RAPUNZEL • by Rosalie Kempthorne

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” He stood at the bottom of the tower, tracking its stonework all the way up to the faint glow in a high window where he could see her silhouette moving against the light. “Rapunzel. Rap—”

“What? Are you kidding me? Do you know how long it took me to get it up like this? And what’s wrong with it anyway? Don’t you like it the way I’ve done it? You don’t appreciate me at all, do you?”

“Rapunzel…”

“You only ever think about what you want! You’re so selfish. Men!” The window slammed down hard against the windowsill.

So that was that for the night. The prince stood, staring dejectedly up at the white tower. Maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea after all. He should go. He’d heard a rumour about a beautiful girl by the name of Cinderella who liked to go about dressed in glass.

***

She sat on the steps leading up to the ballroom, tracing a circle with the tip of her shoe against his leg while he sat there, chin in hands, watching her.

She looked at him: “What?”

“So, it’s just the slippers, then, that are made of glass…?

“Yes, well, of course. What, did you think I was going to attend the ball of the year in a see-through dress?”

“Well…”

“Oh. You hoped.”

“Well, I—”

“Really? Really?”

“I should probably go now, shouldn’t I?”

Maybe he should think about calling his old girlfriend Snow White; he hadn’t heard from her in a while…

***

His best friend stopped him. “Look, dude. I don’t know how to tell you this, but ever since that witch of a step-mum turfed her out she’s been living up in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of dwarves.”

“She’s been what?”

“Seven of them, if you can believe that. It’s a bit weird if you ask me.”

“A bit weird?”

“Sorry, dude.”

The prince sat down on a nearby wall. “I dunno, buddy, this whole romance thing, it’s a lot more complicated than it looks.”

His friend sat down next to him. A couple of minutes went by before he spoke: “Worth it though, isn’t it?”

***

He stood once again at the foot of the tower. He could see Rapunzel up there in silhouette, brushing her hair, haloed in warm-honey firelight.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel…”

The window opened.  “I thought you’d gone.”

“…let down your hair!”

“We’ve been through this…”

“I’ve got something for you.”

“Is it a rope ladder?”

“Please?”

It took a few moments, and then the full torrent of her soft blond hair came tumbling down the wall. The prince stooped and tied the rose to it. He stood back. “You can pull it up now.”

She was quiet for long enough that he began to wonder if he’d misjudged yet again. He could see the shape of her, holding her gift up to the light, head tilted, examining it.

Finally, the window opened. Rapunzel leaned out. “Do you want to come up for a while?”


Rosalie Kempthorne has no idea what it takes to write a good Author Bio, and all her previous attempts have so far come to nothing. She has somewhat better luck writing stories. You can read more of her short stories on 365 Tomorrows, ABC Tales, Flash Frontier, or on her website: www.RosalieKempthorne.name.


If you want to keep EDF around, Patreon is the answer.

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