Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)
TITLE: Silent Punishment
By Sara Harricharan
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The princess opened her mouth to speak only to have her effort thwarted by a soft pillow thumping her face. She tugged it away, refocusing her glare. “You can’t tell me what to do-” The words were cut off by a firm hand on her mouth.
The lavender eyes were no longer smiling.
Princess Okkie twisted away. “You’re just like a tutor and-”
“And I was given charge of you to do as I pleased with the end result being a perfectly educated royal princess worthy of the name and crest that is your heritage.” Andalia frowned. “You are testing me, Princess.”
“Hmph!” Princess Okkie scowled.
“Speak again and twenty four hours
shall become a week.” The words hung ominously in the air and the princess whirled around to see the dreaded arched eyebrow.
Andalia meant business.
Princess Okkie’s fingers scrabbled through the silken sheets, brushing against the newly gifted slate. She paused as she realized her hands were empty. No chalk.
A slender piece of chalk was dropped on the bed beside her. Silence filled the room as the tutor waited for her royal student to scrawl her thoughts on the tiny slate. When it was handed over, lavender eyes quickly scanned the square and then handed it back. “I only want you to think about the words you say. The Lord gave us one mouth and two ears, so that we would listen twice as much and to speak half enough.” She patted the bowed head. “When you’re ready to apologize, come and find me. I have some work to finish up so there will be no more lessons for today.”
Princess Okkie watched her leave and then looked down at the slate. A few tiny tears splashed onto it and she smudged it up with the sleeve of her silken gown. She opened her mouth to speak when the bedroom door opened again.
“And princess?” Andalia half-stepped inside. “I will know if you speak.” There was a faint gleam behind the thin glasses. “Please do not make this difficult.”
The door closed before any reply could be made.
Sliding off the bed, Princess Okkie stomped over to the door, yanking it open with every intention to yell after her tutor. She found herself standing in the empty hallway with no sign as to where her tutor had vanished. A slight shiver passed over it, but the princess returned to her room and put on her dressing robe.
The easiest way around her punishment—was staying safely in her bedroom and not speaking to anyone. It was also the most boring solution the little girl could dream of. With a sigh, she tucked the slate and chalk under her arm, exiting the bedroom to stand in the hall. It would be a pain to haul the slate around, but she didn’t want Andalia to catch her without them.
Taking a careful sniff on both sides, Princess Okkie turned to the left and continued down the hallway. She was halfway down to the second story when she caught sight of Andalia walking with her father, King Oden.
She was about to speak when the Andalia’s head turned upwards towards the stairs to smile at her. Princess Okkie didn’t dare breathe—or speak.
Instead, she shadowed her mentor for the next twenty-four hours. A new understanding dawned as she stood within the shadows, just out of arm’s reach and just within eye’s sight. Andalia shouldered far more responsibility than the young princess had given her credit for.
By the end of the next day, Princess Okkie had rehearsed the best her apology as she climbed into bed. She’d stopped scribbling on the slate since morning when her words from before came echoing into her head. Angry, ugly, rude words she’d spoken to her friend.
Tears prickled in her eyes as she pulled the covers up to her chin and waited.
Andalia soon came for the bedtime prayer. The words were whispered, the blessing said. She rose to leave as the princess grabbed her hand.
“I’m sorry, Andalia.”
In the dim light, lavender eyes shimmered. “Sleep well, Princess.” Andalia sang softly as she left the room. “Oh be careful little mouth what you say…”
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