He was nothing more than a puppet. A marionette, strings pulled by the merciless hands of his years. But what a puppet he was! Oh, how elegantly his false arms and legs and body swept across the stage. Meanwhile, in the audience, a lady. She was anything but a puppet. Beyond undeniably breathtaking beauty, behind the scenes…another world.
The puppet stared at her with unseeing eyes, oblivious to everything that took place behind her fair skin and her dark hair. What a puppet he was, filled with desire as his part commanded.
Eric’s pace quickened to catch up with his prey – not prey? – on her slender legs. The skin of her wrist was warm and soft, and as creamy as it looked. His hand were soft, as well. A prince, he was. A prince did not callus his skin.
Desire, sang the puppeteer, desire.
“Do pardon me, ma’am, for intruding on your life. (But I should someday like for you to be my wife) But I’ve been halted by your allure.”
Aurora’s eyes flashed at the sudden approach, but her high cheekbones contradicted her. His eye were soft and brown, and as material as the gown she wore. Behind the scenes, a cart tipped. Wheat, good wheat, was strewn about the dirty lane of Tractus. A peasant parallel of Aurora turned and stared. That was the first time.
Later, all eyes are turned to them at the table. Eric’s mother, the queen, had demanded to see the thief who stole her son’s heart, – not heart? – and the queen always got what she wanted. A rumor had wormed its way into the queen’s mind. Aurora’s mother, at the passing of her beloved, had found herself with the blessing (Read: Curse) of wealth in a kingdom that crumbled as they ate.
“I know it’s rude, my dear, but I’m the queen, you see, and I just happened to hear a word. (Your family’s well-off. How absurd.) You have money, I see. Let’s discuss.”
In a cottage behind her eyes, a young boy writhed. His body was so painfully deprived. What a shame. The previous (Molasses) week, his father had dropped a cart of wheat.
The boy didn’t bother to close his eyes when he fell asleep. Aurora frowned from the street.
“Marry him! You’ll see what joy it brings you. (For the time until your fortune is consumed.) We welcome you to our family, Aurora. Forever.”
Aurora fought a tear for the boy on Tractus Lane, and fed hungry a woman an absent nod. That was the second time.
Then again, at the wedding, she left this world. She attended a funeral. Her white dress was gone. She did not long for it as she drowned in a sea of black. She watched a box lowered into the ground. When she turned her gaze to the sky, and saw nothing but earth. To her left: a box of mistakes, and to her right, an empty box. Her wrists burned as the puppeteer tied the strings.