Story 78

“Once upon a time there was a king and there was a queen; they had a little princess. One day the king went for a battle and did not return. People of the kingdom said he was dead, some said he was a prisoner for no one had actually seen him die in the battlefield. It seemed as if he had vanished into thin air.

Years went-by waiting for the king to return, the queen refused to believe that he was dead. The queen took care of the princess single-handedly, played with her and taught her to dance. ‘But the kingdom needs a king’ the throne advisor told her. ‘It has been a long time, all efforts to find the king have gone waste. He is not going to return.’ So, with a heavy heart the queen gave the permission and the search for a new king started. One day the queen decided to go hunting with the princess, set up a camp and do something adventurous for a change. The little princess was very happy. The queen made sure that the princess was heavily guarded. They both rode on horses. The little princess had her own little white pony. The princess saw her mother hunting like she had been doing this for a long time. 

At night, when they had finished their meals and were resting in the tent the queen told the princess that she had done this before; long before the little princess was born. She accompanied the king whenever he went hunting. The queen, upon talking about the king became sad and the little princess could see tears beginning to form in the queen’s eyes. After putting the princess to sleep the queen walked out of the tent and went for a walk to gather her thoughts. She walked farther away from the tent than she had wanted to.”

She stopped when she realized her 6-year-old daughter had already fallen asleep. She kissed the little girl’s forehead and climbed out of the little bed. She watched for a few minutes to make sure her daughter was fast asleep and then she walked out of the room after dimming the lights and keeping the bedroom door slightly open just the way her daughter liked. The little girl was getting used to her new room. It had been difficult for her as well, to let her daughter sleep in a different room. Her boyfriend had insisted that she should have her own room instead of sharing theirs once he had moved in with them. Little adjustments had to be made for a new life to begin. 

Her boyfriend was not at home tonight, she was alone with her daughter. She could have let her daughter sleep in her bed with her but she did not want to change the habit. It was for the best she told herself. After walking out of the bedroom, she walked to the kitchen and placed a tea-pot on the burner. She was aware that her daughter was perhaps too small to be told the kind of story she was going to tell her. Or maybe, she was just telling her a modified version of fairy-tale. Most of the children’s stories told us that there was evil in the world and that evil was destroyed in the end. 

The main reason for her to tell this story to her daughter was to find out something rather than giving out a message or simply telling a bed-time story. This story meant a lot to her; because in a way it was derived from her own life. 

It was a long time ago but it felt as if it was yesterday. She could never really get rid of her past. She still had nightmares of those days. She had been through a lot; she’d been all alone but she had managed to survive. She did not know what she would do if something similar happened to her daughter. She’d perhaps die or kill. She’d never let anything happen to her baby. 

The whistling of the tea-pot shifted her attention back to the present. Tea at this time of the night was not a good idea but anyways she knew she would not be able to sleep. With or without tea, sleep was impossible. She’d not slept properly for past couple of days when she had seen something that had shaken her completely. Her fears had surfaced and she had seen a glimpse of the demon of her past extending its claws towards her little girl. No, she’d never let that happen.

The constant chaos of her mind had led to hammering headache. She walked to the living room and sat on the couch. She took a sip from her tea and rested her head on the edge of the backrest. Staring at the ceiling she thought about her past.

Her father was not a king but he was rich, her mother was a waitress in a café and they had fallen in love with each other; just like it happened in movies. He was on a business trip to her town and they met and fell in love. He got her pregnant and then left town to never return. Her mother never heard from him again. She continued working in the café with a swollen belly. Gave birth to a beautiful little girl and took care of her.

Her mother had raised her single-handedly and had never thought of marrying anyone else until one day she met him – her stepfather. It had happened somewhat like it had happened with the queen in the bed-time story she was telling her daughter. 

Leaving her in the café with her friends, her mother had gone for a walk to clear her head after she had seen him on TV, the man who had left her. She had walked far from the café and onto the deserted highway where a group of bikers had circled around her, scaring her to death. One from the gang who had arrived late had talked to the rest and dropped her at the café. 

They met every day at the café after that. He proposed marriage and her mother accepted it without a second thought. Her mother had explained it to her; how lonely she had been all these years, how she needed someone to take care of her as well. She was her mother and would always be; but she needed to be someone else apart from her mother. 

They got married and her stepfather shifted into their house. Their house was now his house too, their things were his and their food was his food. He rode his bike, roamed around with his friends while her mother worked in the café like she used to, before.

Even as a child, she knew that this was not taking care of someone. Her mother had said she needed someone to take care of her, but she did not see it happening. Her mother still worked hard as she used to. The only difference was instead of two mouths her mother now fed three mouths. Then, one night she saw it.

story continued as story 81.

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