The Princess and the Thief (Take Two)
A while ago, I wrote a 500 word flash fiction story for a competition and published what I wrote here . I wasn't really satisfied with the ending and by adding in another 130 words I now feel much happier with the result. So here we go: The Princess and the Thief (Take Two)
Mummy ran out the back door, Daddy ran out the front door. I think they forgot about me.
Daddy’s a banker. He travels a lot. Mummy said this time he’d gone too far. She threw the earrings he’d bought her in the bin. Then Daddy threw his briefcase across the kitchen. It hit Mummy’s china.
I took my parcel into the lounge and cried.
The string on my parcel is too tight. I need scissors from the kitchen. It’s messy in there. Perhaps Mummy and Daddy will be pleased if I tidy up. So I pick Mummy’s earrings out of the bin and put them in her special cookie jar and I put Daddy’s briefcase back on the table.
Daddy calls me his Princess and Mummy calls me her Angel.
I collect the big pieces of the broken plates and drop them in the bin. There’s a shadow on the floor, I look up and see a man staring through the window. I know him but I can’t remember his name. I saw him outside the school gates last week. He waves at me. I wave back.
He opens the porch door and smiles.
“Can I help? You don’t want to cut yourself.”
“If you like,” I say.
“I saw your parents leave, so I thought I’d better check on you. I was right to be concerned; I see there’s been an accident.”
“I don’t think Daddy meant to break Mummy’s china. He was cross because Mummy said he loves money more than he loves us.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t.”
He finds the broom and starts to sweep the pieces into little piles.
“I think your daddy knows how important money is to live. But your mummy knows other things are even more important. Like children.” He smiles again and pushes the little piles into one big mound and I brush it into the dustpan. “It’s a question of finding the right balance.”
He smiles again and I smile back.
“Daddy brought me a present. It’s in the lounge.”
“Well, we’re just about done here. Shall we go and take a look?”
I shake the pieces out of the dustpan into the bin and take the scissors from the drawer.
“Lead on my Merry Mistress!” he says. “Let’s find the hidden treasure!”
He smiles and laughs all the time. He reminds me of Santa Claus, only he doesn’t have a beard.
I cut the string, rip off the paper and open the box.
“Wow, look at that!” he says. “It’s the biggest book I’ve ever seen! The Princess and the Thief. It sounds exciting.”
I trace my fingers over the large, gold letters.
“Daddy always buys beautiful presents.”
“Shall I read or do you want to?” he says.
He closes his eyes. He looks peaceful and content like Daddy does after Sunday lunch. Sometimes I don’t know a word, so I spell it out loud and he tells me what it is. He would be a good teacher as he is very patient. I read on until the story ends.
He opens his eyes and smiles again.
“You have a lovely, soothing voice and read so well.”
“Will I meet a prince?”
“Every girl meets her prince.”
He holds out his hand and leads me to the window. The sky is blue and sunny but he tells me how clouds form and why rain falls.
“Shall we go for a walk?” he says. “While the weather’s good?”
“What about Mummy and Daddy?”
“We could leave a note.”
“Can I bring my storybook?”
“That’s a wonderful idea.”
I begin to write a message on my pink notepad.
“What’s your name?” I say.
He leans over and looks at my writing.
“Just put you’re going for a walk with your prince,” he winks.
I like my prince. He is charming. He is kind.
I finish my note and put it in the centre of the table. My prince picks up my storybook and takes me by the hand. We walk through the house and out onto the pavement.
“There are clouds on the horizon,” he says. “Let’s take my car to the park.”
I climb in and we drive down the avenue. I look back through the rear window and see Mummy running down the street waving at me as a big drop of water falls on the glass.
It begins to rain.