She could not have been more than seven or eight years old and she had the sweetest disposition. Standing quietly by my bed, she tapped my shoulder and whispered to me that it was morning. I nodded and smiled at her, gesturing for her to climb up because it seemed to be the right course of action at the time. I was relying on gut reactions but they were instincts created by a curse; how was I to know whether they could be trusted? My only option was to take the risk and find out.
“His lordship will be arriving soon to accompany you about the kingdom, my lady. Shall we prepare you for an outing?” Silently and some oh-so-cleverly, a young woman had slipped into my room. She was just a few years older than me in appearance, but her tone reminded me of a motherly type.
“Prepare me for an outing?” I repeated, clueless about her meaning. “You mean, should I get dressed?”
“Yes ma’am. Shall we dress you for your gallivanting?” She threw open the large oak door that hid away a wardrobe filled to the brim with clothing.
“Gallivanting?” I sighed, shaking my head slowly. “I suppose we must. Can you help me find something that is comfortable and will let me easily move around?”
“Certainly Madame. Shall we pack you several choices of attire for your journey?” Rummaging behind a section of the wardrobe, she lugged out a suitcase large enough to fit a person in.
“My journey?” Every word or phrase that escaped her mouth sent my brain into another round of questions that didn’t have answers.
“You have requested that his lordship show you the entire kingdom, have you not?” She raised an eyebrow in my direction as I wondered how that information was running rampant so quickly.
“I did, indeed. I suppose it will be a journey; thought not one that I necessarily intend to come back from.”
“What?” The young child on my bed protested. “You aren’t going to come back? But we just got you back? When will it be our turn again? Aren’t they ever going to finally solve this and figure out where you get to stay? I’m tired of sharing!”
“Katie!” My clothier interrupted suddenly. “That is quite enough. You hold your tongue child and make yourself useful. Run down to the study and inform his lordship that her ladyship will be ready for departure when the clock strikes. Do you understand?”
“Yes ma’am. I apologize and it won’t happen again. I give you my word.”
“That will do, Kaite, that will do. Now, off you go.”
This young girl, Katie, ran out through the door and, with her, went my best clue yet. She seemed to know, truly and completely, what kind of warped world I was stuck in. The most worrisome part was that I felt I should know a Katie, but that this young child was not the Katie I remembered.
Anthromagic by Crystal and Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.