Escape

Two more stories each this month. This is the first.

Prompt: On the following Friday, we packed our bags and planned our escape’

Parts 1 and 3 BK
Parts 2 and 4 EB

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Escape

I think the whole thing was probably Dad’s fault. Mum was sensible, knew the answers to our questions, bought all our food, cooked it the way we liked it. But right from the start Dad told us stories about magic things, wizards, fairies, talking animals. He did all their voices, too: squeaky, loud, scary, whispery… it didn’t matter if it was a little weed in a plant pot or a dragon with fire in its throat, he knew how they spoke. But it was Princess Louisa’s voice that made her my little sister Donna’s favourite. In all the stories about her, Louisa was always getting into trouble, persuading the palace servants, gardeners, stable boys, to let her do naughty things, which was easy because her singing voice was so sweet that they’d do anything just to listen to her. One Wednesday night, Donna told Dad she wanted to meet Louisa. He laughed and said things about sirens and how dangerous it would be if we ever did meet any of the characters in his stories. So, of course, Donna and I immediately decided that’s what we’d do and, on the following Friday, we packed our bags and planned our escape.

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According to Dad, Princess Louisa lived in a tent in a nearby park, only it wasn’t really a tent. It was the entrance way to her kingdom. After nights of begging Dad to reveal the password to Louisa’s palace, he finally relented, in his own way.

“The password is two words,” he said. “It’s the traditional name of the continent upon which we live.”

We did our research and agreed that Louisa’s home had to be in Trinity Park because it was located on Princess Street. When our school bus drove by the park in the mornings, we saw tents assembled at the North end. One of them had to be Louisa’s!

Friday was date night for Mum and Dad, a perfect time to escape since Stella was babysitting. We nicknamed her Sleepy Stella. One time, we slipped out after she fell asleep on the couch. We’d only gone around the block, but we got away with it! Tonight, after Stella fell asleep, we snuck downstairs with our backpacks and left the house through the kitchen door.

“Stay close to me,” I said to Donna. Based on my calculation, it would take about thirty minutes to walk to the park.

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In fact, it was less. It was scarier than the walk round the block so we hurried. We had no plans for what we’d do when we got there. It would all be magic anyway so we might not be able to do anything.

There were about eight tents. Most of them had lights, some had fires outside.

“What shall we do?” asked Donna, but almost at once, coming out of the darkness, we heard singing. A girl’s voice. A guitar.

Donna whispered, “It’s her. It must be. It’s beautiful.”

I just nodded. It did sound very special.

We crept around the edge of the tents until we saw her. She didn’t look like a princess. Her long hair was a bit straggly and she was wearing a sort of cloak instead of a dress. But the sound of her guitar and her voice and the strange words she was singing told us straight away who she was. Dad had never tried to do her voice properly. He said it wasn’t possible for an ordinary person.

When she stopped, Donna and I walked up to her. She just said “Hello”.

“We know the password,” I said.

She smiled and said, “Good”.

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There were other people seated beside Louisa in a circle. One of them said, “Goodness, they’re just kids.”

“Come closer so I can see you,” said the princess. She put down her guitar and extended her hand.

Donna scurried ahead of me. She kneeled and bowed at the feet of Louisa, drawing a quick intake of breath from the woman. “Dear, sweet child …” then she turned to me, “ … why are you both here in the middle of the night?”

“Dad told us about your sweet voice,” I said, kneeling beside Donna. “We wanted to come and see your palace.”

Several people chuckled. “My palace?” she said. She shook her head. “You mean this? This is what you call my palace?”

A man brought a blanket and draped it over me and my sister.

Donna’s eyes shone bright, lit up by a nearby fire. “Your tent is the palace, and we want to live with you.”

“Yes,” I said, “and we know the password.”

Louisa looked over at the others in the circle. “Okay …what is the password?”

Donna and I had agreed we’d say it together. “Turtle Island,” we said. “We promise to behave if you let us move in.”

All comments welcome as usual.

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