Monday, April 28, 2014

Prisoner or Princess

{This was actually a dream I had last night. Thought it would be an interesting element of a Sci-Fi book. I don't generally write these sorts of things, but it will help me get my writing muscles stretched and ready for my novel.}

    Amalia was shopping in a big home improvement store with a small grocery and large electronics section. She needed to get a few things for her modest new apartment and her modest new life. A select few things had survived this transition: Her long blonde hair, her love of antique fire-glass ceramic figurines and the change. Amalia was not tall. 5'5" might have been exaggerating things. But she was a fighter, whether anyone believed her or not.
    A month and there had been nothing. Not a whiff of anyone or anything to hint that someone from her previous life was around. It didn't help her relax, though. The first month she'd been away hadn't been far away enough. They'd begun sniffing around almost immediately and she'd had to move again. The second month took them a bit longer, but they'd still found her. So far, this had been the longest amount of time that she'd been free of the fear of discovery.
    She'd needed an answering machine, an extension cord, a gallon of milk and a pair of blue jeans. Amalia had never owned jeans before, but they seemed to be a very popular clothing item and she presumed that it would be a good thing to buy. Her small apartment also had a tiny window box that she'd filled with English Tea Roses that were yellow with pink edges. She needed to pick up some rose fertilizer and charcoal soil additive to keep them healthy.
    If she hadn't been so intent on reading the label for the answering machine then she would have seen him sooner. Talbot. Four isles over, ten feet down. 6'3" of lanky blonde muscle and sarcasm. Pretending to read the pamphlet about a fax machine. She ducked down, but it was no use. He'd spotted her. Within moments she could smell her own fear rising around her in tangy waves. She silently thanked her small frame and stature as she eased her cart hehind her. She walked as quickly as she could manage in her crouching position. It was no use, she'd have to move so there was no point in her buying those things. No more flowers, no need for an answering machine. No jeans. No hope.
    She finally made it to the end of the isle and peeked around the corner toward the large doors. Clear. She looked the other way, also clear. She stood up to check where Talbot had been standing. So very not clear. He was only 20 feet away and looking right at her. The slightly dopey grin that used to undo her insides beamed down at her. Instead of that happy gooey reaction, her intestines seized together in a frozen, angry clench. He was here to collect her and restart their "life together." The problem was that she liked her life out here. It was difficult, but it was her life and her choice. Not her responsibility. His smile faltered as she bolted out the door.
    There were carts outside. She tried her best to move them behind her as she ran, but his long legs were made for pursuit. He'd been trained to track and trained to run down his quarry, even through a somewhat deserted parking lot. She'd made it only a quarter of the way around the building and he'd scooped her up from behind. Amalia struck out with flailing arms and legs, forcing him to adjust his grip and cradled her small frame in a solid but surprisingly gentle cage. He was half crouched around her as he whispered into her ear.
    "Calm down, Princess... You'll be home soon." All the fight that she felt when she thought of this moment left her in one shuddering full body sob. She was still trembling as he covered her mouth with a strangely scented cloth.

   When Amalia woke up she was wrapped in soft down blankets that were lightly scented with rose oil. She had also been bathed and clothed in a satin nightgown. If it had been the first time, it might have been a horrible invasion of her privacy. But it had happened before. More than once before. It never made it any easier to deal with, but there was still the matter of her being stuck, once more, in her gilded cage. A single tear loosed itself from her left eye as she moved to rise. She wasn't bound to the bed, but the doors would certainly be locked.
    After a quick search she located slippers and a soft, thin fleece robe and set about searching the posh room. It was most likely a hotel, but her father was powerful and rich. It might have been one of the plethora of large homes that he owned or one of his minions owned. Didn't matter, really. A cage was a cage was a cage.
    The door across the room was locked, as expected. There was a locked window on the wall opposite the locked outer door. The fireplace was large, but revealed nothing in the way of a secret passage or even an activator. She'd escaped once before through a hidden passage-way, so it was worth a look. The second door was opposite the fireplace and wasn't locked. Her heart started pounding again as she cracked open the door. Two scents jumped out at her. Talbot, her sarcastic captor and Felicia, her "friend and confidante." They were talking heatedly behind the door.
    "And now you care?! What happened to 'thank god she's gone' and 'how can you stand this'? Best friends you were not... and now. Now? Suddenly you're up in arms about keeping her under lock and key? Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh at you or pity you." Amalia was dumbstruck. Felicia was yelling at Talbot. She'd always liked him. They both had. But unlike Amalia, she could leave or she could stay. She could date Talbot or she could move to Tibet. Felicia always had a choice.
    "You know why I'm here... As if you're so concerned. Now your 'dearest friend' is back and you're freaking out. Damn, I thought you were smarter than that. The fact of the matter is that she's back. I found her and for better or worse, she's back. He'll pass judgement or whatever the plan is, and she'll serve her 'penance.'" Talbot sounded tired. Even his signature sarcasm was weak.
    Amalia couldn't take it any more. She burst through the door. Felicia looked shocked and Talbot took a deep breath and his shoulders seemed to relax.
    "Bought time you woke up... you had me worried. Sleep well?" Felicia's oddly feline features always intensified when she smiled. Her dark hair and green eyes were slightly sharper and she glimmered slightly as if on the edge of a change.
    "Well enough." She looked back and forth between Talbot and Felicia warily. Felicia was lying, she could smell it. Talbot had a look in his eye that warned of quick action. He was ready to break up a fight if it happened. His normally easy going quick wit masked his real function: guardian. "I'm curious though. If neither of you really wanted me back here, why couldn't you just leave me alone?!" Talbot didn't bite at the bait, but Felicia's eye twitched.
    "Fine. If you can't appreciate what we've done for you, then I'm out of here. She's aaaaall yours, 'my love.'" Felicia glared at Amalia first, then at Talbot before opening the door and stepping behind an oriental screen. Her change was quick and she growled back at the dumbstruck duo before loping out of the window, off the low roof and running full speed across a field behind the building. Amalia moved to close the window and Talbot ran in front of her.
    "No no no... we're not going down that road again." He closed the window and locked it with a small key. Amalia crossed her arms and glared at him. He met her eyes and glared back.
    "I'm not going anywhere in this get up. You know where I was living so I can't go back. I'm stuck here, just as surely as you are, apparently." Talbot broke the glare first.

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