Although the moon has been in the sky for several hours, it’s too warm for the children to sleep. They lay in matching brass beds in the large stone room, sweaty and restless in thin white linen pajamas. A few of the younger children whisper and giggle to themselves, but most are simply waiting, staring at the night sky through the high rectangular windows.
Winnie runs her hand along the stones feeling the heat from the day still living inside the granite. When she approaches the room of the children she begins to hum to herself a tune from a long-ago memory. The children shift when she arrives and she allows the song to move through her and out her full pink lips.
“Cold the wind blows through the trees
Cold the wind lives within me.
Cold are voices in the night
Cold are visions lost from sight.”
Her hand moves to her blinded eyes, opaque white with a hint of blue, and she presses her palm into them. Fionn sits up. She wants to say words of comfort to the woman who has taken her in, who cares for all the unforgotten children of the village in her castle on the hill, but she doesn’t have the words. They seem locked within her and she looks across the room to where her best friend Drift sits with his knees tucked up under him. He’s staring at Winnie. They all are.
“Into the village, I dance and sway,
Feeling the coldness melt away.
Into the water, I sink and dive,
Feeling the world around me alive.”
Winnie begins to dance, a slow twirling movement with her arms out. Her sundress, a soft light blue color, twirls around her knees. Her red hair falls from the wooden clip holding it at the top of her head spilling into beautiful ringlets around her oval face. She seems lost in her song, spinning and dancing around the room with a sweet smile on her face. She’s breathtaking.
When she reaches the furthest wall of the room, she stops. Some of the children are sitting up and the little ones are whispering to each other again. Winnie opens a wooden chest and pulls out the purple glass bottle with the little off-white squeeze ball at the end. She turns back to them, smiles warmly, and begins.
“Once upon a time the people of this land lived in a world of changing seasons and peaceful harmony. Each one had its own Queen who presided over it for three months of the year. They took turns ruling, each spreading their own magic over the land.
The May Queen with a giant crown of daffodils upon her head arrived in spring bringing rain showers, dancing breezes, and colorful blooming flowers. She called the birds to sing and the rabbits to run.
The Sunshine Queen dressed in shades of brilliant orange arrived in summer bringing darting dragonflies, longer days, and sparkling waters. She called the melons to ripen and the bumble bees to buzz.
The Leaf Queen dressed in a flowing willow gown arrived in autumn bringing crisp cool air, swirling winds and turning the land to shades of brown. She called the pumpkins to swell and the leaves to fall.
The Snow Queen with glittery long white hair arrived in winter bringing biting coldness, sharp icicles, and fields of crystal white snow. She called the bear to sleep and the hearth to be lit.”
Although Fionn and the other children hear this story every night, it always enchants them. They don’t move, mesmerized by her words, captivated by a world that seems at once make-believe and real. Winnie lowers her voice now, saying the next part in almost a whisper.
“All of this changed when the Snow Queen became jealous. Feeling left out and angry, she locked the other Queens into tiny cells within her icy palace. She cursed the lands, her wrath spreading like a virus, leaving the people to suffer through wars, plague, and famine. The natural tranquility and balance of the world transformed into chaos and selfishness.”
Winnie spins in a circle holding the purple bottle out in front of her with extended arms. She dances as she finishes up the story, singing the last part with a voice as soft as the water lapping the shore of the lake. The children all sit up now.
“Still, to this day, the Queens remain locked away in the Snow Queen’s icy palace awaiting children of pure hearts to rise up and heal the lands. You, my sweet ones, are those children! You are the ones we have been waiting for. Your kindness, warmth, and love are all we need to rid the world of the Snow Queen’s infectious curse. You, my darling little children of the land, will free us all!”
Overcome with joy the children clap. They always clap. Winnie takes a small bow and giggles. Fionn and Drift, older than the rest, smile across the room at each other. They no longer believe in Queens or curses, but remember how good it felt to think love could heal the world and save them from the harshness of reality.
“Now it’s time to rest little ones,” Winnie says. “Lay down.”
Starting with the first bed, she walks down the line, kissing the forehead of each child and then spraying them with a fine mist of fresh lavender water. She whispers “sweet dreams” and “you are loved” to each child. Fionn watches the little ones curl into a ball with a smile on their faces and fall asleep almost instantly.
Feeling tears ache behind her tired eyes, Fionn shifts from side to side. She waits until Winnie leaves and she’s certain all the children are asleep before allowing herself to cry. Drift crosses the room and quietly slips in beside her. He wraps his thin arms around her pulling her close. They both have the same shade of brown hair, but while Fionn has dull green eyes, Drift’s are a brilliant blue.
Despite the heat, they cling to each other—the misery passing between them without the need for words. They’ve had to bury a few of the small ones lately because they got heat sick and they couldn’t get them cool. The truth is far bleaker than any bedtime story.
The windmills don’t move anymore. The cypress trees have shriveled and fallen. The temperatures keep rising and rising. The cooling waters of the lake are receding, and when they dry up, no amount of hope and love will save them. The young teenagers hold each other until exhaustion dries their tears and they fall into a dreamless sleep.
The children rise with the sun, as they do each day. After eating a quick breakfast of dried fruit and nuts, they hike to the lake. Winnie, despite having no vision, leads the way with the youngest child tied to her back with a winding piece of white cotton. They are almost to the water when the sound of hooves on the hard-packed ground makes them stop.
“What’s that?” Winnie asks.
“A man on horseback,” Fionn says.
“He’s headed right for us,” Drift says.
A golden-red horse, its coat shining bright as the sun, gallops toward them leaving a trail of dust behind it. The rider pulls the reins and suddenly stops in front of them. He’s a large man with a shiny bald head, a round fat belly, and a fluffy red beard sprinkled with golden flecks of light.
He laughs and slides off a saddle of polished dark leather flinging a huge red velvet sack onto his shoulder. He seems unfazed by the heat standing in shiny black boots, red pants, and a matching red jacket lined with white fur. There are thick gold rings on every finger.
Fionn and Drift feel ripples of unease circling around them. This man and his presence endanger them all. They inch closer together and protectively stand holding hands in front of Winnie and the other children.
“Who goes there?” Winnie calls.
“My lady,” the man says. “I’m Arki. I was told of the blind woman of unspeakable beauty who lives by the lake with the children of the land and I see their descriptions of you fall terribly short. You are the goddess of my dreams and I bow to you and bring gifts.”
Winnie blushes as she unwinds the long piece of fabric from around her waist, pulls the toddler from his spot on her back, and sets him on the hot ground. He begins to cry. Fionn rushes forward and scoops the blonde boy into her arms soothing him with soft kisses on his warm head. Arki’s eyes are dull and grey. His lips are small and tight.
There’s an odd look on Winnie’s face as she lets the fabric fall in a heap on the ground and smoothes out her soft blue sundress with both hands, stepping toward the stranger. Arki bows before Winnie, beaming at her. Drift wants to yell “she’s blind and can’t see you” but a worried look from Fionn stops him.
Arki winks, setting down the velvet sack on the ground in front of him, and pulls out bags of candy, bottles of sugary drinks, and toys. He hands them to the children who rush forward grabbing greedily at the presents. The man laughs and his belly shakes. Drift grabs Fionn’s hand again, squeezing it tight and pulling her closer to him.
“What’s happening?” Winnie asks Drift.
He tells her of the gifts, of the man’s huge stature, and adds a bit about how he looks “untrustworthy.” Winnie doesn’t seem to be listening. She walks closer and closer to the man. There’s something enchanting about him she doesn’t understand—a pull that feels at once magical and comfortable. She feels him deep inside her bones. When she reaches out and touches him, the man holds his hand to his heart and stumbles back three steps.
“Warda,” Arki says in a whisper. “My love.”
“Her name is Winnie,” Fionn says.
Winnie says nothing, but the name Warda rings through her like a bell— both wrong and right. The connection is unmistakable and irresistible. She sways and finds she can barely stand. Electric sparks shoot through her body taking over. She’s not in control but doesn’t care. To surrender to him feels as natural as breathing. To be his is all she’s ever wanted.
No words are spoken as the two adults circle each other, a sort of imperial dance of old passing between them. The children watch as the woman they know and love seems to fall away from them in an instant. Arki pulls Winnie to him, sweeping her off her feet. They dance to music only they can hear as the children watch with fear and confusion.
After a few minutes, Arki pulls Winnie onto his horse, swinging her into place behind him. She wraps her arms around his thick waist and nuzzles her face into the fur of his big coat. The children watch with wide eyes as the horse lunges forward at full gallop toward the castle on the hill. She doesn’t look back or call out to them.
Fionn and Drift lead the other children to the water and keep them safe during the heat of the day. They kiss the little ones’ cheeks and tell them it will all be okay. They keep them cool and feed them jam and bread for lunch. They hold their tiny hands and sing songs with them. When it’s time to return to the castle the teenagers feel the last beautiful drops of childhood melt away from them. They are in charge now and they are in real danger.
In the days to come, the children do their best to stay clear of the strange and powerful man who has taken over their home and their Winnie. There’s little doubt he’s a supernatural being, a larger-than-life monster who commands them to either fetch things for him or stay away. His fiery voice thunders at all times through the stone walls and the children grow more and more hopeless.
They rarely see Winnie, but when they do, she’s unrecognizable in fire-red dresses of silk with thick gold necklaces of bright, fat rubies. Her hair has grown longer and turned a light caramel color. She drinks golden goblets of wine and lounges by the empty hearth on piles of furs. There are no more bedtime stories. No more kisses or lavender water. No more talking to her at all. She’s become Arki’s lover, Warda.
As days turn into weeks, Fionn and Drift know they must do something. On a cloudy night, after the other children have fallen asleep, they sneak on bare feet through the castle to spy on the couple. They find Winnie sleeping alone on a pile of furs before the empty hearth. Rushing to her, they grab her shoulders and shake her.
“Winnie! Please, Winnie. Wake up! Please! We need you!”
No matter how hard they try, shaking her and pleading, she doesn’t stir. The sound of Arki’s booming voice causes them both to jump. They follow the sound and find Arki standing naked in the bright moonlight. He throws back his head, howls at the sky, and runs toward the lake.
The children follow him, running as fast as they can to keep up and stop behind a muddy boulder near the shoreline. They watch him walk into the lake until he’s standing with the water to his chest. He begins to drink. It’s not like a normal person, cupping water into their hands and sipping. No. This is something else entirely.
He thrusts his head under the water and sucks and sucks. He doesn’t come up for air, but rather continues to drink as the water around him begins to pull from the shore. He’s draining the lake! He’s the reason the water pulls away more and more each day. The children have to cover their mouths to not scream as he finally stands, the water now around his shins.
Heat radiates from him in ripples causing the ground around them to crack further and the boulder to become so hot they are forced to inch away from it. Arki walks out of the water pressing his large hands together forming a ball of fire he plays with, tossing it up and catching it before throwing it at one of the few remaining trees. It burns bright in the dark night.
Fionn and Drift don’t move or speak long after Arki has disappeared back toward Winnie and the castle on the hill. They watch the tree until there’s nothing left but a pile of glowing ash.
“What are we going to do?” Fionn says.
She’s crying now. Drift tries to pull her to him but she pushes him away. Despair feels thick around her, like a heavy golden chain tightening around her throat. She pounds her fist on the hard ground.
“What can we do?” Drift says.
“We have to do something! He’s a monster! We will die if we don’t do something. The children will die. We can’t let him do this. There has to be a way. There has to be.”
There’s silence for a minute before Drift speaks. His voice is quiet and hesitant, a tiny whisper against the dark.
“We could go into the tunnels.”
Fionn shudders at the idea. Long ago Winnie warned them to stay away from the tunnels under the castle because they are unstable and hold the heat. They both know most of the old things are down there, covered in ancient dust, and perhaps answers. They look at each other and nod. It’s the only way.
The entrance to the tunnels is blocked by a heavy wooden desk in the old library. The books were burned long ago by invaders along with Winnie’s family. She couldn’t make it to the fortified tower in time, but she survived by hiding in the tunnels for weeks, eating old bottles of jam, and drinking wine. The children know this because they once found her weeping in the library when they should have been asleep. It was the one time she told them of the past.
“I don’t like to talk about it,” she told them. “You children are the hope for the world. Remember that. Yes, there are bad people and bad things. Bad things happen to us but we don’t have to let them define us. We can still be good. We can still be kind. Don’t ever forget that.”
Fionn and Drift don’t like to break rules, but they know what must be done. They brace their feet against the wall and press their backs into the hulking desk. It moves slowly inch by inch and they pause every few minutes to listen for the sound of Arki or Winnie. It’s a long time before the small door of light wood is fully exposed. The pair hold hands and stand before it, already tired from the effort.
“Winnie isn’t herself,” Fionn says. “So it’s not wrong. Right? We have to do this.”
“Sometimes you have to break the rules to save others. We have no other choice.”
“I hate this.”
Holding hands they enter the tunnel and shut the door behind them. It’s pitch dark and they both wish they’d thought to bring some kind of torch with them. Fearing the naked Arki they saw at the lake and what will happen with the water is gone, they let go of each other’s hands and use the wall to guide them down the spiraling stone steps.
The further they go the hotter and thicker the air becomes. By the time they reach the bottom of the stairs, they have become drenched in sweat and have bright red faces. Both feel as if they are ill with high fevers. A small light far off to their right suddenly appears. It’s bright after so much darkness and they reach for each other’s hands at the same time. Both of them are shaking.
Unsure if they are seeing things, they inch toward the light, staying so close their shoulders and knees bump into each other. They find a small metal torch with a bright yellow flame sitting in a shiny brass holder. They spin around looking for who may have lit it, but don’t see or hear anyone.
“This is weird,” Drift says.
“Maybe we should go back.”
“Back to what? We need to find answers and we already took the risk and came down here. There’s no other choice. We can’t keep doing nothing.”
“I know, but I don’t like any of this.”
Fionn doesn’t either but she pulls the torch down anyway and holds it out in front of her. She’s about to ask what direction they should go when her hand is pulled sharply to the left, toward the entrance of another tunnel. It’s a terrifying feeling, but after what she’s seen Arki do, it feels as if she doesn’t have any other choice but to go with it. Something is guiding her and she’s choosing to believe it wants to help.
“This way,” she says without explaining the weird pulling sensation to Drift. She hopes she’s right to trust whatever this is.
The path slopes downward and they follow the torch as it guides them through turn after turn, deeper and deeper into the maze of tunnels. There’s little to see besides empty stone walls and locked metal doors until they reach a completely round room. There are two striped armchairs set before a roaring fire, an enormous red and blue faded rug, and a small table. It’s cozy and strange.
“Whoa,” Fionn says.
They spin around expecting someone to be there, but find they are alone. Fionn places the torch into an empty holder by the door and turns to find Drift standing before the fire staring up at an enormous oil painting of a woman. As Fionn gets closer she can see the painting closely resembles Winnie, only this woman’s features are slightly more angular with thinner lips and a pointer nose. She’s sitting on a chair covered in white furs while wearing a bright-red silk dress. Her golden brown hair falls in glossy ringlets down to her waist. There’s a strange smile on her face which looks like she might be slightly in pain.
Drift suddenly gasps and points at the bottom of the elaborate golden frame. Fionn jumps.
“Look!” he says. “There’s a name on the plaque below it.”
“Yes, the name Arki keeps calling Winnie. He must think she’s her or something. That has to be a clue. Right?”
“I guess…it’s definitely weird and spooky…as if this woman has taken over Winnie.”
“Exactly like that.”
Fionn and Drift stare at the painting in silence. There’s an odd coolness to this room despite the roaring fireplace and the heat of the tunnels. It would be refreshing if they weren’t so scared. They sit down in the chairs thinking and staring into the fire—neither has seen one except for occasionally in the kitchens when Winnie makes them stew. This one feels different and they wonder what kind of magic led them here and what this new information about Warda means. How can they free Winnie? How they can get rid of Arki? It feels impossible.
On the table between the chairs are two things; a box tied closed with a piece of leather wound around it several times and a handwritten note on yellowing paper. Drift leans closer and reads it out loud without touching it.
“My dearest Arki,
I’m sorry I can’t do it anymore. My heart has seen the darkness of the world and I can’t unsee it. Do not look into the mirror. Do not let it out into the world. I tried to destroy it, but it would not burn and it would not break. I wish I could stay with you forever, but my heart is broken and can’t be mended. I shall enter the water of the lake and never return.
Please forgive me,
They stare at the box and imagine the mirror must be inside. Both shrink back from it and sit staring silently at the fire for a few minutes. Fionn is the first to speak, her voice quiet and careful.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
“We look in the mirror?”
“Are you crazy?”
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding!”
“This is no time for jokes.”
“I know. Sorry. We use the mirror, right?”
“We get Arki to look into it. Whatever happened to Warda may happen to him and…if it does…Winnie might be free.”
“Wait..he definitely knows about the mirror? He would, right? I mean…if Winnie is Warda.”
“Yeah. I guess so…we will have to trick him.”
“Trick him? Maybe…but I don’t know. It all seems so confusing. If Warda killed herself then why has she returned and taken over Winnie?”
“And who left this room for us to find?”
And guiding the touch, she thinks. They sit for a moment pondering these questions when the face of a small girl appears in the fire. At first, they both think they can’t be seeing what they are seeing, but there’s no denying it when she begins to speak. Her voice is echoey and soft.
“Use the mirror and save us all,” the voice says.
Fionn notices the girl has the same features as Warda and a thought occurs to her. Is this her child? Is this why Winnie has told them the story over and over that they will save everyone? How do they fit into all this? She leans forward and speaks to the strange floating face.
“Who are you?”
“My parents once ruled this castle, but they were not good people. You must stop them. If you don’t, they will rise again and again and these walls and this land shall never be free.”
Drift jumps up and almost yells in excitement at some kind of understanding. It’s unbelievable, yes, but it makes sense. The spirits of this girl’s parents haunt these lands. They have to stop them!
The face smiles, nods, and fades away. They sit for a few minutes both lost in thought of the other children, of Winnie, and of the journey still before them. At the same time, they rise, bumping into each other and laughing.
“We get Arki to look into the mirror,” Drift says.
“Then the curse will be broken and Winnie will return to herself.”
“Easy as pie.”
They give each other a short, awkward hug which turns into giggles. Drift tucks the box under his arm and Fionn grabs the torch and lets it guide them back through the maze until they reach the wooden door at the top of the stairs. They listen for a few minutes with their ears pressed against the wood, and after hearing nothing, open the door slowly. There’s no sign of Winnie or Arki. They did it.
Leaving the torch in a bracket at the tunnel entrance, they enter the quiet library and ease the door closed behind them. They decide to put the desk back so the smaller children don’t accidentally find the tunnels. It’s hard work, made worse by how tired and scared they both are. Once done, they make their way through the silent house creeping around corners until they reach the kitchen. They drink and drink from the small indoor well until some strength returns to their tired bodies.
“Tomorrow?” Drift whispers.
“Now,” Fionn whispers back. “Look!”
She points out the small window of the kitchen at the sun beginning to rise in the sky. The children will be waking soon. They will need to get them to the water. The time is now.
They race through the castle searching room after room and find no sign of either Winnie or Arki. They run outside and through the once beautiful grounds searching behind bushes and in the tiny dilapidated gazebos. A terrible wet, raspy sound echoes through the dead garden and they follow it until they find a man and a woman lying naked side by side at the bottom of an old fountain.
“I don’t like this,” Drift says.
“Me either,” Fionn says.
The woman’s got long stringy grey hair and her wrinkled body is covered in tiny burn marks. The man beside her looks to be hundreds of years old. A fragile, frail form of dust and smoke. Fionn screams as the man rises slowly to his feet. It’s not until they see his grey eyes that they realize it’s Arki.
“What are you doing here?” Arki says in a wheezy, ancient voice that makes him sound like the wind.
He’s moving toward them, aging in reverse, growing younger and fatter within moments. The red suit appears with a flash of fire and he holds his hands out in front of him. Drift jumps in front of Fionn.
“Stay back,” he says.
The man laughs, the fake jolliness of it gone now. It’s a horrible sound and both the children scramble back. Fionn fumbles with the leather holding the box as Drift grabs a large rock and holds it up in front of him.
“What are you going to do little boy? Are you going to throw a rock at me? I’ve lived hundreds of years and defeated men far greater than you. You have nothing on me. ”
The fireball they saw him conjure in the lake has appeared again and he tosses it back and forth in front of him. Winnie, as Warda, stirs but doesn’t climb out of the stone fountain. She looks at them with unseeing eyes and moves her head from side to side.
“Hey,” Fionn calls. “Over here!”
A few things happen at once. First, Drift lunges at Winnie pressing her back into the fountain. Second, Arki spins around and releases his fireball which misses Fion’s head by inches, crashing into the stone wall behind her leaving a charred black circle. Third, Fionn holds the golden mirror with both hands in front of her and Arki looks into it.
At first, nothing happens. Fionn closes her eyes and holds the mirror steady for what feels like minutes. Nobody makes a sound or moves until suddenly Arki growls and lunges at the mirror. He grabs it and within seconds it fuses to his hand. He runs from them screaming toward the lake, a fiery light glowing around him, heat blasting out in all directions.
Drift stands revealing the writhing and crying form of Winnie/Warda beneath him. The other children appear blinking and rubbing their eyes in the morning light. They cry out when they see Winnie in fear and confusion. A horrible scream followed by blasts of hot air explodes around them—Arki! Fionn scoops up the blond-haired toddler and Drift drapes the ancient form of Winnie/Warda across his left shoulder.
“Follow me,” Fionn says. “We need to get to the tower.”
They race into the castle and up the winding staircase of the fortified tower—the place generations of Winnie’s family used when war came to their doors. The children huddle together in the corner around the writhing form of Winnie, while Fionn and Drift stand on wooden crates to peer out the small stone window.
Arki stands in the center of the lake swollen up to more than ten times his normal size—a terrifying giant of a man. He’s still holding the golden mirror, they can see it glittering small in the palm of his enormous hand. He’s screaming and crying, growing and growing in size.
“Warda!” he cries. “My love!”
With one final bellow, the swollen form of Arki explodes, turning into a tidal wave of water. It rushes across the land, refilling the lake, and slamming loudly against the tower only a few inches from the windows where Drift and Fionn stand. The tower doesn’t move or quake—it remains strong as ever.
Winnie, returning to her beautiful self in a flash, pulls the children to her trying to hug and kiss them all at once. Blasts of cold air fill the tower dancing through the children’s hair and blowing their clothes away from their bodies. Everyone giggles and jumps to their feet—the horrible heat is gone!
“You did it, my loves,” Winnie says. “You saved us all. I knew you would. I just knew it. I’m so proud of you.”
Her words feel cooler than the wind blowing through the windows and warmer than the hottest of days. When the excitement fades, Winnie sits on the floor as the sunlight streams in, casting everything in a golden yellow light. She starts to tell them a new story.
“Once upon a time, a woman fell in love with a creature of the sun named Arki. Their love burned bright and beautiful, blessing the lands with joy and prosperity. On the day of their wedding, a day filled with light and warmth, the Snow Queen arrived in her white chariot to give the bride a golden mirror. She told her to look into it on the day her first child was born and it would bless the child with a long, healthy life.
The years went by and the woman forgot about the mirror until the day she gave birth to a striking baby girl with hair red as the sun. She named her daughter Willa and as she held her tight she remembered the mirror. That night, alone in her room while her baby slept in her cradle, she gazed at its shimmery surface.
The mirror was a curse—a gift given out of jealousy and anger. Instead of showing the new mother a vision of her daughter’s happiness, it showed her all the evil and darkness of humanity. What she saw within the glass broke her heart into a million pieces.
Arki tried to patch her back together, but he could not. On the day of her daughter’s first birthday, she drowned herself in the lake. Arki found her body and wept and wept. His sadness turned into anger and he burst into flames blinding the firstborn of all the children thereafter, trapping the land in perpetual summer, and sending him back into the sun.”
Stopping and wiping the tears from her eyes she grabbed the hands of Drift and Fionn. She looked and smiled at the children making sure to make eye contact with each one. Pulling the littlest one into her lap she finished the story.
“Many, many years later the castle was filled with children. Beautiful, loving, kind children who brought it back to life despite the curse. Guided by the spirit of Willa they were given the mirror and they used it to free the kingdom forever. It was because of these children the people of her lands lived happily ever after with peace and love in their hearts.”
The children clapped. They always clapped. Winnie giggled.
It took a few days for the water to recede, but the tower was stocked with plenty of food, water, and blankets. For the first time in their lives, the children slept cuddled together clinging to the warmth they’d spent their lives cursing. They played games, they told stories, and they dreamed.
When they were able to step outside they found the sky darkened with grey clouds. The windmills spun. Tiny flecks of white fluttered around them, sticking to their hair and collecting in little piles on the ground. The littlest one among them jumped from Winnie’s arms and shoved the icy snowflakes into his mouth.
“Do you think the Snow Queen freed the other queens?” Fionn asked, throwing the tiniest of snowballs at Drift. She believed all the stories now.
“Absolutely,” he said, catching it and shoving it into his mouth.
Author’s note: Last week I watched the new Thor movie and there’s a powerful scene in the film which brought me to tears. Without giving anything away, it involves children fighting for themselves. I was struck by the power of this image and wanted to play with that a bit in my story this week. Using elements of Hans Christian Andersen’s story of “The Snow Queen,” and other fairy tales I’ve loved throughout the years, I created this new story. This was perhaps the most fun I’ve had writing in the last 28 weeks and I truly hope you love it as much as I do. Let me know what you think!
Short Story Challenge | Week 28
Each week the short stories are based on a prompt from the book “Write the Story” by Piccadilly, Inc. This week’s prompt was to write about getting away with murder. We had to include Snow Queen, windmill, tunnel, childhood, endanger, cypress, wine, horseback, temperature, and imperial.
Write With Us
Prompt: An unexpected visitor shakes things up
Include: tightrope, nightingale, underline, risk, academy, existential, outlook, Friday, gobble, grill
My 52-Week Challenge Journey
- What is the 52-week challenge?
- Week 1: The Heart and the Stone
- Week 2: The Biggest Little Gift
- Week 3: It Bearly Fits
- Week 4: The Claire in Clarity
- Week 5: The Family Tree
- Week 6: Through the Glass Windshield
- Week 7: The Final Goodbye
- Week 8: Sunset, Sunrise
- Week 9: Returning Home
- Week 10: The Water
- Week 11: Aw, Phooey!
- Week 12: Meeting Time
- Week 13: The Old Man
- Week 14: Dani and the Queen
- Week 15: The Golden Muse
- Week 16: Honeymoon Treasure Hunt
- Week 17: The Red-Haired Beauty
- Week 18: Playing Games
- Week 19: One Thing
- Week 20: The Child
- Week 21: The Carrot
- Week 22: Apple Stars
- Week 23: Something in the Water
- Week 24: Midnight Wedding Vows
- Week 25: Chocolate Kisses
- Week 26: The Island
- Week 27: Take Me By the Hand
Excellent story. Good job, Bridgette.
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Thank you so much, Michael. That means so much to me.
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Thank you so much, Luisa! I appreciate you reading it.
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Beautiful and evocative!
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Thank you so much for reading! ❤️
Luscious and lovely! My friend was feeling sad and I suggested she read a story where the child rescued herself and wasn’t rescued by someone outside of herself. Your story was perfect. I hope it was okay to share it. ( properly credited of course)
You and your writing are simply magical my friend. Write On!!
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It’s not only okay, it made my day to think my words might lift someone up and make them feel better. It’s one of the reasons I write-to find stories that dial down into some deeper part of ourselves we can identify with. I’m glad you found this story magical and your support means the world to me! Love you, dear Penny!
I liked it. Well done. Good concept.
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Thank you so much, Greg!
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Yours is talent which will grow with each story you write. Be well.
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What a nice thing to say! Thank you, Jorge.
Your my favorite blogger. I love your stories so much and this one is amazing
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What?! Thank you! Seriously, that means the world to me.
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I’m so glad!
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