In other circumstances I would have notice his black curled hair and the deep brown eyes, his determination and strength, his calm and still firm tone of voice, a voice made to sing rock ballads under starry skies. Not now. Now he’s just a police officer and my eyes are blurry from tears. I’m not being interrogated, they just need me to remember every little detail.
Because Ellie is missing and her final note was addressed to me.
“They said I’m sick, they said I need help. But their normality has no poetry, no castles, no dragons. princesses and heroes. Their reality has no sparks and no adventure. Why would I stay here? Maybe they’re the sick ones, maybe I just awoke to a brand new world: my own. I’m leaving, Princess. You know where to find me, but ssshhhttt…don’t tell them! I’ll be waiting.”
5 years ago
The beautiful woman in front of me seemed like descending from a royal family. Long, elegant fingers holding the cup of tea with a certain elegance. She had a light in her blue eyes, a serenity and still a sadness, the nostalgia of a lost crown…
I just had finished reading the manuscript, a story that kept building itself. A story that came to haunt her. Characters that came to life in her nightmares, talking to her, calling her, asking her to join them in the world of shadows.
Her hands were trembling and she spilled a little tea. I saw her blushing and I hear her apologizing, like she would have comitted a crime. And I was thinking that the only crime is the lack of love in her life.
“It’s because of the medicines they prescribed for my…psychosis. Because I told them that I see shadows and I talk to them. And because of this book I wrote, a cursed book…it has spells on it and…”
She broke into tears.
“What do we need to do, to break the spell, Ellie? How can I help you?”
“The book has no end…writing an end it will break the curse and end the spell. I need your help in writing the end. Please, Princess, will you help me?”
“You call me Princess, why is this?”
She smiled through tears, a childlike smile, like she was bot surprised and happy that I’m finally asking the question.
“I call you Princess because that’s what you are. In the kingdom of feelings and emotions, in your kingdom, you are the kindest princess I ever met. And in my book, you’re also a warrior.”
“What am I fighting for?”
“For your soul, of course. See, once you cross the bridge, once you meet The Shadow, your life becomes a battle after another. You lose sometimes, but you never surrender. You endanger yourself and, sometimes, your loved ones, but you’ll protect them beyond life itself. I gave you powers in these pages, beyond what you ever imagined. But wait…”
“So, am I fighting a shadow? Are we?”
“There’s a charm in being so silly, isn’t it, Princess? You love The Shadow, you love him even in his darkest moments. But the only real danger comes when he starts loving you back. You’ll forget, sometimes, what world you belong to.”
“How do I get to his world? Maybe finding him would help me setting you free and writing an ending to your book.”
“The magic mirror. This one!”
“Use it wisely, or you’ll get trapped inside it. Or better not. Forget everything I told you, okay Princess? Don’t fulfill my predictions! Swear to me you’ll never go there, you’ll never find him. Swear!”
And I swore, convinced that the medicines will help her get some rest. Convinced that I just witnessed a hallucinating story produced by her illness. I visited her, from time to time, writing my observations in “the magic mirror” meaning my laptop. I was not her therapist, not her psychiatrist, but the only friend she still had. The only family, until she was too weak to get up and tell her story.
The officer had an ironic smile.
“Well, not too weak to fool the nurses and run away. Let us know immediately if she contacts you.”
In other circumstances I would have notice the way he touched my shoulder, leading me to the door. But in this story, there are no princesses and no heroes. Just a missing queen, searching for her lost crown.
Note: In the category “Ellie, the untold story” the names, ages and locations are modified to protect the protagonists.
Note and update: Ellie was found a few hours later. She is safe.