The Goose Girl
Never sleeps for more than a handful of hours. The constant noise from the north courtyard and stables keeps her awake much of the night. When she does sleep, she dreams of the horse. Not the dapple gray she rode from her mother’s kingdom, but the foal in the bog.
They spotted the young horse on their third day of travel. No telling how long the poor animal had been mired in the heavy mud. It was sunk up to its neck and no longer struggling when she approached. Her maidservant urged her to let the foal be, it would meet its end soon enough.
That was several moons ago. Still, each time the girl’s eyelids grow heavy and she sinks into sleep, all she sees is the hope waning in the foal’s large dark eyes.
Welcomes sleep, for it reunites with her brother. In her dreams he is just as she remembers him. Tall and strong, like their woodcutter father. Trusting, like their lily-livered mother. In this evening’s dream, her brother presents her with a knife.
The blade is long and curved. She remembers it well. How easily it slipped beneath skin, slid around bone. She carved up the old woman first, then Hansel, tossing them into the wood fired oven.
She sleeps well within the enchanted walls, knowing that she is king of this castle.
Sylvia Santiago is a writer, insomniac, and erstwhile children’s librarian. Her publications include FlashFlood Journal, horse egg literary, streetcake magazine and Janus Literary. She lives in western Canada and tweets @sylviasays2