and I tore his clothes, which frightened him. But it was no good.
And not a soul can hear me now, as I weep my broken heart out.
I am trapped in loneliness and silence forever.
I haven't escaped at all.

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