"It's a promise she can't keep, her promise to protect me, and part of me already knows it."
My name is Krysta. Krysta Jenna Miles. I'm fourteen, with my fifteenth birthday in two weeks. And what I want most of all, is to go outside.
My parents are obsessive, protective and rich. They obsess over me, making sure that my make-up is perfect, my ebony hair is done up nicely and my clothes compliment my figure. They're rich enough to make this happen. They obsess over my body, making sure that I'm skinny with no traces of fat anywhere on my body, no freckles anywhere and my skin is nearly as pale as the snow that falls in winter. And when I say pale, I mean nearly white.
This is why their pet name for me is "Snow White."
They're protective of me, making sure I barely see the light of day, except through my windows. We have a nice, big, beautiful garden that I'd love to explore, but my parents say that too much sun exposure could ruin my complexion. So I've never been further than the door. I don't even go to school, my parents are rich enough to hire the best tutors they can, the ones that cost the most money.
But all the tutors are snobby, and I hate them all. Every. Single. One. My parents say that the world outside is a cruel, ugly place, and they're protecting me by making my stay in the house. But I don't believe that.
"Good morning, Snow White," my mother says as I walk into the kitchen one morning. "I've made you breakfast." She gestures to a plate on the bench in front of her. Scrambled eggs and bacon on toast, with a glass of apple juice. But there's barely anything on the plate. Little to no fat, as mum always says, I have to look after my body. The few times that I've complained she's gestured to her own body, with huge breasts and a bony waist that she thinks look good.
"Good morning, mother," I say dutifully. "Thank you for the meal."
Mother nods approvingly and indicates that I eat quickly. I do, making sure that I don't spill one crumb. When I've finished, she grasps my wrist with her long, fake nails and drags me off to her en suite to do my makeup and hair for the day. She does my hair, referring to a picture that she got off a movie. I don't know what movie it is, because I'm never allowed to watch anything. I'm never even allowed to read anything that would give me "ideas" about what the "outside world" is like.
When she's finished, she puts me in a dress, that's pale blue and falls to my ankles, before giving me silver slip-on shoes. She pushes me in front of a full-length mirror so admire my reflection. I do look beautiful, but it's all fake. But I smile in an effort to please my mother and she smiles back. "Now," she says. "You're turning fifteen in two weeks."
"I am, mother," I reply.
"What would you like for your birthday, Snow White?" she asks and I look down, gathering up my courage.
Finally, I turn and look into her hazel eyes. "Mother," I say, refusing to let my voice shake, "for my fifteenth birthday gift I would like to go outside."
Mother stares at me like I've ruined her beautiful, extremely-expensive purse. "Why on earth would you ask me that, you silly child?" she shrieks.
"Please, mother," I can hear desperation seeping its way into my voice. "I've never even been into the garden. I just want one day to see what the world is like! If it's a cruel as you and father say it is-"
"Of course it is!" Mother screams. "Why do you think your father and I keep you here? We want to protect you, to keep you safe from the world outside!" Her voice softens as she composes herself. "Krysta Jenna Miles, never even suggest such a thing again. If you go outside, you can get hurt or worse! We just want to keep you safe."
"What's going on?" my father demands as he races into the room. "Honey, what happened?"
Mother races over to my father and throws her arms around him dramatically. "Krysta asked to go outside for her birthday!" she sobbed into Father's shoulder. "She wants to know if the world is as we say..." she trails off as she breaks down.
Father stares at me. "Never ask for that again. You know that the world is a cruel, ugly place. We will never allow ourselves to put you in danger like that. Understand?"
"Yes, father." I bow my head. "I understand. I apologise for asking such a thing."
"Good," father says, his expression softening as he smiled. "Let's try again. What would you like for your fifteenth birthday, Snow White?"
I think hard. Do I want anything else? No. But what could I ask for that would please my parents? I look up again and ask, "Can I have a new dress? One to call my very own?"
Mother stops crying immediately and looks at me, beaming. "Why of course, my darling! Of course!"
"We will find one that looks lovely on you," father says as they both come to embrace me. I return the hug half-heartedly, but they don't seem to notice.
It's been two weeks since then. I am now fifteen. And I have decided that I will go outside, whether my parents like it or not. In my bedroom, just as the dawn light appears over the grass, I slide open my window and climb out, stepping cautiously onto the lush green grass. I carefully close the window behind me. I turn away from the window again, feeling the morning breeze touch my face. Then I walk away from the house, my pace quickening as I gain confidence. Soon I break into a run.
As I run, I weave in and out of the trees in the beautiful garden. Soon I can see the fence that marks the end of the garden. I am eager to reach it, so I go even faster.
But I slip on something, and I crash to the ground. A sharp pain goes through my hand and I gasp. I pull myself up and look at the hand, there is a short cut on my palm, and dark red blood is dropping out of it. I wince at the new pain, as this is something I have only experienced a few times in my life.
Then I realise. My parents were wrong. It's a promise that can't keep, their promise to protect me, and now I know it.