Mother Hulda (Part One)

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Humming.

It was in the walls, in the blankets.
In her ears, anywhere and everywhere.

Hum, hum, hum.

Spin, spin, spin.

Faster, faster, faster.

Number 457 was kept within thick walls. She had only seen the sun once in her life and it had burned her eyes. Her cheeks were ashen and her eyes were set placidly on her hands.

Her hands that brushed the wheel.

A wheel that was turned by the pushing of her feet. Harder, harder, harder.

Press, touch, press.

The humming that the spinning wheel made did not bother 457. That was all she knew, after all: the words of workmen, and the humming of a spinning wheel.

All the thread that she spun from the white wool, she piled on the floor near her wheel.

Her chair was swimming in the thread.
The thread was growing fat in the room, for it was collected every morning.
457 was spinning all the time.

Why was she spinning? She was only thirteen years old, and she had worked for twelve years.

There was no escaping for her.

1-1000 were slaves in the castle of Agnes Queensbury. Queen Agnes Queensbury. 457 didn’t know who she worked for exactly, but she knew that she had to, or else, she would not eat, for starters.

Queen Queensbury was not exactly the kindest queen in the world. Despite the queen’s lack of kindness, however, she was still very nice. Very nice! For she wore the finest gowns in the land, and the finest jewels, and the finest wigs. She loved things that required lots of fabric, thus lots more of thread, and as she never wore the same outfit twice, the slaves were kept working.
457 was only number 457 out of the many workers whose fingers bled and callused for the queen.

But one day things did not go so well for 457. Out of the many slaves she housed with, she stuck out like a sore thumb after a rather small event.

457 was a girl with strong fingers, but delicate skin; tender and creamy skin like the skin women should always have .

Well, after about approximately 12 straight hours of spinning, her hands were bleeding so, that she had to wash her raw fingers in the well, along with the stained thread.

There was a well in every working chamber so that the workers would not have to leave the room for ridiculous, insignificant things like drinking or washing.

457 plunged her hands into the cold water, trying her best to avoid the consequential sting in her skin.

Next, she picked up a spool of freshly spun, and freshly bloodied thread and dipped it ever so gently in the water of the well.

Ah.

Never take anything for granted when things are going smoothly.

A terrible pain bit at her naked fingers as she soaked them in the unfriendly water.

And she dropped the spool of thread down, down, down into the darkness of the well.

Suddenly, the door to the room opened, and 457 was no longer alone.

“Why aren’t you spinning, 457?”

The question came from a very small, wiry man who hunched over like a sloth, an animal 457 had no idea even existed.

“Wash,” said 457, extending her hands hesitantly. Raw grooves oozed with blood in her snowy fingers, and the taskmaster, being a somewhat educated man, wondered how many cells were in her blood.

“Get back to work, then,” he said drily.

Despite the fact that her fair face seemed it could not grow any whiter,

it certainly did.  Blood drained from her cheeks, and she sat down at the wheel.

Her foot touched the pedal, the wheel began to spin, and 457 began to cry.

“What’s wrong?” The sloth man snapped. If evolution was not such a fairy tale, he very well have been the missing link.

As blood continued to ooze from her tender hands, she pointed to the well.

“What?”

She struggled between sobs.

“Answer me!”

“The thread’s in the well!”

His face grew hot with realization, and he glanced at the wheel.

“Why, you naughty wretch!” he exclaimed, and pondered what to do.

“Well,” he said finally, “you will have to take a swim.” As clearly had no idea what a swim was, he rephrased: “Go get it.”

Seeing as there was no escape, and that she had done something terribly rash, the poor girl meekly walked up to the well and slowly entered its mouth. However, both the taskmaster knew and 457 knew that she did not know how to stay afloat in the water, and with tears in her eyes, the girl went sinking down.

End of Part One

(Note that the picture above is from http://www.mamalisa.com)

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Ashenpuddle Part 12 ~escape from the wicked knight~

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Seeing as I am probably going to be locked up in this prison forever, until I die, of course; and that I may die probably the Wednesday of next week, or maybe even Thursday of next week if I have enough water, or maybe I won’t get any water and will die on Monday–I would like to say something.
I just wanted to say how utterly foolish yesterday’s entry was, about the Charming husband plus wife ordeal–honestly, it doesn’t make any sense now that I think re-think it–naturally, I cannot re-read it in the dark. Oh, how naturally unnatural this whole world is!

Anyway, now, let me tell you about my childhood.

WHERE AM I NOW? I don’t know, I don’t know, I’m crying all over the paper again, getting everything wet as usual–I’m an old dunce–well, a young one–so clumsy, but I don’t know what just happened and I am terribly frightened!

I can read what I’m writing now because it’s not dark anymore. Blue lights are swirling everywhere, spinning my heart into a

I’m
Not
Well.

it’s cold in here.
This is what happened, I tell you in truth:
I was about to tell you all about my childhood, when suddenly there was a shutter–or a flutter–like the sound a chicken makes after preening itself. Chickens aren’t half dirty creatures, and I do love birds so, but, I’ve never seen a crow so large. You see Grimhilde across the hall from me in her cell, seemed to have turned herself into a dreadfully large crow! I didn’t know it then, and her voice sounded like a crow’s anyway, but I didn’t realize that she was a crow until my cell door began to be unlocked, and then wings started getting in my face, and the crow said, “Hold on, dearie, I’ll get you out,” or something. And then, seeing it was a crow, I must have fainted, and last I knew was I was looking into Snow White’s terrible white eyes, and she clapped for a woodsman, and said, “give me her heart!”
Then the woodsman opened the lid to a beautiful box, and told me to get in, and I told him that I wouldn’t fit, and then he and Snow White got very angry, and so being she ran at me, but tripped over the box for my heart to go in that the woodsman dropped on the floor, and she disappeared!
And you know how very fond I used to be of Snow White, but now I am a little glad to be rid of her. Right after she disappeared, however, I thought that I had best leave before I disappeared, and then I double thought and decided that maybe if I jumped in the box, then I would get back home! It seemed such a novel idea, so I ran back, jumped over the box just as the woodsman, unfortunately, was picking it up, and I fell rather heavily upon the floor. Now everything is blue around me, and I am writing, wondering if I shall ever find my husband. Now I am about to cry again, and

Ashenpuddle ~Part 9~

ashenpuddle 9

I heard it again.
The scream of complete terror and agony.
I love birds.
And gardens.
Once, however, I heard the shrill, forced scream of a bird behind me. I think it was the scream of a large, black crow. When I had turned to look into its eyes, I had seen nothing but blackness.
Crows do disturb me.
The scream I heard in the castle was like the bird’s. It sounded like a crow being hurt, cawing or shrieking in misery.
I whirled around in the pitch blackness.
Just as I turned around, I felt something cold and bare grasp at my ankle. Unearthly, it was. The hand. It belonged to the surreal world I was prisoner in.
The grasp was like the cold, slimy thing that had pulled me down into this wonderland.

I did the shrieking this time.

“Don’t, don’t do that!” a voice gasped.
I stopped. The hand still held me, but its grip had relaxed.
“Who are you, where are you?”
“Please, please come closer.”
I didn’t know where “closer” was.
“Right…over…here.” The hand tugged me north.
I felt my body brush against iron bars.
“I’m in a prison,” I breathed.
The crow wailed.
“Who are you?”
There was a sniffling sound, much like the sniveling of a child. The voice belonged to a woman.
“I am Grimhilde,” the voice said.
I stepped back, resisting the struggle of the hand. Queen Grimhilde! She was a wicked queen! Why was she was in this feverish world? Queen Grimhilde the stepmother of Snow White, the practicer of dead magic, and the mixer of poisons!
It should have been obvious to me that the castle was hers. It was that way above ground, but what was I to expect underwater? To see her? Impossible.
“What have you done? Get me out of this place! Get me out! You’ve sent me to this underground abyss! What have you done with Charming?! Get me out!”
“Shhh!” hissed the woman, “keep your voice down or they’ll find you and kill you!”
“What do you mean?” my eyes puddled and tears ran down my cheeks; finally they were free!
“Snow White!”
“What?”
The woman gasped after saying her name, like she had just wished a curse.
“What?”
“Do you not know of that–” her voice lowered until it crawled on the floor, “have you not heard of the queen of this castle?”
I did not answer.
“She will kill you like she is killing me,” the voice pleaded after I did not answer, “You must go! Go now! Quickly!”
“What are you speaking of?” I exclaimed, “Snow White is a dear friend of–”
Suddenly, the room lit up.
My eyes blinked with the shock of it.
My body reeled at the voice: “Kill her!” it screamed.
I knew that voice far too well.

Ashenpuddle ~Part 8~

ashenpuddle 8

I knocked a few more times. My mother once told me that patience is far more valuable than its opposite.
Still…
The door moaned on its bolts. Snap, fall, bang, scream, the doors groaned open.
“Well,” I thought, “that was loud.”
It was not quite as loud, however, as a scream I would hear in the dark only minutes from then.
It was pitch black. I imagined stepping into a well of nothingness when my foot passed the threshold.
I did not sink into a deep abyss, and considering the world I was in, I think of that as an accomplishment!

Fancy it!
A sky of water, a world not so quite unlike Earth underneath! I know that I am a woman, and may be easily impressionable at times, but if you had seen that watery sky, then you would have been as awed and as frightened as me!
There was no candle to light my way in the castle. I should have called out, perhaps, but I couldn’t. My voice hid in my throat and I couldn’t find it at all! What tricks I can play on myself! They are much better than the tricks I have played on others–I was not so perfect a child as villagers have made me out of me, I confess.
I walked. Barely letting my foot fall, my steps echoed within the walls.
Then, there, right at that moment, I heard the scream.
Curdling it was.
I may not be so talented with precise description, but do let me try and explain it to you: it was loud, hoarse, and terribly high-pitched. It was haunting, and my blood went cold.

Another Note From The Author

Here I am, again!

You just can’t get rid of me, can you?

If this is insanely annoying to you, then please stop reading right now and go away.

Go on! Shoo!

You’re still reading? You daring little rebel, villains like you.

Alright. Now let’s make this snappy and get this over with, so that the story can continue:

1) FOR MY FOLLOWERS VIA EMAIL: Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry. MOST IMPORTANTLY: WILL YOU FORGIVE ME?! The first time I publish any post on my blog, that version is sent out to all my email followers. HORRID PUNCTUATION, OTHER GRAMMAR PROBLEMS, AND/OR MISSPELLED WORDS that I may later find, faint after reading, and then correct WILL NOT BE ALTERED IN YOUR EMAIL! The mistakes sit hauntingly alive in your email copy, and the posts are only edited on my blog, not the email posts from my blog. SO: If you see anything malignly against the English language in my posts, you may moan, and shake your head, and even sigh, but don’t lose hope! I may fix the post many more times, and amend my actions…you just won’t know about it unless you read the story on your browser.

2) FOR MY FOLLOWERS AND READERS: Time plays a big role in my stories. Especially between chapters. I WILL COMPLETE MY STORIES, but the parts will be spaced out (usually). I am trying to write on here more regularly. Just give time a friendly nod when it comes up, and then turn the page–or in this case, check back here every few days/weeks and see if I’ve posted any more things. REMEMBER that if you follow my blog, you will get notified and will receive my new posts by WordPress reader or by email.

Ashenpuddle ~Part 7~

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I am not going to tarry. I tarry with words, I have found. They all fall out of my mind onto the paper, mingled with my troubled thoughts. They stumble into array, and stray from the point.
I will get to the point.
The point is that I walked for a while, all alone of course. Alone with my thoughts. That is beautiful and that is terrifying.
My thoughts scare me. They take advantage of me when I am alone. They wish to frighten me. And so they did then, but after walking in the dark (for there were no stars) I came to a high hill. There was no way around it, and if there was I would not have gone, for the path led straight up.
I walked straight up it, of course.
Suddenly, I felt so cold.
I walked more.
Then I saw it; it was dark and beautiful. A castle! In the distance it stretched itself out on the hill like a lioness, its stone walls conforming to the curves of the hill.
There was no other place around save the castle, and who knows how long I would have walked until I found other civilization! So, the castle was my choice, my only choice, and I walked tiredly to its doors.
My hands hesitated before I fingered the iron knocker on the gate, and sounded one great bang throughout the land. It was a difficult thing for me to lift the heavy knocker, so it slipped out of my hand the moment I lifted it an inch. That’s what created the incredible bang.
The doors did not open.