My Sister's Doll

My Sister's Doll

A Story by Krisen Lison
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Anurati grew up in poverty, with nothing more than rags to call her own. In an instant, her world changes when a king makes her a princess, but is this life really what she wants?

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I am Anurati and I used to be a princess. But not anymore, as I no longer wish to carry the title around. Some say what I did was stupid, that throwing away royalty was the worst thing I could have done. But no one has ever heard my side of the story. No one has even cared to ask for it. That is why I write this, for those who do not know. I need to tell my tale, from beginning to end. This is the tale of how I became a princess and how I left my country.

            The country this took place in is a piece of information I cannot give you. The land is small and none have heard of it except those who live in it, so it really does not matter anyway. And for the sake of my people I must keep my long ago home secret, as it has been for centuries. What does matter is the beginning.

            I am unsure if the true beginning would be my birth or maybe the birth of my sister. It may even have been the day I met the King of our country. But I will start somewhere in the middle, when I was eight and my sister, Anasuya, was only five. I choose this time, because it was then that things started to get awful.

            We lived in a small house with almost no space. Only two bedrooms existed in my tiny home and the kitchen was also used as a sitting area. It was cramped and the roof leaked and the windows didn’t keep out the chill in the winter but we didn’t mind. To us it was all we had ever known, so there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.

            My parents were not the best of people, and perhaps that was why we had so little. Father was a thief, stealing everything he could to keep us all alive, but he wasn’t a very good thief, so we rarely had enough to eat. He wore his blonde hair as short as possible without being completely bald and he had no facial hair at all. His brown eyes were fierce and his face was always contorted in an angry scowl. He was a short, broad man, and little of him was actually muscle.

 Mother did nothing but sit in her chair and sew. She was a spineless kind of woman, who always did as she was told and never asked questions. Her mousy brown hair was frizzy and unkempt and her green eyes were dull and joyless. She never smiled, for my father saw it as ugly when she did.

My sister was three years younger than I. She had our mother’s hair but she kept it brushed and tied back with a strip of leather. She had brown eyes like our father and they shined with the sweet innocence all children have. She had that innocence for all of her short life, and it was something I feel she never would have lost, no matter how long she lived.

I was different from the others and mother called me her jewel. Father believed that I could not be his child, and used my features to accuse my mother of being unfaithful. He never cared for me because of my golden hair and crystal blue eyes as pure as the ocean. I was tall instead of short, and thin rather than stout. My face was without a blemish and my hair had only a slight wave too it instead of my mother’s disastrous curls. I looked nothing like my family, and even at eight men found me and asked my parents if they could have my hand. Father would agree if they could pay a price but mother never wanted to get rid of her precious jewel. I wish she had gotten rid of me, maybe then none of this would have happened.

It started on my eighth birthday, which was exactly three months after Anasuya’s fifth birthday. All I had asked for was the ability to play ball with the boys in town. They had so much fun playing and I wanted to be able to have fun too. I wanted to have friends and laugh and joke. But my parents would never allow me to do such things. I had too many chores to do and too little time.

That day my parents tied a ribbon to a broom and then gave me a list of chores to go with it. I was devastated and burst into tears.

“Shut up girl, you have work to do!” my father yelled gruffly.

“But…I wanted to play.” I bawled. The tears poured down my face in thick rivers.

“No one cares what you wanted.” He shouted. He smacked me across the face and I fell to the ground with a cry. My mother rushed over to help me but he looked at her and glared. She immediately backed away and hid herself in her chair as always.

My father loomed over me, his shadow cascading upon me so no light landed on my shining hair. He gripped the locks of gold in one fist and lifted me to my knees. “I’ll teach you to be ungrateful to me.” He growled. He drew back his fist and struck my chest. The pale white skin bruised instantly and I bawled harder. It felt as if my breast bone had cracked, even though I knew it hadn’t.

He threw me to the ground and kicked me violently. Anasuya sat watching and then ran over, wrapping herself around his fat leg. He shouted and swore. When he finally shook her free she went colliding into the wall, just below a dirty window. Her head smacked against the windowsill and I saw a flash of red in her hair as she fell to the ground.

“What did you do to her!” I screamed, bringing myself to my feet. “She’s only five!”

“The damn girl got in my way.” He replied, plopping himself into his own chair. Anasuya cried, leaning against the wall with one hand pressed to the back of her head.

I ran over to her and knelt by her side. “It is okay Anasu.” I said, using the name only I ever called her. “Let me see it.” She moved her hand and I grimaced. Blood had soaked the patch of hair just above the wound. The gash was the width of my two thumbs put together, but it was not very deep. I got a rag and washed it gently and then wrapped her in my arms.

“Anurati.” She moaned. “My head hurts.”

“I know Anasu.” I rocked her back and forth.

“Why did he hit you like that?” she asked, looking up at me. Her brown eyes locking on my blue ones.

“Because I was naughty.” I answered. “And naughty people need to be punished.”

“But that’s not very nice of him.” Anasuya said, yawning.

“I know it wasn’t, but sometimes it has to be done.” I kissed her forehead and held her until she fell asleep. Then I carried my sister to our room and laid her on the bed we shared. When I came back out I looked at my father, curled up happily in his chair.

“What is that look for?” he demanded.

“You can hit me all you like. Strike with all your force, I do not care.” I told him. “But never strike my sister again.”

He laughed. “Fine, for as long as you are in this house Anurati, I will never hit Anasuya.”

I nodded and went back to the bedroom to lie down with Anasuya. I was upset that my father had done such a thing, and I was appalled that my mother had done nothing to stop it. But it was ok, at least I knew Anasuya would be kept safe. To me that’s all that mattered, I had to keep my little sister away from harm.

So that was the beginning really, because it was that day that I first started wanting to get away from that house. Father started hitting me regularly for the simplest of reasons. Things like his soup was cold twenty minutes after Mother had served it, or the hole in his trousers was larger than it had been the day before. Every little thing he took out on me. He bruised my entire body, but never once did he touch my face. I never understood why, not then. It wasn’t until after I was married that he came to me to tell me the truth. “Anurati.” He said to me. “I never touched your face because if I did I would be harming the face of an angel. And that is just not right.”  

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The beatings went on until I was ten, because that was when I was freed. Anasuya and I went to market to gather ingredients for soup that night. The market was busy and full of all sorts of people, making it difficult to get anywhere without losing my always curious sister.

“Anasuya!” I called. “Where did you get to this time Anasu?”

“I’m right here Anur.” She appeared next to me and sighed in relief. “I was over looking at the pretty gems that man has on his saddle. Aren’t they beautiful?” she pointed to a man dressed in the finest silks, riding atop and gorgeous horse like none I’ve ever seen. The saddle on the animal was golden and covered in rubies and emeralds. They sparkled in the light and mesmerized me.

“Well aren’t you a lovely child.” The man said, startling me out of my trance. “What brings a rare flower like you to such a busy market place?”

I couldn’t speak. Simply being called a flower stunned me beyond belief. “We came to get things for soup.” Anasuya declared, puffing out her chest.

“Yes…uh…soup.” I stuttered. “We really must be going.” I grabbed Anasuya’s hand and started pulling her after me. “Sorry to be in your way sir.”

“Nonsense!” he jumped off his stallion and grabbed my shoulder. “I must know, what is your name child?”

“Anurati.” I replied. “And my sister is Anasuya, now if you’ll excuse us.” I tried to duck away but his grip tightened.

“Anurati.” He repeated thoughtfully. “It means love, and it suits you. You will make someone a fine love one day.”

“Thank you sir.” I curtseyed politely. “But I really need to get going.”

“Do you know who I am child?” he asked.

“I do not, but we are in a hurry and if we are late…” I began, but something in his eyes made me stop. There was a kindness there, like none I’ve ever seen. This man seemed to care about me, even though he just met me.

“My name is Kendrick.” He said. “And I would very much like to meet your parents if I may.”

“Kendrick?” Anasuya copied him. “That’s a funny name.”

I shushed her quickly and just stared at the man as it hit me where I had heard the name before. “Your highness!” I bowed quickly and looked at him in shock. The king had been standing before me for this whole time and I didn’t realize until that moment.

“Yes child, but hush.” He placed a finger to his lips. “I’m working on something and I can’t be interrupted so no one can know it’s me.”

“What are you working on?” Anasuya questioned.

“I need to get my son a birthday present.” He replied.

“Oooh, what do you want to get him?” she pressed.

“A bride.” He answered. “And I think I found him the perfect one.”

“And who might that be?” I asked, unable to hide my curiosity.

“You Anurati, if your parents are willing I’d like to bring you to the palace tonight.” My jaw fell open as he gave his answer. Men had always been asking for my hand despite my young age, but for a king to say I was perfect for his son, the prince was amazing. Especially since Prince Lorcan was sought after by everyone in the kingdom, not because of his status but because of his looks.

“I…I…I don’t know….what to say.” I gulped.

Anasuya looked at him a minute and smiled. “Let’s take him to mommy and daddy. You wanted a new home Anur, let him take you!”

“Yes, um…we live down this way.” I took my sister’s hand and we led the king through the market, completely forgetting about the ingredients for soup. We led him through the dark alley streets we used as short cuts and a terrified look spread its way across his face.

“How far away is your home?” he questioned.

“Not much farther now, we just have to go through the thieves’ district and then we’ll be home.” Anasuya declared.

“Thieves? Well this is no place to raise two girls.” He scoffed.

“Well when you have no money it’s all there is.” She replied. “Keep up or you’ll get lost.”

“She’s pushy isn’t she?” he turned to me.

“Yes, but she is only seven so it is to be expected of her.” I said. The initial shock had worn out and now I was just ready to leave.

The house appeared and we went in slowly. “Mama.” I called. I heard movement form the back bedroom and my father appeared in the doorway. His hair was a mess and he wore no shirt.

“Where are the vegetables?” he said gruffly, gesturing toward the empty basket on my arm.

“Oh no, we forgot to get them.” I cried. “I’m so sorry, I’ll go back right now I promise.” I went to leave but the king blocked my way.

“It is not the girl’s fault, I distracted them.” He said gently. “I asked to meet her parents and I assume you are her father.”

“As far as I know yeah, what’s it to you?” My mother appeared just behind him, wrapped in the blanket from their bed.

“I wish to take her back home with me, so she may wed my son.” Kendrick informed them.

“Take her.” My father said cruelly. “She’s no good anyway.”

“But she is our daughter, my jewel.” My mother argued.

“I don’t care.” He scoffed. “I don’t want her around if she’s going to forget to bring home dinner.”

“Go pack your things.” Kendrick whispered to me.

“What about my sister?” I questioned. “I can’t leave without Anasu.”

“Anasuya stays here.” My father growled. “But you need to go.”

“But she is my sister. I can’t leave her.” I whined.

“Anur.” Anasuya pulled on my sleeve. “It’s okay, you go, just come back for me later okay?”

“But Anasu.” I knelt to her level and brushed her cheek.

“I’ll be alright, just send messages for me.” She took my hand off her face and held it in her own.

“We cannot read or write sister.” I laughed.

“But others can read and write them for us if you are going to be a princess.” She said simply.

“Just because she’s leaving won’t make her a princess.” My mother scowled. “She’ll be just like any other child.”

“Not once she’s married to Prince Lorcan.” Kendrick put in. “My son will adore her I can tell you that.”

“Wait, you’re the king aren’t you.” My father showed no respect with his words. “In that case it’s going to cost you.”

“I will send a man over with payment later today, but I will not allow such a kind girl to live here a moment longer.” Kendrick answered.

“No, I want payment now.” My father demanded.

“I can give you anything you ask if you show patience.” Kendrick’s voice began to rise in frustration.

“I want those jewels on your fingers.” My father snarled. “And I want them now or she stays here.”

“Fine!” the king tore the three rings off and tossed them to the ground. “They are yours. Anurati, go pack your things, we must be off.”

“Yes your highness.” I curtseyed and rushed off to the bedroom. I tossed my few belonging into a small bag and rushed back to him.

“Is this all you own?” he asked, looking skeptically at the small parcel.

“Yes, we are a poor family.” I answered. He nodded and started for the door.

“Anur, take Madeline with you.” Anasuya said, handing me the small doll she always slept with.

“But Anasu, you need her don’t you?” I questioned.

“But I want her to be with you, so you don’t forget to write me.” She replied. She handed me the doll and hugged me tight. “I love you Anur.”

“I love you too Anasu, be good okay?” I kissed her forehead and then followed the king out into the world. His horse was right outside where he had left it. He took my small bag and placed it into one of his saddle bags.

“Alright, up you go.” He scooped me up like I was nothing more than a small pillow and placed me just in front of the saddle. I placed Madeline on my lap, gently stroking the brown yarn that was her hair. Kendrick climbed on behind me and brought his arms up around me to grab the reigns.

“It’s so high up.” I breathed.

“Haven’t you ever ridden a horse before?” he asked in my ear.

            “Never.” I answered. “I’ve never even been within ten feet of a horse before.”

            “Well then, when we get you to the palace I’ll set up some lessons for you. It’s a great skill for a princess to have.” Kendrick told me.

            “Am I really going to be a princess?” I asked.

            “Of course you will be.” He answered quickly. “The kingdom will love you.”

            “This is so exciting.” I stretched out my arms and let the wind whip at my hair. “Everything is working out for me at last.”

            The king laughed. We rode in silence the rest of the way. I could feel the horse moving beneath me and it felt like I was flying. In my head I imagined how perfect my life would be once I walked into that palace. But for all my dreams, it wasn’t very perfect.

            It was a long ride, but I was unsure about how long for certain. When we arrived the king lowered me to the ground gently, as if I were some sort of fragile doll he didn’t want to break. He took my hand gingerly in his and led me inside the enormous palace.

            Kendrick walked me to a large dining hall filled with people and I clutched tighter onto Madeline. They were all celebrating the prince’s birthday and eagerly awaiting for the king to return with the gift, which happened to be me. Prince Lorcan was thin and tall, with long black hair and pretty green eyes. He sat at the head of the table, a second throne was set up next to him, obviously for the king.

            “Happy birthday my son!” Kendrick declared. “I give you Anurati.” He gestured behind him to where I was hidden. I gripped the side of his tunic and cowered in the fabric.

            “She’s a small little thing isn’t she.” The prince said, looking at me with eyes full of pride.

            “Yes but she’s beautiful. Come now child.” Kendrick placed a hand in the middle of my back and pushed me forward gently. “Come out into the open so he can see you.”

            I took three small steps out from behind the king and the prince looked me up and down. “She’s lovely.” He smiled. “Anurati is it?”

            “Yes your highness.” I nodded, curtseying for him.

            “She is very beautiful, but she is young.” Lorcan looked up at his father. “She is very young.”

            “She is of the perfect age.” The king replied.

            “She cannot even bear a child yet.” Lorcan argued.

            “And you are not quite ready to be a father yet.” The king shot. “Just give her a chance. The girl is sweet and good, I know you will come to love her.”

            “Fine, she will get a chance.” Lorcan scowled. “You there, get a chair for this little Jewel.” He gestured to a servant standing just off to the side of the table. The servant bowed respectively and then brought over a beautifully decorated chair. He placed it next to the prince and I looked at it cautiously.

            “Have a seat child.” Kendrick said, clapping me on the back. “Do not be a stranger here, it is your home now.”

            “Thank you.” I muttered, slipping into the chair and settling the doll next to me. A plate of food was dropped before me and my mouth watered. I had never seen so much good food in one place before, but I restrained myself to only eating a small amount in tiny bites.

            Around the table, the men and women gathered there whispered amongst themselves. Several times a saw a finger pointed at me, or a simple gesture meant to make the others look at me. I shrunk farther into my chair, gripping Madeline for some kind of comfort. I didn’t like being looked at.

            Sensing my fear, Kendrick came over and snatched me up into his strong arms. He grabbed Madeline from the chair and walked me over to his golden throne like seat, where he set me on his lap and handed me Madeline. The room fell silent and stared at the king in shock.

            “The girl is like my daughter now, she should feel welcome here.” He said strongly, reaching for his glass of wine. “Now get back to your meals, this food won’t eat itself.” The room once more filled with the quiet roar of joyful people.

            Dinner was long and halfway through the celebration I curled into a ball and fell asleep there on Kendrick’s lap. When I awoke I was in a large bed, a purple velvet screen circling all around me. The blankets were thick and warm and Madeline lay on the pillow beside my head, tucked in just as I was. I sat up on my knees and inched over to the edge of the bed, reaching out to feel the softness of the velvet. I pulled it aside and the vastness of the room shocked me.

            The walls were jade green and the floor was the most beautiful stone I’d ever seen. A large mirror ran along one wall, a table with two small drawers sitting right beneath it. There was a chair in one corner made from a wood so dark it looked like the night. The purple velvet of the curtains had been used to make a gorgeous seat and back for the chair. There were two doors that I could see. One closed and one open. The open one led to a small sitting room. A fireplace was against one wall and I could see the flames flickering.

            I walked in to the room, Madeline tucked under one arm, and a woman about twenty smiled at me from her place next to the fireplace. “So you are the little princess.” She muttered.

            “Um…yes.” I nodded. “I am Anurati.”

            “It’s a lovely name.” the women replied. “I am Elysia, your maid.” She curtseyed slightly and went about adding more wood to the fire.

            “Elysia.” I whispered. “It is nice to meet you.”

            She rose to her feet and smoothed out the white apron over her brown skirts. “I must go fetch you something to eat little princess.”

            “Can I come with you?” I asked. “I haven’t seen much of the palace yet.”

            “Of course.” She offered her hand. “But stay close, the knights who stay here are not the kindest of men.”

            After the short walk to the kitchen I ate a breakfast bigger than I was. Then Elysia left and I met a young seamstress who said she was going to make me a wedding dress.

            “What color would you like it to be?” she asked, taking my measurements.

            “I have always liked the blue of the sky.” I answered. “Can you make it the same color as the sky?”

            “I will do my best your highness.” She smiled. “What kind of sleeves would you like?”

            “Um, long ones.” I replied. “That flare out on the ends and hide my hands.”

            “Would you prefer a slimmer skirt?”

            “No, I want a skirt that fluffs out in every direction. With lace and beading.” My excitement grew as I spoke.

            She laughed. “Just like every other princess.”

            “Exactly!” I exclaimed.

            She backed up and looked at me a moment. “Yes, I will begin my work on it immediately.” She left and I was alone in the large rooms.

I walked over to the one closed door I hadn’t opened yet. I turned the knob slowly and gasped. The room was filled with dresses of all the colors of the rainbow and more. Jewels and beads decorated every surface. I had never seen so much lace, velvet, and silk all in one place.

“This is your wardrobe.” Elysia walked up behind me and I jumped. “Pick something little princess, you need to meet with the king for riding lessons in half an hour.”

“He’s going to teach me to ride?” I asked, suddenly full of excitement.

“Yes little princess.” Elysia chuckled. “How about you wear this red velvet one? It would be perfect for side-saddle.”

“But it’s so beautiful, I wouldn’t want to ruin it.” I muttered.

“If it gets ruined another one can be made.” Elysia assured me. She helped me dress and led me to the stables. I rode upon a large gray stallion called Storm. He became my closest friend in the palace.

Three days later I got married to Prince Lorcan and learned how cruel he could be. At the ceremony he started falling asleep and afterwards he barely even glanced at me. He refused to dance with me except for once and never said a word about the beautiful dress I had helped design. I was outcasted by own husband and I never really understood why.

My life became far too predictable after that. I woke every morning to the cracking of the fire and Elysia would bring me something to eat. Then I would dress and go out riding with Kendrick, who insisted I not call him anything except his first name. Then I would go back to my room to wait for my tutors to come and teach me something. Dinners were always held in the great hall and I was expected to sit beside my husband, although he rarely looked at me and I spent many of those meals sitting upon Kendrick’s lap.

Some nights, I would sneak out to the stables to be with Storm. He brought me joy even though I felt so alone and out of place. Madeline went everywhere with me. I even made a special pouch for her to attach to Storm’s saddle when I was riding. Having her with me was like having Anasu with me.

It was when I was fifteen that the second wife moved in. Her name was Maryta and she was lovely. Her hair was so pale it was almost white and it fell stick straight to her shoulders. She had emerald eyes that sparked with knowledge and a slightly pointed nose that reminded me of a bird. She was nineteen and had come to our country from far away.

Lorcan married her without telling anyone and then moved her into the palace a year later. She was hateful toward me because I had been her loves first bride. I tried telling her I never loved Lorcan truly and that she could take him if she wanted, but she still despised me. She had three children, two girls and one boy, by our husband over the course of the next ten years. I never even got invited to spend the night in his rooms.

Imelda came next, two years after Maryta. Her black hair was a sharp contrast to her pale blue eyes and light skin. She was sixteen at the time. She was kinder to me, but never tried to be a friend, merely an acquaintance. She bore four of Lorcan’s children, all girls and all just like their mother.

But it was the fourth wife I grew to love the most. She moved in when I was just barely twenty and she was seventeen. Her name was Jessinna, and she was the kindest of us all. She had eyes the color of amber and autumn brown hair. Jessinna cared about me and I cared about her. We would sneak to each others rooms at night to talk. She had one child, a small boy, but had such trouble with the birth that she would never bare another.

It was Jessinna that encouraged me to leave the palace when I was twenty-five. It was just like any other day for us. The sun was shining and Jessinna and I had gone riding. I upon Storm, and Jessinna upon her mare, Stardust.

“You seem unhappy Anurati.” She said softly, the cool spring breeze pulling her words toward me.

“Perhaps I am.” I replied, gazing at the blue sky.

“You miss your sister don’t you?” she asked. “I can tell you do, even if you deny it. Why else would you carry around that doll?”

“Madeline is a good friend.” I looked to her. “But yes, I do miss Anasuya.”

“Then you should leave here and go get her. You should go live a happy life that you want.” Jessinna told me. “You make a pretty princess, but you were not meant to be here.”

“Where else am I to go?” I asked. “I will become queen in two days time, I cannot just leave.”

“But you can.” Jessinna urged. “Go, leave this behind. Let one of those no good, pathetic, brainless women take the throne.”

“They cannot be queens, they can barely keep their own children in line.” I answered. “Maryta and Imelda would run everyone out of this country before they helped run it.”

“You are right.” Jessinna laughed. “But you should go anyway. I can keep our royal pain Loran in line.”

“I don’t doubt it Jess.” I smiled at her.

“You should ask him tonight.”

“Ask him what?”

“Permission to leave.” She stated. “Ask him at dinner, then go! Don’t look back.”

“I could do big things.” I said softly.  

“You could do all kinds of big things.” Jessinna encouraged. “Just free yourself and go.”

“Perhaps I will.”

“You better.”

“And I if I don’t?”

“I’ll eat Madeline as a side dish.” She giggled into her hand and I scowled at her.

“Fine, I’ll do it.” I gave in. “At dinner tonight, I will ask to leave.”

We rode for another hour before bringing both horses back to their stalls. At dinner I sat on Lorcan’s right side, with Jessinna right beside me. Maryta sad on Lorcan’s left and Imelda was beside her. The children were in a separate room, being tended to by a group of maids hired specifically for the purpose.

Halfway through the meal Jessinna elbowed me roughly. “Do it now.” She whispered.

“Not right now.” I whispered back.

“Yes now.” She responded. “Now or never Anurati, go for it!”

“What are you two whispering about?” Kendrick asked from his place next to Jessinna.

“Nothing at all your highness.” Jessinna replied softly.

“Sounded like something to me.” Kendrick said, raising his brows.

“It’s nothing important really.” I muttered.
            “Oh but it is important.” Jessinna smiled at me craftily. “Anurati has something to ask Prince Lorcan.”

“What about asking me something?” Lorcan looked up from his plate and met my eyes. “You can ask me anything Anurati.”

I gulped but Jessinna prodded me gently. “I want to be free of this life.” I said softly. “I ask you to let me go and live my own life elsewhere.”

“You do not wish to be married to me?” Lorcan  questioned.

“Yes.” I meekly replied. “Please your highness.” I turned toward Kendrick to see if he would support me in any way. His face was that of a shocked man.

“You are to be crowned queen soon. How could you leave now?” Lorcan demanded.

“Because I never wanted to be queen. This life is wonderful, but I am not happy here.” I confessed.

“Not happy? How can this be?” Kendrick asked, reaching for my arm. “There are people that love you here.”

“And there is someone else that loves me back home.” I said softly, cradling Madeline close to me. “I told Anasuya I would go back for her. Now it is time for me to do that.”

“Then bring her here.” Kendrick told me. “Don’t walk away from your kingdom.”

“I must, for here I am nothing more than a pretty face. I have no children because my own husband will not bed with me. Instead I watch as his other wives birth child after child.” I rose to my feet. “I cannot stay another day.” I left the hall and no one moved to stop me. They just watched me go without a word.

I packed my things and loaded them upon Storm’s gray back. The horse whinnied at me and watched carefully with wondering eyes. “We are going somewhere better Storm.” I told the stallion. “Somewhere that can truly be called home.”

“Anurati! You wouldn’t leave without a goodbye would you.” Jessinna ran across the training yard to the stables.

“Of course not.” I wrapped her in a tight hug. “Take care of Lorcan.”

“I’ll do my best.” She pulled away and looked at me a moment. “This is for you.” She pulled a bundle of cloth from behind her.

“What is it?” I stared at the small bundle, turning it over in my hands.

“Clothes for Madeline.” Jessinna replied. “I thought she might be tired of always wearing the same gown.”

“This is wonderful! Anasuya will love to see Madeline all dressed up pretty.” I opened the bundle and smiled. Inside were three small dresses. A green velvet one, a shorter, black gown, and a gown made of the most lovely white silk. “These are perfect.”

“I made them myself.” Jessinna hugged me again. “Take good care of yourself Anurati. And come visit me some day too.”

“I’ll do what I can.” I let her go and mounted my horse, slipping Madeline and her new dresses into her carrier. “Live happily for me Jessinna.” I called as Storm took off.

“And you live even happier Anurati!” she called, waving. I don’t know how long she stood there watching, I was too focused on getting to my sister.

 

The house I once called home was falling apart. The door hung crooked and was falling off its hinges. The rest of the house appeared to have survived flood and fire. The wood was curling and warping, the windows were all broken and filled with jagged bits of glass. I knocked on the door lightly and waited, Storm shifting nervously behind me.

“What do you want?” a sharp voice barked.

“I wish to be let in.” I called. “It’s Anurati.”

“My little jewel!” the door flew open and my mother stood there, her arms wide. I looked past her into the house. My father stood just behind her, but besides him, it was empty.

“Where is Anasu?” I asked. “Where is my sister?”

“Not here.” My father said gruffly. “Why are you here?”

“I came for Anasuya.” I replied. “What did you do to her?”

“I did nothing, the useless child brought it upon herself.” He huffed. “Why does it matter.”

“What happened to her?” I clenched my jaw and stared at him, the fire in my eyes causing him to draw back a few steps.

“She’s gone.” He snapped. “Now you need to get gone too.”

I stood a moment, dumbfounded. Then I gained what little composure I could before slamming the door and storming out. As I did this,  a man walked out of a neighboring house. I knew him as Nikor, he was one of the better thieves and often helped to feed Anasuya and I when we were young.

“She died just two years after you left.” Nikor informed me.

“How?” I asked.

“He struck her and she ran away. A week later she came to me, sick and starving. I did everything I could, but the fever took her quickly.” Nikor placed a hand on my shoulder. “She told me to tell you that she loves you and if she could she would have stayed with you instead of moving on.”

“Where is she buried?” I questioned, tears forming in my eyes. “Can you take me to her?”

“Come with me child.” He wrapped an arm around me and led me through the streets. Storm followed me, not wanting to be left behind.

Nikor guided me through the alley ways of my old home. We came to a stop in front of a large tree growing out of the stones despite the odds against it. Anasuya and I had spent many days playing in this exact spot. And now, beneath our favorite tree, was a small stone maker. I bent down and brushed away the moss over the top of the inscription. Anasuya, a treasured heart gone too soon.

“Did you make this for her.” I whispered without looking up.

“Yes.” Nikor squatted beside me. “She asked me to right before she died.”

“Thank you.” I brushed tears from my eyes and Storm head-butted me gently. I reached out, placing a hand on his soft nose. Then I stood and pulled Madeline from her spot on the saddle. I removed the old garments and dressed my sister’s doll in the white silk dress. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.” I muttered. I placed Madeline next to the gravestone, leaning her against the rock. “Watch over my little Anasu.” I told the doll. “Just as I watched over you.”

Nikor looked at the doll a moment and smiled. “It looks just like Anasuya.” He commented.

“It was her doll.” I replied. We walked away in silence until we reached my parents’ house.

“Now what?” Nikor asked me.

“I avenge her.” I said strongly. “Promise me you will not involve yourself in this in any way.”

“Anurati, you can’t kill them.” Nikor told me.

“Why not? They killed Anasu.” I argued.

“Because Anasuya wouldn’t have wanted you to hurt them.” Nikor replied.

I stared at him a moment before realizing he was right. Anasuya was always a kind heart. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, so why would she want me hurting them. “I must leave this city.”

“I have friends a few towns over.” He said. “You can stay with them.”

“No, it’s not far enough away.” I scowled. “I need to leave this country!”

“Then go.” Nikor urged. “Mount your horse and go as far as you can.”

I climbed upon Storm’s back and looked at Nikor. “I may never see you again.” I told him. “But I want you to look after her for me.”

“I will keep her safe for you Anurati.” He replied. “It’s a shame you left so long ago, you would’ve made a fine bride.”

“Nikor, if it weren’t for those monsters living here I would have gladly given you my hand.” I reached out to him and he kissed my hand gently.

“Take care lovely one.” He called as I rode off. I never saw Nikor again, but as far as I know he still cares for my little sister’s doll and the stone that marks her resting place.

Now you know, I left for good reason. How could I rule the country by the side of a man who wanted nothing to do with me? How could I remain in a land where innocent Anasuya was brutally murdered by her own parents? I had to let it all go, with nothing left to remember it by. My only regret, is that I didn’t listen to what Anasuya had said. Madeline was to remind to write, but the purpose of my sister’s doll had been forgotten. I never wrote her and I never knew what had happened to her. For that, I am sorry, and it is for that, that I exile myself.

© 2011 Krisen Lison


Author's Note

Krisen Lison
So this piece just came to me one day, I really enjoyed writing it so I'm looking for feedback to help make it better :)

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Featured Review

Very nicely done. This gripped me throughout most of it. You preserved the simple and innocent nature of the main character in the dialogue and narrative. I also like the twist on the rags to riches trope. Rags to riches, but the riches only lead to sadness and confinement, and the character's primary struggle is to escape those confining riches, rather then to escape the poverty of her youth.

I don't think this story really needs that much change to make it better, but you said that you are looking for ways to improve it, so here are couple of minor things you may want to consider: in the last paragraph, first you say that she left because she couldn't remain in the land where her sister was murdered. But then you say that she exiled herself because she forgot to write. Also, how would she know what happened to her sister by writing to her, when her sister is dead? Would her cruel parents have bothered to answer the letter?

In the first paragraph, perhaps it should be and "why" I left my country, instead of how.

You may also want to include in the story what Anutari plans on doing with her new life and freedom, now that she is out of the palace.

What may make the ending a little more exiting is if the prince refuses to grant her permission to leave, and assigns guards to prevent her from escaping. Then she escapes with stealth, risking getting caught and punished, perhaps with the aid of her friend Jess.

Again, these are all minor things, that are hardly necessary, but they may improve the story somewhat if you change them.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

This was amazing

Posted 8 Years Ago


When I first looked at the title I thought this would be some type of horror flick with a haunted doll...Lol I was wrong...I was also expecting a plot twist where after Anurati found out her Dad killed Anasu this was going to turn into an Assassin's Creed type deal lol

Really good read. I loved the imagery and you described everything really good. You gave personality to the characters and I liked their interactions and the dialogue.

I would say the only thing is, which you sort of bring up in the end is that it seems Anurati never thought about her Sister until she turned twenty...I figured with the bond they had and you showed she would have tried to do something a few days after she left. But you have these years go by and Larcon is getting these new wives and children and it wasn't until the fourth wife came that she just started to remember her sister and go back to her.

And also it's a small thing but I think the title could be changed. The doll Madeline, didn't seem all that important to the story. Now if for some reason Anasu's spirit gets in the doll then now we're talking lol

Overall I loved it and it was something different. I wonder what Anurati next steps are going to be?

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very nicely done. This gripped me throughout most of it. You preserved the simple and innocent nature of the main character in the dialogue and narrative. I also like the twist on the rags to riches trope. Rags to riches, but the riches only lead to sadness and confinement, and the character's primary struggle is to escape those confining riches, rather then to escape the poverty of her youth.

I don't think this story really needs that much change to make it better, but you said that you are looking for ways to improve it, so here are couple of minor things you may want to consider: in the last paragraph, first you say that she left because she couldn't remain in the land where her sister was murdered. But then you say that she exiled herself because she forgot to write. Also, how would she know what happened to her sister by writing to her, when her sister is dead? Would her cruel parents have bothered to answer the letter?

In the first paragraph, perhaps it should be and "why" I left my country, instead of how.

You may also want to include in the story what Anutari plans on doing with her new life and freedom, now that she is out of the palace.

What may make the ending a little more exiting is if the prince refuses to grant her permission to leave, and assigns guards to prevent her from escaping. Then she escapes with stealth, risking getting caught and punished, perhaps with the aid of her friend Jess.

Again, these are all minor things, that are hardly necessary, but they may improve the story somewhat if you change them.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was very sad, but very good. It needs some touch up in grammar, though. You definately captured the emotional aspect of the main character.

Posted 8 Years Ago



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Added on September 11, 2011
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Krisen Lison
Krisen Lison

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I'm a poet, erotic writer, novelist, and short story writer. My free time is filled with the written word, flowing both from my own pen and from the many books I read. I tend to keep to myself, but if.. more..

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Drowning Drowning

A Story by Krisen Lison