Thursday 29 January 2015

Thursday Taster: Pandora - A Sleeping Beauty Story Chapter 1

This is a story that has grown from a 200 word short I wrote over a year ago. I'm posting it on WattPad, so you can find it there as well. Be sure to check out all the other tastes on the blog.

Pandora hopped through the garden, landing gracefully on her toes on each stepping stone. They were all different minerals and she named them as she touched them.
“Jadeite, Amethyst, Malachite, Pyrite, Quartz.” Then she turned and hopped down another stretch, her own private field for hopscotch. Her billowy pale blue skirts didn't impede her, cropped halfway between knee and ankle, they were perfect for this type of skipping.
“Pandora. Time for you lessons,” her teacher called.
Skipping toward the archway leading into the fortress, she called back. “On my way.”
Her teacher had dark wrinkled skin and her chin came to an angry point. Her nose was much the same, giving her an uncomfortable gaze. When she looked down at something, one expected it to obey or be obliterated. Pandora still received those from time to time, but they no longer frightened her. Tabitha was a witch, and could have turned Pandora to stone with that glare, literally, but she had also smiled and laughed with her when she succeeded or failed in a spectacular way. She wasn't afraid of Tabitha, not anymore. Tabitha was her greatest ally and fiercest protector, after her mother.
Pandora looked behind her, to the sun in the distance. “Isn't it early?” she asked. They normally had classes in the afternoon and after sunset. The sun was still low in the east.
“Yes, but I'm afraid today's lesson can't wait.”
Pandora stopped, looking at the group surrounding them. “Did you call them all back?” she asked, surprised. The witch had many familiars, many monsters and animals that obeyed and followed her in return for a taste of her magic. The cat, Brutus, was always here, but the toad, the bear, the hare, the fox, the unicorn, the dragon. She had met them all once, but most only once. The dragon had grown since she'd seen it last.
“Magnificent,” she called to him and he lowered his nose to her hand. A spark of her magic flew into him at the touch and smoke curled from his nostrils. It was his way of smiling, twisting the tendrils up like the corners of her mouth.
Tabitha stopped, watching them. “Magnificent it will be, then.”
She looked back to her foster mother, the one who had cared for her since she was old enough to read and write. Her true parents were a king and queen, but she was safer here, and her mother had spirited her away to learn from the witch. For all her childishness in the garden, and even here as she giggled and played with the familiars, she was actually full grown. Her breasts filled the top of her dress and her monthly flow had been regular for more than a year. She was a woman, in flesh, but a girl in spirit. She hadn't known hardship, and so she hadn't grown up.
Tabitha appraised her. “You should wear full skirts, girl. You are a child no longer.”
Pandora glance down and shook her dress out, making the magical stitches holding the hem disappear. The fold fell down. She looked to Tabitha for approval. The witch's smile was lopsided, it was the one for when she was amused but didn't want Pandora to think she was amused. Most likely, she was impressed at the bit of magic. Pandora's hand was not delicate with it, leaving large blobs of unformed energy in her creations. The hem had been fine work. It helped that it was something she practiced daily.

Remember to check out the other tasters!