My daughter tells me I need to write more things she can read, so she can take them to school for her friends to read. I think that's very sweet and I would love to write something to make her happy. So, the book I'm currently working on is, in every way, written for her. It’s still extremely rough, but I thought I would go ahead and post it. Think of it as a window into my writing process. Right now it sounds more like a fairytale than anything else, but that will probably change as I go through and edit it, adding in details, dialogue and such.
I don't have an actual title for this story yet. It's about a girl who was pulled into the realm of nightmares, and the boy that goes in to save her. It being a nightmare, I'm hoping to have plenty of creepy things in the story-no gore, but creepy stuff anyway. Suggestions?
“The black door. Behind the black door. He’s coming back. Behind the black door. Hurry!”
Jasmine’s face scrunched up, her small chin wobbling as she cried in her sleep. Her distraught mother, Queen Theo of Val d'Aosta, dabbed the tears away and looked to her husband for help he was unable to give her. Unable to hold his sorrow filled gaze, she turned back to the sleeping face of her daughter instead. My poor baby.
She had never had nightmares before, had always been such a happy child. Now she was caught inside some horrible dream from which no one had been able to wake her. Oh, they had tried everything they could think to try. Doctors and wise-men had poured into the kingdom from parts unknown, all of the sure they could cure this sleeping sickness, but in the end none had been of any help. The princess continued to sleep. And speak of the horrors she saw in her endless dream.
“The black boor. I’m trapped there. The wolves are out and I can’t get out of the tower. Please mother. Please….”
Queen Theo flinched. That was the worst of it. Hearing her baby cry out for her help and knowing she was powerless to do anything but wipe the tears from her cheeks.
“I can’t stand this. I just don’t think I can take it anymore. Chamberlin!” King Justinian Julianus the third did not take his eyes off the form of his daughter and the rounded shoulders of his loving wife, as much as it pained him.
“Yes Sire?” The short, balding man stepped to the king’s side, bowing his head. The king hardly noticed.
“Where are the wise-men? Did you not show them in today?”
“Sire….” It was hard for him to utter the words he knew would so infuriate his king, but there was no way to hide the truth and he dared not lie. “I’m sorry, Sire. No wise-men have come. I think… I’m afraid there may not be any more willing to come at all, Sire.”
“What? None?” No more? He sank down into a nearby chair, covering his face with one large, trembling hand. There had been a time that he had thought himself strong enough to do anything. He had built up his kingdom with the strength of his sword arm. Now, he found himself powerless. “Even the wisest men in all my kingdom have failed me. Now, in my hour of greatest need… is there no one left?”
“Beyond the red lake. The fire… it’s so cold. The black door. The wolves. The white lights….”
The king looked over to Jasmine’s slight form. She was such a small girl. No a young lady. It was hard to believe how fast she had grown. Had they only just celebrated her sixteenth year of life? Now, to have his only child snatched away in her sleep. No… just her mind. But what was a body without a mind? An empty vessel with nothing to fill it. He could reach out and touch her icy flesh any moment, but the spirit that had been inside seemed lost to him. How much longer can she live like this?
He tore his eyes from her, looking instead out the large bay window. He didn’t see the blue of the sky, or the rolling green hills with his greatest city beyond. He knew only the pain of having it all-except the only thing that really mattered to him.
“What do I do now?” He was unaccustomed to questioning himself, unaccustomed to not having all of the answers. “What am I to do? There is no one left to call on for help.
“The people. You could call on them for help.” The queen said without taking her eyes off her daughter.
“The people?” The king did not bother hiding his disgust. “Those fools? What good could any of them do?” It is absurd. I am their king. I do not ask them for anything! I will not!
“You’ve called on everyone else. Please dear…. Please Julianus!”
He started at the sound of his name on his wife’s lips, so unused to hearing it without him formal title. She had never in all their years together called him by his first name alone.
“Please, for me. For our baby’s sake. Surely it would do no harm!”
No harm? False hope is a killer. He looked at his loving wife, really looked at her first the first time in over a month. Her cheeks were hollowed, her eyes shadowed. Even her once glorious hair was lackluster. Am I to lose them both?
“Chamberlin. Make a royal decree….”