Latifa AlGhaferi is back with a new submission for our Twisted Fairy tales theme! This piece was inspired by that urban legend, the monkey’s hand; basically, whoever owns the hand (you get ownership once you hold it) gets three wishes, but here’s the twist. The monkey’s hand twists your words and you end up with something you never wanted.
A brisk knock on the door brought the woman back to life. She stared into the mirror in front of her. The charcoal black hair framing the small heart-shaped face, the slightly parted tiny rose red lips, and those desolate granite eyes; come tomorrow and even that will not belong to her.
The knock came once more. The woman in the violet dress got up and opened the door. A lady in an evergreen gown came bustling in holding something wrapped in a cloth. The door was closed once more as the cloth-wrapped object was placed on the bed beside the lady accompanying it.
“Sheryl, darling. How are you? You must be nervous about tomorrow; why you hardly ate a thing at dinner tonight. Come sit by my side, I need to show you something.” The lady in the evergreen dress said, her eyes crinkling with the memory of laughter.
Sheryl sat beside the lady, “Oh, I was not very hungry tonight; it has nothing to do with tomorrow. Why should I be nervous about a business deal? They happen all the time. What is that you’ve got there, Mother?” Sheryl gestured at the clothed mass resting on her mother’s lap.
“Why, I’d hardly call getting married a ‘business deal’! It’s your big day, darling. The day I get to see you all grown up in your white gown, darling its every mother’s dream; giving her daughter a better future. Johnathan Willsworth is a wonderful young man and he’s going to inherit his father’s business in a few years. This chance doesn’t get offered to any young lady these days, you should be grateful to your stars!”
“Mother, this wedding is a sham! I’m marrying this man so his business could expand into the food industry! If only father was still alive, we wouldn’t have to humiliate ourselves like this to repay our debts.” She sighed, “however, I am my father’s daughter; I will not go back on my word once I have said it. The wedding shall take place.”
The Mother hugged her daughter and stroked her raven hair. “It’s alright darling. Remember what nana used to say ‘At the bottom of the bitter cup of coffee lay the layers of unstirred sugar,’ nothing is ever pure black or pure white in this life, dear.” As the mother drew her daughter in closer, the clothed box was compressed between them uncomfortably; demanding attention.
“Oh how silly of me! I almost forgot about this here.” The mother unwrapped the mass to reveal a bejeweled box. She handed it to her daughter. “ As the lore goes darling, ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.’ This used to be your nana’s, she wore it on her wedding and I wore it on mine, it’s only right that you wear it as well, and someday, you will give it to your daughter on her wedding day.”
Sheryl opened the box to discover that it was not simply a box; it was a music box. The little figurine danced to the comforting melody; her mother used to sing this to her in her childhood. A Sapphire blue butterfly pin was placed attentively in the middle of the box.
“It’s beautiful…” Sheryl whispered as she ran her fingers over the jewels.
“Your nana told me a tale the night she gave it to me; that is no ordinary music box, it’s a magical one. If the box comes within your ownership, you will be granted three wishes.” The mother got up and placed a soft kiss on her daughter’s forehead. “Get some sleep darling, we’ve got a big day tomorrow” with that, she left the room.
Sheryl listened to the alluring tune of the music box and thought about the wedding. This was not what she had wanted. She cursed her stars and wished she were someone else; someone with their own will. She sat back in front of her mirror and placed the Sapphire pin in her ebony hair. It’s charming, she thought, it would distract them from the hollowness of our vows. She glanced at the elegant white dress hanging beside her bed then at the little figurine of the dancer in the music box.
“The fault is not in us darling, it is in our stars. If only I weren’t me, isn’t that the eternal dream….” With a sigh, she put the pin back into the box and went to bed.
The next morning, the knocks were more rapid than the night before. There was no answer behind the door, only the captivating tune of the music box; it must be the nerves, everyone assumed. The ceremony was growing nearer and the bride was still not in the vicinity. The mother of the bride goes to her daughter’s room.
A scream is heard then, nothing at all.
Laying in bed in the once white dress was Sheryl in the sea of red. Her silver eyes reflecting nothing and everything, her lips in a smirk, like she finally discovered something.
The enthralling tune continued playing.
Author: Latifa AlGhaferi