The Cure, Part 5

Andrea jumped. Shouting filled the air. People in gowns and suits and crowns rushed over to a person on the ground.

“What’s going on?” she shouted. “What happened?” Similar questions emanated from around her.

She pushed through the crowd, fighting to see the fallen person.

Her stomach dropped. Was it the plague? It hardly ever attacked royals. Her mind reeled through all of the terrifying possibilities, but nothing could have prepared her for what she saw.

Lying on the marble floor, deathly pale and eyes bulging and bloodshot, was High Queen Callista.

“No,” Andrea gasped. Tears flowed down her face. Her mother had the plague. Panic filled her mind, making everything foggy. She couldn’t live anymore. She couldn’t do this . . .

The sharp feeling of nails digging into her arm woke her up out of her daze. “We have to get out of here,” Prince Darian pleaded. “The plague is fast moving. We have to leave or we’ll die!”

Her mind cleared. She had to leave. Now. Around her royalty collapsed. The sound of skulls hitting the floor rang out. But . . . she couldn’t leave! Her mother was dying! This was her home!

An infected home that she couldn’t stay in much longer.

The truth penetrated her mind, and she hesitated before saying, “Okay.”

Prince Darian hauled her up off of her knees. She found herself sprinting, leading him through through the now dark and ominous ballroom, through mounds of fallen people. She dashed to the front entrance, cavernous and illuminated with flickering candles. She pulled open the ornate silver doors and down the shining glass path away from the palace. 

Time and tears blurred, until she found Prince Darian saying, “You don’t have to run anymore.”

They were standing in the vivid green grass outside of the evergreen forest, large and snowy. She found herself shaking, from cold and from fear, holding Prince Darian’s hand like it was the only thing left.

Sadness struck her like a monster digging in its claws. He was the only one left. Nobody had made it out of the palace with them. She took a trembling breath and said, “We’re the only survivors.”

The Cure, Part 4

ballroom dancing

“It is decided,” King Nordin boomed, though he looked unhappy. His brow was furrowed and his lips were twisted. “As soon as we can, we need to get as many medical staff working towards a cure. Any other topics you would like to discuss?”

The crowd stayed silent.

“Okay, that dismisses our formalities. Now we will transition to ballroom dancing.”

The royals quickly rose and proceeded to the dance floor.

Shimmering lights hung from the ceiling, illuminating the dance floor with a soft glow. A massive chandelier hung down, the silver-tinted crystals twinkling.

Andrea made her way down the stairs in awe, always forgetting how beautiful the dance floor could be. 

Her black boots touched the marble, and a soft, twirling melody began. Servants wielding stringed instruments strummed gently, standing against the crystalline walls.

It was only then Andrea realized she had nowhere to go.

Naturally the kings and queens paired up with their spouses, and many siblings danced together, giggling at the slow waltz.

But Princess Andrea didn’t have any friends. Or siblings. Or a husband, for that matter. So she just stood, hoping nobody realized she was alone.

“Is that you, High Princess Andrea?” a voice asked. She turned around. It was Prince Darian, smirking.

Please don’t call me that,” she snapped, surprised at how sharp her voice sounded. She found herself naturally annoyed at Prince Darian, the way he walked, talked, and acted.

“No need to be rude,” he laughed. “I just want to dance.”

Andrea was revolted. But he . . . he . . .

She couldn’t exactly turn down an offer to dance, could she? Not if she wanted to make her parents angry.

She nodded slowly, and before she knew it, she was swept into the dance swiftly. Prince Darian almost made her look graceful. He was an amazing dancer, she grudgingly admitted. It was sort of true.

“So, how are you?” he asked. She was surprised at how he managed to keep a conversation while dancing.

“Okay, I guess,” she muttered. Things were getting awkward quickly. Why did she have to be so nice and let random princes dance with her?

“I always have such a good time at the Kingdom Ball,” he said, winking. What was it with him and winking? She felt her cheeks heat up in anger.

“How is it to live in Argentrea?” he asked.

“Fine,” Andrea huffed.

“You don’t have to be mean,” Darian said, looking genuinely angry. “I’m just trying to make friends.”

“Sorry,” Andrea said truthfully. She didn’t realize he had the same problem as her.

He dropped her hands, and like that, the magical dance was over. Hurt leaked into Andrea. Wait—didn’t she just hate him two seconds ago?

“Please don’t walk away,” she whispered as he started to move. “I don’t have any friends either.”

His hazel eyes stared into hers, full of tears she didn’t know were there. Her eyes filled too.

But just like that, a scream shattered the tension between them.

The Cure, Part 3

“A lot has changed in the past year,” her father proclaimed. Everyone muttered their agreement. It was true—the plague had taken over everything. One quarter of the people in the world had died. This was no small issue.

A hand rose in the audience. It was small and delicate, that of a queen.

“Yes, Queen Rosa?” asked the High King.

“Thank you, High King Nordin,” she said, hushed, bowing her head. Her wavy dark hair tumbled down her face. “I would like to speak about the plague.”

King Nordin nodded, as if to say, You may continue.

“I know firsthand how heartbreaking and destructive the plague can be.” Her voice hitched, and she cleared her throat. “I lost a child, Prince Vior, to the plague. He was only two—” She tried to maintain her composure, but several tears slipped down her cheeks. “His skin turn pale, his eyes bloodshot, and then he just . . .” She wiped her eyes. “All I know is that we need to stop it.”

“Thank you, Queen Rosa. Any other thoughts?” King Nordin asked.

Prince Darian’s arm rose into the air. 

“Yes, Prince Darian?”

“We need to find a cure, no matter the cost. Otherwise all of us will be dead.”

Her father cleared his throat. “This is an idea that has been talked about for a long time, but only now can we make a legitimate decision. Do we get all of our physicians to work searching for a cure, which could be ineffective, or wait for the plague to cure itself, which might never happen?”

A tan young man clothed in a black suit raised his hand.

“Yes, Prince Kliro?”

“We cannot wait any longer. Our world is in desperate need of something to help us. We should at least try.”

“Thank you, Prince Kliro. And hearing your opinions, we need to come to a consensus.” The room came alive with whispers. Andrea’s heart beat wildly. “Shall we try to cure it, or continue on with our lives?”

The ballroom became hushed again. 

High King Nordin faced the royals with his piercing gaze. “All in favor of curing?” Andrea wasn’t sure what surprised her most: the sheer amount of hands in the air; or that her hand was among them; or that neither of her parents voted for curing the plague.

“All in favor of not?” This time, far less hands were raised, only a couple dozen.

The Cure, Part 2

The ballroom seemed to go on forever. Andrea had been told that it was miles long, and she believed that to be true. There had to be hundreds of tables positioned immaculately on the glassy marble floor.

There, at the head of the room, was a table on a very high, regal platform. That was their table, for just the three of them. Since Argentrea was the High Kingdom, they were on the highest table, overseeing all others. It made Andrea dizzy. Someday she would be Queen.

They walked up the delicate stairs leading to the Table of Honor. Andrea let her fingers graze the long balcony as she trailed her parents.

All three of the seats were at the back of the table so that they were all facing outward toward the seating area. Behind the platform was the dance floor, where all the royals would take part in ballroom dancing.

Andrea took her place in between her seated parents, who looked every bit as regal and perfect as the High King and Queen were supposed to. Andrea felt unworthy next to her beautiful parents.

As they waited for a royal family to arrive, Andrea counted the tables. She had gotten to fifty when her King Nordin boomed, “Good day, King Brioc, Queen Lila, and Prince Darian, royal family of Jamani!”

Three pale figures clothed in purple approached the platform. The king was broad and bearded, with warm brown eyes, the queen had green eyes and cascading blonde curls, and the son seemed to be something in between, with light brown wavy hair and hazel eyes. 

All three bowed and curtsied as low as they could. “It is with the greatest honor that we come to the Kingdom Ball,” King Brioc said. He had a small voice for how large he was.

Andrea’s father nodded, and with that, all three proceeded to the nearest table. Andrea took a glance at Prince Darian, who seemed to be about her age, and . . . wait? Was he winking at her?

Flustered, Andrea glanced away, saved by her father’s loud voice saying, “Good day, King Rudo, Queen Mir, Princess Alegria, Prince Iman, and Princess Jolinn, royal family of Sorrell!”

Five dark-skinned royals dressed in red stepped forward, bowed silently, and took their place at their table.

Much time passed, until the ballroom was very full of talking, laughing royalty.

“Ahem!” King Nordin exclaimed. The room went silent at her father’s loud throat clearing. 

“Our deepest gratitude to you all for coming,” King Nordin announced. “Now it is time for the Kingdom Ball feast.”

Almost simultaneously, hundreds of suit-wearing servants emerged, carrying shining platters with mouth-watering food resting upon them. A platter was set before Andrea, covered in vegetables and chicken. She delicately lifted her fork and began to eat the delicious meal.

When they all had their fill, the dinner platters were taken away by the servants and replaced by dessert platters. The light cake was the perfect finish to her meal.

“Now it is time to discuss the conditions of our world,” King Nordin announced. A hush fell over the room. Goosebumps prickled Andrea’s arms. It was time for a serious talk among royalty.

The Cure, Part 1

*Originally created for an ELA project. Enjoy!

The first thing she heard was, “Princess Andrea, wake up. Today is the Kingdom ball.” 

Andrea opened her eyes, still fuzzy from sleep. She wanted to curl into a ball and wish it all away. But she still complied to Maiden Pryssa, sitting up in her bed and letting the stringent, suit-wearing servant hand her the gown she would be wearing that day.

Today was the Kingdom ball, indeed. All nobility from kingdoms around the world would be attending the ball at her own palace. She must stand up straight, be polite, and not flinch when people bowed to her.

She must not think about the plague that had killed so many people from her world.

Too many people were dying. And she couldn’t shake the feeling she would be next, though she knew it was her imagination. The monster lurked in everyone’s mind.

The gown was large and silver, like all of her clothes. Argentrea was the kingdom of silver, therefore all of the royalty had to wear metallic clothing. The gown draped against the floor and was scratchy and stiff.

Maiden Pryssa entered Andrea’s large bathroom where she had been dressing. She plaited her hair, painted her nails a similar hue to her dress, and applied makeup to her tired face. “Wear boots,” the woman instructed, brushing her short blonde hair to the side. She then proceeded to the exit of Andrea’s bedroom.

All of the servants were strange, wearing shiny uniform suits and having short hair so it didn’t get in the way of anything. Andrea was grateful she wasn’t a servant, but she was also the princess, which wasn’t much better.

She gazed into the mirror, letting the girl with icy eyes and thick brown hair stare back at her. Was she ready?

She didn’t think so. 

She pulled on a pair of heeled, knee high boots, walked out of her door, and then strode down the many steps of the palace’s curved, sleek balcony. She arrived in the airy ballroom, set with tables boasting a bright sheen.

“Oh, there you are, darling,” Queen Callista said, wearing a giant gown complete with lace, frills, and a tall crown. She wore silver gloss on her lips and silver eyeshadow almost identical to Andrea’s. 

“The guests will be arriving in ten minutes,” King Nordin said, entering the glittering ballroom. The king managed to look dignified in a shiny suit that brought out his azure eyes. He looked at Andrea. “Good morning, Daughter, Queen.” He bowed. Andrea and Callista curtsied. “Now it is time to take our seats at the Table of Honor,” he said, gesturing for them to follow.

Ode to Music

An artistic rendering of sheet music has the treble clef and the musical staff fading into the distance
Music; image from Pixabay

Emotions, feelings, pouring out of me

in the form of song

A waterfall of words

turns into chords

The sound of an orchestra

surrounds me

stills my thumping heart

The darkness

turns into light

with this serenade,

a part of my soul

Vibrance rolls off of my eyes,

wide open to see

The touch, icy, of quarter notes

blooms beneath my palm

This psalm is part of me,

yet growing everywhere

It thrives in unlikely places:

in the others

in the city

in the sky

in you

The thrumming of the baseline sparks me

The melody, the harmony

a tender tune

It brings to life sorrows

sadness

But also freedom

new hope

May the song ever stay in my heart

the warmth

chromatic cold

The song falls

so joyfully onto my face

like sweet rain

The music rockets in my ears

and I’m alone

in its embrace


Music has been a huge part of my life, and this poem is dedicated to that. The meaning of this poem is that it hasn’t just been a singular instrument that I enjoy the most. It’s what an entire band can make together. When I feel sad I listen to music, when I feel happy I play the clarinet, and I sing all the time.

She’ll Never Be the Same, Part 4

The hands of a doctor are shown holding a tablet and a pen
Doctor

I open my eyes. Light filters in through my window. Everything is so soft . . .

I sit up with the speed of a lightning bolt. Was it a dream I had last night, or did it really happen? I rub my temples. I’m so confused.

I stumble downstairs. Dad is in the kitchen, eyes empty.

“Come and sit down,” he says, motioning for me to sit across from him.

I obediently sit.

My dad sighs. “Last night, honey—Chelsea, Tina, and Tina’s mom crashed on the way to the sleepover.”

I nod politely, though my mind is on fire. It really did happen.

“Tina was fine, just a couple of bruises, her mom was fine, a broken leg, and Chelsea—” Dad pauses, looking down at the table. “She . . . was not okay.”

What happened to her?” A tear drips out of my eye. My voice is thick. “Did she die?”

Dad looks up at me and says, “She got paralyzed, from her upper back down. She can’t move. And, we don’t know if this is permanent, but she can’t speak.”

My soul feels crushed. I don’t know whether to feel relieved that she didn’t die, or sad that she got paralyzed.

“Can I go see her?” I ask.


I feel scared walking through the halls of the hospital where we were last night. I’m scared that something else will happen.

We enter Chelsea’s hospital room. She is lying on a white bed with a paper gown on and bandages covering parts of her body. She looks like she’s sleeping.

Mom is sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, reading a magazine.

A man enters the room. “Ah, hello,” he says to Dad. “I’m Dr. Heldon. You must be Chelsea’s father.”

Dad nods.

“I bring some unfortunate news,” Dr. Heldon says. He eyes the three of us sadly. “We have reviewed Chelsea’s brain scans, and Chelsea’s brain has been damaged.”

“What part of the brain was that?” Mom asks.

“The part that allows her to understand speech and to speak. It has been damaged so much so, I’m afraid, that she will not be able to comprehend words or communicate again.”

This hits me like a punch to the stomach. I’m on the floor, gasping for air. Tears flow freely down my face.

It’s all my fault. If I hadn’t been so mean to Chelsea, all of this wouldn’t have happened.

“Honey,” my mom says, stroking my hair. “At least she isn’t gone.”

“She is gone,” I whisper. “Chelsea will never be the same.”

This is all my fault.

I wipe the tears off of my face and look over at Chelsea’s bed. Her green eyes are open. I walk over to her.

“Hi, Chelsea,” I say. “I know you can’t understand me, but . . . I’m sorry. I love you.” I start crying.

I open my eyes, and Chelsea is looking at me sympathetically, smiling.

My heart expands and for a moment, I feel okay again.