BRING ME MY SHOTGUN
Nubile. Standing behind the wooden wall that housed the only window of her castle, she gazed out at her prince and breathed against the rough sticks, that she was nubile. She was contented with nubile. No, she was ecstatic. This was her first flush of womanhood.
Seasons of preparation.
Would it be her eyes that he adored? Or perhaps her hands would garner attention, the turn of her cheek or the curve of her spine.
Her hair was to be left down. The heavy dark mass to curtain her face, cast shadows over her cheekbones, whisper against her lips, tumble down her naked back, grazing the mounds of her derriere. She hugged herself, almost doubling over with nervous anticipation of that moment.
Hope. Fear. Excitement.
As the owl screeched overhead she let out a yelp.
“Foolish girl. It’s just Owl. Did he see me? No! I am well hidden.”
This place was no accident. She had built it herself. A palace erected from her dreams.
Giggling, nervous, embarrassed and emboldened she had spoken with her friends about this day, just as they had whispered their own words of expectation to her. Yet, they had had their fairytale; their golden moment in the sun.
She had been left standing, a lone figure on the barren side, an arm outstretched, then two, screaming to be included. Those invisible arms still banding around her middle determined to hold her back.
Her father would never let her go.
The fight, the clawing to escape, but imprisonment remained. Always confined in the cave with her childhood paintings still adorning the wall.
An untarnished body as the only comfort. Devoid of any memories to heat the night. Not a scratch or a mar or a blemish of passion. The fire in the middle of the cave was an insufficient barrier to the cold blast of wind blowing through the opening; snow banks blocking her escape.
She dreamed of the day when she wouldn’t have to explore her own body, when she would feel a lover’s hand caressing the small mounds on her bird cage chest, strong man hands descending down into her hidden places, marvelling at the baby soft sponge of hair, before…
Lost in her fantasy she didn’t see the mouse scramble away, urgency chasing his tail.
This wooden hut was her sanctuary. Made from the world she lived in, the very environment that sustained her and yet it could not give her what she wanted. What was hers by right.
And it would all transpire this very afternoon. Her fantasies would become reality. Forever done. Never to be forgotten. It couldn’t be changed, not that she desired anything but what was about to happen.
Directing her gaze once more to the bleak landscape beyond the window she waited for her prince to arrive.
“Hurry up my prince. Hurry my darling.”
As the white curtain of snow drifted effortlessly down, the girl oblivious to all but the shape and colour of her beloved she never saw the burnt orange haze slinking across the carpeted undergrowth.
Fox was aware. He had smelled the impending ruin in the wintry air. His nose never lied. Unrest in the forest was imminent.
“He’s here!” The squeal rent the air. She slapped a hand over her mouth to halt the sound but it had already escaped into the silent surroundings. Three squirrels in fright scampered up the nearest tree seeking safety in the top most branches.
“Look at him! Wow,” her breath came hot against her fingers as she bit down hard on her nail. “Come to me.”
With each of his footfalls her dreams changed, metamorphosing into now.
She was about to become.
She was ethereal in her beauty. Her skin was a sheath of paper-thin whiteness begging to be smudged. First dirty touch. She was the delicate fluttering of butterfly’s wings on the barrel of a gun.
“It is my time. My pleasurable secret.” The words brushed her lips, an expulsion of a whisper as she tried in vain to control her breathing. It clouded around her, shrouding her in a nebulous screen.
Sssseeecreet! The hiss escaped her notice, the thunderous rush of blood coursing through her frenzied body deafening her.
It was as sound she would remember after.
Her prince stopped to sniff at the air.
It’s me, she silently screamed. You can smell me.
He knew her scent! Like her he would have fallen into a restless sleep every night since their first touching of souls, dreaming of her aroma and the moment when he could breathe it in heated from her skin once more. When he could add his own to hers. She felt his hot lips against her shoulder blade, a sensual journey up, up to her neck. A sigh escaped her.
Rigid she held herself.
He looked towards the castle as if hearing her exclamation. She slammed her back against the wall.
This was it.
This was it. Her time.
She wrapped her arms around the soft swell of her belly and doubled over in glee. This was it.
‘Yes’ she whispered as she saw his gaze was still on the castle. He made his first move, one single step. Towards…
“What are you doing here?”
“We have come with urgent news,” said Mouse. “It must be acted upon.”
“With wise council,” added Owl.
“Sssooon,” Snake hissed.
“The wind has not changed. I can smell him,” Fox shivered at the impending doom. He fortified himself for the roar that was inevitable.
“Spit it out!” demanded the Gruffalo.
“It is about your daughter,” Mouse ventured with more bravado than he felt.
“My baby girl, yes?”
“She’s a teenager,” Mouse squeaked.
“With natural teenage urges,” Owl spoke with a tilted nod of his head.
It took but moments for their words to register. The roar ricocheted around the cave, the fire extinguished without so much as a protest and the four uninvited guests braced themselves.
“Well, we’ll just see about that.”
Main Photo by Ronald Cools