Oct 13, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

By Nayab Tufail

The heavy clouds collided violently with each other as though the gods were at war in heavens. Chilled rain poured fresh from the welkins, so sleek and slithery that it was almost painful to see it pelt out of the clouds, like the eventual descent of the gods’ wrath. The queen was oscillating between life and death, her traumatic shrieks were echoing in the valleys. The labour was tremendously agonizing, she was praying for an escapade, even death would be a delight. Thunder clapped, a monstrous lightning struck, cries of a baby were heard…

With the loss of a devoted wife the king gained a daughter. The baby girl was left alone, locked up in the dark nursery and her howls were ignored. Meanwhile the wet mud was dug out and the queen was placed in her eternal resting place. The next morning the king unlocked the nursery and peeked inside the cradle. The princess was pale, with sickly eyes and chestnut hair. There was a peculiar charm in her countenance, the king almost abruptly named her Aurora (bright glow) to dismiss all images of darkness and devilry associated with her. Aurora grew up to be a troubled beauty, there seemed to be a demon governing her being. Very often her eyes looked like a beast was glaring through them, she fell into occasional epileptic fits and was loathed for her stubborn nature. At fifteen Aurora found little to amuse her and often went around exploring the palace in her usual witless manner until one day she came across her mother's enchanting jewels. With lack of interest, Aurora pulled the golden necklace over her head. The necklace was elegant, with a pendant of the finest gold in the kingdom. I t hung to her bony neck and looked ugly. Disappointed, Aurora fastened the necklace tighter to her grim neck, until the necklace started to suffocate her. Her face turned feeble and ghastly as she collapsed into the nearest bed, she tried to move but her strength seemed to fail her as she descended in a deep slumber. It was assumed that she would eventually wake up. The king patiently waited by her side everyday and gradually the time came when the sleeping princess was looked upon once in months, once in years.

A century elapsed. Over the passage of time the king and the kingdom perished and a dense forest blanketed the castle. Aurora lay there just as she had a hundred years ago with the necklace choking her neck. Her pointed bones protruded out of her thin skin as though they would tear through it any minute. She resembled a skeleton, with a layer of skin looking like a corpse. Her chestnut hair had turned silver, like electric wires hanging from her head and her mouth was open exposing her decaying purple tongue. The veins on her hands stood up like small fat snakes, and looked as if they would explode any second. The full moon blazed in the sky, there was something very eerie about the night, a mystifying glow in the celestial body. That night marked the end of a century. Aurora lay frozen in the chamber until suddenly her wrinkled eyes flew open. Her soul felt heavy .A storm brewed inside her. What had been clinging stubbornly to her soul all these years now struggled to depart. Aurora let out a high pitched shriek, her voice creaked. Whatever it was that had devoured her being all these years now seemed to escape. She jerked up and sat upright in the bed as a crunching sound rose from her backbone. The doomed necklace still pinched what was left of her neck. Emptied of strength, Aurora sat there, waiting for her end to come.........


Farwa Haider said...

I love the descriptions: "The veins on her hands stood up like small fat snakes". ;P

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