For how many years has this been happening? So many that the original story has been half forgotten. All that remains is the monster in the tower, and the price of peace – a girl who draws the wrong ticket in the lottery, and is left as payment. For too many years mothers have wept and fathers have raged, and then accepted that this is the price that must be paid.
And in all those years, nobody has attempted a rescue, until now. This young man battled through those ancient spells of protection, scaled the tower wall, forced his way through the bars of crumbling iron, until he stood before us.
I was sure he had come for me.
He looked at us both – her: young and beautiful, golden hair spilling over her white dress, blue eyes filled with fearful tears; me: wizened and ugly and obviously evil. Too vile to trust, too pitiful to kill.
He knelt before her, dazzled, and she smiled at him.
“Have you come to free me?” she asked, and he, of course said yes, and kissed her out-stretched hand. That kiss broke all the spells. He led her out, into the twilight, forgetting me, never seeing my chains, or all those other wrinkled husks piled round the edges of the tower room. The husks that once were girls who drew the wrong ticket in the lottery.
Just like me.
If I could reach the window, I would call to him, tell him how she drained me of my youth and beauty and left me lying here like this. I’d warn him of what he has unleashed. I’d tell him that sometimes beautiful maidens can be monsters, too.
This is the story I tried to write yesterday, but got really wrong. This is closer to what I was hoping to get across. It’s the same picture as yesterday – Lovers by Felix Nussbaum, and it’s for Jane Dougherty.