There is always a monster in the tower. There is always a maiden to be rescued. These are the rules of stories.
Look at her, then, leaning into him, so fearfully. He has his arm around her, protecting her. She’s beautiful and delicate in her white dress. See how they turn, looking back to the tower. It’s alright. Nothing is following you – no wicked witch, no angry ogre, no fiery dragon.You’re free.
When he climbed up here, torch in hand, it was obvious who the monster was. Everyone had heard the story of the beautiful girl brought here by night, all those years ago, and the foul witch who kept her imprisoned. And just as everyone had said, there was the girl – long hair still shining gold, blue eyes swimming with tears. And just as everyone had said, there was the vile thing that kept her there, that wizened, ugly creature cowering in the corner, afraid of the flame. Too ugly to pity, too pathetic to kill.
So he led her out into the twilight, as the first stars appeared, not questioning anything. Not asking the obvious question – why was it so easy? Why didn’t that wrinkled wicked creature fight back?
Not asking which of us was really the monster.
This is for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge. The image is The Lovers, by Felix Nussbaum. I’m not sure I’ve got this right. I might have another go at some point.