Another Fairytale | Teen Ink

Another Fairytale

March 28, 2013
By Anonymous

I am sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair that digs into my back, waiting. A detective was supposed to be coming to talk to me, but it has been over forty minutes and he hasn’t shown. My name is Audrey Beau. I am seventeen years old. I am a witness in the murder of an old woman. I don’t know her name, or her family, or why she was killed. All I know is that I saw something that I was not supposed to see. So here I sit, in protective custody, waiting to tell the story. It feels wrong. It isn’t even my story. Just an act I was unfortunate to lay eyes on.
The door opens and the sound of sobbing reaches my ears. I do not turn around. I don’t want to see the sad faces of her family. Knowing that I could have prevented those tears from falling. My vision starts to blur, so I close my eyes and let sleep take me in its arms.
“Is that her? May I talk to her?” The voice brings me out of my stupor. I stiffen and very slowly turn my chair around. A tall man with dark hair and blue eyes stands before me, his face blotchy but strangely calm. Clutching his hand is a little girl who looks to be around seven years old. Her tear streaked face is angled at the ground and her hand is shaking in her father’s.
“Hello,” I whisper, “What do you want?”
“To talk,” The man says, “My name is Detective Marvel. I am the victim’s son.”
My stomach wrenches at his words. He is working his mother’s case. I don’t want to tell him what I saw of his mom. And I certainly don’t want his daughter to hear. She looks so fragile.
“Oh.” I say. “Do you want to know?” I ask. He gulps but nods firmly, his face set.
“There’s no point,” I tell him, “You won’t believe me. No one will.”
“I don’t care!” His voice rises in hysteria, “I want to know who murdered my mother!”
“Fine. But you have to promise that you won’t send me to a mental hospital, or call a therapist,” I say.
“I promise.” He looks confused at my request, but doesn’t say any more.
I glance at his daughter and frown.
“I can handle it,” she glares at me, “I’m stronger than I look.”
I nod at her and begin my story.
It was a friday night, and my friends and I were going to a masked ball. It sounds weird, but it actually looked cool on the flyer. Everyone was in costume, with glittering diva masks or just plain old halloween ones that covered your face. The first two hours or so, I had a blast. We laughed and danced and people watched. Eventually though, the drinks, which must have been spiked, got to me. I was dizzy and my head felt fuzzy. Tired of breathing in the scent of perfume and sweat, I excused myself and stepped outside. The night was cloudy and it was dark. A slight breeze tickled my face and the party lights lit the path as I made my way away from all the noise.
Suddenly my stomach heaved and I knew everything was coming back up. Not wanting to get sick all over the perfectly landscaped lawn, I sprinted toward a clump of bushes. It was there, after I emptied my stomach, that I heard a scream. Something, maybe the fact that all the food and drink was gone from my body, or the chilly night air, cleared my head. I walked quickly back they way I came, following the sound. Out into the street, and around a corner. Concealed behind a thick rosebush, I was able to make out the scene unfolding before my eyes. An old woman was being pushed up against the alley wall by a man in clothes that belonged at the party I had just left.
I stop talking.
“And...?” Detective Marvel asks, trying to hide the panic in his voice.
“I can’t,” I say, “You’ll send me to an insane asylum or something.”
“No!” He says forcefully. “I won’t. Just tell me what happened!” His eyes plead with me. He is desperate. So I continue my story.

The man was talking to her, but I only caught a few words.
“I will wait,” The man said. His voice was low and rough, “I will give one minute to tell me where the next one in line is. You will tell me, or when strikes twelve-” He made a finger and sliced it across his neck. The woman set her jaw and said nothing. And so he waited. I waited. Instead of running and getting someone, calling 911, I waited with him. I was stuck, frozen with fear and shock.
There was a clock tower. A huge clock, and as it climbed towards midnight, the man pulled something out of his jacket. It was long and thin, made of wood. A stick. I was confused, so confused. Thoughts swirled around in my head, but nothing I knew could explain what was happening in front of me. Then, in the second the clock struck twelve, the old woman looked up.
She saw me watching, and the fear in her eyes almost made me cry out. It was then, at the stroke of midnight, that the man muttered a word under his breath. A flash of light shot out of the stick. With her eyes still locked on mine, the old woman fell. Like magic, the life died in her eyes the moment the light touched her body. The man watched her, falling like a rag doll onto the concrete. Then he was gone. Swallowed by the night, and the spell was broken.
I gasped, stumbling as I fled the scene, sobbing and screaming as I ran. Tree limbs and bushes ripped my clothes, whipped at my face as I flashed by. Away, away from what I saw, away from the horror, the disbelief. Adrenaline raced through me like a wild fire as I crashed through the doors of the party. My heart thumping so fast it hurt, I picked up my purse and pawed through it’s contents. Tears blinded me, and it took three tries to pull out my phone. My phone, which I could’ve grabbed, that I could have gotten, if only. My mistake cost a woman her life. My mistake. My stunned body, my unthinking brain. I could have saved her.
My throat closed up as I choked out my emergency and address to the stupid, calm police officer. The rest of the night passed in a haze. Sirens, uniforms, a covered stretcher. People. Voices. I blocked them out, drowning in my own personal ocean of trauma.
I watch the Detective’s face through my tears that have gathered as I talked. I can tell he doesn’t believe what I told him. I was right. And no one will believe me, and the man who killed his mother will get away. Detective Marvel searches my face, looking for something that will indicate that I am lying.
“That’s it,” I croak. “Go ahead, call me crazy. But that’s what happened.”
“No,” he growls. “No. That’s not possible. You’re lying! How did she die?” He is even more desperate now. Desperate to find a piece of information that makes everything fit in the normal realm of science and logic.
“Your murder weapon, Detective, is a wand. A magic wand.” I reply softly.
“No,” he repeats. He sneers at me. “You were drunk, or sick, or something. It impaired your vision. Silly girl. They call you a witness?” He scoffs and stands up. “I need information, something I can work with. Not this.” The detective stomps off, shaking his head.
I sigh and swivel my chair around. I knew it. No one in their right mind will believe me. I am about to drift off again when something catches my eye. The little girl. I turn around. She is still there, watching me.
“I believe you,” she says gently. I am surprised by her voice. It is high and sweet, but has the tone of someone who has lived a thousand lives. Someone who has been through so much that her eyes reflect maturity and experience. “It won’t make a difference, a word of a seven year old, but I do believe you.”
“What?” I ask, incredulous. She nods. “What’s your name?”
“Audrey,” I smile, and shake her tiny hand.
“Let’s go,” she suggests.
“I can’t,” I tell her. “And where would we go? Do you want some food? The cafeteria is downstairs.”
“No,” She replies, “The only thing I want to do right now is to solve my gram’s murder. We’re going back to the crime scene.”
I cannot believe a seven year old girl convinced me to do this. We left a half hour ago in my truck. I thought we would get caught, but Hope just walked me out the back door. She left a note for her dad on my chair, and that was that. So here we are, driving to the crime scene. Something about this girl makes me want to find out who did this to her grandmother. I admire her. She is so young, yet so strong and confident. Hope is the one leading, not me.
On the way she tells me about her grandma. The time they spent together, and the quirky things she talked about. With each sentence that comes out of her mouth, they more I know I will solve this case. For her.
“Is this it?’ Hope asks.
“Sure is,” I say, pulling into the driveway. Workers are still cleaning up the mess from the party. I help Hope down from the seat, and together we follow my tracks. To the bushes, back towards the house, onto the street, around the corner, and behind the clump of rose bushes. Leaves and petals are strewn across the ground. My doing.
“Here,” Hope pushes a small round object into my hand. A police badge. Like the one her dad carries around.
“How did you get that?” I demand. Hope shrugs.
“Pick-pocketed my dad,” she grins. “I can be sneaky like that. Besides, we’ll need it more than he will.”
“And why is that?” I ask.
“Because. We’re solving a case, and he’s back at witness protection crying,” Hope tells me matter-of factly. I shake my head at this extraordinary child.
“Okay,” Hope says, “We have to get into that roped off area. The only people they let in there are medics and policemen. Which means, you have to be a cop.”
“What?” I exclaim.
“Yep. It’s okay, I’m going to teach you. First of all, you have to be confident. Just hold up the badge and walk right through. If they ask you anything, just say, ‘Detective Beau, L.A.P.D, I’m investigating the murder.’ Then walk away.”
“Okay...” I say, staring at her.
“Ready?” She smiles. “You’ll be fine. Just act like you’ve done this before.” I take a deep breath.
“Ready,” I grip the badge tightly and we emerge from the rosebush. Hope and I duck under the tape and keep walking. An officer looks at us and frowns, but I carelessly hold up the badge and continue making my way to where I saw her body fall. He nods at me and seems to buy my act. Hope crouches down and begins to look for something. She searches frantically for about two minutes while I pretend to survey the area. Then I hear her sob. Has the truth finally set in? Did she realize she will never spend another weekend with her grandmother? But no, Hope just looks angry.
“What is it?” I ask gently, dropping down beside her.
“It’s gone!” She wails. “Where is it?”
“Where’s what?”
“Gram always had this little pouch with her. She never let it out of her sight. Even when we went swimming, she would bury it in the sand under our towels. Once, when I asked her about it, she said it was important. She told me that when she passed, she had to leave them somewhere for the right person to find. She said that whoever found it would find answers.”
“What was in the pouch?” I ask. Hope rubs her eyes.
“I don’t know,” she responds. “I never looked.”
“Wait...” I scan the flower beds, searching. “Aha!” I help Hope up and walk a few feet to my left. The exact place her body fell. “You said she buried it when you went swimming?”
“Yeah. Why?”
“Because,” I tell her, pointing out a small lump of overturned dirt.
“No way,” Hope breaths. She digs her hand into the ground and pulls out a small pouch made of canvas like material. It is covered in clumps of dirt, and there is a small worm clinging to it, but Hope handles it so carefully you’d think it was a diamond ring.
“Open it,” She hands me the pouch after plucking the worm off. “You found it. You’re the right person.”
“Are you sure?” I ask. She nods and places the little bag in my hand. I slide the string open and lightly shake the contents into my palm. Dice. Two of them, small and wooden. I shoot Hope a look, but she looks just as confused as I do.
“Huh,” I say.
“Wait a second!” Hope reaches over and snatches the dirty pouch out of my other hand. She flips it inside out and smiles. “Here we go. Information we can use.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask, because really I have no idea how these little dice count as information. Or the bag, for that matter. Hope slowly turns the cloth bag around to face me. In tiny, cramped writing, I can barely make out an address.
“Looks like we’re going on a road trip,” I grin triumphantly at her.
I am in the middle of nowhere. Fields. Fields, fields, fields is all I’ve seen for six hours. Hope tried to stay awake, but she passed out after three hours of seeing absolutely nothing. I look down at the address again. It hasn’t changed.
Rosalie Fish
52 Dunningham Parkway
Independence, CA

Hope has confirmed the handwriting as her grandmother’s. I look over at her, slumped against the window. Her face is composed, even in sleep. I find myself wondering what happened to make this little girl have the childhood energy drained from her eyes. I am so focused on Hope that I don’t notice the change in the scenery, or the tiny old woman stooped over in the middle of the road.
Hope’s eyes fly open and her pupils dilate in fear until they are almost consumed in green. I twist myself back around and slam on the brakes so hard that my leg starts to shake. The car screeches to a stop inches before it crashes into the old woman. Hope is panting and tears are threatening to spill down her cheeks.
“I-I’m so sorry! This is all my fault, we never should have come here!” I cry, “Are you okay?”
Hope nods and takes deep breaths until her eyes stop watering. Together we climb out of the car, towards the old woman. I am still mumbling apologies under my breath. Hope cautiously approaches the little old lady.
“Hello. My name is Hope, and this is Audrey. Are you alright?” The woman looks her up and down, taking in her piercing green eyes and slim frame.
“You’re a Marvel,” she declares.
“Y-yes. My name is Hope.”
“I know,” the old woman smiles, “You’re the Detective’s daughter. Serenity’s girl.” I turn to Hope, a question ready on my lips, but I close my mouth at the sight of her. Tears are falling fast and thick down her face, and her eyes glow with anger.
“How do you know that?” Hope whispers. She starts towards the old lady. “How do you know that?!” Hope is screaming now, flinging accusations of murder and theft at the frail old woman. “You killed her, didn’t you?” Hope sobs. The woman’s face is confused and disoriented.
“This is a sad, sad day. Serenity is gone,” She sounds very upset, but prepared. Like she knew we would come for her.
“Hope,” I say, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Hope calm down.”
“Calm down?!” Hope shrieks, turning on me. “This evil little witch killed my grandmother! So don’t you dare tell me to calm down!” She sinks to the ground sits there, weeping, the sudden energy gone. I turn to the woman.
“I’m sorry. She has had a rough day and she’s a bit emotionally unstable right now.”
“Oh it is fine,” she replies. “Please, my house is this way. We can talk there. I’m sorry too. I didn’t even introduce myself. My name is Rosalie. Rosalie Fish.

In a flash, even before Hope has finished jumping off the gravel, her mouth hanging open, I’ve dug my hand in my pocket and pulled out the dirty little pouch. The little woman nods and smiles.
“Yes. That’s how you found me, isn’t it. Come. I’ll show you what the dice are for.” Usually, when a stranger tells you to come to their house because they want to help, you run screaming in the other direction. But this is Rosalie Fish, the woman Hope’s gram, Serenity, wrote on the bag that cost her life. I decide to trust her, and I can tell by the look in Hope’s eye that she has gotten over her little tantrum. I offer her my hand and she takes it, gripping tightly. We follow Rosalie on a path off the side of the road that I wouldn’t have noticed if she hadn’t gone through it first. In fact, when I look behind me, it seems the road has been swallowed by a wall of land. Instantly, like magic.
Rosalie’s house is not a house. It is a mound of earth. At first, I think it’s a hill. But no, Rosalie goes right up to the hill and pushes, revealing the thin outline of a door. She digs her fingers into the tiny crack and pulls. The door swings open, and my jaw drops. The “hill” is hollowed out. A mound of earth with no earth inside. Hope and I step over the threshold, our eyes stripping the place, taking in every weird thing there is to see. Gleaming pots and glittering ladles are hung on metal hooks on the ceiling. There is one room, with a small feather bed on the far side and a small oak table in the center. An old fashioned wardrobe stands next to the bed. The sink is so small it can barely hold the two plates and frying pan that are soaking in it.
“Um, Ms. Fish?” Hope asks. “Can you tell us what you know now? About my grandma?”
“Of course, dear. But first...” Rosalie’s eyes twinkle in the gloom, and she walks to the back of the hut. She pushes the wardrobe aside. “Let’s have some light, shall we?” She grins and yanks the secret door open that was once hidden by the wardrobe. Hope gasps and I stumble. Beyond the door is a room filled with objects from my dreams, from my nightmares. Objects that exist only in fairy tales and horror stories.
“Magic,” I say, my voice awed.
“That’s correct,” Rosalie answers. “Everything in this room has a magical component to it.” I walked up and down the tables crammed with trinkets. Ruby red shoes, an apple with a single bite taken out of it, a roman shield, magic beans, golden eggs, a single glass slipper, and jars upon jars of greek fire.
“How did you get all of this?” Hope asks, amazement clear as day in her voice.
“I collected it,” Rosalie replies. “That’s my job. I am what your world calls a historian. However, I collect and restore magical items, and record their stories. Beyond this room is a library that contains a story for every artifact I have.”
“But what does all this have to do with my grandmother?” Hope asks, confused. “She wasn’t a witch.”
“No, you are right. Serenity had no magical blood in her veins,” Rosalie says. “But I will show you why she was targeted. Come.” We follow her past a rack of dresses that looks very familiar, to another door that blends in with the earthy walls. She pushes it open and again I am lost for words. Books. Thousands of them. Tall books, thin books, short books, dull books, shiny, metallic books, old books. Rows and rows of books. Rosalie walks to the last shelf and gently slides a thin, dusty volume from the bottom row. It is simple, yet beautiful. The cover is black, jet black. Rosalie wipes the dust off revealing a single word title. Marvel. The lettering is gold and elegant. When Rosalie sets the book in my hands, the soft leather feels as though it has never been touched.
“This will give you all the answers,” Rosalie says seriously.
“What is it?” I ask.
“It is an old legend, that centers around a single curse.” And with that, Rosalie Fish walks out of the library and disappears. Hope and I exchange a glance and open the book. A cloud of dust billows up and I cough, my eyes watering. Hope starts to read while I swipe at my streaming eyes.
In an old town, many years ago, there lived an immortal princess. She was beautiful and kind, but she was also a witch. She lived in a world full of dragons and warlocks, elves and giants. One day, the princess caught the eye of a young mortal man. His name was Fitzwilliam Marvel. They fell in love, and were soon married. But, when the Princess told her new husband what she was, he fled. The Princess was heartbroken. For years she didn’t eat or sleep. Finally, when the news that her beloved had betrothed another, she plunged a dagger through her heart in despair.
Her mother and father, the King and Queen, became hateful of the man who had broken their daughter. They started practicing evil magic. Wanting revenge, the Queen sought the man out. Eventually she found him, and he begged for mercy. But the Queen was not merciful. She cursed the man’s family name. Any girl born to the Marvel family would suffer a terrible fate. She would die by magic’s hand. The only thing that could save her were a pair of dice, called the Lost Blocks. If she was touching the dice, no magic could harm her.
For many years the man searched for the dice, and he was lucky. He found them burning in a bonfire, and lost his hand getting them out. Not a single girl was born for fifty years. The dice were kept in a canvas pouch inside a locked safe. Then, when the first girl was born, the dice were brought out. The baby was named Serenity. She lived for many years, keeping the dice accessible by literally “burying” her secret. But one night, the King got a stroke of luck. He found her in an alleyway without the dice. He waited until midnight, and then he struck. Serenity fell, and the curse was passed to the next girl in line. Her name was Hope.

Hope is barely able to choke out the last few lines. I press the little bag in her palm and whisper sadly, “This is yours. Take care of it.” Then I put my arm around her while she sobs. Hope cries until she had no tears left, and then she screams. I whipped around to find a man with a cruel face and a golden crown resting on his head standing in the doorway. I flashed back to that one night, and I knew that it was the same man I saw murder Serenity.
“You!” I shout.
He smiles an evil smile and pulls several jars of greek fire I had seen earlier out of his robes. His hand opens, and the jars fall. Before the first one shatters against the ground, he vanishes.
The fire scales the walls, and burns the ceiling away. Hope and I cower in a corner, knowing there is no way we will get out of this.
“It was a pleasure to know you,” Hope tells me. “I’m glad I will die here, with you.”
Something inside me sparks, and my face burns with anger. I will not let this brave little girl die on my watch. I look up. The fire has engulfed the ceiling, leaving a gaping hole. I can see the stars twinkling in the dark sky. And suddenly I have an idea. If witches and fairytales and legends are real, then why not this? I close my eyes and wish upon a star.
Nothing happens. The fire makes its way to us, crackling merrily as it approaches it’s prey. Then, Hope gasps. The wall we are leaning on crumbles, revealing an underground passageway. Hardly daring to believe it, I yell in delight and shove Hope through. We run, our feet tearing the ground to shreds and our shouts bouncing off the tunnel walls. The fire rushes after us, roaring it’s displeasure.
“There’s an opening ahead!” Hope puffs. She points at a sliver of light in the outline of a door. I nod, and we run faster, faster than we’ve ever run in our whole lives. Closer and closer we come to the door, until we can see it clearly. Hope and I shove into it, but it doesn’t budge.
“It’s locked!” I cry. Smoke clouds my vision, but I can faintly make out the lock on the rusted handle.
“No. No, no, no!” Hope yells, tears spilling onto her cheeks. The fire is less than twenty feet away. Again anger burns in my stomach. I throw my weight into the door. Over and over. Fifteen feet. I scream in frustration. I dig my nails into the side and yank. Ten feet. I back up and slam my foot into the door. The wood crumbles and I kick it again. A small hole appears. Again. A hole wide enough for Hope to fit. Five feet. I grab Hope and shove her through the hole. She is safe, but I feel flames lick my feet. Hope is screaming my name, but I know it’s my time.
“Bye, Hope. Live well.”
My vision flickers from the pain and my last memory before I pass, is of Hope, tears on her face, but a gleam in her eye.

Part Two: Hope
I sit by Audrey’s truck, waiting. I called my Dad from her phone, and now I wait. I am alone with my guilt and sadness. I dragged her into this. It is my fault Audrey died. Tears drip down my nose as I remember the last line of the book, the one I didn’t read out loud.
Some say that her curse can be broken as well, from an act of sacrifice.
And it worked. As soon as Audrey made the choice to stay, I felt something inside my heart snap. It unleashed a sense of peace and calm around me. But I know that I will never be calm, never be peaceful. I am responsible for the death of a friend. I am responsible for finding the evil thing that dropped a jar, and uttered an incantation. If you are reading this, King, know I will come for you. I will not stop until I put you in the ground. Beware, King, for I am the very thing that makes evil cower beneath his bed. I am hope.

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