story prompt, short storyMadelyn feels like Rapunzel – trapped in a tower, unable to leave. Her magical gift is a curse and when she finds out that war has started because of her, she can stand it no longer…


Madelyn looked up from the book she was reading as two small birds darted through the air near her. One landed on the railing of the balcony, chirping loudly. The other swooped towards his friend, nearly knocking him off the railing. Angry twitters erupted and she grinned. These two were clowns. They never failed to brighten her day.

Reaching into the paper bag on the table, she scattered some crumbs across the table surface. The agitated tweets subsided as the two birds fluttered to the tabletop and began pecking at the crumbs.

Madelyn tried to return her attention to the book. It was hard to focus on a story that she’d read twelve times already. Unfortunately, she had no other books to read. She bit her lip, remembering their demise. She regretted losing her temper and throwing them in the fire now…

With a sigh, she snapped the book closed, startling the birds who promptly flew off.

“Lucky creatures,” she muttered. “I wish I had wings. I would fly so far away from this gilded cage.”

A breeze ruffled her long hair and she closed her eyes, turning her face into it. Why was I born with this curse? She knew many wouldn’t consider it a curse, many would think of it as a blessing. Certainly, it had brought her out of poverty and set her family up for life. For her family’s sake, she was grateful.

Unfortunately, it also meant that she was forced to reside in this tower at the will of the Queen. She was never allowed to leave. She hadn’t stepped foot outside the tower for 16 years. She’d only been five years old when she’d had her last glimpse of the outside world. After that fateful day at the markets, the Queen had ordered that she never leave the tower again. Even at five years old, she had been able to hear the underlying threat the Queen had posed to her family.

For the sake of her family’s safety, Madelyn had agreed.

She opened her eyes and ran her fingers over the source of all her problems – her luscious golden hair. It looked more or less normal, though it did glint in the sunshine perhaps more than usual. However, once cut from her head, the strands would turn into pure gold.

Unlimited wealth for the royal family.

A life-time sentence for her.

She thought she’d resigned herself to her future long ago, but she still caught herself dreaming of being free, of being a normal girl exploring the world. All she could see from her tower was the sprawling city and the Royal Palace on the hill opposite her, reminding her of whom she served.

A scuffle below caught her attention. She peered over the railing and watched as a trio of guards escorted a young man away. She was too far away to make out any distinct words, but the man seemed agitated, yelling at the top of his lungs. It wasn’t unusual to see this happen – many people came to try and get just a snippet of her famous hair.

She turned and settled back in her chair. A warm breeze drifted over her. It must have come from the direction of the young man being escorted away because she could suddenly hear what he was yelling. She froze.

“Witch! You are the cause of this war!”

Impossible! The kingdom wasn’t at war, surely? Someone would have told her. A queasy feeling settled in her stomach. It was not hard to believe that she would be the reason for a war. Greedy monarchs would fight for the wealth that her hair could give them.

Her tower felt even more like a prison cell than ever. She couldn’t stand being here any longer. She had to get out. She would not be the cause of innocents losing their lives.

She would disappear forever and keep her secret to herself.

Standing, she left the balcony and began to plan.

I think Madelyn is going to get herself into quite a few entertaining scrapes if she escapes her gilded cage!

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