Return

She couldn't open her eyes, despite how often she tried. The lids seemed to be stuck together. She tried to move her body but again it seemed to be frozen in place. It was nothing like the sand, where she could manage a little bit of movement, enough to free herself, this was complete stillness. Yet as she laid there she could hear everything around her, and thought her eyes remained shut. She could imagine everything in her room perfectly. From the low roof that slanted down toward her head, the crates near her feet filled with trinkets she found in the ground, years of them, just sitting collecting dust. The wardrobe that blocked her sight of the rest of the room, and the screen that did the same but extended that privacy the wardrobe gave. Even being unable to move it was peaceful for a time. Until she felt the cold air tickling her toes. Even though she was just imagining it, she felt like she saw the shadows creep up onto her bed, pushing the mattress down with a small hand.

Still unable to move her body she watched the shadow creep it was covering her body like a thick blanket. Its hards wrapping around her as it laid on her chest, constricting her ribs like a corset. Had she escaped the desert just to die here in bed? Was she meant to die? Her mind started to panic.

"Mom"

The word stopped the panic from taking her fully. The familiar voice breaking through the cloud of darkness threatening to pull her under. Finally she felt like she could breath. Again that voice spoke, and more of the clouds started to part. She took in a deep gasp of air and finally she felt her eyes open. No longer was she imagining the world around her, and no longer was she immobile. She brought her arms up, attempting to squeeze her arms around herself, but they were stopped by something on her chest. She darted her eyes down to look, and she smiled. Her gaze met with a head of black curly hair and green eyes, the twin in shade to her own, staring back at her. She tightened her hold around the child resting on top of her.

"Rita...Thank goodness." she moved her hand up to the girls head and let her fingers trail tangle in her hair, curling them into her locks. She turned onto her side and pulled the girl up so they were face to face, pressing a kiss to Rita's forehead. Rita brought a small hand up to her face, running her thumb over her cheek, as if to comfort her. It did the trick. Filling her with warmth.

"Mommy had a bad dream sweetie." she whispered to the girl, and when she didn't ask anything she just sighed. Feeling content to just lay their with her for the time being, listening to her little breaths and her soft heartbeat. She felt as if she was starting to fall asleep again when another voice sounded.

"Beatrice."

She tried to ignore this voice, squeezing her eyes tighter. She heard footsteps drawing closer.

"Beatrice!" the man yelled closer this time, slapping her foot before wrapping a hand around her ankle and pulling. She sat up then, grabbing her pillow and throwing it. She watched as it flew through the air and landed harmlessly at the foot of the bed.

"What?" Beatrice glared out. A light flickered on above her and her brother was illuminated. His broad stature casting a shadow over her bed. His dark brown hair had been greased back and his eyebrows trimmed into thin arches. The yellow of his army vest juxtaposed his tan skin and brought out the gold flecks in his chocolate brown eyes, making it look like topaz crystals had formed within the dark hues.

"You start at the palace today. Get up."

Beatrice felt her eyes widen. Was that today? She looked around and quickly slid down to the end of the bed. bending down to the box of trinkets and starting to go through them, throwing old rusting necklaces, pieces of scrap metal, and a few dolls to the side.

"What are you looking for?"

"My necklace. The gold one with the emerald in the center." She continued to rummage through the box as Rita picked up one of the dolls and started to play with it. Footsteps started to walk away, and after a few moments they started to get closer. A large hand came down.

"Here."

In her brothers hand was a choker made from gold hammered thin and shaped into thin golden vines and leaves. Each leaf was studded with a small pearl no bigger than a needle head. In the center of the crafted gold was a ceylon cut emerald so green it was like looking into an ancient forest. She would reach out and take the necklace, holding it up so it caught the light and gleamed across the surface.

"Whats so important that you needed it right now?" he asked, and Beatrice looked over at him, a smile on her face as she rolled her wrist up and curled her fingers around the necklace to keep it hidden from sight

"It was my mothers." she said softly as she held onto it while starting to put all the other trinkets away.

"I don't remember mom buying that for you, a bit above what a ladies maid can afford, don't you think?" he reached out for her wrist, but Beatrice quickly moved her hand back

"Its not from your mother." she snapped at him "and if you don't know the importance of it why did you have it?" she asked him. He seemed to be taken aback by this, his eyes opening just a fraction before he shook his head

"I saw Rita playing with it. Gold isn't something we can come by. I thought that maybe client gave it to Anissa at best, but when you mentioned it well-"

"You think I stole it?" Beatrice cut him off with an accusatory tone to her voice, and he stared at her for a moment, but then nodded

"Yes." His nostrils would flair as he breathed out

"Well, I didn't." Beatrice finally stood up "you said we had to get ready for the palace?" she asked, and her brother nodded. Beatrice would walk over to her dresser and pull out a skirt, pulling it up over her sleeping pants to keep her dignity, and pulling the pants off once she was covered. She did the same with her blouse, covering the thin white camisole with a pink shoulder scarf that she buttoned at the center of her chest. Lastly taking the necklace and fastening it around her neck.

"C'mon." She held her hands out for Rita, the little girl picking up her doll and jumping into her arms. Beatrice walked out of her corner of the room and slipped on some black flats. As soon as she walked out the door she came face first, not with the warmth of the sun, but with the cold solid stucco of the castle wall. She would heft Rita up higher on her hip before grabbing her hand and bringing it to the wall.

"Do you feel that?" she whispered, moving Rita's hands over the bumps and ridges of the wall "It was said that the old kings had servants' chisels every ridge and bump into the wall by hand." Beatrice smiled, pressing her own hand to the wall as Rita started to run her hand along it. She smiled as she felt the texture under her nails.

"And it will all be gone soon."