I stumbled up the crumbling stone staircase and slipped into my bedroom. I threw myself onto my bed and stared at the pictures on the ceiling.
My mother had once painted them, when I was a little girl. She had plucked a yellow and white swirled rose from the garden and placed it on my dresser. She then picked it up again and sighed. “Yellow. Yes. White. Wonderful.” My mother had always loved alliterations. She loved them so much, that she named me Allie because of it. She was a poet, who had captured the world and it’s beautiful things in a blue spiral notebook with a leather cover. She would take it wherever she went, outside to the picnic table, or to the attic to do some cleaning.
She also took it with her when she disappeared one stormy night. She had walked into my room and told me that she misplaced something and had to go somewhere to get it. She had kissed the top of my head and with her notebook under her arm, walked out to my balcony. I laid there for a while, waiting for her to come back to my room. But a few hours later, I still had not heard from her. I thought maybe she had fallen asleep, lulled by the pitter pat of the rain. I walked out to the balcony, but she was gone, not asleep like I had guessed. The only thing she left behind was a scarf, white and yellow. I had gotten back in my bed, unsure of what happened. When morning came, I ran to her room. Her bed was cold and still made, and there was a single yellow and white rose resting on her pillow. Yellow. Yes. White. Wonderful.
From that day on, those words had haunted me forever. I lived alone, for I had no father and my mother was gone. For seven years, I had lived in the castle, as it crumbled and broke down.
The castle was inherited by my mother from her great grandmother who was at one point the Queen. I guess that would make me a princess, but I refused to say I was related to that old bat. She was a con artist. Quick and sly, one that stole and took and never gave. My great great grandmother was Queen Anne, queen of Scotland, England, and Ireland, although many people called her the Queen of Revenge. But, she was such a disgrace, that future queens refused to live in the same castle as she, so they had to build a new one miles and miles away. Eventually, Queen Anne died and my great grandmother got the castle before it was passed on to my grandmother and then my mother. Now, it was my castle in the middle of a forest, covered in vines, and dirt. I didn’t mind it like this. It protected me since no one would dare walk into the forest alone. They say that Queen Anne cursed the forest and everything in it before she died. But does that mean I’m cursed? I started to think so after my mother disappeared.
Now, you're probably wondering how I am still living. How does a girl stay alive that long? Well, by now, I was used to rationing my food. Two potatoes would keep me for the whole day. I had a garden, which grew lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and of course a yellow and white rose bush. Sometimes, I would make a salad. The pantry also had food, mostly canned things, things that I could eat. There were also stale crackers and bread that I had polished off many years ago. The fridge held dried fruits and more canned beans. While the fridge held food, the freezer had trays and trays of ice cubes. The water pipes never really worked, especially now. I ate/drank about five ice cubes a day, and even then I wasn’t even close to hydrated. But my body adapted to it and soon, my hydrated point was someone else's dehydrated point. I was terribly thin and pale, but when I looked in the mirror everyday, I didn’t see a scrawny little girl, I saw a survivor.
Every morning, I got up and made my bed, then placed a white and yellow rose on my pillow. Yellow. Yes. White. Wonderful. Then I would go downstairs, put some ice cubes in a cup, then make breakfast. Most of the time, I ate a dried peach, or half a potato. I drank about a third of the melted ice, then went outside. I used an ax I found in the attic to cut down trees for firewood. By now, I was very good with my hands and was strong, despite my small appearance. Then, I would sit by the fire, reading one of the ancient books from the library. The library was my favorite place to go.The shelves were unevenly cut, and the rocking chair in the corner was what one would describe as uninviting, since it’s paint was peeling and it had such a sad look to it. Not that anyone but me would ever see it. But my favorite thing about the library was it’s books. After 2,659 days, (yes, I was counting) I still had not read every single book in that library, although I was getting really close. I had about 25 books left.
Near the fireplace, sat an old arm chair. It was blue, like my mother’s notebook with gold patterns on the side. I loved to sink into it and disappear into a story, forgetting about reality for a couple hours or so. I also had never been to an actual school; when my mother was still here, she hired a tutor for me. Even then I didn’t learn much. The book helped to nurture my learning and fill my brain with big fancy words. Not that anyone would ever hear them.
Now you may be asking, she has to have someone! Maybe a family member or even a sewer rat. But I had no one. I never met my family, I only learned about the rotten ones. Sewer rats were usually wiped out by the cold, or my family's curse. Either way, I had no one. When I went outside, I never even saw an ant. Here in the forest, the summer was boiling. The tree branches cracked under my feet and the leaves dried up. Summer was the worst. I had to really save my water, but it was so dry, I once ate a full tray of ice. I learned never to do that again.
In the summer, I really had no reason to go outside, so I tried my best to keep the castle cool. I lounged around, sometimes drawing, but usually reading. On occasions, I went outside to see if I could catch a glimpse of the birds that people talked about in my books. I never saw one. I was starting to think birds didn’t exist. I mean, isn’t it impossible for things to fly? But my mother disappeared out my window which is at least 100 feet of the ground. There’s always a possibility. I have to admit, I never really knew much about the world. Sure, I learned a lot through the books I read, but I’ve never been more than 50 feet away from the castle. I had no idea how the world was. Maybe there was a war, maybe there was peace. I thought up a lot of things about the world surrounding my castle, but the most scariest of all was, what if I was the only one in the world? What if only I existed? I didn’t dare find out.
I sat up and twirled the sheet of my bed in between my fingers. I thought about my books and how I only had a few left. Did this mean I was running out of other things too? I couldn't imagine what would happen if I ran out of food or water. I got up and went back down the spiral staircase, touching each brick as I went along. I reached the bottom of the stairs and went into the kitchen. I opened the fridge and got a shocking site. I was almost out of food! I had ten dried plums, five cans of soup, seven jars of canned beans and three potatoes. That was about 37 days left. Uh-oh. I was in trouble. Only 37 days! What was I going to do? I yanked open the freezer. There was about 25 trays left, each with about 25 ice cubes in each. I wasn’t much of a math person, but I knew that I could survive five days off of one tray. That meant I had roughly 125 days until I ran out of water. Not bad. But the food would be a problem. I had to figure out something. Quick.