I’m trying something new today. It’s different and a little bit weird, but so am I so I decided it’s ok. 😉
I used to write short stories regularly, but life happened and I stopped. Lately I’ve been reading more and missing creating my own little worlds, so I decided to do something about it.
This little story (a reimagined version of The Princess and the Pea) is my first stab at short story writing since college. I’m rusty, but it feels good…
illustration by Michele Frechette
Once upon a time there was a prince who was handsome in the quirky sort of way that all the ladies love. Slightly goofy, he had a knowing smile and eyes that twinkled brightly with mischief.
Tired of dating princesses with a portfolio full of duck-lipped selfies, he decided to try to find the lady of his dreams on a new dating site called R Date (“Where royals meet, mingle and marry!”). Much to the disappointment of his parents—who were eager to get him out of the castle basement and have a grandchild or two to brag to their friends about—the prince was still unattached.
In fact, his mother was currently harping on it rather relentlessly over the royal dinner table. The sound of rain pelting against the castle windows at a regular beat only served to enforce her drill sergeant-like demeanor. There was a lot of pacing and stern facial expressions accompanied with emphatic arm movements as she went on about royal bloodlines and “the way things were done.” He wondered if an eye roll would end the conversation more quickly or result in a prolonged discussion with a lecture on proper princely etiquette tacked on.
He didn’t have time to find out. The castle lights flickered ominously before there was a sudden, startling knock on the castle door. Not expecting guests until the weekend, the Queen raised an eyebrow before waving off servants and marching to the door to get to the bottom of this mystery herself.
Standing on the castle’s front step was an unfamiliar girl. Her wet hair clung to her cheeks and mud was smeared under one eye. Confronted by a confused and not one hundred percent friendly face, she shot the Queen a sheepish smile. “Hey,” she said, wringing her saturated dress out.
Unamused and annoyed, the Queen replied with a stern. “Hey yourself.”
“I’m Princess Mirabelle from the kingdom next door.” She tilted her head slightly to the right as if the movement would pinpoint her kingdom’s position on a map.
Wracking her brain for unseemly princesses from neighboring kingdoms, the Queen realized this must be King Philbert’s daughter. The one who didn’t believe in deodorant and who had been known to come to dinner with forest creatures in her pockets.
“May I help you?” the Queen asked, sniffing at her discreetly.
“I got a little bit lost in the forest before the storm. Do you think I could crash here until morning?”
Slightly miffed at this supposed princess’s lack of formality—although there had been talk amongst the queens that she was not, in fact, King Philbert’s biological daughter—Queen Isabella motioned the girl in begrudgingly. After all, she wasn’t going to be that queen.
Leading the girl into the royal dining hall, Queen Isabella motioned to an empty chair and ordered one of the servants to fetch the girl some soup and a couple of towels. Prince Oliver looked up from his iPhone and did a double take, immediately smitten by the dripping vision standing beside his cantankerous mother.
“Hello,” he said shyly.
“Oh, Oliver, stop mumbling!” Queen Isabella said with irritation.
“Hi.” Princess Mirabelle purred, sitting across from the Prince and dabbing her filthy face with the good napkins. Queen Isabella froze for a moment, watching the pink slowly rise to her son’s—her only son’s—cheeks. Of course he would fall for her, the Queen thought with disgust. It would be just like him to pick the filthiest princess—and one whose royal blood is questioned to boot.
Remaining silent, the Queen watched as the two jolted through a series of awkward exchanges before Oliver moved over to show her some nonsense on his phone. She watched them both freeze and laugh uncomfortably as their hands brushed and was still watching as the little hussy scooted right up against her baby’s shoulder while they huddled over his screen together.
Snapped back to reality with thoughts of the whispers and smirks she would face when the other queens got wind of this, Queen Isabella was struck with a brilliant idea. Plastering a smile across her royal mouth, the Queen, thick with artificial sweetness, said “Now you two kids keep watching your videos. I’ll make sure the suite is set up for our guest.”
The two hardly registered a response and as she spun around, her faux smile turned into a wicked one, the wheels turning behind her scheming eyes.
Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated! I can’t decide if this is too weird to fit in here. Is it something you guys would be interested in seeing more of? Or do you think it’s an awkward fit and belongs somewhere else? xo