The Tale of a Dubious Prince

Once upon a time, in a kingdom of darkness and pain,
Lived a dubious, little prince with a hollow heart.
He sat on a skeletal throne and butchered souls.
And his favorite pastime was to conquer and burn.

He enjoyed torture, blood and impalement most of all.
Hence why his foes called him a bloody monster, a tyrant and a wild boar.

Those who lived in the kingdom were very afraid,
For the prince was volatile and simply deranged.

He ruled his homeland with an iron fist,
Hence why the people called him a beast.
Those who opposed him were beheaded and flayed,
For the prince lacked a heart – mercy was not in his veins.

He was ugly, repulsive, scarred and insane.
And although he was small,
He was fearless and strong.

He mounted warhorses – ponies were given to slaves.
And he’d charge into battle, yell out, “Ye shall fall to your knees!”
Before slaying his prey.

After battling foes, burning temples to ash,
Disembodying the innocent, ripping hearts from their chests,
The dubious prince dove into raping his conquest.

Virginal maidens only lasted a night,
Early next morning, their bodies were trashed,
Into the gutter, with the rest of the quarry;
Damaged, deflowered and ready to bury.

The tale is woeful, morose and dreadful,
But the reign of the prince did not last forever.
He was finally slain by a raven-haired maiden.

She beheaded the tyrant, placed the crown on her head,
Settled into the skeletal throne and assumed his place.

The tale of the raven-haired princess has yet to be told,
No one knows if her kingdom will flourish or fall.
But beware she will not be a puppet, a fool or a dolt.

She will rule as she pleases,
And if protests arise, then the sword that she used to butcher the tyrant
Will once again be ready to strike.

The Tale of a Dubious Prince

I’m Gonna Spit Some Glitter on These Haters

Despite the stupid name, Brass Monkey was an upscale lounge that only catered to the crème de la crème of society. In other words, if you weren’t rich and famous, then your penniless behind was not welcomed here.

The lounge reeked of wealth and power with its palatial Swarovski crystal chandeliers, Chesterfield sofas, tufted leather armchairs and renowned artwork. Well-groomed men in three-piece suits, modelesque women in designer dresses and nose-bleeding heels casually socialized over glasses of expensive champagne and miniscule caviar sandwiches.

Mira looked as though he’d walked out of the glossy pages of GQ magazine in his tailored, Alexander McQueen suit and leather, Oxford shoes. He moved through the room like a natural-born hustler and introduced me, along the way, to artists, influencers and European celebrities.

I’m not the kind of a girl that suffers from low self-esteem but on that night I felt like chopped liver. All of the guests knew Mira – his name would casually roll off their lips – and even despite having more followers on Instagram, I felt as though I was his arm candy and not the other way around.

That kind of, sort of bugged me, actually.

His hand was on the small of my back as he steered me towards our reserved table. It stood by the tall glass windows and offered a breathtaking view of the Parliament and the St. Vitus Cathedral in the distance.

Without bothering to see my I.D., the waiter returned with a bottle of Dom Pérignon and two plates laden with sizzling filet mignon, sautéed mushrooms and mashed potatoes.

“I ordered ahead,” Mira explained sheepishly. “I figured since you eat like a caveman, you’d appreciate my chivalrous gesture.”

I laughed. “That’s very sweet.”

While I stuffed my face with the first, second and third courses, Mira had finally confessed about his connections.

Apparently, he was related to Scarlet Rose – one of the biggest DJs in Europe – and the bejeweled Audemars Piguet watch on his wrist was a gift from his famous, older sister.

Coincidentally, she helped him secure the internship at creativ[un]block and tonight, she was promoting her new album.

“So that’s why everyone here knows your name.”

He nodded his head. “It’s kind of embarrassing, actually. Almost like walking in the shadows of your cool, older sibling at school. You know?”

“Actually, I don’t!” I snorted. “You’ve met my sister, right?”

He didn’t answer right away but it didn’t take a psychic to read the thoughts that floated inside of his head. In fact, I was used to that kind of a reaction whenever I mentioned Julia.

None of my friends believed that we shared the same bloodline, and whenever we had to attend corporate banquets and fundraising soirées with our parents, most of the guests thought she was adopted!

“She’s different…” he finally said.

“Psychotic, anti-social, creepy and ugly is more like it.”

He chuckled. “You don’t get along?”

“I like to pretend that she doesn’t exist—”

Suddenly, the room broke out in applause and Scarlet Rose appeared on a small, elevated platform that tonight served as a stage. She took a bow and blew kisses, before grabbing the microphone.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. Your support means a lot to me, and since I hate talking in public, I’m going to make this super short and sweet. Thanks to my manager Leni and my marketing powerhouse, Sydney. You’re a bunch of brilliantly crazy mothereffers and I love you for that!”

Scarlet Rose was striking with her large, blue eyes, full lips and razor-sharp cheekbones. She sported a raven faux-hawk, several tattoos and piercings, and her tall, lean body was clad in high-waisted tuxedo trousers and a cropped, muscle tee.

She walked behind the DJ table, pressed the headphones to one side of her head and moved her hands from her laptop to the turntables. Soon, the lounge drowned in hypnotic beats and the guests bobbed their heads and moved their bodies to the music.

Mira gently took hold of my hand.

“You look gorgeous, by the way,” he said with an Oscar-worthy smile on his face.

I wore a black, spaghetti-strap velvet dress and spiked Christian Louboutin heels. I knew I looked like a stone cold fox tonight but the way he looked at me made my heart twerk inside of my chest.

“Let’s go dance.” I grabbed his hand and led him to the dance floor.

We joined a bevy of sun-kissed girls and sexy, muscular guys. Despite their best efforts, some of the guests were sloshed, and their drinks ended up all over their Versaces and Armanis.

I swayed my hips to the EDM music that poured out of the speakers and grinded up against Mira. He wrapped his muscular arms around my waist and his lips were dangerously close to my neck. I could feel his warm breath against my skin.

By the time Scarlet Rose decided to take a fifteen-minute break, my body was glistening with sweat. I grabbed a towel off the waiter’s tray and dabbed it against my chest and neck.

Two glasses of iced water, along with Panna cotta, waited for Mira and I back at the table. I gulped down the water like the runner after a triathlon, and gobbled up a slice of the Italian dessert.

Miroslav!” exclaimed Scarlet Rose and kissed her little brother on the cheek. He turned pink from embarrassment.

Hana, this is Olivia. She’s visiting from California and she’s interning at creativ[un]block as well.”

Scarlet Rose smiled and stretched out her hand for me to shake. I gave it a firm squeeze.

“You were amazing!” I gushed, knowing damn well that flattery will get you in many places.

“I’m happy you enjoyed my performance. And—” her eyes glistened like gemstones when she looked me up and down, “—are you single?”

Er—”

Mira interrupted me with a short answer in Czech, and his sister looked visibly disappointed by his words.

“Enjoy the show!” She called out and returned back to the stage.

“What was that all about?” I asked, confused by her sudden shift in attitude.

He grinned like a Cheshire cat. “It’s getting hot in here. Let’s go outside for a few minutes.”

I followed him out on the balcony.

The air was cool, perfumed with honeysuckle that grew alongside of the railing, burnt coffee beans that wafted from the Starbucks below and foreign food.

Mira wrapped his blazer around my bare shoulders when I gave out an involuntary shiver.

“This is definitely not California. It still gets cold during the summers.”

I watched a glittery boat cross the Prague River and admired the twinkling lights in the distance.

“So, are you going to tell me what you told your sister before she left?”

“Sure. She was interested in dating you but I told her you were taken.”

That’s a surprise!

“I am? Who’s the lucky guy, then?”

“I am.”

He reached out and kissed me. It was hot and sweltering kiss – the kind that could win an Oscar.

I’m Gonna Spit Some Glitter on These Haters

The Guardian of Light

Misha pushed open the double-doors and stepped inside the cafeteria.

It was sardine-packed, and the thick, humid air reeked of greasy, processed food, and a mixture of moldy scent that every cafeteria across the country is guilty of, along with a pungent scent of Red Bull.

The endless chatter and obnoxious laughter quickly faded into silence, and all eyes fell on her face.

She swallowed a thorny lump that suddenly spawned inside of her dry throat and took a step forward. Her heart thrashed frantically inside of her rib cage and her body shook from the adrenaline that rushed through her veins.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing here?” demanded an angry voice.

It belonged to Joanna Smalls. She was a short, fat girl with piggish eyes, a pockmarked face and a large, bulbous nose.

She was what the neighborhood called a “bad seed” and her reputation for biting ears off in a fight earned her the nickname Tyson Jo.

“Hey, I’m talking to you, retard!”

For a split second, Misha thought about running out the cafeteria – embarrassed, angry and confused – but she stood her ground. For the first time in her life, she scraped enough courage to stand up to the leader of the pack that bullied her all through elementary and junior high.

Misha was tired of being scared.

She clenched her hands into tight, trembling fists and whirled around.

“And? You want a medal for that?”

A taunting wave of snickers weaved through the cafeteria.

“W-what did you say?” Joanna sputtered in disbelief, her face turning puce with anger.

“What are you, deaf and stupid?” Misha countered with a steady gaze even though her voice trembled with fear.

Joanna jumped to her feet so quickly that her chair fell backwards with a loud thud. She crossed the distance between them in short, quick strides and faced Misha with a menacing glare.

Misha prepared for the worst.

“Beat the crap out of her, Jo!” yelled a giant, paunchy girl with uneven, yellow teeth and thin, oily hair.

Without a warning, a large, sweaty fist hit Misha in the face and pushed her down on the cold ground. Joanna jumped on top of her, grabbed a fistful of her copper-red curls and pummeled her face with rabid punches.

Misha cried out in pain.

The skin on her face tore open. Blood oozed out of her nostrils, snaked down her chin and dripped down on the polished floor. She tried to wriggle free but Joanna grabbed her by the sweatshirt and slugged her in the eye.

Suddenly, Misha went rigid.

Her body went numb. But, she felt a blistering knot in the pit of her stomach. It was coiled into a tight, prickly ball and it slumbered deep inside of her like a fire-breathing dragon, only to reveal itself when her life was in danger.

She felt the knot unravel, very slowly, and it sent a fiery wave through her veins. Her body ached and trembled, and the stinging sensation burned every inch of her porcelain flesh. She knew that once it reached the surface, it would burn everything to ash.

Joanna gave out a blood-curdling scream. Her black tee shirt caught on fire.

“HELP ME!” She screeched and beat the scarlet flames with her large, calloused hands.

Her friends tugged the burning tee shirt off and tossed it on the ground while the students in the cafeteria watched in shock.

“She’s possessed! She’s possessed!” Joanna shrieked unnaturally and joined the rest of the students as they screamed at the top of their lungs and burst out of the cafeteria.

Misha sat up slowly.

Her body trembled from head-to-toe and her sweatshirt was drenched in sweat. She couldn’t see through her right eye; it was swollen shut. But, she knelt beside the flames and reached out a hand to touch them. They nipped at her fingers like baby snakes and sent a rush of excitement down her spine.

She scooped them up and watched them sway gently back and forth. Her eyes glistened and a menacing smile tugged at the corners of her lips.

This is only the beginning, she thought.

 

 

The Guardian of Light

A Doleful Farewell

A full moon peeked through the fleecy clouds, staining the midnight blue sky with a dull, yellow glow – the shade of custard pie – and softly illuminated the diamond stars. Sapphire flames prickled the sinister darkness, rising gracefully from the brass banisters, and revealed a funeral cortège of cloaked figures trudging through the milky-white snow.

Faces hidden behind white masks, with their long, hollow beaks swooped into a mournful tilt they pierced the cold night with a woeful lullaby, and gingerly carried a glass coffin. Snowflakes fluttered delicately in the wind, like butterflies, and disappeared into the crown of scarlet roses atop of her head.

Raven-haired, with smooth, alabaster complexion and soft, brown eyes, the Queen of Astoría, gathered the infinite layers of the tulle dress beneath her velvet robe and continued to accompany the mysterious creatures on their way to the desolate graveyard.

The moonlight unveiled giant, ice chess pieces that towered over the barren grounds and guarded the block of marble that stood atop of a snowy hill. The coffin had been set down on a white blanket of virgin snow. A lifeless body lay inside, on a bed of red velvet.

The late King of Astoría was swathed in a sea of black and atop of his golden hair rested a crown of thorns and black roses. His eyes – a hypnotizing shade of turbulent sea – were once aglow with fire, spirit and fearlessness, but now they were closed shut.

One of the creatures pointed its skeletal finger at the young woman and hissed, “Speak your last words of farewell, Your Majesty.”

She knelt beside the coffin, tears spilling down her pallid cheeks, and whispered, “Goodbye, my love. When the Heavens above decide to reunite us I will be at your side, but until that day comes I bid thee to wait for me.”

 

 

 

A Doleful Farewell