Last week I participated in Anna of Yearning for Wonderland’s Faerytaleish flash fiction contest with a short about Rapunzel entitled Captive. My Rapunzel short was inspired by this picture from the Faerytaleish Pinterst board:
Such a gorgeous picture! And it inspired more than one story thread about Rapunzel. I actually wrote a few flash fiction pieces and ended up posting the one that fit best with the contest rules. In other words, I wrote it at almost exactly three hundred words and the other ones were longer and would have required a lot more editing. Seeing as it was 3 am the last day of the contest, I went with the one that fit the parameters without further word cutting. I’m lazy like that.
However, there was something about one of the other story ideas that’s still been speaking to me all week, so I polished it up a bit and am posting it today for fun. It’s 420 words, so still flash fiction. It also almost requires the inspiration picture because it was written so specifically for it. I’m not sure it just stands on it’s own without the picture. You’ll have to let me know what you think!
I’m also in search of a great title, so feel free to suggest!
She’d always thought it funny that she was named after an herb. She who had never even walked across the ground. As a child she’d gazed down from the tower window, longing to run across the soft dirt. Desperate to wiggle her toes in the rich, loamy earth as if they were roots and she was truly rapunzel.
Then her hair had only been to her waist. The braids had been full and thick, but the headaches hadn’t started yet. Now she was older. Old enough to know that she was a prisoner, to understand her loneliness. Her hair was so heavy that she felt the constant pull against her scalp. She no longer desired to feel the earth against her feet and burrow through the dirt like a root. She was held down. Her hair pushed her against the stone floor of her tower, as if the weight of her loneliness rested in the golden waves.
Rapunzel sat on the window ledge and slowly unwound her braids. The witch had left. She liked the braids because they were easier to climb, but Rapunzel detested them. The thick ropes were her chains. As she silently loosed the strands she watched night fall over the forest. This was her favorite time, the only time she felt, for a few moments, as if she wasn’t alone.
As the moon rose the air filled with lights; little effervescent balls of magic. If she looked hard enough she could see them — the wood fairies — mostly obscured by the magic that fizzed and sparkled around them.
Rapunzel envied their lightness and mobility. She wanted to be free. Free of the weight of her hair, of the oppression of her ever present loneliness. Even for one night, even if it meant death after, she would give anything to feel that lightness.
“Please,” she whispered.
It wasn’t the first time she’d said it, but perhaps her longing and desperation were stronger, because this time there was an answer.
“If you truly wish it.” The voice was soft, but somehow as energetic as the light that surrounded the fairy. “But there is a price. If you wait long enough, help…love…will come to you.”
Rapunzel’s vision was filled with the face of a handsome man. He looked kind enough. But he was far off and a choice had to be made now.
“I truly wish.”
And then the heaviness was gone. Her entire body was filled with brightness, she felt weightless.
And she was free.