By: Lindsay Cummings
The cries pouring out from the room beneath me are nearly unbearable. No matter how long this goes on, I cannot drown it out. I know what their pain means and I know if I try to help them, their destiny will be my own. I hear another bone crack, a muscle tear, another scream ring out. Time moves so slowly that I fear it will stop, leaving me in this hell forever. If only my countrymen knew what I see and hear every day, they may rethink their support for this ridiculous cause. Death fills the air and consumes my thoughts.
Before the screams and before death plagued us, I was excited about our new situation. This palace is unlike anything you could ever dream of. Rooms are covered in embossed gold; beautiful murals by celebrated painters adorn the ceilings, servants fill the hallways. Being born into nobility has always lent itself to a more than pampered existence. When father took his new position we were placed here. A place where I once believed that anything was possible, that the palace’s sheer beauty and its pristine gardens were that of fairytales. I pictured myself being wed in this court and having dinners with my friends.
Now all I want to do is run, to get as far away from here as possible. I dream of escaping what our life has become. But here I stay, all alone in my room, wishing for things to be as they once were. Deep in my heart, I somehow remain hopeful.
I shudder as another scream unleashes from the depths below, wrenching me out of my optimism. Life here has a way of doing just that. I hear his footsteps trudging down the hall, as his speed quickens so does my heart. I jump into bed, thankful I had already dismissed my servant for the evening. I attempt to steady my breathing, hoping he will think I’m asleep. I can’t look at him anymore. His eyes have turned cold like the people he tortures. My door opens slowly and I can feel his eyes on me. He stands above my bed likely hoping for me to stir. He constantly begs me to be the daughter I was before. To show him warmth and love, but I cannot bear it. When I see him, all I see is the pain that surrounds him. I am angry at him for this life we lead. He chose this outcome; he accepted this palace and the title that came along with it.
He turns to walk away but stops to speak as he reaches the door, “You know tomorrow is a big day for us. I know you will make us all proud.”