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You would think that a princess's life would be amazing and magical but it's not how it seems. I sit on a bed in a tower. Every day. Always nervous. Having that one feeling where you have knots in your stomach. That something would happen. Something evil, something terrible. But every day it was the same: the same voices outside, the same hands handing me food through a slot in the wall. But then something did happen—something bad and evil. Not what I wanted. I wanted a Prince Charming like other kingdoms but I didn't get one.

I heard a scream and the castle doors shutting. People were running, voices were yelling, and I was here alone. I sat there for a while not knowing what to do. My heart started pounding. I sat patiently, knowing that sooner or later someone would remember me. But nobody did. So I started banging on the doors as hard as I could. No one heard me over the screams of terror. We were under attack, and I was stuck in a tower next to it all, hearing the whole thing. I was terrified. My hands shook like maracas. I grabbed a metal pan I had my supper on, and I thrashed it against the door. Surprisingly, a piece broke off. So much for safe keeping.

I started peeling and chiseling the wood away. After about an hour of work, I finally had a small space to crawl out of. I slowly slipped through with a few splinters that hurt and landed on the first step of the staircase. I ran down the staircase. Then I noticed that voices were gone. Except for one hush one. “Be quiet!” I heard. I was scared. I had never had a real encounter with a human—or at least I can't remember it.

I was nervous but kept going. Quieter this time but at a fast pace. When I was almost down I saw her—a beautiful young girl. She was about three years younger.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“I'm Leda.”

All the sudden I felt something I had never felt before: love. Even though I had known her for only a second, I knew she would make an amazing friend. She grabbed my hand and led me out the door.

“Where are we going?!”

“You'll see!” she said as she dragged me through the burned-down doors.

We walked until came to this place. It was amazing and so pretty. There was a gorgeous waterfall. She brought me behind it.

There, behind the waterfall, was a small beaten-up mattress and a pair of old shoes. “What is this place?” I asked Leda.

“It's my home. I left the kingdom a little while after my mom passed away. About two months ago. I’ve been here for a while but I'm getting used to it.”

It was a beautiful place. I sat down on the bed. It was kind of hard but I didn't care. We kind of just sat there. When she said I could live here, I was relieved. I would have had nowhere else to go if I couldn't stay here.

When we were done talking about me moving in, I went back to the tower to grab my clothes and maybe a couple pillows. I walked back through the castle doors and I was devastated. I hadn't really noticed how terrible it looked. There was almost nothing left.

I walked over to the tower and up the staircase slowly. When I reached my room, I grabbed a bed sheet and put my clothes on it, then wrapped it up. I grabbed the three pillows on my bed and brought them as well. The only thing left besides that was a bracelet my mom gave me. I felt tears coming up and out as I slipped it onto my hand. Then the dam broke. I sat down on my bed and sobbed. I realized the hands giving me food had belonged to my mom. My mom had been the one making the noise. My mom had protected me from whatever was out there. Now she was gone. I never said thank you when she gave me the food. It wasn't fair.

After I was done crying, I walked back down the staircase and back to the waterfall. I put my clothes down and set the pillows on the bed.

It was about ten o'clock when I fell asleep. It was hard to fall asleep with the raging waterfall in the background but I got over it. When I woke up, the sun was already rising. I saw Leda down by the water; she had something red in her hands—strawberries.

“Hey can I have some?” I asked.

She handed me one. I took a bite into it. It was sweet. I walked back up and sat on the bed. I fiddled with the bracelet around my hand. I guess this would be my life.

Natalie Warnke The Waterfall
Natalie Warnke, 12
Eden Prairie, MN