Locked In

This is a darker parody of the well known fairy story of 'Rapunzel.' At age fifteen, Rapunzel has never set foot outside. Her Mother has warned her of the dangers of the outside world, yet she cannot fathom why she would not be allowed outside. Suddenly, the dashing Hans-who is incidentally a Prince-stumbles upon her solitary tower, with promises of mystery and Rapunzel cannot help but follow... This is not your average love story. It's dark, destructive and bloody.

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3. Gothel's return

 

Chapter Two

After finishing my book, I watch the world outside for a while longer. The trees wave in the slight breeze: beckoning me. Some are close enough that it feels like I could just reach out and pluck the shrivelled leaves off them. Autumn is my favourite time of year. The grass seems almost bronzed: the leaves mingling on the ground, the sun duller. I close my eyes, and smell pine. It’s refreshing.

Next, I decide to sweep my tower. It is past noon-the sky is darkening, and soon I know the cover of darkness will fall. I don’t know how I managed to spend the whole day just reading and looking at the view. The broom makes a scratching noise on the floor, which makes me wince. Once it looks like all the dust has been moved, I replaced the woven rugs back to where they belong.

Well aware of the fact that Mother will be home soon, I begin to cook dinner. I begin to prepare the vegetables that Mother left a few days ago; cutting the carrots into perfect cubes and deciding I shall leave them raw. We have pre-cooked chicken, from yesterday, so with a few greens I decide that we shall have cold chicken and vegetables. It’s plain, but Mother says it’s all we can afford. I get two elaborately decorated china plates from the cupboard and put the food down on the table, breathing in the fresh smell of food. I pull out on of the chairs from the table, sitting on the edge of the rickety chair that creaks under my weight. I run my fingers up and down the dry wood table surface, puffing out my breath in boredom. I’m not supposed to start dinner without Mother, but I give in and pick apart one measly slice of bread: chewing as slowly as a carthorse. I stare outside, watching as the stars begin to appear. Night is beautiful.

“Rapunzel! Rapunzel darling, let down your hair!” The musical voice brings me out of my stupor, and I push aside my chair and run to the window. In the darkness, I can just make out Mother leant against a tree that grows near the bottom of the tower. I lean out, craning my neck. The sudden cold makes me shiver.

“Stop gaping Rapunzel, and help me up.” Mother says indignantly, flicking a curly black lock. I nod, “Of course, sorry.”

I gently loop my hair around the hook, bringing my hair around until it is knotted, while enough to reach the ground remains. I throw it down, listening to the dull thump it makes on the ground. I wince a little as Mother grabs a hold and begins to climb her way up the ivy-scaled tower, trying to remain still. Eventually, I walk forward: pulling Mother up the tower. Elegantly, Mother appears in view of the window; my hair looped around her shoulders. I run forward and take one of her cool hands, helping her in the window. Mother undoes my hair from the hook, and I run forward and embrace her. I hear her breath escaping her in a whoosh and let go a little.

Mother holds me at arm’s length; her eyes scanning me. Suddenly, her grey eyes warm. “What’s this all about?” She teases, prising me off her.

“I missed you,” I say bashfully, aware I sound like a child.

“Rapunzel,” Mother says, “I saw you only yesterday.”

“I know, I know…” I blush a deep red. I’m supposed to be convincing Mother I’m ready for the outside world! “I made dinner!” I make a gesture towards the table.

Mother smiles passingly, as if this small piece of information is beneath her. “I already ate.”

“Oh. Well, I am not hungry.” I lie, pushing down the mingled hunger and a smidgen of betrayal.

Mother closes the window by pointing her finger at it: and the tower suddenly gets warmer. Clicking her fingers, my hair is suddenly plaited in a complicated way, just reaching my feet. “Oh, I do hate all that hair around my feet. This is much better.”

“I could cut it,” I say hopefully. I can imagine my hair just reaching my shoulders in a golden wave-it is much more desirable than the state it is in now.

“Oh, no. You know how rare blonde hair is! You must keep it!”

I bite back a retort, smiling. Mother sits down on the one good chair and dotingly I sit across the table from her. “Oh,” Mother blurts, “That reminds me. I got you something today! Go on, check in the bag.” Unable to supress hope and excitement, I run to the bag and delve my hand into it.

I bring out an embossed book: it’s thick and looks very old. Praying it’s my first magic book; that would mean soon I can go outside, I turn it over.

A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing.

My stomach seems to plummet, but I try to smile and thank Mother over and over again. She beams at me: looking extraordinarily beautiful, her glossy curls shining in the light.

“I know you’ve been finding it hard to keep yourself entertained while I’m gone,” Mother explains, “So I found you a new hobby!”

I swallow the tough taste of annoyance. How do I tell her I am not a child, and that I wish to go outside?

I am still a coward; and I quash the part of me that screams for attention. I will wait, for a while longer.

 

 

 

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