By Painter

Episode 31

The next week flew by.

The nightly ceremonies continued, lots of parading us around like circus animals and asking us stupid questions for their media to dissect our answers later.

I’d tried a few times to talk to Greer, but it was hard to do anything with the outrageous number of guards that Calvin had assigned to me. It was easier just to stay in our room.


If you can even call it our room. I’ve hardly seen Calvin since the day I told him and the king about the secret rebellion.

Finding the man with the snake tattoo had been pretty easy, apparently it wasn’t a very popular tattoo down here, but it sure was eye catching.

The guards captured him, but I haven’t heard much more than that.

I eat dinner alone in Calvin’s room every night after the ceremonies, then I read a little before I go to bed.

At some point Calvin will come to bed, wrapping me tightly in his arms and kssing the side of my face, but that’s the only interaction we’ve had.

By the time I wake up, he’s already gone, and there’s nothing but a note wishing me a good day in his spot.

I try to understand that he is the prince, and that his life is being toyed with, and that he is incredibly busy with finding out who these people are that want to kll his father, but I miss him, and it’s hard not to feel ignored.

I keep my mind busy, and my hands too. I’ve taken up sewing in my never ending free time.

Maria has been so helpful with teaching me the craft, and although I’m not near as good as her, it’s given me something to do other than sit in the bed all day worrying over Calvin.

I pull the final stitch through and cut off the extra thread, the feeling of accomplishment rushing over me as I hold the tie up in front of me.

Maria had brought me lots of different fabric to choose from, and I’d picked a dark greyish blue color silk that reminded me of the color of Calvin’s eyes.

I’d cut the fabric and sewn every stitch all by myself and I was beaming with pride, hoping that Calvin would like it.

The lines were slightly off, but I think it looks pretty good for my first project.

I gently folded the smooth material into the gift box I’d requested and slid it across the bed to his spot with a little note.

I cut my eyes up quickly as I heard someone at the door and I held my breath that it might be him, but Maria walked in with a weary smile instead.

“Hello, ma’am.” She greeted me.

I could tell something was off by her expression. “What’s wrong, Maria?” I asked.

She sucked both lips into her mouth a smiled around them.

“You’re not going to like it, but we have to come up with a talent for you.” She finally spit out without looking at me.

“You’re kidding.” I said monotone.

She shook her head. “We got a list of some of the events that will be taking place.” She explained. “Since the king announced the competition is shorter, he thought we should add in more exciting things for the people to see, especially since ratings on the interviews were so low.” She said.

I groaned at the memory of the interviews from last night. “That was a stupid idea to begin with.” I pointed out. “How exciting can it be to interview girls who have been prisoners since we were children?

There’s not much for us to talk about besides our favorite color and what chore we hated the least.”
Maria giggled. “You’re feeling feisty today.”

I rolled my eyes and smiled at her. “Give me the list.” I said holding out my hand.

I skimmed the piece of paper and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. “He’s got to be joking.” I spat. “A freaking talent competition this week, and a swim suit competition next week?”

I could feel my face heating up from my annoyance. “Oh no.” I said as I got off of the bed and grabbed my blue silk robe off of the door to cover my skimpy pajamas.

“Where are you going?” Maria called as I stomped over to the door.

“To talk to the king.” I said slamming the door.

I stomped across the hall and glared up at the guard blocking the king’s door.

He looked unsure for a moment, but then he slid out of my way. I opened the door and went straight for the study.

“Rachel.” Calvin said surprised when I walked in. “You can’t keep barging in here.” He scolded.

He was leaning back against a bookshelf on one side of the room, and the king was sitting behind his desk.

What I hadn’t expected to see was another girl. She looked sick, her mousy brown hair was limp and her face was pale as a sheet, her eyes sunken in looking.

She lingered beside the king, eyes wide looking at me. My eyes dropped to her neck where an inflamed bite bark was still seeping blood.

I looked away from her feeling a bit ill myself and saw Calvin hiding the glass in his hand behind his back on the shelf.

He wasn’t quick enough though because I could see the deep crimson liquid that was left in the bottom of his cup before he scooted it out of view.

“Dismissed.” King Gordo said in an agitated voice and the girl walked meekly out from behind the desk and passed me to exit the room. “What do you want now, girl?” He snapped at me.


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