"And in the night you shall find her
“Kaylee! Stand still!” The dressmaker told her, her voice a bit muffled by the many pins she held in her teeth. The woman’s brown hands held the material in folds and attempted to pin it in place. Swinging her thick gray streaked braid back over her shoulder, she jerked the material and pulled and pinned endlessly.
Kaylee muttered under her breath but did as she was told, trying to be polite to the wizened old woman. She wasn’t going to miss this opportunity for anything.
Her mother, a flute player in the king’s instrumental group, had told Kaylee she would be able to attend the dance that the kind and queen were giving for their son. Her wide dark eyes shut as she imagined it. There would be over a hundred people, the soft sand walls lit with mysterious lantern light that would dance as shadows moved on it, and the food, oh, there would be so many different kinds, all delicacies in her native home. She didn’t even bother to imagine the prince. She had never even seen a glimpse of him before. She doubted she would get to see him there. The prospect of getting to go was enough for her.
“There! All done, look!” The lady’s weathered hands grasped Kaylee’s slim shoulders and turned her around to face a large mirror. Kaylee immediately turned to seize the old lady in a hug. The dress was perfectly beautiful!
Kaylee slowly took the dress off over her head, with help from the old lady, who muttered at her not to pull out the pins out of the delicate material.
Her clothes were of loose, homespun light blue cotton material, folding over itself to cover her almost robe-like, yet suitable for the public. Soft leather slippers covered her feet, and she thanked the woman again, promising to be back the next day to pick it up. She slipped out the front of the building into the dying sunlight, rushing through the golden dipped market to her own home on the other side of the city.
Once she reached the pale front of her own house she let herself past the rickety gate and into the house, making sure to shut the door and slid the bar in place after she had shaken out the sand from her shoes outside.
“Kaylee? Is that you?” Her mother Alyah’s musical voice called from the interior of the house.
“Yes Momma.” Kaylee replied, making her way through the cheerfully lit lounge area into the kitchen. “Momma, oh it’s so beautiful!” Kaylee sighed wistfully, falling onto a bench at the table.
Just like her mother, Kaylee had warm, toffee colored smooth skin and long deep brown, almost black hair. Slightly high cheekbones and barely tilted, large compassionate coffee colored eyes framed by lengthy thin lashes. With a small mouth that loved to smile, and a straight nose, she was beautiful as her mother had been when she was young. Now her mother had that ageless, handsome look.
Kaylee’s thin frame carried plates to the table, and she set it as her mother asked her to. Smiling to reveal even white teeth, she danced about the aromatic kitchen talking to her mother about the dance, before her eleven-year-old brother stepped in from playing with his friends and took the spot light as he began to recount his day.
After the light dinner of fruit and vegetable salad, Kaylee went up a small set of stairs to her room. She had always loved it simply because one corner, instead of making a ninety degree angle, it was rounded, and had window set in it at the perfect height to view from her bed. After putting on a sleeping gown, she curled up under the thick blankets to watch the stars come out in the velvety sky. A chill breeze came in from the nearby desert just a mile out of town, making her pull the woolen blanket close. The soft sound of a flute came gently, floatingly up the stairs, caressing the night air with its sweet melody. Soon, Kaylee was deep asleep within the folds of her bed, her mind full of dreams about the next day.
Sunlight greeted her as she woke, yawning and stretching before getting up. The breeze that now came through her window was hot and dry, bringing with it distant cries from the merchants selling their wares in the market. She stood a moment, the flagstones on her floor warm against the soles of her feet, before she couldn’t help but grin and rush down the stairs to eat breakfast.
Thirty minutes later she was on her way through the bright and pungent market place, her eyes watchful for strange people. She might be known, but she was only sixteen, many men would take advantage of that. After a few bumps and shoves, her mother grabbed her arm and held it tight. Not many people bumped into her mother, the proud look in her eyes and her formidable posture made sure of that.
The bathing house was near full but Kaylee’s mother managed to find an empty room. After paying, the tub was filled with steaming water and a bar of soap was produced from an inside pocket of the parcel her mother had carried down there.
Kaylee was ordered to strip, get in and get clean. She was about to protest, but her mother’s words cautioned her. “Get in, before it gets cold.”
She nodded and took a breath, letting it out as the almost burning water shrouded her. She was given a rough block of pumice and the soap. She scrubbed until her skin turned a soft pink beneath its tan complexion. Her mother pulled out a bottle and opened it, filling the air with the smell of the exotic and beyond. This was applied to her hair, rubbed in, and then washed out.
“Ok, my turn, here’s your towel, I’ll be right back.” Alyah left the room as Kaylee wrapped herself in a large cream colored towel.
The door was pushed open, unmindful of whom might be in there, the woman, a large, purposeful lady, didn’t even bother to glance at Kaylee. She had a bucket of hot water in each hand, and after pulling a spare tub out of the corner, filled it with the two buckets and left, only to bring back two more. This time she as left, she shut the wooden door.
Kaylee turned as her mother got in, and began to put on clean robes she found in the parcel.
“Get out the brush, and brush your hair now while it’s wet. It’ll be a horrible tangle if you let it dry.” Her mother’s voice came from across the room. “A hundred strokes, each side.”
Kaylee sat down on an overturned tub and dutifully began to brush out the tangles in her dark hair, and only when they were out, did she begin to count strokes.
She heard her mother get out, but didn’t bother to look up from her brushing. About fifteen minutes later, after losing count many times and forgetting to keep counting, she stopped, handing the brush to her mother to use. The hair-soap she used had made it shine, and it was softer and silkier than ever before.
Finally, her mother was done and she gathered up their things in the parcel and left the room with Kaylee following. They went through a few less-used streets and arrived at the dress maker’s shop, a few randomly colored pieces of material blowed softly through the doorway.
They entered the dimly lit interior and Kaylee sat on a bench to wait while her mother paid for the dress, it was wrapped in soft tissue paper and hid within the pack.
“Ok, now back home, to get everything we need, then we’re leaving to go to the palace.” Alyah told her as they walked through the crowded streets. Their house was reached in about fifteen minutes, her mother went to her room to pack the cosmetics, clothes, jewelry, and hair pins in a basket.
They would change at the palace of course, and her mother would need time to warm up the soft wooden flute she played. Nearly bursting, Kaylee went to the door, and as soon as her mother joined her, she was pulling her along the streets, after a quick stop at one of her brother’s friend’s house to make sure her brother could stay there for the night. They would be out too late for him to be home alone.
Almost an hour later, they arrived at the palace. Kaylee couldn’t help but stop as they crossed in front of it.
The perfectly constructed fawn-colored sandstone walls that had been erected by many laborers stood between golden spires and towers who reached and dared to challenge the sun for beauty. The refreshing tinkle of water echoed over gated courtyards where splashes of green foliage would catch any passerby’s eye. Ornately constructed gold inlayed doorways stood at the top of the grand stairs, challenging even the most courageous man. The soft moan of the breeze from the desert danced among the architecture, touching Kaylee's face with its dry air.
She was led past all this grand beauty to a passageway between two of the soaring walls and inside a door to a cool dark hallway. Squinting as she tried to see after the bright daylight, she found herself led into a dressing room. All along one wall were mirrors, with a waist high counter and chairs set up in front of it. Alyah instructed her to sit in one of these while she quickly changed and did her own makeup.
Many other women were in the room, dressed in the fine silver silken robes that the musicians wore. After doing her hair into an intricate weave and pinning so it wouldn’t fall out, she put on a few pieces of jewelry, and turned to Kaylee.
“Your turn.” She turned the chair around and pulled out her cosmetics bag.
First, she lined the edges of Kaylee’s eyes with a thin, dark pencil and combed her lashes with a brush dipped in black liquid. She then took a small case and opened it, touching her eyelids with a shimmering golden powder and a soft shimmer went on her barely colored cheeks. Soft lipstick went on her lips. Alyah then instructed Kaylee to put on her dress. Kaylee slipped into the soft, whispering material, and stood while her mother brushed out her hair into a silky cascade, and began to weave bits and pieces of it into an intricate pattern. The final hair fixture was dusted softly with golden shimmer, and she could feel a few strands of hair rounding around the side of her face.
“There.” Alyah added a few gold bangle bracelets and earrings. Her mother turned her around, and Kaylee gasped. She looked almost like a completely different person.
“Momma…thank-you!” She stammered, completely at a loss of what to say. The hair pulled back from her face accented her finely boned face, her eyes seemed larger with the dark colors on it, and the gold matched her dress perfectly.
Her dress was of deep plum colored silk. The neckline folded over on itself, and created an upside down arch across her chest. The sleeves draped out from where it was gathered on her shoulders down to about her elbows with a golden thread, and a golden sash slimmed her waist. Gilded sandals covered her feet.
She danced a few steps, smiling as the dress whisked and whispered around her slim legs. It was about an hour before the dance would start. “Thank you so much Momma.” She gave the woman an affectionate hug, still smiling.
“You’re welcome, but I need to go warm up. You wait here for about thirty minutes, and then go out to the floor. People should start arriving by then.
The time passed quickly, and Kaylee barely noticed it as she danced along the floor humming absently to herself. Forty minutes had gone by when she realized what time it was. Luckily, since her mother had worked in the palace numerous times, the hallways were an easy navigation system for her. She quickly opened the door and hurried through the hallways to where the dance was to be held.
The dance floor was as much and more than Kaylee had imagined it. Pale, sandstone walls rose around the edge of the dance floor, the plants that could reach hung their emerald fronds over the edge. Delicate, stained glass lanterns were strung through out the dance floor and along the walls, creating dancing and swaying patches of color. There was a small, maybe six inch high platform where the musicians sat and played, filling the air with festive song. The dance floor was made up of soft loose sand, most likely taken from the desert beyond the wall. As people danced, small spirits of gold came alive, glittering, before falling back to meet their demise. A covered porch was over the tables, fixed around the dance floor, and leading into the palace. Bold, jewel colored silken cloths were draped around the entrances, creating shadows that danced mysteriously in the light. The moon and stars hung brightly in the sky, small sparkles adding to the magic, giving a clear night to promise good weather.
And oh, the people! Kaylee could hardly contain herself, so many colors, and voices, and accents; it was all just a whirl in her mind. Most of them sat at the tables eating the spectacular dinner that was laid out. The finest meats and vegetables, succulent fruits, and sweet deserts sent unforgettable ambrosia up into the cool night air.
Kaylee’s dark eyes reflected the patterned light as she gazed upon the surreal vision and she found her place at a table full of other girls, all rich and sophisticated, but none all that pretty - at least to her.
She didn’t speak that much at the table, instead she let her eyes wander over the dance floor and people, thoughts running like fire through her mind. She hoped she wouldn’t trip. Her mother had taught her all the dance steps, fast and slow, and Kaylee had learned them dutifully, whether for the dance or just for the love of the rhythm and beat, she wasn’t quite sure. She eyed the males at another table, picking out her favorites, and watching one for a while, then turning to another.
Her favorite was a boy, whose antics were none too extravagant, but his smile was catching, teeth flashing as light caught them, making his eyes sparkle as well. The girl next to her, her complexion of pale cinnamon, dark hair, but strangely, startling green eyes, bent over to follow Kaylee’s eyes across the floor.
“So you like the prince as well?” She asked, her voice accented, with a friendly smile that had a bit of a competitive edge on it.
Ah, so that’s who the young man was. The prince! Kaylee felt a bit foolish, for there was no way she would ever even talk to a prince, but she smiled, and nodded, “Yeah, he sure catches my eye.” She told her, smiling back.
The girl flipped dark hair over her shoulder and stood up. “Care to join-in on a little dance competition?” She swished her emerald silk to hang straight, green eyes daring Kaylee to say yes.
“Sure, as long as we don’t have to dance all alone…” Kaylee put in, especially not wanting to do that. She knew she knew the steps, but she didn’t want to make a fool out of herself in the middle of the floor.
“Alright then!” She turned to the table, “Hey, we got our last dancer! Let’s go!” All the girls at the table smiled, and followed them out to the dance floor, where people cleared a space for them, where they stood, at ready.
The band started at a slow, throbbing pace, the beat nearing making the sand thrum with the magic of it. The assortment of girls immediately knew the song, and began the steps, a slow, twining pace, curving their bodies, joining hands at times, all in fluid motion. And then the beat picked up, and stopped. Simultaneously, the girls stopped, each moving to a congruent point on the outside of the circle, bending down as one, and removing their shoes, before standing up again.
Kaylee’s eyes glanced at a girl across from her, who gave a tentative smile which Kaylee returned. There was a beat, and then another, and then the music started, and the young women took off, their multi colored bodies, and silks flying with the rhythm of the dance. Sand glittered in between their torsos, kicked up the feet as they danced their piece. The people around them clapped with the beat of the song, some shouting, and cheering the girls on.
Kaylee’s face lit up as she smiled, dark eyes sparkling, encouraged by the fact she hadn’t messed up yet. She and a girl clasped hands making a quick turn, their upper bodies bowing to each other in quick similarity, as with everyone, and twirled, taking off again. Finally, the dance ended, at least to Kaylee, and seemingly everyone else’s knowledge, as they took their last step, and turned around as the beat kept going, slowly evolving to a seductive gypsy-ish flamenco beat.
The green-eyed girl that had been sitting next to Kaylee was standing in the middle, head down. Her chest moved with her breathing, and slowly, she began to dance, obviously something from her native land. Her slender form swayed slowly, as she sinuously turned bending side to side as she went from a bent-kneed stance to her full height. Languidly, she raised her chin, her green eyes seducing the crowd with their boldness as she looked directly into the eyes of the males, daring them to stop her as the beat of the song grew, and her body pulsed with its rhythm. An undaunted smile began to touch her pouted lips, her face flushed with excitement. She spun, body in a serpentine with the magic of the music. And suddenly, her performance was over, and she turned as the crowd made way, going back to her table.
A sudden cheering and whistling over took the people, and Kaylee couldn’t help but join in. She couldn’t imagine having enough nerve to do something of that magnitude. The young woman had done what she set out to do, as the prince and his comrades sauntered over to her table, engaging her in conversation.
Kaylee smiled, turning around as somebody tapped her shoulder, a boy taller than her, with a sweet smile greeted her. “Would you care to dance?”
She blushed and looked down saying “I’d love to,” before taking his hand, and letting him lead her back out to the magical floor.
She danced for hours it seemed, under the stars, till her face flushed with radiance. She finally had to sit out a dance to rest her feet, and she went back to the round table that she had eaten dinner with, and found it empty. Evidently, the green-eyed girl had charmed the prince so, and she had been taken over to his table, where she sat telling jokes and stories, getting up every so often to dance with her perfect form. All the young males were over there, trying to steal her away from the royal. Kaylee had the thought to run over there, but decided not to, smiling and laughing at herself for even the thought.
In minutes, one of the musicians stood up, and went to the front of the small polished podium on which they performed. The man was short, dark and round and his voice projected easily across the people. “Excuse me, if I could have your attention, I would like to inform all the dancers, that in five minutes, the Prince’s Dance will commence. Please, find your partners. Thank you.” He turned around and went back to his chair to began tuning his instrument for the correct chords.
Kaylee sat stiff in her chair, suddenly self-conscious. Would she be asked? She had danced with many young men throughout the night, but as she watched she saw the faces she knew slowly disappear as they gained partners other than her.
The round little man stood up again, smoothing down what was left of his hair, and clearing his throat so that he could speak. “One minute.”
She looked down upon the silken plum of her dress, what if she didn’t get asked at all? She couldn’t think like that! She shook her head to herself, mentally telling her mind to think positively. Her dark barely tilted eyes rose, searching the crowd, trying to make eye contact.
A lean figure caught her attention; slowly wending his was through the crowd toward her. He seemed lithe and bent around the people easily, or maybe the people moved for him, it was hard to tell. Either way, it was in an almost shy manner in which he approached her. He must have been around sixteen, her age. He wore a loose white shirt, which hung nicely on his torso, showing a piece of toned bronze chest. He wore breeches of the finest camel hair, which left below his knee open, revealing muscular calf, and no shoes, as most of the men did. He had smooth skin, the color of warm brown sugar, just a bit darker than hers, and tilted, almond shaped eyes, of deep brown. Black hair crowned his head, left loose to hide a little of his forehead, and flip out over the tops of his ears. Despite the shagged hair, shyness, and no jewelry, he had the appearance and attitude of someone quite rich, and Kaylee was surprised as he stopped in front of her.
Slowly she raised her eyes, uncertain whether to look into his or not, she certainly didn’t want to be impolite. Choosing to be bold, she chanced looking into his eyes, and found them to be warmer and friendlier than most, as the lantern light danced within them, like sparking faeries dancing in his soul. His voice was accented and Kaylee doubted he was a native like her, but he spoke their cultural language well.
“Would you care to take a dance with me?” He offered her a hand, his smile revealing perfect teeth.
“I would love to.” She replied, her voice soft. His presence somehow domineered her, though he had done nothing unordinary. Kaylee smiled up at him, and took his hand, finding it warm and smooth, yet calloused as if he didn’t mind a day’s work. He led her out onto the floor, and then, the dance began.
The music they played was slow, yet fast enough to keep them moving, with a modern beat that everyone knew. She was self-conscious about his arms on her, where she hadn’t been about the men before. He was one to talk as they danced, and his first question didn’t surprise her.
“So what do they call you here?” His accented voice inquired from her.
“Kaylee,” She responded, taking a glance up, and seeing his eyes looking down at her. The song continued, and they concentrated on their dancing, before talking more. She learned that he was part Asian, part Arabic, and his mother was the princess of a land far off in the East. Kaylee didn’t bother to tell him of her heritage, for it wouldn’t do but to embarrass her.
The dance was long, and Kaylee found herself drawn more and more to the stranger. His manner was easy and warm, always ready to smile or laugh. They had a lot in common, she found out, such as horses, love of the desert, the night, and surprisingly, dreaming. She blushed, and tried to sideline the fact, but he stopped dancing a moment, and put a hand under her chin. She trembled, not sure of what he was going to do, or say.
“Do not be ashamed of dreaming. For your spirit is created and lives on dreams, and your spirit shines bright within your eyes.” Slowly, he leaned forward, and put the gentlest of kisses upon her astonished lips, before he backed up a step and bowed. It was only at this point, she noticed the music had stopped.
“Thank you for the dance. It is one I will never forget.” He turned, dark eyes giving her one last look, before he disappeared within the crowd, and the people merged back together, as if a curtain closing on its star actor.
A hand unconsciously touched her petulant lips, still in shock. Her dark eyes were wide, and she wasn't sure how she made it back to the table without running into somebody or something. Minutes later, when her mind returned from utopia, to reality, that she realized she should have called him back. She didn't even know his name! She couldn't help but let the corners of her lips stayed curved upward for the rest of the dance. Though she danced with other people, she never forgot him, his movement, the soft look in his warm eyes, his hands, so careful to guide her right in the dance, and not making a single notion that he knew when she did something wrong.
The full moon was high within its diamond studded coliseum, the air still warm with the bountiful smells of perfumes, and foods, and scented lanterns, whose shadows still danced on the walls and sent mysterious splashes against people and between them. It must have been past midnight, Kaylee realized, looking for her shoes along with all the other girls. During their debut, when she had shed them, she had never gotten them back; people had pushed them back along and under the tables, so they too could have room to dance.
Finally finding them, on opposite sides of the dance floor, she found an empty seat at a random table to put them back on. Curiously, there was a lady at the table there as well, too old for the dance, yet no wrinkles showed on her decidedly ageless face. She wore colors of deep blue and dark purple, with small touches of glitter, or silver that shone when she moved. Her skin was black, the color of pure coffee, and her eyes small black opals in her face. She sat there, looking at everything and nothing at the same time, every so often making small sounds, as if she were talking to herself. Kaylee swore she knew of a few words the lady was saying, and one distinct phrase caught her ear.
The words were slow, almost thoughtful, as the lady spoke in a calm voice. “Perhaps prophecy will come true tonight--" But her words were cut short, and she stood up, swishing past Kaylee in a swirl of exotic perfumes. Her statement left Kaylee thinking once more about the boy she had danced with, and her eyes rose to glance at the sky, when suddenly, there he was, appearing in front of her.
His dark eyes sparkled with more than just the lantern lights, and he held a hand out to her, eager as a schoolboy, as he said, "Please, please, I must show you something, please follow!" He nodded, ready to pull her away.
What else could she do? She put a palm in his hand, and was immediately whisked away, him half running, his bare feet making little noise in the thick carpeted hallways of the palace, her holding her skirt up with her free hand to keep from tripping on it.
After a small leap up a few steps, they stopped, and he let out a long breath, as if calming himself down. Before them was a great pair of ivory doors, with a polished gleam on their perfected surfaces. They must have been ten feet tall, gilded with gold, ornate golden handles freshly polished.
The boy didn't hesitate, to put a handprint on their surface, and pulled one open, holding it for Kaylee, as she entered, slowly, her eyes wide as she looked around the room.
It was pale, with white sandstone walls, the palest leather furniture, and the softest, lightest wooden fixtures. The hints of gold edging things, and the expensive quality were the only things that gave away the prestige of the room. The herbal scent surrounding it came from incense lamps in each corner.
He unexpectedly took her hand again, and led her around the couch, when a woman appeared from the depths of a hallway in one corner of the room. She was African, from startling black skin, wrinkled with age beyond years, to her outfit, of brilliant purples and gold patterned silk, and heavy gold jewelry. Her eyes were young, though, and held a wisdom and power that made Kaylee shiver.
"Ah, so she did come. Very good. Welcome Kaylee." The lady said, offering them a seat with a gesture of her hand.
They sat, while the woman took out a large, leather-bound book, rare in their lands, from an alter-like table on a side of the room. She gently handed it to the boy, who treated it with great caution. He softly set it on the table in front of them, and turned the pages with care, finally stopping somewhere near the middle.
The lady sat on a chair opposite them, watching, with a quiet and mysterious air, a small smile on her ageless face, as if she knew what they did not.
Putting his fingers to the words, he read making great pains to get the words exactly right.
Deep colors and exquisite metals her hue
One shall be the rich, while the one the poor
One a royal born and bred,
The other trying to escape her ways.
Find her, and she shall be yours
For it has been said."
He turned once done reading, his eyes alight as he continued speaking in his accented dialect. "The Book of Prophecies! It must be you!" He told her.
She looked down, to close her eyes where he couldn't see. She hated to disappoint this boy she had come to know so well in so little a time, but she hated to live a lie when it didn't even pertain to her. "But I am neither poor, nor trying to escape my ways." She frowned, turning saddened eyes on him.
"Well...I suppose it was worth a try. If you ever change your mind, for I know it really is you, even if you don't admit it. There's something about you, I don't..." He stopped, shaking his head, frustrated at the lack of words he wanted to use and didn't know how to speak. He stood up, looking down at her from his height. "I'll be at the Palace for awhile...my parents claim I can't leave until I find my bride. This prophecy is the only chance I have to make my own choice." He half turned, "Perhaps they will pick out somebody tolerable." He stopped, as if remembering his manners, and held out a hand to help her off the couch. "Thank you for the most wonderful dance, but I must bid you farewell." He kissed her hand, almost like she was royalty, before turning to go.
This time, she didn't let her imagination take over, and remembered her senses as she called out, "Wait!" As he turned back, eyes curious, she explained, "I don't even know your name. At least a name."
He gave her a smile that crept up one side of his face that almost made her fall back upon the couch, and said, "You may call me Kai. My name is bigger than I am," He looked ruefully down at his toned form,” You would forget the first syllable before the night is over. Call me Kai, and I will never forget you." His warm brown eyes held a meaningful look as she glanced up at them, and he let another easy smile slide across his face, before it saddened and he turned, to depart out the doors. This time however, Kaylee could think of no comment that would call him back, even for another minute.
Kaylee left a minute later, without even looking at the wise African woman, her head bowed and her eyes blinking, she followed the route she knew back to the dance floor. She only had to wait a short moment, for her mother to arrive, changed back from her silver silks, her eyes touched with red, her face sad.
"Momma...what's wrong?" Kaylee asked, immediately going over to her, to be wrapped in a hug, as her mother slowly and barely audibly began to cry.
* * * * *
"I hate this." Kaylee firmly stated almost a year later, picking up a pitchfork. Her hair was tied back in a weave and her clothing had changed drastically. She now wore woolen breeches, and they were hot in the noon-day sun. Fortunately, her shirt was loose linen and cooler somewhat.
She now was a groom at a small stable in the city since her mother had been expelled from the King's instrumental group. The stables she worked at were adequate, and made more so by the hours Kaylee put in to keep her wage up enough to help her mother pay for their rent, food and clothing. By no means now, were they living in comfortable conditions.
Her mother worked in the market, working for the seamstress, earning small hourly wages to weave the day's light. When she arrived at home the first few weeks, her hands were always blistered and bleeding, nothing like the slender lengths that had danced along her flute creating the magic of music barely a year before. Kaylee hadn't even heard the whispery sound of the flute since her mother had left the instrumental group.
The stable smelt something terrible, especially in the hot sun, where manure dried within minutes to create hard piles that had to be stabbed apart with a shovel before they were small enough to be put in a wheelbarrow. The horses that were boarded were average, once in a while a special one would come along, but that was very obscure, and of course Kaylee would never be allowed near it. She was female - hated and discriminated against by all males that worked there. The only reason she had even gotten the job was because the man that owned the place owned her mother a favor. She sighed, opening an unused stall and began to muck it out, making noise of disgust as the flies swarmed up to attack her face.
"I hate it too." Her brother replied, his dark hair was damp with sweat and tendrils clung to his face and neck in small curls. His dark eyes and milky coffee complexion was just like Kaylee's, it was obvious they were siblings. He was still too young to handle a pitchfork at twelve year old, and so he helped Kaylee by pushing the wheelbarrow for her, and once a week scrubbed off the tack for the manager. He dropped the wheelbarrow with a metallic clang and leaned on a wall to wait for Kaylee to clean out the stall.
"I know, I hope soon though, maybe I'll get married to someone a little richer than we are, Jahrahd, and we can live better." She dutifully began piling the muck in the wheelbarrow. Most girls her age would have been married, and some even had a child, but nobody wanted an unnatural, manure scooping female for a wife. She could almost kill herself for turning down the boy at the dance. It seemed so long ago. He had been a prince! She mentally berated herself, as she did almost everyday.
Violently shoving manure into the wheelbarrow, she heard her name being called out in the yard by the manager, Al-Siimhea. Surprise quickly covered the frustration in her still youthful features and she leaned the pitchfork against a wall, hurriedly wiping her hands on a rag by the door before going out into the beating sunlight in the yard.
Al-Siimhea was a short, stocky man with leather-like skin, black hair, and hard eyes. He liked to spit tobacco whenever possible, and didn't mind whom he hit -- unless of course it was a customer. They were treated with utmost respect. He had a linen head cloth to hide the balding spot on the back of his head from the burning sun, woolen breeches, and a linen shirt, like Kaylee. The only difference was that he also wore a leather vest, as a symbol of his authority in his stable yard.
A high pitched whistle caught her attention, and as she held a hand up to her eyes so she could see, she saw a wondrous sight:
A majestic black stallion stood there, tall and muscular, with eyes of fire, his proud head lifted high. Kaylee could find no fault within his confirmation or his balance. His trapping were of the finest hand-stitched leather and silk, each placed and made just for him. As Al-Siimhea came near to grasp the hackamore bridle, the stallion let out another scream and rose on perfectly balance hinds to slice the man away with sharp unshod front hooves, his small ears flat on his head. The slight feathering on his ankles wavered in the soft breeze that blew through the yard, matching the raven silk strands of lengthy mane and tail. He hit the ground with a muffled thud, and immediately the lean form on his back leapt off, expertly catching the rope rein in his hand. As he turned around, Kaylee stifled her gasp.
It was the prince! She instantly bowed her head as he held out his hands to give the reins to her. His smile was still easy, and his voice just as warm, his eyes dancing and friendly. The slightly tilted eyes regarded her for a moment, before widening to look at his horse, which had become docile as a child's pony and offering no resistance to Kaylee's taking of his hackamore.
"His name is Prophecy. I'm surprised he's being so nice to you. I will warn you to watch out however, he is usually a devil. I'll be back later in the day for him." His voice wasn't quite as accented as last time she had talked to him, but still had that distinctness she could never miss. He flipped her a gold coin, before turning, and walking out of the stable yard, leaving Kaylee standing there astonished.
Al-Siimhea wasn't one to be gaping at a well-paying customer. He barked out, "Well? What are you waiting for, go get that horse in a stall, and finish mucking out your own! We don’t have all day to feel special about getting a gold coin! Go!" His loud voice made Kaylee jump and the stallion snorted laying his ears a fraction backwards, but she jiggled his lead a little to get his attention, and led him to the shadowed interior of the barn.
She was surprised that he hadn't remembered her. He seemed to have believed in that prophecy so much, and she had even heard him say, "I will never forget you." Obviously a change of clothes and scenery had made him a liar. She quickly gave the stallion a light brushing where his tack had been, smoothing out the ebony hairs, hung his trappings outside his stall, and went back to her mucking, her mind still on the prince.
The rest of the day she spent mucking and raking; frustrated that Al-Siimhea wouldn't even let her exercise a horse. She'd thought a year's worth of dedicated service meant something to some people. Exercising also paid a touch better, and he knew that her family was pressed for money.
Hours of cleaning later, and Kaylee was a mess, her hair flying out of its weave, breeches and shirt streaked with unnamable substances, a smear of something across her neck. Her eyes were tired, and she appeared older than her seventeen years should have allowed. The prince had finally returned, and Kaylee once again was called upon to tack his horse back up.
She was in the process of cross-tying the horse in his stall when a shadow fell across the doorway. She looked up to find the prince watching her, and noticing where she was, picking up the tack himself and carrying it in the stall. He handed her the saddle and took the expertly weaved silken hackamore in his own hands to put on the stallion.
"You don't have to do that you know..." Kaylee told him pointedly. "It's my job, and I need the money." The difference between his immaculate silk garments and her manure stained ones was obvious.
"I like horses. I won't tell the hostler I helped. I just watched you tack him up, record speed." He grinned at her, as if he had made a joke, which Kaylee thought was terrible. "What's your name? I've never seen a female groom in the city before." He commented, looking her over.
She felt a bit uncomfortable and moved to the opposite side of the horse to fix things on that side. What had the prince come of within the year she had left? He certainly had lost some of his manners! Blushing when he couldn't see her, she replied, "Kaylee."
"Kaylee..." He repeated thoughtfully, rubbing a hand up and down the horse's forehead.
She decided to go out on a limb, as his name popped back into her head. "Kai." She said it pointedly, and shortly, but it got the effect she had desired.
He jumped, and turned to look at her, eyes wide, then scrutinizing. "What did you just call me?" His hands stopped moving as he demanded the answer of her.
She sucked in a breath, and went out on a limb, as the memories of the night flooded her memory. "Kai. You said your whole name was too big to say, bigger than you even." She highly doubted this now. The prince had grown into a full-fledged man, grown almost five inches, and bulked out some. He was still lean and muscular as ever though.
"H-how did you know that? I don't tell that name to anybody. Only three people in my life have been told it." His eyes were certainly boring a hole into her head as he stared at her, but she took on the challenge and stared back.
"I'm one of those three. Don't you remember anything from last year? The Prince's dance, the prophecy, anything? That girl that was, and is me." She told him, trying not to let her voice start pleading.
"But how can that be...I thought...." He once more was at a loss of words, this time not from lack of knowledge of them, but from lack of anything to say.
She sighed, and began to explain, hoping she was saying the right things. "The only reason I got to go to that dance was because my mother played the flute in the king's instrumental group. She lost her position the night of the dance for some reason, and I'm here because well...somebody had to help out with the finances, and my brother's not old enough to do anything."
"So I guess that prophecy came true then, huh?" He said, but his words were bittersweet on his tongue. His eyes strayed to the floor, and for some reason, were sad.
She nodded. "I guess so...funny name for a horse, Prophecy." She said, desperate for a random subject change.
He shrugged. "Someone told me, right after I had heard of that prophecy for the first time, that black horses were good luck. So I took a chance. I guess he led me right."
He leaned against the horse's back, his eyes unfocused for a moment, before he looked at Kaylee. "I would say, come with me to the Palace, quit your job, marry me, but well...it's too late. My mother found me a 'lovely girl who will be perfect for me'." He quoted his mother, rolling his eyes. "What do I want with a submissive, whimsical, idiot. I need somebody who can think, carry on a conversation. Enjoy things without having to make an effort." He sounded almost mad.
Kaylee didn't say anything, but kept her head down and closed her eyes to squeeze them shut tightly. When she opened them, she lifted her head and refused to give in to the tears. Why couldn't she have just told him yes a year ago? Why couldn't his mother have waited another week to find him a wife? So many whys and not enough answers ran around in her brain.
She picked up Prophecy's lea, and opened his stall, leading him out for Kai. She stopped short when Al-Siimhea appeared in the aisle. "Took you long enou-- what are you doing in the stall, your highness?" He bowed his head, motioning for Kaylee to do the same.
She bent her head, but listened to Kai's answer. "Good Master, I just wanted to make sure my horse's tack was correctly put on. As you can tell, he does not like many people, and has many bad habits he performs for those he doesn't like." Kai's voice had become cultured and regal, booking no argument.
"Very good, I hope you recommend this stable to others." The hostler said, before walking down the aisle to bark at somebody else.
Kaylee continued to lead the horse down to the patch of dying light in the yard, offering Kai a leg up, when they stopped. He thanked her with a quiet murmur and was about to ride off, when he called her back, and leaned around to dig in his saddlebag. He came up with a paper and lead stick. He began scribbling quickly. "Please, lead me to the gate as I write this down." He instructed her. At the gate, he folded the letter quickly in half and tucked something in it, and pressed his hand to Kaylee's, holding it for a moment, as his eyes met hers. He pulled her hand upwards, and kissed it gently, and Kaylee was reminded strongly of the dance, except he was horseback, and she covered in muck. He let go, and gripped the reins without a word, and clucked to his horse, who took off into the streets.
Kaylee stuffed the paper in her pocket, and hurried to a secluded corner to read it. Even in the leaving sunlight, she could make out:
Remember I told you if you ever need something, I'd be at the Palace? I still am. It's the Prince's sister. There's still 48 hours. Please try. Remember prophecy.
PS: Keep all this. It's for you and your family. Do not spend it trying to help me.
Out of the note spilled five gold coins, enough to buy food for more than two months. She scrunched the note and the money back down in her pocket and went to find her brother. Daylight hours were up, and she definitely had reason to go home now.
Her whole way home was spent in deep thought, she was so out of it once or twice her brother even had to pull her from the roads, wincing as driver's cussing tongues lashed their ears. "Pay attention, won't you Kay?" He commented the second time, "What's got you so daydream-y anyways?" He asked her, his brown eyes curious.
He was nearly as tall as her, but his form was still skinny and knock-kneed. He had a mop of unruly brown hair on his head, and his skin was clear, a spiced ginger, rich with flavor. Only time was needed, for him to turn into the man he was supposed to be. Time and food.
She nodded, "I will, I promise." She did try to look out for herself too, but ideas of ways to get into the Palace kept her imagination vivid, and she nearly ran into a parked cart before realizing it was there and dodging out of the way.
They now lived in a three room apartment above a carpenter's shop. The tiny old man who rented it out to them was kind, always ready to give them a few more days if they didn't have rent on time. He had skin like wizened, sun-blackened leather, and white hair. He was famous for the three freckles that adorned his left cheek, which given him a nickname of Freckle. He was an expert craftsman, and his shop was full all working hours, and then some.
"Good evenin', Kaylee, Jahrahd." He nodded to them with a toothy grin as he began to chisel a piece of wood into some mystical shape near impossible for anyone else. "Good day at the stables?" He asked politely, as he always did.
"Yes sir," Kaylee responded, hurrying past the sweet woody smell of his shop to the stairs in the back that led to their apartment. "Good night!" Kaylee called, shushing her brother as he pestered her.
"Why was your day so good? It was terrible for me, hauling wheelbarrows for all them grungy men." He told her. "You got to spend the day working with horses at least." He let himself in the door when Kaylee unlocked it, going straight to the kitchen.
One of the greatest advantages of their apartment was the water line that ran right next to the building, giving them twenty-four hour water access. Freckle had split the line, and made part go into his shop and up into the apartment, just for them. Kaylee began to fill a tub with water, intent on taking a bath, as soon as she could. She felt covered in grime, and the smear of something on her neck was hard and stale, cracking off when she turned her neck.
The bath was everything she could have wanted, hot and steaming, and she felt refreshed once she had gotten out.
She glanced around the small living quarters, opening the door back up that led from the kitchen to the rest of the house, to see her brother lying on his back, in the middle of their living room. He had probably been staring at the stars through the small skylight, as he liked to do, but had obviously fallen asleep.
Kaylee smiled, and was about to wake him, as their door gave the tiniest of squeaks as it opened. Looking up, Kaylee saw her mother step in, and seeing what they were doing, motioned Kaylee not to wake Jahrahd.
"We'll let him sleep while I take my own bath, then we'll eat when he's done. Is the water heating?" She whispered to Kaylee, crossing the living area of their apartment, into the kitchen to peer in at the cauldron-like bucket that hung in front of the fire to heat. "Thanks, I'll only be about a half hour." She went into the kitchen, and closed the door, leaving the room in half-dark, lit only by the lamps littered around the room.
They had a small tattered couch along one wall, and Kaylee curled up in the corner of it, unfolding the note she had taken from her pocket. She quickly scanned it again, setting the five gold coins on the arm of the couch, and closed her eyes to scheme ways to get back to Kai.
I'd be at the Palace, I still am. It's the Prince's sister. So obviously she needed to get into the Palace, but how? She couldn't simply walk up to those forbidding front doors and demand to see him. She'd be laughed off the grounds and then punished for 'stepping out of her place' as a woman. She growled to herself about the stupidities of society. She only needed to stay there for forty-eight hours, so however she got in, she didn't need to stay long. She could pretend to be somebody's slave-girl, people always had plenty of them, they probably wouldn't even notice one more, but she shuddered to think of what might happen to her while she was play-acting the slave.
She sighed and read the next part again.It's the Prince's sister. Who was? The girl his parents had arranged for him to marry? It only made sense. She had heard something of the celebration in the stables from talk, and people arriving with strange accents, asking directions to the Palace. She half smiled at the thought of the Prince's sister with Kai. They would never get along. The Prince's sister, Rhamalai, was the perfect princess. She loved to sit and stare at nothing, in attempt to look longing and thoughtful. She was submissive to the bone, and would do anything anyone asked of her. She loved fine clothes, and perfumes, and didn't mind just sitting somewhere all afternoon. Talk was, she had no brain whatsoever, and was stupid as a cow. No, she wouldn't suit Kai at all. Kaylee had to get into the Palace.
Remember prophecy. Kaylee thought on this a moment, when it hit her. Prophecy, of course! It would be dangerous, and she could possibly get killed, or hurt, but she figured it was worth it, if it all went through. And if it didn't...well...she had Kai to vouch for her, didn't she?
Smiling to herself, she leaned over to pick up the coins, as her mother re-entered the room, her long almost black hair hung straight down her back, and she glowed faintly from scrubbing. "Wake up your brother, it's his turn."
Kaylee obediently got up, and bent down to shake her brother awake, who gave a fuzzy reply when she told him it was his turn, but he soon got up, and went to take his own bath.
He only took about ten minutes, and they were soon in the kitchen, around their small table, eating a beef and vegetable stew, that was rich with spices.
"So how was your day?" Alyah asked them.
"Boring, I wheelbarrowed all day, instead of just half, cuz there wasn't any dirty stuff to clean." Jahrahd complained, "wheelbarrowed" was his word for hauling around the wheelbarrow. He started picking out the beef chunks from his stew. He always at his stew like that, beef first, then vegetables.
"Kaylee?" Her mother turned to her.
"Good...I got a tip today." She said, "A really big tip..." She looked up at her mother, putting the money out on the table.
Her mother's eyes widened. "Good-...Five?" She was astonished, usually a silver was considered a good tip. "Who would give that much money to you?" She asked.
"It was just a guy-" She was cut off by her brother.
"You shoulda seen him Momma, he had this great black stallion, and only Kaylee could control him. He was a rich guy, I bet he was a prince. And Kaylee spent like...twenty minutes talking to him in the stall. Kaylee liked him." His last line was taunting, and he laughed, the grin spreading across his face.
"Kaylee! You talked to a royal? I thought that man taught you proper manners! Don't disgrace him like that. Next time, you'd better keep your mouth shut. I can't believe you still got a tip." Her mother reprimanded her.
Kaylee had thought her mother would be glad. "But Momma, he asked me stuff, I didn't start anything...it woulda been impolite to not reply..." She defended herself, but her mother just shook her head.
When dinner was nearly over, Kaylee excused herself, and left to go to the room she shared with her brother. It was on one side of the kitchen, and her mother's was on the other, in hope of keeping the rooms warm in the winter by the fireplace.
Their room was simple, just two pallets laid out on the floor. Kaylee went to hers to lie down, and had fallen asleep by the time her brother came in.
She arose before dawn, and with a glance to her still sleeping brother, she got up and dressed, stealing a set of her brother's clothes. Feminine clothes were not what she needed today. She wore her own boots, tied her hair up, quietly leaving through the door, and made her way into the carpenter's shop.
Freckle was already up making small, whittled adjustments on whatever he had been carving, and Kaylee barely noticed him until he spoke. "Morning, what are you doing up so early? I thought I was the only one crazy enough to be up before dawn. His white hair shimmered in the firelight by which he worked. "Come here an' lookit this, tell me what you think." He beckoned her over.
Kaylee made her way around various cabinets, knickknacks, and shelves, to where he was, breathing in the sweet sawdust smell. He handed her what looked like the board that would go in front of a shelf on a fancy cabinet. It depicted a sun, with rays crossing the sky, and small low hills with a horse in the middle. It was beautifully carved, and Kaylee could find no fault. "I love it, it's so perfect." She told him truthfully, running her hands along the curved edges. It was warm from the friction of his carving and seemed to come alive in her hands.
"Why thank you. Here now, don't touch it too much; you'll smooth out my marks." He took it back with a grin. "You get along, don't want to keep you." He bent back over the board and began to make miniscule marks on it, completely forgetting about Kaylee.
She smiled and slipped out the front door into the dawn light. There were many people out, setting up their shops and moving products around the market, ready for the morning crowd. Kaylee smiled to a few people she had become acquainted with, one threw her a free apple. She took a bite, savoring the sweetness that dribbled out.
The stable was mainly quiet, and it didn't take Kaylee long to find what she was looking for: a large pair of shears, used usually on the horse's tails when they grew too long. She threw the apple core in a waste bin and closed her eyes, taking a chunk of her hair and chopped it off above her ear. She heard the soft whispery noise as the hair fell on the flagstone, and she gulped, taking another chunk of hair.
The final result left her feeling light. The hair was mostly short, only a couple of inches long at the most. She grimaced, picking up a handful of dirt, ready for the next stage. She rubbed it gently into her cheek, turning her complexion a bit less feminine, a touch scratchier, and paler.
There. She put the shears back and dusted her hands off on her pants, and pulled the note she had written earlier out of her pocket, and stuck it on Al-Siimhea's office door. It was the only office in the whole stable, so she doubted it would be missed.
The light was starting its journey over the sky, proving to be a hot day as Kaylee began her journey. The Palace was about an hour's walk away, and she wasn't sure of her way. She felt odd, with such loose clothes on as the men wore, their baggy, knee length breeches, cotton shirt and vest. She figured she could pass for a younger boy, as long as she didn’t keep her eyes open very wide, and her chest in. Thankfully, she hadn’t grown that much in those regions.
About an hour passed, but Kaylee still hadn’t caught sight of the Palace, and was growing worried. Stopping at a stall that sold fruits, she asked the well-rounded man behind the counter, “In what direction would I take to get to the Palace?” She attempted to keep her voice low and confident, like a male’s would be.
He stuck out a finger down the road. “Well, take this street till you pass a corner store that sells only sweets, you’ll find it easy, only kids are there. Take a left, then at the first street take a right, it’ll wind around till you can see the Palace and find the rest of your way.” He said a bit gruffly. “Can’t interest you in some fruit could I, young sir?” He asked her hopefully.
“Ah…no, but thank you for the directions.” She turned before he could say anything else, and walked quickly down the street, bending her way around carts and donkeys and horses.
She could feel her face begin to sweat a little when she found the candy store the man had talked of. It made even her mouth water, all that sweet food in one store, but she kept her mind firm on her destination, and turned left as the man had told her. Mercifully, the buildings on one side of the small street shadowed over it, giving a little relief to the sun, as it neared late morning. She could see the street she was supposed to turn on a ways down the alley, when a gruff hand grabbed her from behind, and pushed her against the wall.
She tried to scream, but the man had pressed a wad of something nasty in her mouth, and try as she might, she could do little but gag, another hand had been pressed over her eyes. He held her in place by the force of his solid body, she could feel it as his hip jammed into her abdomen, and she gasped, there was no doubt she was going to get a bruise there.
The man was large, very tall, and built like a boulder, with wide shoulders, and thick legs. His face was mostly covered, and he kept it in the shadows as he spoke, “I know you ain’t no boy. Now, why don’t you come with me, like a good little girl, hmm?” His voice purred in her ear, and she shivered, breathing fast.
She shivered, trying to stay calm, and tried to break away, kicking her feet out, but kicks did little good against a rock. He smashed her up against the wall with his hip again, his voice evil, “A rough one, eh? I like ‘em rough...I think you need to come with me pretty thing.” She felt him trying to feel her up, and tried her best to squeeze sideways, but he only grabbed her, tying her hands with something, a rag or piece of cloth it felt like, and the gag was tied over her mouth securely. He roughly shoved her forward, keeping his hand around her head and over her eyes, forcing her to go with him no matter how she twisted, ducked and turned. She felt the air change, and guessed they had entered some small alleyway that smelt a bit like trash or unclean people. It also got darker, and she tripped, falling forward as he pushed her up stairs, cursing as he picked her up, swatting her head unmercifully. “Listen to me wench, or I’ll do more’n beat you. I told you, stairs! Now, here’s four more.” He shoved her up those as well, and she tried not to stumble, or cry.
She was past panicking, she was a bit numb, in shock over what had happened to her, and she felt him lead her into a house, and lock the door, where she was shoved into a pile of something soft that groaned with many voices. “Stay there. I’ll be back later, and you’re first.” He threatened her, and she heard the door shut again, and lock from the outside, before she dared to open her eyes.
The room was dark, with molding wooden walls reinforced with concrete from the outside. There were four windows, one in each wall. The windows were at the very top, a foot wide and maybe five inches tall, and covered in broken glass. The only animal that could have possible survived in there were rats, or cockroaches, and the only thing they would be able to smell if they tried, was fear; total and insane fear. It emanated from the seven girls, huddled on the floor, all beautiful, thin, and afraid. Kaylee huddled in a corner away from them, staring at them, and they stared back, just as wide-eyed and suspicious. The gag was still stuffed in her mouth, and her hands tied, or she might have tried to move.
Finally, one girl, obviously a foreigner with her fair, barely tanned skin, and hair that flowed to her waist like honey, stood up and eyed Kaylee with her big green eyes. Her voice was soft, and she didn’t move her mouth much as she spoke, in an almost whisper with a decidedly English accent. “I’m Mary, don’t worry, I won’t hurt you, I just want to take the rags off of you.” She moved over toward Kaylee, who held herself stiff as the girl untied the knots with a barely felt touch, and pulled the gag out of her mouth.
Kaylee retched, spitting out a piece that had been stuck, still tasting the feel of soiled rag in her mouth. Finally she sat back on her knees, and in a small voice said, “Thanks…I’m Kaylee… do you know where we are?” She asked cautiously, looking at the other girls.
Mary shook her head, and one of the other girls replied quietly. “I’ve been here the longest…almost two weeks. Whoever that man is, who kidnapped us - I’m guessing you were kidnapped by the same man as all of us - he runs this place. It’s like a whorehouse… He takes girls off the streets and keeps them here, and sells them to other men for a night. Then we’re blindfolded, and we stay blindfolded until we return here, and the man who buys us gets to do whatever he wishes…no matter if we want to or not. He doesn’t care what condition we’re returned in.” She shivered, wrapping her thin arms around herself, one arm revealed a bruise that looked much like a man’s hand prints. “Oh, and I’m Reyelle.” She had brown wavy hair and big brown eyes, with luminous pale skin.
Kaylee shuddered. That was exactly what her mom had warned her about, getting kidnapped by strange men on the streets. And she had thought that dressing as a boy would stop all that. “So have you ever been…paid for?” She asked the girl.
“Twice…” She replied softly, looking down as if ashamed at herself.
They sat in silence for a few moments, when there was a loud ruckus at the front door, and there’s was a man’s shout of, “You whore!” Their door was thrown open and a dark shadow bowled into the room, it didn’t fall over as Kaylee had done, immediately it was up, ramming into the quickly shut door with a loud crash, yelling incomprehensible dirty phrases at the man.
Nobody wanted to go near her, as she rammed her shoulder against the door, again and again, finally she stopped and turned slowly around, breathing lightly, she asked, “Who else is in here?” She sounded defensive, and despite the fact she had a blindfold on her eyes and her hands tied behind her back, she looked very formidable.
It was Mary who answered her, “There are eight of us, including you. If you’ll let me, I’ll take all that off you, so you can see.” Mary said cautiously. They had all huddled in a corner at the arrival of the other.
“You do that.” The girl replied, turning around and showing her hands. Mary’s soft footsteps weren’t heard, and the girl flinched when Mary touched her. The rags were soon off, and the girl turned around.
She was built along the lines of a blacksmith, thick waist and legs, strong and stout. She hard rich, thick black hair that went halfway down her back after being tied in a band. Her skin was dark, like most Africans, and she had wide flashing eyes that were full of anger and hate. There was no doubt about her beauty, as it was with most of them.
She wasn’t shy either, “Where am I? And what’re all you doin’ here?” She asked, looking them over.
“He kidnapped us, he sells us, for a night, to any man who wants us. Who’re you?” Reyelle said, and looked like she was going to say more when the girl interrupted her again.
“Call me Zaer. So why don’t none of you escape? I ain’t planning’ on bein’ no man’s sex slave.” She said loudly, crossing her arms under ample bosom defiantly.
“I’ve tried, I’m not as strong as you though, and that man’s bigger than an ox, there’s no way I’d get past him.” Reyelle told her.
|6 Sep 2004|| Artemis Heart|
Oh and congrats on Mod's Choice (I'm unusually forgetful tdoay, sorry). Once again I must say that I loved the story and as said by D Joelle it had a certain fairy tale sweetness that made it absolutely irresistible, but I must go read part two now.We're all forgetful some days.
Never fear, thankyou so much for reading it! I will certainly go and look for those "repeated words" you spoke of and see if they bother me as well
Thanks so much for commenting!
|6 Sep 2004|| Artemis Heart|
Another excellent piece, there were a few technical errors, but on the whole it was a lovely piece. The description was particularly good, although a few words were repeated throughout the text, although that's a personal opinion not necessarily shared by anyone else. The story took a very interesting turn...so I'm just going to go read part two now. Well done, I loved it!
|28 Sep 2004|| Veronica|
I like this story, it was interesting, im also gonna read part 2 to see what happens to the girls. Bye!!!!!
Thankyou! I hope you like part two just as well!
|19 May 2006|| Hannah A. Ringler|
"His presence somehow domineered her"
I think dominated might be a more correct word here. And also, if you brush your hair that much, it'll be so split that it'll look like straw. Trust me on this one. I tried once, when I had really long hair, and the results weren't so hot.
Other than that, love the story! I'm going to go read the next parts now. Bye!
|30 Apr 2008|| Libby -Sempai- Chapman|
Oh, my gosh!!! More more!!! ^^
|1 May 2008|| Katie whitephoenix Barnes|
that was so good, finish writing it
|28 Jun 2008|| Johanna Livtko|
please, please, please, please, please, please finish it!!!!!!!!!
|1 Jul 2008|| Kirsten Joryn Martinez|
This was very interesting not what the title implied but I liked it. Well Done
|3 Jul 2008|| AlpineBob|
This is not "wrong", but it does strike me as awkward. I’m not sure if you mean her country or her house.
I’ve heard of native land or home land, but native home? Would that be a teepee or something?
"pull out the pins out of"
I think one "out" (the second, by preference) would suffice...
"one corner, instead of making a ninety degree angle, it was rounded, and had window set in it at the perfect height"
First "it" should be removed. Put an "a" before window.
This is an engaging character, and I like her. Your writing is pretty good, typo’s aside.
I would recommend you get a friend to edit your stuff, just to find stuff like this.
Better yet, get an enemy. (An honorable enemy, like, say, a brother.)
An enemy can be ruthless with your hard work, and when you put back together the ribbons that it’s been left in, your prose will be all the stronger for the experience.
|3 Jul 2008|| AlpineBob|
"floatingly up the stairs"
don’t need a ’ly’ to come floating up the stairs...
But that’s as far as i’m going. Get thee to an editor!
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