story prompt, short storyI couldn’t help but get a bit carried away with this one… it’s a little longer than usual… as in, almost double the word-count! I got a bit passionate about it, so please do enjoy! I hope you like reading about young Queen Jessalyn, the Queen with the Dark Heart. 


Jessalynn stood tall and proud on the large balcony of the castle above the inner courtyard. Hundreds of townspeople had entered the castle gates today. She’d been queen for a year. This was her anniversary celebration.

The people below swirled, talked, laughed, danced. Not many noticed her standing high above them. She wasn’t due to appear yet. They enjoyed themselves while they could. She knew few among them had come to see her or celebrate the first year of her reign.

No one really liked her as a queen.

A bitter sneer tugged at the corner of her mouth. It wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret that she was not particularly popular among her subjects. The rumours that she’d heard whispered mentioned that they called her the queen that hated joy, or even the Queen with the Dark Heart. She was nothing like her father, who had been king before her. He had been a happy, kind, benevolent leader, willing to listen to every gripe of every pathetic peasant. He’d had a way of dealing with people that made them feel important and valued.

She had none of his patience, no skill with people, and could barely stand being anywhere near the common people. She disliked them intensely. They were smelly, ungrateful and always asking for help with one thing or another. They should just work harder. Then they wouldn’t keep bothering her.

She turned and headed for the central ballroom where more festivities were being held, where she would be making her appearance. She put a hand up to make sure her diamond crown was in place. Taking a deep breath, she nodded to the doorman, who swung it wide for her. She glided onto the marble landing of the staircase that swept away both to the right and left of her. She stood at the railing, head high.

“Her Majesty, Queen Jessalynn of our Kingdom of Rhowne,” the herald announced.

story prompt, dark queen

The room hushed. All eyes turned to her. She stared down at them all, detached. She couldn’t help but scan for some hint of affection, adoration or respect in their faces. Her father used to be able to elicit all those reactions from his people. For her, there was only disinterest, scepticism and dislike. She supposed that was to be expected when they called her the Queen with the Dark Heart behind her back.

There even seemed to be anger and loathing among a few scattered faces. That shocked her a little. She hadn’t met those people. How could they hate her? She’d never done anything to them, so why would they be angry with her?

It seemed to take a moment of back and forth staring, before they realised they were supposed to bow to their monarch. Like a wave rolling away from her, heads bent and knees touched the marble floor. No one made a sound.

They used to cheer for her father.

“Dearest citizens of Rhowne,” she said, voice echoing in the grand chamber. “I thank you for attending the anniversary of my coronation. Please, enjoy the festivities.”

People began to rise, soft chatter started up nervously, slowly getting louder as people went back to what they’d been doing before she had entered.

She breathed a little sigh. Thank the gods that stupid speech was done with. Royal advisors where pains in the butt, always telling her what she should say or do.

For example, now she was supposed to mingle with the peasants. She could barely keep the disgusted grimace from showing on her face. Why had she agreed to this ‘celebration’ in the first place?

She wandered through the room. It wasn’t as bad as she’d expected. Everyone kept a wide berth around her. Nobody seemed keen to engage her in conversation. She made a complete circuit of the room, ending at the flight of stairs leading to the landing. Time to go.

“It must be hard being queen when you’re so young.”

Jessalynn froze. Had someone actually spoken to her? She turned her head and came face to face with a young man clothed in hunter’s garb.

“It must be especially difficult when you were never taught to be ready for the crown. Even harder when you’ve lost your entire family.”

Was he being cruel? Jessalynn eyed him closely. She wasn’t very good at judging people, but his eyes seemed genuinely sympathetic. Everyone knew that as the youngest daughter, she’d never been expected to take the throne. She’d had two older brothers, not to mention two older sisters as well. She’d practically been a nobody until a year ago.

“It is.” Wait a minute. Had she said that? Had she just admitted to a complete stranger that she found being the queen to be a burden? That it was so, so very difficult to keep going every day? She pressed her lips together.

The young man tilted his head to the side and offered a small smile. “I’m sorry for your loss. How are you doing?”

Jessalynn blinked rapidly, tears rushing to her eyes. Her breathing became unsteady. How long has it been? When had somebody treated her like a girl? A human being? Not just a queen or an object of power, but someone with feelings and problems of her own to deal with? When was the last time someone had looked at her and asked how she felt?

In a whole year, this boy, a stranger, was the only person who’d asked that question.

A single tear slid down her cheek. Concern flashed in his expressive green eyes. She turned away quickly and sped up the stairs, somehow managing to do it gracefully. Confused whispers followed her through the huge doors, cutting off and leaving her in silence when they closed behind her.

She’d had enough ‘celebrating’ for today. A sob escaped her as she ran through a castle that felt cold and empty.

Thanks so much for reading! Would you read more of Jessalynn’s story if it were available?

Is this one of your favourite 500-word-story-starters? Click the heart to like it and it may become a fully-fledged story! –>  2

<– Day 12     #    Day 14 –>