TITLE: The Beautiful Land
By Monica Uwajeh
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The Beautiful Land
One day, Lady Sabrina took a walk to Hyde Park. She sat down on a stone bench. A man sat to her left.
“Hi, I am Lady Sabrina,” she said when she saw him.
Victor stared at her and said, ”Your kind doesn’t usually come to this part of town.”
“Well, I’m different,” she declared.
“Sorry, my lady,” he said. “I’m just not use to seeing royalty.”
“You haven’t told me your name,” Lady Sabrina said.
“Most people call me Vic,” he said.
“May I call you Victor?” She asked.
“Yes you can, my lady,” he said.
While she was at the park, Duke Phillip, the man she was going to marry in a few weeks was waiting for her at her palace. After about two hours, he asked one of her servants where she had gone.
“My Lady went to Hyde Park,” the servant said.
He walked out, got in his royal coach and said to the driver, “Take me to Hyde Park.”
When the duke arrived, He saw Lady Sabrina shaking hands with Victor. He went up to her and tapped her on the right shoulder and said in a firm voice, “Time to go, my lady.”
“I was just saying goodbye to my new friend Victor,” Lady Sabrina said.
“This commoner is no friend of yours,” Duke Phillip declared.
“You’re wrong,” she said.
“I’m just trying to protect you,” he said.
“We’ll talk about this later,” she said.
“May I take you to your palace, Sabrina?” The Duke asked.
“Yes, but I still think you’re wrong,” Lady Sabrina said.
Three weeks later, Lady Sabrina walked down the sidewalk after lunch. She had no raincoat. The mist made tiny droplets on her gown and her long black hair. As she passed the Abby, she saw a man with long dark hair and a beard. He was riding a motorcycle. It was her friend Victor.
“Hi, Victor,” she said.
“Lady Sabrina, he asked. “Would you like my raincoat?”
“Don’t you need it?” she asked.
“I’m used to roughing it,” he said.
“I don’t mind roughing it as you say,” Lady Sabrina said.
“Don’t let the duke hear you say that,” Victor said.
“Phillip thinks I’m wrong now, but he’ll change his mind,” she said.
“I think you’re wrong, but that doesn’t matter now,” he declared. “How about that coat?”
“Thanks, but I’d much rather have a ride on that motorbike,” she stated.
“If the duke sees us, he’ll call off the wedding, and who knows what he’ll do to me,” he said.
“Victor, we aren’t doing anything wrong,” she said. “He’s not going to cancel the wedding over one motorbike ride.”
“As you wish, my Lady, but I think you’re making a big mistake” Victor said
“Thank you,” she said. “You may be right, but I just want to have some fun.”
Lady Sabrina crossed the street and got on his motorcycle.
Victor parked his motorcycle on a winding path. Many rosebushes were planted on either side of it. As Lady Sabrina got off, a reporter snapped a picture from behind one of them. Lady Sabrina walked into her palace and tiptoed up the crushed velvet stairs to her room.
I’ll fix my hair, change my gown, Phillip will never know, she thought.
She changed, fixed her hair, and hid the wet gown in her closet. She went downstairs for dinner. After dinner, she returned to her room, changed into her nightgown, and went to bed.
She awakened the next morning to find two- dozen wine red roses in her room. The bride smiled as she imagined her groom’s blue eyes looking lovingly at her as she walked down the aisle.
At the same time a messenger on horseback raced to the palace and delivered the picture of Lady Sabrina. Duke Phillip paced in a room with the picture and said, “I won’t be shamed by this woman.” Just then, his father came into the room.
“What’s got you so angry, Son?” He asked.
“This,” Phillip said showing his father the picture.
“This is no way for a duchess to act,” the father said.
“The wedding’s off,” the duke said.
“Son, don’t be so quick,” he said. “Go downstairs and ask her to say she’s sorry.”
“Okay, Father,” said Duke Phillip.
Lady Sabrina stood in her long white lace wedding dress. She looked dreamily out her long picture widow. A curtain that came down near the floor covered this window. Then she went down to banquet room.
In the banquet room, Duke Phillip seized her hand.
“We must talk, my Lady,” he said
“What’s wrong, Phillip?” Lady Sabrina questioned.
“Can you explain this?” He asked, holding the picture up to her face.
“Victor was kind enough to give me a ride on his motorbike,” she said.
“What have I told you about spending time with commoners?” Phillip asked
“This doesn’t have anything to do with you,” she said.
“My wife shall never act in such a shameful way!” he shouted.
“Then I shall never be your wife,” she declared.
Phillip’s eyes went dark and he stared at her. Lady Sabrina ran and ran, knocking down a plant. The dirt spilled on her wedding dress. Still she kept running till she reached her room. She could hear him screaming where are you going, no man’s going to want a wild thing like you. The door was about to come down. She hid behind the curtain. When it covered her entire body, something like a gust of wind lifted her in the air.
Suddenly, Lady Sabrina was on a chestnut horse. The horse stood by a clear river. She looked down at the horse then across the river as far as her eyes could see. There was no land on the other side. There must be a way to get to land; Lady Sabrina thought. Tears filled her blue eyes.
“Sabrina, I know the way,” said a voice.
“Who are you? Where are you?” She asked. “How do you know my name?”
“I know all, my dear one,” said the voice.
“Father, is that you?” The young woman asked.
“You speak well, Child,” the voice said.
“Can you tell me how to get to land?” Lady Sabrina asked.
“I must get you and that horse across the river,” the father said.
“How? The water’s too deep, and my horse can’t fly,” she said.
“Sabrina, do you trust me?” He asked.
“Of course, Father,” she said.
At that moment, Lady Sabrina’s horse began to fly across the river. Her eyes grew wide. From this height, she could see trees with different kinds of fruit. Pears. Oranges. Peaches. Apples. Then she saw mountains up ahead. She tried to steer the horse right then left. It was no use they were headed straight for the mountain. She gave the reins a hard tug to left. Suddenly, she began falling. She tugged right, but they only tumbled faster and faster toward the river.
“Father, help me!” Lady Sabrina cried.
At once, the horse rose above the mountains.
“What happened, Father?” Its rider asked.
“The horse can only fly if you trust me, “ he answered.
“I’ve always trusted you,” she said.
“You pulled on the reins,” the father said.
“I’m sorry, Father,” she said. “I got scared.”
“I know, Daughter,” he said.
Just then the horse came to rest on land.
“There, now, Child,” the father said. “Go anywhere you like.”
“You haven’t told me where I am,” his daughter said.
“You’ll find out soon enough, Dear One,” he said.
Lady Sabrina looked around again. She saw bushes filled with purple, white, and pink lilacs and roses of every color. White. Pink. Yellow. Red. Purple. Sterling silver. This must the grounds of a palace, she thought. I’ve got to find out where I am and how I got here.
Just then, Lady Sabrina saw a boy riding a t-rex. I must be dreaming; dinosaurs are all dead, she thought. A man riding a sheep came alongside her.
“You’re not dreaming, Sabrina,” he declared.
She looked at the man. His long dark hair was familiar to her. She smiled and said, “Victor, you shaved your beard.”
“I’m not Victor,” the man said.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Lady Sabrina said. “What’s your name?”
“David,” he said.
“David, may I ask a few questions?” She asked.
“You want to know where you are, how you got here, and how you get back to London,” David said.
“I want to know some other things, too, but that will do for now,” she said.
“This is Shaineland,” he stated. “I’m your father’s helper.” He’s the king, and he asked me to bring you here. As for going back to London, it is our great hope that you’ll want to stay here forever.”
At these words, she shivered.
“You have nothing to fear,” he said. “We won’t keep here against your will. I’ll take you back to London anytime you want to go.”
Lady Sabrina looked into to David’s eyes. They shone brighter than the sun.
Then she took his hand and said, “Lead the way, David.”
He smiled and they walked together. Soon, they came to a door.
“You must close your eyes before we go in here,” David said.
She laughed and said, ”I know this game. There’s some wonderful surprise in there that you don’t want me to see.”
“This is no game,” he said with a slight frown.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, but I am half right, aren’t I?” Lady Sabrina asked.
“You’ll see,” he said. “Just trust me.”
“I do trust you,” she said, finally closing her eyes.
David smiled and led her into the room. Once in the room, she could smell flowers unknown to her before this moment. She could also hear waltz music.
“May I open my eyes, now?” Asked Lady Sabrina.
“Just let me sit you down,” he said.
He lowered her on to a chair. She felt the velvet cushion on her bottom.
“Now?” She asked.
“Now,” he said.
She looked at the table. It sparkled like crystal. She saw two vases. One was filled with white flowers. Each petal was like butterfly wings. The other was also filled with white flowers, but these had tiny yellow centers. Their petals were like octopus legs.
“What are these flowers?” Lady Sabrina asked.
“The pure white ones are called gardenias, and the ones with the yellow centers are jasmine,” David said.
“They’re beautiful,” she said smiling.
“I’m glad you like them,” he said.
She began to sway her and hum along with the music, and said, “This music is beautiful too.”
“May I have this dance?” He asked.
“Yes, “ she said.
He twirled Lady Sabrina around the dance floor. She smiled and laughed. He reached up into the air. Suddenly, their feet left the ground. Phillip used to be romantic like this, she thought. Suddenly, their feet dropped to the ground.
“What happened, David?” She asked.
“Your heart’s still with Phillip in London,” he said.
“Yes, I still have feelings for Phillip, and I still miss home, she said. Then she asked, “What does that have to do with floating in the air?” She asked.
“If any part of your heart still remains in that world, you cannot enjoy the full blessings of Shaineland,” David said.
“I am not sure where I want to be, ” Lady Sabrina said.
“Come with me,” he said.
“Where are we going?” She asked.
“You’ll see in a minute,” he said.
Soon, they were in a room with a long mirror.
“Show her London,” he said.
“London?” She asked.
“You must choose,” David said. “Call for me when you’ve made a decision.”
David left the room, and Lady Sabrina looked in the mirror. She could see Duke Phillip and his father. They were talking in their palace.
“I miss her,” Duke Phillip said.
“I know, Son,” said his father
“It’s just so embarrassing” the duke said. “I can’t stand the thought of any wife of mine parading around in public on some commoner’s motorbike.”
“Maybe you can get her a motorbike provided that she only ride it around the grounds,” his father said. As for the commoner, invite him to the palace once a week for tea.”
“Great idea, Father,” Duke Phillip said. “She can have fun and no one else will see it.”
I must’ve been for quite awhile, thought Lady Sabrina. Maybe I should go back. Phillip seems ready to work this out. What about David? He’s so kind and gentle. I don’t want hurt him, but that’s no reason to stay. Why did he bring me here? There’s nothing here to help me decide. Suddenly, the words around the grounds came to mind. It was then she knew she’d always be at the palace. She’d never again see the world.
Images of Shaineland came to Lady Sabrina’s mind. The trees covered with many different kinds of fruit, the bright bushes, the large clear river, the child riding the t-rex, David riding the sheep, his eyes bright, kind and loving. She smiled and thought; this is where I belong.
“David, I’ve made a decision,” she said.
David came into the room and asked, “Do you want to go back to London?”
“You mean you don’t already know?” She asked.
“I need to hear it,” he said.
“I want to stay here forever,” she said. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” he said. “Come with me.”
“Are we going to finish that dance?” She asked.
“Later, my love,” he said. “Right now, we’re going to a celebration.”
They went into another room. Lady Sabrina looked down and saw the floor was made of gold.
“David, what is this place?” She asked.
“The king’s throne room,” David said.
“Are we allowed in here?” She asked.
“The king always wanted his daughter married in here,” he said
“What, you want to marry me?” She asked.
“Yes, but there’s one problem,” he said.
“There is?” Lady Sabrina asked.
“Yes, my dear daughter, you can’t get married in a dirty dress,” the father said.
She looked and saw the dirt.
“No, I can’t,” his daughter said
Suddenly, a white light came upon her. She looked down and saw a white gown covered in small precious stones. Then David walked to the right side of the king’s throne. There he waited and his bride came toward him as the music played.
After the wedding, David reached up again. Once again, their feet came off the ground.
“This time we can stay up here as long as you’d like,” he said.
“May I ride a motorbike?” His wife asked.
“We don’t have one, but if we did, you could ride anytime you,” David said.
“Would I be allowed to spend time with commoners?” Lady Sabrina asked
“There’s no such thing,” he said. “In Shaineland, no one’s better than anyone else.”
Lady Sabrina’s face glowed. I’m free; he has set me free, she thought.
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