Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DULL (05/12/17)
TITLE: Anna and Annabella
By Ellen Carr
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Anna climbed into the back seat of the car She was dressed in her school uniform and her unruly hair was held back by a navy headband. Her big sister sister took the front seat and her mother started the engine, launching out into the traffic.
The gently-winding road led them through groves of blossom-laden trees. The sun glimmered through the branches, making moving patterns on their path. Annabella smoothed her glittering dress and opened her pearl-beaded silk purse. She took out a jewel-studded mirror and checked her nose for shininess. It was perfect.
Her mother turned onto the free-way and they found themselves mired in stop-start traffic. Anna gazed out the window without seeing the long lines of cars. Then she pulled down the passenger mirror and scowled at her own image. She shoved straying strands of hair back behind her headband.
All was quiet in the world, except for the bell-like tweeting of birds and the rhythmic clip-clop of the horses. Two swallows darted left and right in front of Annabella's coach as if guiding their way. She settled back blissfully to enjoy the ride to Mystical Castle.
The traffic was especially noisy this morning. Impatient horns tooted and brakes screeched. A siren wailed as a police car weaved its way through the traffic. For some reason the traffic was crawling along. It was taking forever to get to school; the five kilometre trip was just plain slow and boring.
At last Annabella caught a glimpse of the castle. It was high on a hill, white, tall and elegant. She leaned forward in the carriage to take in the cloudless sky of pure azure. She took a deep breath, filling her lungs with the cleanest air imaginable. A sweet smile settled on her rosebud lips. She was looking forward to spending time with her betrothed, Prince Cuthbert.
Anna's heart sank as they turned into the school's street and the imposing, grey building came into sight. There was fog in the air and its grey blended with the school's dourness. She pulled her scarf tighter around her neck and set her mind to make the most of the day.
The horses slowed to a walk, then pulled up outside the magnificent gates. A guard sounded a trumpet and the gates creaked slowly open revealing the a marble-floored entrance hall. Majestic columns towered up to the vaulted roof. At each column stood a servant dressed in white from head to toe. In unison they bowed to Annabella's coach as it made its way inside.
Anna grabbed her bag, climbed out of the car and headed in through the school gate. She turned and yelled to her mother, “Bye Mum,” then walked slowly into the building. She hung her coat and bag on hooks and headed to the line-up area just as the bell rang.
There, waiting at the bottom of the longest staircase ever, was Prince Cuthbert. He wore an emerald green jacket of the finest velvet and his pants were of jade-coloured satin. He hurried to the coach and insisted in helping Annabella alight. His eyes were blue-green and dimples indented his cheeks.
As the class sauntered into the classroom, Anna shuffled her feet. This was going to be another day of dreariness. She found her way to her seat and arranged her pencils in front of herself. She opened her exercise book and focused her eyes on her teacher. But now and then, when the teacher was looking elsewhere, she pulled a book from beneath the exercise book and studied its cover, a picture of an auburn-haired princess alighting from a silvery carriage.
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