Monday Photo Prompt

Photo by Stefanie Gaither

Homecoming

I stare at the window, the light on the other side blinding my eyes. The red-haired girl is right beside me, smelling of lavender and vanilla. I step forward, not wishing to feel her hand in the small of my back. The stairs before me remind me of others I have ascended. I know they are nothing like those in another castle, where damp and despair linger in every hallway. Still, I cannot shake the fear that has followed me as long as I can remember, perhaps even from my birth.

“What is it, Laurel?” She is in front of me now, her green eyes close to my face and filled with something I do not recognize.

I do not answer her, only avert my eyes from her searching gaze.

“Ah, yes,” she says at last. “Of course. You wish to remain on the ground floor, in a room with a window in the outer wall.” Her voice is soft, sure, knowing. “So you may escape more easily if you find us cruel.”

Again, I give her no answer. My hand, still scratched and filthy, covers the firm spot on my belly, the spot for which I escaped my last prison. She sighs softly and makes a circle with her finger pointing downward, indicating that I should turn around. I am thankful she spared me her touch. Perhaps she, like the stranger who led me here, understands, after all.

“This way.”

I follow her the way we have come, through warm, rose scented hallways, across the great hall, and down another hall. We turn a corner and continue. Almost to the end of the long corridor, she stops and turns a doorknob.

“In here,” she says.

It is all I could have requested and more – isolated, ground level, with a window facing south across the vast fields surrounding the castle. A bed, not a worm-eaten blanket, invites my weary body to slumber. A rocking chair promises a place to cradle in safety the child who will never know his wretched sire. The stranger has exceeded my needs.Ā A foreign emotion wells up beneath my fear.Ā I dare to meet the girl’s eyes, but only for an instant. I hope she reads my meaning.

Tell him we might survive, after all.

Hop over to Secret Life of Writers to read more works inspired by the photo.

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8 thoughts on “Monday Photo Prompt

  1. This is GREAT! I wrote a piece too at cmalbert.blogspot.com. I LOVE how vastly different all the pieces are from the same picture. Your writing is very beautiful. I want to read more of this story now! =)

  2. Thank you, CM! This is a little backstory for one of the minor characters in a YA Fantasy trilogy I’m working on. I hope someday to write her a novel of her own. Enjoyed your complex piece, as well!

  3. Oooh, I like that one of the characters was able to guess what was going on in the other’s head– I’m really intrigued at what their relationship is, or what the other girl knows that lets her know this. Cool response to the prompt!

    I love writing about minor characters having crazy-complex backstories, too– it’s super fun getting to run around with people other than the protagonist for a bit. šŸ˜€

    • Again, thank you! Keep writing and let me know if you need any help or encouragement. Writing is hard, hard work, but it’s worth it. If for no other reason than that the story finally got out, it’s worth it!

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