Content Warnings: emotional abuse


A delicate young flower, unpicked by the bare hands of a malicious suitor.

She would never allow someone to extract her. Yet the young prince had been gentle, and the naïve princess had felt herself blossom.

They’d met amongst the stars, her light brighter than the sky. She had a captivation that was irresistible. Eyes like sapphires; lips red as the rose; hair black as ebony; skin white as snow. 

All eyes had been on her. The prettiest accessory. How could he not resist?

Within his introduction, he mentioned things he knew she liked, pretended to be interested in her endeavours. Her voice sounded like music; her smile glimmered in his eyes. 

What a revelation! A handsomely unexpected greeting! Yet she liked surprises, desired him to pick every petal until he reached her pistil. 

How easy it had been for him…

Soon she was whisked away to his castle– one far more magnificent than her own. The walls were decorated with glorious artworks; the great hall filled with fine China; the bed covered with vibrant silken materials. There she sang hymns before him every night, which he indulged in mercilessly as he tasted all of nature’s finest fruits after twilight. 

When the sun beamed, she’d have a garden ready for picking, with sunflowers taller than her own that she danced around with him.

She constantly played him ballads, showed him performances, and told him stories she cherished. He seemed puzzled by these things, but she anticipated that his love would flourish eventually.

Each day there was a new gift authentically crafted just for her. He even promised her glass slippers– so long as she behaved.

Every other princess must be jealous; she had attained the most precious jewel imaginable.

Yet something inside the prince was of disarray and slowly pulled him into the shadows. A tinge of sadness had now turned into an ache, burned for something the princess feared she wasn’t capable of providing to her beloved. He had been forsaken by many before her, and her presence seemingly wasn’t enough to rid the prince of his sorrows. Now he no longer accompanied his darling on strolls around the garden, didn’t cling to her like ivy amongst the flowers. Instead, he solemnly spent many weeks in his private quarters, the princess helpless. She was as desperate as his servants to rid his sorrows, but alas the young royal remained within his solitude.

However, one evening, when the princess had visited his chambers, he was completely absent. She had grown fearful until he stumbled into the room, a drunken smile on his face.

He had just been to a tea party, a mad tea party! One of many he’d always longed to attend. How wild it had been! What odd company there was: the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare. And even more exciting: he had been invited to another! Oh, how she must go with him, meet all his new companions!

While slightly hesitant, the princess was overjoyed to see her lover glowing like he never had before, and so she attended…

… mad it was indeed! Every character was distinct from the next. She was lovingly welcomed by them, much to her relief after the prince abandoned her side once entering the function. How unworldly she seemed to the prince, who assumed she couldn’t comprehend the group’s dialogue. Never mind that, he was having fun– that’s what really mattered. 

Once seated, the princess noticed a glass filled with prismatic liquid, with a label that read “DRINK ME!”. However, when she did, the prince was furious and stated she was too delicate to consume their tea party concoctions. It was for her own good.

She tried to protest, but the prince was dismissive. Stay quiet, remain pretty, my friends are here– don’t make a scene!

The princess felt her magic wither away. Her lover’s gaze never once fell on her afterwards.

Things only worsened back at his castle; the flowers began to wilt as the prince’s presence slowly lessened. While she remained within their chambers, he was out most nights. Rarely in the late hours was she accompanied. However, when she was, he was always preoccupied with thoughts of his mad friends, who played him the same ballads, showed him the same performances, and told him the same stories as hers. Yet now they piqued his interest, because their madness made them captivating, something she was not capable of replicating.

She was simply not enough. Her spell wasn’t so appealing anymore.

Confrontation only made him push her further away, so she brushed her feelings aside so he’d always feel heavenly. Otherwise what use was she anymore? Yet even that wasn’t enough. Something was always wrong; always needing to be fixed; always her fault. He remained fantasising about his next tea party; yearned to be far away from her, drinking more potions he never let her near. 

She no longer enjoys the ballads, the performances, the stories– not when the prince shames her for them, even though his mad friends enjoy them too.

Over time, she realises she knows him better than she knows herself; was never the company he truly desired. She was a piece offering, and after one small bite, he was already full. He had wanted to fulfil his fairy tale fantasies, never hers. How good he had been at hiding his demise, pushing her off a throne that was never once hers and always belonged to his friends.

She had been exiled from a life short-lived. A fantasy quickly faltered, wasting her words, her art, her fidelity.

The castle she left behind no longer seemed grand, standing as a fortress where her presence was now unsanctioned, the garden trampled to the dirt, her belongings now tossed aside for a new princess.

What a witch she was for questioning his authority, his beliefs, his intentions. 

But how beautiful she was when she didn’t speak. The prettiest accessory. How could he not resist?

Mary Elizabeth

The author Mary Elizabeth

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