short story, story promptChristine has been held in a mysterious castle for the past year. She still doesn’t know the exact reason, but they have just taken away her only friend and ally. What is she going to do now?


“Helaine!” I rushed after her. She was the only friend I had in this dark castle. I couldn’t lose her. Losing her would mean losing my sanity. “What’s going on? Why are they doing this?”

Her friendly brown eyes were sad as she looked at me. “Because we’re friends, Christine.”

I stopped, shocked. The two guards holding Helaine hustled her onwards. She looked back at me once more with a sad smile before they disappeared around a corner of the corridor. I blindly stumbled back to the cold room that I’d been assigned when I’d arrived a year ago. Helaine had been my maidservant from that moment. She’d helped me understand the castle and it’s rules. She had been a shoulder to cry on whenever things got tough. In time, she’d become my friend, the only one I could confide in and rely on.

Now, because of that friendship, she was gone. I would never see her again.

I moved to the window and peered down into the courtyard far below. I could vaguely make out Helaine’s chestnut-coloured hair as she was pushed into a black carriage. The driver slapped the reins and the carriage rumbled through the castle gates. I watched it as it continued down the road towards town until I could no longer see it. A tear slipped down my cheek.

How was I ever going to survive without her?

A knock sounded on the bedroom door. I quickly wiped my eyes. I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of seeing me cry.

“Come in.” I surprised myself at how steady and composed my voice sounded.

A maid I’d never seen before entered the room, dressed in long blue and black robes. It was the uniform that meant she was a lady’s servant.

“Helaine’s replacement, I presume?”

She bobbed a curtsey. “Lela, my lady.”

I turned my back on her, gazing out the window instead. I couldn’t allow myself to be vulnerable again. Relying on another person was dangerous in this place. I had to learn to be strong on my own.

I couldn’t have any more friends.

“Well, Lela. You no doubt have orders from the lord of the castle about what to do and what not to do, but here are a few from me.” I turned to face her. From the way she flinched and looked down at the floor, my eyes must have held the hard coldness I was aiming for. “You will not speak to me unless I ask you to. You will leave me on my own as much as your other orders allow you to. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Lady Christine.”

“Good.” I took a few menacing steps towards her. “Because if you don’t, I will make your life more miserable than my own. I’m sure you’ve been here long enough to know exactly how miserable that would be. Understood?”

“Yes, Lady Christine.”

I swept away from her. “Then I don’t believe I will be requiring your services until an hour before dinner. Return to me at that time.”

I heard the soft click as the door closed behind her. Letting out a sigh, I bowed my head. I couldn’t think about Helaine any more. I had to harden my heart, learn to feel nothing. If that meant being a little cruel to the new maid, then so be it.

I had no choice if I wanted to survive.

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