A short story based on Sleeping Beauty. Comments would be much appreciated


1. Slumber

I see her first when I am visiting Gran in hospital. It all happens because of a simple mistake - confusing the numbers 76 with 67.
She is lying on a bed, her breathing is deep yet quiet. She has a spiky purple fringe, a silver nose stud. There is a unicorn tattooed on her right collarbone. It is beautiful, colourful and most likely illegal. Just by her face, I can tell she is about 13. 14 at most. Alarm bells ring in my head, over and over. That's the right age for you, Leo.
A nurse enters the ward and smiles at me.
"Friend or relative?", she asks.
"Neither", I shake my head, "I just got lost".
I tell her Gran's ward number, and she starts giving me an animated set of directions on how to get there. I'm not really listening though, I already know where Gran is. Like I said, just a simple case of confused numbers.
After a while, the nurse seems to catch on.
"You aren't really listening, are you?", she says.
"I am, its just..."
"You want to know what happened, don't you?", she says, a huge grin spreading across her face, as though she'll say anything to make me listen, and be perfectly happy, "Well... She was in a car crash. And now she's in a coma. Don't worry, her family are ok. Her mum and dad have a few badly broken bones, but they'll heal. Her little sister was left almost unscathed, her doctor thinks it was probably the car seat protecting her. Its just this beauty, Rori, I think she's called, who we're worried about. Her chances of waking up... Well, its a 40/60 situation, and its not the way round you want it to be."
For some reason, I completely detach myself from the whole trauma of it and am left with only the thought of wow, this woman likes to talk.
I am soon on my way to Gran's ward. My first meeting with Rori is over.

The second time I find myself in Rori's ward is under very similar circumstances, only this time my ending up there is anything but an innocent mistake. I soon began to remember the nurse's unnecessary monologue relaying the welfare of Rori's family, not long after I got home from the hospital last time I was here. It has been on my conscience ever since, making me constantly paranoid. I feel like it is highly important Rori wakes up, but I don't know why. All I do know is the crush I have on her is not going to go away any time soon.
I stand in the ward, alone, or so I think. A small girl of about 8 or 9 emerges from the shadows. She smiles and says, as though it is the most natural thing in the world, "When my sister wakes up, you should be her boyfriend".
I almost want to laugh at the absurdity of it. You don't just decide who you're going to date with a snap of the fingers. Although, as the days are passing, the idea of 'love at first sight' is growing on me.
The girl introduces herself as Marcie, and from there on in there is no stopping her chatter. She tells me of all the memories she shares with her sister. Snowball fights, Rori and her parents' shouting matches, that Chinese takeaway they once had for Christmas dinner when Dad burnt the turkey. And most of all she talks of her sisters love of fairytales. How Rori read to Marcie, and will again when she awakens,  all her favourite fables, how she came home from a party one day with that unicorn tattoo, and another one. Its on her stomach and it says Once Upon a Time in old style writing. Apparently her mum didn't say a word to her for a week after that. The last thing she says to me before leaving the ward to go back to see her mum or dad or whoever is that all this is just like Sleeping Beauty, one of Rori's most loved fairytales.
It is then that a theory forms in my head. Its a mad, un-logical plan that makes approximately zero sense. But its a plan nonetheless, and, in my opinion, any plan is worth a try.

The third, fourth and fifth times I am in Ward 67, I fail to carry out my plan. The third, the nurse is there again, fourth her doctor walks in and shoos me right out and fifth I only dare to LOOK inside, as her parents are there, and I fear they won't appreciate the intrusion of an unknown 14 year old boy.
But the sixth time is perfect. Nobody is about. All is quiet. Her heart rate, as usual, is at steady beat. Nothing can go wrong.
I walk over to the side of her bed and take a long, long minute to look at her... Those perfect red lips, her long, shiny hair, her striking cheekbones, her silver nose stud and that unicorn tattoo. The only thing I don't know about her is the colour of her eyes. By this point, I don't really care. She could have eyes the colour of sludge and she would still be beautiful.
I lean in, each second a force in my brain nudges me to go closer. When I am as close as I dare to go I take a deep breath and kiss her. It takes me a few, long seconds to realise.
Realise what?
That she's kissing me back! She sits up a little, and touches my neck gently, pulling me in a little closer. She brakes away for one second to mutter the words: only true love's first kiss shalt break the spell. It is then I notice her eyes. A beautiful, perfect emerald green. She herself is perfect, in every conceivable way. From her her hair to her toes. Or I imagine so anyway. I haven't exactly seen her toes...
And then we are kissing again, and realise I don't care if I'm dreaming, or fantasising, or just going mad. This moment is perfect, whatever it is.

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