I open my eyes. Am I in another body?
A thick cotton blanket engulfs my frail body. Above me a maroon canopy is draped on the
tall bed frame to match the blanket, and for some reason I know that this is my room.
The Queen's chambers.
I swing my legs over the side of the bed, allowing the royal blue night gown to graze the
floor. My dark hair falls down my back, as though it was just washed.
Just like my mother's.
Oh God, did someone bathe me?
The room blurs as the dream-like memories come back to me:
My mother was the Queen. . .When I turned sixteen I became Queen. . .David was my
royal guard . . .We grew up together. . .I loved him. . .and now both David and my mother
My head throbs. I never received the memories of the people's bodies I inhabited. I had no
extra information, nothing to guide me and influence my decisions.
Is this my body?
No, it is not real. Do not allow hope. That hope will shatter your dreams.
I clutch the bed frame, digging my trimmed nails into the dark elegant wood to steady
My eyes dart around the room as I examine these familiar surroundings. The room is
beautiful. A high ceiling supports a golden twinkling chandelier; a large dresser is complete
with an extravagant circular mirror, dark brown to match the bed; an even larger wardrobe
that when opened, it has the most beautiful clothing I've ever seen. Silk and satin
fabrics are soft under my grazing fingertips, and the gowns seem to be about my size.
The oversized door opening is just loud enough to pull me from my daze.
"Queen Leilah, lovely to see you awake again," the woman says while stooping into a
low curtsy. "The woman" being Nancy.
She must notice the surprise in my eyes, because her face softens and she adds, "The
doctors said you may not remember a lot at first. It will come back to you soon enough. In
the mean time, you need to meet with the Head of the Royal Guard, Lord Rowan. Do you
remember him, dear?"
I give her a blank stare. Lord Rowan? What kind of name is that? He's probably a chubby
white man who sits and bosses his servants around. I mean, if his
parents didn't think he would turn out that way, why would his name be so stupid? Rowan,
like he's rowin' a--
"Oh.'' Nancy gives a slightly upset frown. "Well, he has been running your country while you
were. . . uhh. . . out of commission. He will explain it all."
She walks to the wardrobe and grabs a dark violet dress made of a velvety material. She
works at getting me into the gown and I squirm as she suffocates me with the corset. "God
gave me the breath of life and you're trying to suck it out with this horrible thing?" I gasp for
air after I manage to squeeze out that sentence. Geez.
Nancy glares at me.
Fine. I examine the dress in the circular mirror while she tightens the bodice some more.
How much will it say about our Empire if headlines are "Death by
corset: The Queen ceases to breathe?" The cloth covers a little over three-fourths of
my arm, and the rest is a lace mesh that flows all the way to the floor with the rest of the
gown. At my waist the dress expands, thanks to the hoop-skirt underneath, and stops
perfectly at my feet. A gold woven belt hangs at my waist, and the same type of material is
wrapped around each of my elbows. The dress is beautiful, but I'm
Nancy is now fixing my hair.
A jeweled comb,that my mother used to wear has half of my hair in an up-do; the rest hangs in curly black ringlets that
lay just below my chest. Nancy is making sure that every strand is perfectly in place.
"Alright, you are all set! One of your ladies will be here shortly to escort you."
"I own people? What kind of place is this?" I asked.
Nancy glares at me once again, "You better watch that tongue. I don't know what has
gotten into you." She sighs. "Anyways, your ladies-in-waiting. They were
appointed your ladies when you were fourteen."
I arch an eyebrow, and simultaneously, there is a slight knock on the door.
For such a small woman Nancy can be quite forceful.
A girl about my age enters. She is a few inches shorter than me, and quite thin. Her fiery
hair is braided back, almost long enough to reach her waist.
"Hello Lei," she says, though I can barely hear her through her curtsy, as her face is facing
"Come with me," she says, extending her stick of an arm. She loops it through mine and we
exit the room.
Please let this be real, I think, finally accepting hope.