So this fun little story comes from a Chuck Wendig challenge. He posts fun activities on his site every Friday. For this challenge, we had to pick a fairy tale and “remix” into a random genre we were given by the hands of Fate. And as Fate would have it, I was going to do a physiological thriller- no matter how far out of my realm is it.
She watches him, blankly, as he turns down the bed sheets. He won’t even look at me. Her eyes land on the bed and the same panic that has held her for so long creeps into her chest.
He sighs and closes his eyes, as if in silent prayer. “Yes?”
“Please…reconsider. I promise, I…”
Phillip opens his eyes, staring at her as the tears threaten. “Aurora, I love you but you’re sick. You need help.”
Aurora’s lip quivers, “But…what if…”
“No,” he says harshly, “Enough. It’s either this or divorce.”
That last word startles her. Divorce? Has it really come to that? Her eyes dart to the window. It’s a dark night; the perfect opportunity for her to get her.
Phillip’s touch brings Aurora back into the room. “Baby, trust me. The doctors will help you. It’s only a few weeks and we’ll be together again.” He wraps his arms around her, now, frail body.
Aurora’s gaze lands on the bed, “Please don’t make me sleep alone. I see her everywhere. You’re the only one who can save me.”
He pulls her away, “I’m saving you by doing this. Now come on, let’s go to bed.” Phillip leads her to the bed and tucks her in. He crawls in on his side and pulls her under his chin. “Please sleep, no one will get you. I’m here.”
Aurora nods, takes another look out the window, and closes her eyes.
The forest is dark and she is alone. Maleficent’s evil laugh rings clear through the trees. Aurora closes her eyes tightly, willing her subconscious to wake her.
“He doesn’t love you, Aurora. He’s going to leave you, just like those fairies. Just like your parents.”
“No…no, they died. It wasn’t my fault.”
“Wasn’t it? You are the one who slept for a hundred years. They died waiting on you to wake up. Phillip will not wait for you. That’s why he’s sending you away.”
Her eyes fly open, a cold sweat soaking her night gown. She shivers and tries to move, but something has her held tightly. Her heart races as her hand smoothes over the scaly skin. The dragon groans from her touch, its tail tensing around Aurora’s chest. She opens her mouth to call for Phillip but no sound will come out.
“He’s not here to help you!” Maleficent laughs, her voice loud and clear in Aurora’s head.
Terror takes over and Aurora digs her nails into the dragon’s tail. It roars in pain and quickly releases her. She jumps from the bed, her back pushed against the wall.
“Aurora! What the fuck?!”
She blinks quickly and the dragon is gone. Phillip is sitting up in the bed, his arms bleeding. “Damnit! What the hell has gotten into you?”
“Maleficent. I…I saw the dragon…”
Phillip’s face darkens, stopping Aurora mid-sentence. “I’m going to sleep downstairs. I can’t do this right now.” He grabs a blanket off the bed and slams the door behind him.
Aurora stares at the bedroom door. A tear rolls down her cheek and she walks into the bathroom for a tissue. She looks in the mirror and studies her reflection. She stares, repulsed at her features. Her once bright, blue eyes are dark caves now, red and swollen with bags. Her face is thin and drawn and her golden hair looks like straw. She suddenly doesn’t blame him for leaving. She would leave too if she could.
“He’s hates you. You’re are ugly and no one will ever wait for you.”
Aurora grabs her head and cries, “Please! Leave me alone!”
Maleficent appears in the mirror, laughing, before disappearing quickly. Aurora squeezes her eyes shut. “Get out of my head!” she screams.
She opens her eyes and she’s surrounded by the forest trees again. “No!” she whispers. In the distance, she sees a clearing, brightly lit. A flicker of hope crosses Aurora’s mind as she runs toward the opening.
“Phillip!” she yells. She knows he’s here; he’s going to save her. As she gets closer to the tree line, she sees there is something in the middle, its squat and round. Her pace slows, recognizing the spinning wheel and spindle.
“This, this is where it all began,” she says to herself. Her life is a living hell, tormented by the shadows of her dreams, all because of something so simple and basic. Her hand reaches for the spindle and she quickly draws it back.
The insomnia is too much to bear and Phillip is going to leave her. “I’m such a burden.” She falls to her knees and lies down on the ground, suddenly feeling tired and weak.
“If only I could sleep again. Maybe they would go away and I’d no longer see the dragon,” she whispers to herself. She glances up and sees the dragon’s green eyes glowing amongst the trees. She sits up and the dragon grins, its white teeth gleaming in the moon light. Hatred for the dragon pulls Aurora to her feet. She must end this now.
“It’s over.” Calmly, she takes a hold of the spindle and breaks it off the wheel. She touches the point; its razor sharp. Perfect.
A blood-curdling scream rips from her throat as the warm blood runs down her face. The dragon roars in her head and Aurora screams from the second stab.
“Jesus Christ! Aurora!”
The grass feels cold as she collapses with pain. Aurora turns toward the sound of the voice. “Phillip! I did it! I can’t see them anymore!” She smiles and tastes salt on her lips. She feels Phillip’s hands grab her, rocking her back and forth in his arms.
“I’m calling for help, baby, don’t worry.” She hears him dial and yell something into the phone. She frowns, why is he calling for help?
“I did it,” she says quietly, reaching her sticky hands for Phillip’s face. “I don’t have to go. It’s over. I can wake up now.”