Read on for my short story, Awakening, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a paranormal (if not out right spooky) twist! (Yes it has probably been done to death, but I enjoyed writing it! Please let me know what you think!)
Awakening by Laura Greenwood
There once lived a King and Queen, who desperately wanted a child. Seeing their desperation, the Dark Power granted them their wish, but once the child was born he revealed the cost of the King and Queen’s gift. On the eve of her 18th year, the Princess would return to his power, and live out her days in darkness. The Queen’s sister, who was of no little power herself, was unable to lift the curse, but was able to alter it. On the same eve, the Princess would fall into a deep sleep for 100 years. If left to sleep to awaken naturally, the Princess would be restored to the Kingdom, but if awakened even a second earlier, the Princess would return to the Darkness.
For 17 years, I had been told that tale, not believing it to be true, and even though I could see the pain in my mother’s eyes, and the worry on my father’s face, I refused to let a silly children’s story scare me. How wrong I was. The day before my 18th birthday, I pricked my finger, and fainted, or I thought I fainted, it turned out that the curse was real, and I fell into a deep sleep, waiting to awaken naturally, or to be awakened by my Prince, I’m not sure which idea scared me more.
I feel like I’m burning. Like two halves of me are fighting for control. It seems strange to think that life goes on around the cursed; I can hear them talk, and feel them move, I can even smell the coppery sweet smell of their blood pumping through their veins. That’s when the fighting starts again, one half of me sickening at the smell, the other revelling in it.
Over the years, there have been people trying to kiss me, they want me to awaken, to love them, to be their Princess, but the curse isn’t designed like that, there is only one Prince for me, I’m sure of it, or the other kisses would have worked. One kiss and I would belong to the darkness for eternity, half of me wants that, the other half wants anything but the boredom that sleeping for decades brings.
I lost count of how many years I have been sleeping at some point around 45, it must have been at least another 45 years since then, which means my curse is entering its final stages, yet the two halves of me are still at war, after close to 90 years of fighting, you’d have thought that they would have held a truce.
Someone cut their finger. Suddenly my mind stops wandering, and my senses heighten, picking out where she is. I say she, I’m certain it’s a woman, you can tell the difference, there’s subtle hints in the blood. There’s something different about this though, there seems to be a lot more blood than I can normally sense, it is as if someone has had their throat cut rather than pricked their finger. And there’s something else, a hint of something I don’t recognise.
Suddenly I can feel a hand stroking my cheek, down to my lips, and the smell of blood is stronger, that half of me is beating to get out. I can hear the faint sound of breathing as someone leans towards me, and I know what is coming, enough people have tried to awaken me for me to know. A pair of lips brushed mine, but on them is the taste of blood, and that is all it takes. My eyes snap open in time to see the man step back and look at me.
He’s tall, with dark hair and eyes, eyes that I could get lost in. His lips are smeared with blood, as well as his hands, though somehow his clothes seem to have stayed clean. The sight should shock me, but it doesn’t. Some where deep inside, I always knew that this is what was going to happen, even without the curse, this was my destiny, and this was my Prince.
I swing my legs around, putting my feet carefully on the floor, I know I should be aching, or feeling other side effects of having been still for so long, but strangely I don’t, in fact I feel more alive than I ever have. A smile plays at my lips as I look back to my Prince, and then my gaze moves past him and lands of a heap of rags on the floor. Except that it isn’t a heap of rags at all, that is the woman whose blood I smelt earlier, the woman whose blood woke me, realising this something stirred inside me. Following my gaze, my Prince chuckled deeply, and said one word in his deep voice, almost a growl, “Come.” He held out his hand to me and I tucked my hand into his, passing the woman by with a look of longing.