By Sia Hills
Silver eyes stared at the girl through the darkness. At first she was drawn to them but the closer she became, the further away they seemed to be. She paused for a moment. She wanted to call out, but she had no voice and she felt a knot form in the pit of her stomach. She looked over her shoulder towards the castle at her back, soft light flickered from each of the windows; evening dew clung to the grass at her feet and the air felt cold. She looked back to the shadows of the forest; the darkness almost welcoming her into its embrace. She stepped forward.
“Princess Aurelia! Why must you always do this?”
She heaved a sigh and cast a fleeting look towards the forest before turning to walk back the way she’d come. For sixteen years she’d been trapped inside a gilded cage – her father was a King, her Mother long dead, and she was the pretty little ornament he put out on display. Look but don’t touch. She would much prefer to be free than to be trapped inside of this personal hell.
The girl stood facing the man who called for her. He was tall, his shoulders broad, and he had a patch across one eye; the remnants of a scar just visible beneath the edging. His ash coloured hair was clasped at the name of his neck and he wore a black suit perfectly tailored to his slender frame, a crimson trench coat clinging to him. He folded his arms across his chest, his one good eye fixed upon the girl with a displeased gaze.
“You called for me, William?”
The man spluttered for a moment, his face turning a delightful shade of red, hands clenched at his sides. The girl watched with silent amusement. She always had enjoyed how flustered he would get. He was supposed to be both her teacher and her servant – but more often behaved as though he were an overbearing father.
“Get inside. You’re not even dressed appropriately.”
He was lost for words, taken with the audacity such a youngling had when faced with authority, and sighed.
“Your Father will have my head if you miss dinner again.”
“He’ll have your head regardless,” she mused, but did as she was told nonetheless.
The silver eyes appeared once more in the dark, watching over her as she disappeared from view.
Hours passed before the girl finally emerged. She was tired; her steps heavy as she made her way through the labyrinth of hallways. Each one had a torch lit upon the walls to light the way, stone floors cast into shadows, flames flickering with the gentle draft that mysteriously flittered down the corridor. She gently traced her fingertips along the jagged edges of stone, her eyes closed for the briefest moment before she opened them again and stopped. Silver eyes stared at her from the end, illuminating the dark, a hand outstretched towards her.
She hesitated a moment.
The hand remained outstretched.
Hesitantly, she took hold of it and released a breath as she was pulled through the shadows. Wordlessly, she followed her silver-eyed stranger. Soundlessly, she moved as one behind him, the darkness enveloping her in its warm embrace. He turned to look over his shoulder and smiled.
“Finally, you see me,” he said.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked.
“To freedom,” he remarked, hugging her to him.
She clung to him, her body moulding to his as the ground fell away beneath her feet. She could see the castle below her, shrinking into the distance.
She had been spirited away by the Prince with Silver Eyes.