Fantasticoe -- Fall 2011
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"Through Her Eyes"

by Maureen Salisbury

Did it go?

I don't know; how can you tell?
Well you're the one who pushed the button!

Yes, it's working, you idiot, the words are on the screen!
Perfect! Now let's start our story.

Should we delete this part first?
Do you know how to do that without turning off the type to text feature? We'll fix it later.

Alright Let's get started. We've put off writing a story long enough. The contest deadline is only a couple days away!

Once upon a time

Are you kidding me?

What?
Once upon a time?

Well it happened sometime didn't it?
Yes I guess so, but that's so overused.

What do you suggest?
How about when it actually took place?

Fine.
Oh don't be mad at me.

I'm not just start the story.
Ok. Long ago in the faraway kingdom of

Luxentia!
Luxentia?

Just go with it.
There lived a beautiful Queen

This Queen was known across the land, not for her beauty, but for her hands.
Her hands had power.

One hand healed while the other destroyed.
Anyone or anything that she touched with her right hand was restored to perfect. However, everything her left hand contacted was instantly worsened.

The Queen's gift was discovered when she was a child.
Wait we're going back to her childhood.  

Yeah why not?
Because that would take forever.

Well suck it up its already in there. What would you have us do? Randomly gain powers? She's not some superhero.
Fine. So tell me how the Queen discovered her powers in her childhood.

Soon after Alexandria's birth she was wrapped in a blanket to keep her warm. Upon rolling over Princess Alexandria placed her right hand on the blanket. Her nurse and parents were shocked as it turned into a fine lace. Just when they thought things couldn't get any weirder Princess Alexandria rolled over again, this time her left hand touched the blanket. It was immediately transformed into a rag smelling of mildew.
Her parents didn't know what to do.

What could you do with a daughter like that?
They tried to train her to use her right hand and to teach her right from wrong,

and just as importantly left from right.
The Queen grew up with strong morals  and wore gloves constantly. The left  turned old and decrepit  while the right became a fine silk.

Only with her bare hands could her powers be worked.
Although, Alexandria's parents attempted  to hide their daughter's powers, babies don't tend to keep gloves on.

Eventually the kingdom discovered her powers when Queen Alexandria touched the carriage she was riding on during a parade.
People began to come to her from then on to see if she could solve their problems, even  though she was only two.

Wait a second, only two?
Yeah if she was older she would have kept  her glove on.

But a two year old couldn't even respond.
Well how old do you want her to be?

How about eight? And we can make the glove have a hole.
Alright that works. So they would come to see if she could solve their problems even though she was only eight.

People would bring their broken heirlooms, ruined crops, and sick family members to see if she would heal them.
Eventually, she learned to refuse some requests.

Wait, why?
Because she couldn't solve everyone's problems that'd be too easy, and people can't take her gifts for granted.

Oh that makes sense.
See I told you so!

Oh Shush! Anyway...
 
She struggled for years to create a system of appropriately choosing who or what to heal. For a while after her powers were discovered she tried to heal everyone but realized this exhausted her and often did not fix anything. She tried healing every 13th person but found this still too exhausting. As she began to cut down on the amount of people she healed she learned which items she felt could benefit from her gift. Eventually she decided she would only heal one item a month.
There was no set time for the healing of the month, and you never knew what  the Queen would choose to heal. Sometimes it would be something of little importance to the Kingdom like a baby rattle, other times she would restore entire fields of ruined crops.

Predicting Alexandria's choice was nearly impossible.
As time went on Alexandria grew up got married, and took her rightful throne.

Queen Alexandria and King Renaldo ruled quite happily. Everyone had accepted the Queen's condition of healing only one item a month at her whim.
Until someone decided that wasn't good enough. John Richardson thought it was selfish to only use such a powerful gift once. So much good could be done with her power. If only she would heal more often.

John Richardson had gone to the Queen everyday for the past two years.
And every time the Queen refused to heal his daughter.

His daughter was blind and could only use her right arm.
Although John pleaded with the Queen he always got the same response.

"Some things are not meant to be healed"
"My daughter is not just some 'thing'" he would scream, "She deserves to be whole."

This argument went on day after day,
month after month,

year after year.
Although the rejection was constant,  John Richardson never gave up. He was determined to have his only daughter healed, so she could be "whole" like all the other kids.

He brought his daughter with him every day.
On his 730th try,

exactly two years from his first request,
The Queen gave him a different answer than her normal refusal.

Instead of rejecting his offer out right she offered him another option.
Instead of healing your daughter, I will trade your health for hers.

He didn't know how to respond. He loved his daughter, but he also loved having two working arms and being able to see.
The Queen waited for a response as John wrestled with himself.

His daughter, Emelia, who had remained quiet the first 729 days of pleading and many had assumed was mute, spoke for the first time in the Queen's presence.
"Your Majesty" she offered, "Would it be possible to make it temporary?"

John looked pleased at this suggestion.
"One day," she agreed.

John hastily concurred.
Emelia smiled at the Queen and curtsied in her direction.

The Queen then stood up and took John's hand in her left and Emelia's in her right simultaneously.

Both Emelia and John collapsed under the feeling.
When they collected themselves they rose off the ground.

Emelia was squinting. Everything seemed so bright. She couldn't take it. Everything moved so quickly and gave her a headache. She went to shield her eyes and both hands moved.
She wasn't used to this and as a result she smacked herself in the head with her normally static left arm. She chose to close her eyes and stood still.

John was having just as much difficulty adjusting to not seeing. He was completely unaware of his surroundings.
He was grasping around, but his left arm just hung there.

John's head ached. He kept bumping into people and things.
The Queen just stood there observing.

After the two settled down,
which took John considerably longer,

the Queen began to speak.
"You two got what you asked for enjoy your day.  I expect you both back here by the end of tomorrow.  


Emelia wanted to change back now. She couldn't open her eyes, because the light hurt too much. She felt so clumsy with the addition of her left arm. Her entire life she used only her right hand. She never understood why people needed two; she got along fine with only her right.
John was ready to change back too. He couldn't  function without his sight and realized after tripping over his shoes that having the use of both hands to buckle a buckle was helpful.

When they stood to leave John realized how much he used his left arm.
The Queen herself had to help him put on his jacket, because he could not manage to stuff his lifeless left arm into the jacket.

Emelia rose silently, eyes closed, walked towards the door, opened it with her right hand and waited to hear her father's footsteps follow. The thought of opening her eyes and looking to see her father never occurred to her. She simply waited for his footsteps to fall.
John's steps were uneven. He didn't seem sure of where his daughter or the exit had gone. Without his eyes he had no sense of direction.

Once Emelia realized why her father hadn't followed yet she called out to him.
"Just follow the sound of my voice, your ears will guide you if you trust them."

He stumbled his way to her and they walked to their horse which gratefully knew the way home without the urging of a driver.
The Queen watched the horse as the two disappeared into the dust.

"What's wrong my d...
Nothing's wrong why are you asking? Our story was just getting good!

I wasn't asking, idiot. I was having the King ask the Queen.
Oh. Oops my bad. That makes more sense.

May I continue?
No need to be snappy. And yes you may continue.

"What's wrong my dear?" the king inquired of his queen.
"I know this is a bad idea" she responded, "but they have to learn for themselves."

"It's just like you, my queen, to worry about things that aren't yours to worry about." He kissed her softly on the forehead and led her away from the window where she could still see the kicked up dust from the Richardson's old horse.
On the road home John was terrified. He couldn't see where he was going. He felt as though everything was completely out of his control. He was also scared of falling of the horse. He normally gripped the reins with both hands and he felt weak with just one. He missed the familiar sights on his way home. While waiting for the ride to end, he longed to see his cottage emerging over the horizon. He wanted to see the slow yet steady stream that marked the edge of his farm and would tell him that he was close to home.

Emelia felt equally terrified. Every time she opened her eyes the slightest crack she would see objects flying towards her head. It was all she could do not to tremble. Not even the steady rise and fall of the horse's hooves which normally calmed her could take her mind off her fright.
After the fearful ride, the two were grateful to climb

(well Emelia climbed, John fell)
off the horse and return to the less terrifying solid ground.

Emelia enjoyed walking into the darkness of the house. She was grateful for the lack of light which allowed her to open her eyes without searing pain.
John also was reassured by entering familiar territory.  He racked his brain to remember every detail of the layout of his own home. For the first time since the switch was made John was able to take more than three steps consecutively without stumbling into someone or something.

It was late by the time they got settled and both were very tired. Although they were tempted to ignore the switch and simply retire to bed. Both knew they couldn't waste their one and only day.
John was frustrated by not knowing what clothes he had put on for bed. And even more frustrated when he needed help buttoning his night shirt up. He felt like such a child needing his daughter to help him. He felt even more inept when he realized his daughter had probably buttoned him up only using one hand.

Emelia's eyes where adjusting in the dark and for the first time in her life she could see what her clothes looked like. She could see the different kind shades and see what made the textures she recognized.
Because the outside still frightened her, Emelia spent much of the evening exploring the interior  of the house.

She learned that her dishes and mugs were not plain like she had imagined but had an intricate flower pattern growing around the border. Her plate was smooth so she had assumed it to be plain. As she explored, John also began to wander around the house. Using his right  hand he guided himself around the room. Never before had he noticed the difference in texture from one wall to another or from oak to cedar.
John's right arm had replaced his eyes. After  hours of exploring his home, he could walk about freely without worrying about hitting anything.

Emelia's vision also changed her perspective. Color was a new concept to her. Things that felt exactly the same could have entirely different appearances.
After the two had exhausted themselves inside,  they found their ways to bed.

Emelia awoke early the next morning just before dawn.
It was still dark out but light enough to see color.

Although any light made her head hurt she ventured outside.
After walking around the yard with her eyes closed she forced herself to open her eyes.

The colors overwhelmed her.
She had walked to her favorite spot in the yard. This experience was new to her. As she walked out of her cottage she entered the yard. She looked around dazed as she realized just how large  this space was. Without walls to touch she had no idea how to measure space. She walked with sure footing tracing her normal route to her spot. She could  see how the grass was slowly fading away from her path.  She never realized how often she came down here. She saw where the bark was beginning to smooth on every tree she held onto on her decent to the stream. It all seemed so one-sided. The left side was perfect, untouched; the right screamed of her presence.


Finally, she reached her little rock. She watched as the early dawn light hit the rock and made it shimmer. Every time she moved her head slightly the light would alter and it looked like the rock was dancing, happy to see her. The stream glimmered too, shaking with pleasure as she tossed in rocks. She loved to listen to the sound made as the plopped into the water. Now, she could see the ripples they caused. She watched the circles expand as they raced in every direction.  As she got closer and closer to the edge of her rock she could feel the earth underneath her feet change from hard rock to the squishy moss that grew on the edge and she saw the ripples lap against the lowest layer. The moss bobbed in response.
Emelia could hear the water flowing, the birds chirping, and the bees buzzing, all around her as she shook their normal hiding places as she held  onto the trees around her.

The aroma of the flowers wafted towards her as they always do.
She could smell the honeysuckle and the lilacs.

This visit was different though.
She could see the soft pink of the lilacs and touch with both hands the softness of their petals. She giggled with glee as the buzzing bee flew past her to gather pollen from the blooming lilacs. She could even see the tufts of pollen stuck on the bees striped back. Stripes amused her, patterns were a new concept still.

The water glimmered and the sparkle caught her eye. As she looked every which way everything seemed different.
The clearness of the water contrasted so abruptly with the darkness of the rock. She could hardly  imagine why they were in the same place.

By now John had woken up. Originally  he was panicked by not being able to see before he remembered his bargain with the Queen.
After adjusting to the constant darkness he went searching for his daughter.

He could hear her giggling in the yard. Instead of calling out to her, he attempted to get by on his own.
After struggling with the buttons he managed to dress himself and meet up with his daughter. He felt such an accomplishment at being able to do up his shirt with one hand. It took him considerably longer, but he did it.

Emelia was watching the bees fly and didn't hear her father when he went looking for her in the yard.
Never before had she been snuck up on. She always heard the person coming first. She could hear the footsteps and know exactly was coming.

She screamed when her father reached out and touched her arm.
He was just as taken aback. The scream  sounded so loud to him.

It was in that moment that Emelia appreciated the way things used to be.
Although she couldn't see her other senses  had made up for it, her hearing had been superb.  She was aware of every sound around her and  everything she touched had a special meaning.

For John this shriek also sparked an enlightenment. The emotion that that scream held was more intense than any expression he had ever seen. He finally understood what the Queen had meant. After Emelia caught her breath, the two laughed over the misunderstanding.
The Richardsons were quieter than normal as they  ate their breakfast and attempted to stay out of the bright sun.

As the sun began to set they set out to return to the Queen.
The Queen was standing at her window. Waiting for the Richardsons return. She hoped that she had made the correct decision.

The news had leaked that she had used her healing for the months her day had been extremely slow. Very few peasants came with requests. 
Eventually as the moon began to rise she spotted the old horse coming up the road.

As the dirt cloud came closer she began to worry about reversing her work.
Hold up just one second! She's actually going to take the little girls sight away from her? After she finally appreciated color!

She has to! What kind of queen would she be if she went back on her word? Plus Emelia liked the way things were.
But look at how much she enjoyed the colors. Look at how much more meaning everything held!

Look at the way he began to appreciate his other senses though. John is finally starting to get it.
Yeah but

But nothing! You know I'm right.
No Way! The little girl should be able to live life like everybody else.

But she's not like everyone else.
If you were different wouldn't you want to be though.

Not Really!
So you're saying there's a point to this?

Don't tell me you don't see it!
No, I do... I guess. I just don't see why everyone can't win. Can't the queen just heal both. She has all this power and only uses it once a month. I want them both to be perfect.

But that's just it. What is "Perfect"?
Okay, okay. I see your point. Finish it off.

As the Richardsons entered Queen Alexandria could tell her mission had been accomplished. She asked them how their day was. Emelia responded with a solemn smile, while John just looked up and said, "You're right 'some things don't need to be healed,'" he continued "there was nothing broken." Tears filled Emelia's eyes. She agreed with her father whole-heartedly. The father-daughter pair embraced and reached out their hands to the Queen. Alexandria closed her eyes and reached her hands out to them: right to John and left to Emelia.

The End.
I'm still not sure I want Emelia to lose her sight.

Are you still on about this? It needed to be done.
Did it really?

Yes.
I can see your point I guess. Besides, I guess the Queen can't really go against her word. What kind of queen would she be if she did that?

Exactly.
I'm still not convinced that this is the right ending, ya know?

We don't have all day to argue about this, the deadline is coming up and we promised each other we would actually submit something this time.
Fine, we'll discuss the ending after editing. Speaking of,  how do we turn this thing off we need to go back and edit out the beginning. Who would want to read our arguments anyway?

No one I'm sure. Now if I remember correctly the button should be right around h...