Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ZENITH (04/21/16)
TITLE: The Wishstone
By Sara Harricharan
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A royal headache.
Except that princesses didn’t have headaches and they weren’t supposed to keep quiet about them if they did.
They were expected to sigh dramatically and faint away onto conveniently placed stone benches and floral couches strategically placed in the most romantic places possible.
At least, that’s what the math said.
The same math that Sanae had labored over until the equation had finally turned up an answer more logical than whimsical.
At this point, it was sheer desperation. Her three older sisters were everything she wasn’t. Pretty, cultured and adored. As were her twin sisters—two years beneath her fifteen.
It would have been terribly unfair, Sanae supposed, but she was the smart one of the bunch.
It was why she’d traded her birthday bracelet for the wishstone when perusing the market stalls at the spring festival.
They weren’t supposed to be real, but this one felt right.
She’d touched it and an old memory had returned. A silvery, whispery voice that came in her dreams with a sad face that she could never see clearly.
Definitely a true wishstone.
There were dozens of possible wishes, the most obvious ones ruled out. So here she stood, wishstone in hand, standing atop the slab of stone out in the back of the castle courtyard.
Shimmering beams of light streamed down from the twin moons. Sanae felt the energy stretching out through the air, filling her up to the brim.
Carved runes on her skin glowed a rich, vibrant blue. Her magic, beneath this star, was always strongest.
Even her precious sisters couldn’t top that.
Then again, who cared about magic when they were beautiful?
Her nose twitched. Sanae resisted the urge to rub it. She didn’t dare move until the twin moonbeams crossed at her feet.
The wishstone began to warm in her hand, growing steadily warmer until she finally dropped it, for fear of burning her hand.
It stretched out on its cord from her neck, straining up to the sky, but not yanking her forward.
Breath caught in her throat. Vision blurred.
The whispery voice sang out again.
She cried, without knowing why. Her soundless cry was a plea and a hope in a single breath.
The wishstone shattered.
Hot slashes against her face and neck that faded almost as quickly as they’d registered.
Sanae’s eyes flew open to behold an etheral being of glowing white and tenderness.
No words came.
The figure smiled, kindly. Wispy, white hands stretched out, cradling her face. “My beautiful little girl. You needn’t look so frightened. I knew you would find me, eventually.”
Sanae gulped. The eyes staring back at her were so familiar—the same shade of blue-purple as her own.
“I can’t believe you figured it out. That’s my girl. I’ve missed you. I’m so proud of you, darling.”
The icy hands stroked her face, smoothing away the tears and threading through thick, dark hair.
Sanae closed her eyes and reached out.
Warm arms drew her in, a rich softness wrapped around her, cloaking her in a peaceful calmness that teased at the edges of her memory.
She choked back a cry when everything came flooding back in a flurry of emotion and heartbreaking reality.
“Shhh,” came the star’s soothing reply. “I promised I would come for you, didn’t I?”
“You’ll take me? I won’t ever have to come back?”
“Only if you want to.”
“I want. Please. I don’t belong here.”
“Stars are meant to shine, dearest. Some of us are born to light the skies. Others are meant to fill the earth. They can’t see you, if they can’t find you.”
Sanae sniffled, feeling a weight crumbling off of her shoulders. A pressure she’d forgotten was there. “I tried to fit in—I couldn’t.”
“That’s why stars have the whole sky. We don’t try to outshine each other. We just glow was brightly as we possibly can.”
The star glowed bright, lighting up the entire rear courtyard, illuminating everything there. The light vanished as Sanae finally returned home.
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