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Photo: Lock by Johnny Swanson

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Once upon a time, there was a prince with a lot to prove.

His older brother’s health, brilliance, and cunning assured he would never be a king in his homeland. His love of honor and family fidelity also assured him a second place in life or so he thought.

One day soon after his eighteenth birthday, he learned of another king in a far land wanting a dragon dead so eagerly, he was willing to offer his crown for the dragon’s head.

The young prince saw his chance to change his destiny.

His three sisters begged him to stay by trying to show him how lucky he was to be a prince in a land filled with so many who were not princes and dealt with much poverty and disease.

He kissed them all on the cheek and agreed not to go.

All night, he dreamed of glory and a queen with flaming, flowing hair.

As her hair grew into the sparks of the dragon’s breath, he awoke knowing he must break his promise and seek a new fate.

Just before dawn he left with his lucky, scarlet cloak and thoughts of her on his mind.

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follow

oh holy night-light,

supernova pin prick stars,

stellar reflections.

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“Exc–”

Her shoulders straighten as she turns smiling clutching a delicate silver chain in her right hand.

“Bianca?”

Her smile broadens, and she stretches to share her gift.

“So, you haven’t forgotten me?”

“You’re-”

“I never left you. You simply stopped playing.”

Claire passes out on the kitchen floor.

When she regains consciousness, she is again alone.

She checks the door finding it locked.

She goes to the bathroom to splash some cold water on her face.

As she tries to make sense of what has happened, she glimpses a silver necklace around her neck.

She does not wear jewelry and has never seen this piece before.

“Bianca’s back, and she’s bearing gifts,” she murmurs as she fingers the small dragon head with a smaller crystal ball in its mouth much like a mystical, mythical roasted pig with apple.

She suddenly remembers the boar’s head on the spit in “Lord of the Flies.”

She shivers repulsed and checks for a concussion.

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