The Dark Room… The Final Chapter

Streams of sunlight were beginning to glimmer through the sheer curtains hanging over the open window.  The cool breeze caressed the bare skin of the Princess causing her to awaken enough to pull up the blankets, snuggling them around her neck.  She really did not want to wake up this early, yet so many thoughts flooded her mind, that trying to sleep any longer would be futile.  She had been anticipating this day.  Her plans would include another journey back to her little playhouse in the forgotten forest.

With fearful resolve, she got up and dressed, as she knew what she just had to do.  It was time to come face to face with a teddy bear, a teddy bear which represented a moment in her past that had been hidden in the darkest depths of her mind.  She did not feel like putting on any of the silky flowing gowns that were typically part of the princesses’ wardrobe.  After all, the playhouse was so dusty from years of neglect and today, she just did not feel like a princess.  Maybe the plain black cotton servants dress would do, for this day felt more like a day for mourning.

Grabbing a quick bite to eat, the Princess scurried out into the castle courtyard and down the garden path to the edge of the forest.  She did not stop to enjoy the beauty surrounding her.  She could not be distracted or worse yet, allow her thoughts to cause her to wait until a better day.  It was too easy for her to procrastinate on this one.  This she knew, because she had already put her plans on hold for many days.

Her pace slowed as she neared the edge of the forest.  She hesitated for a moment, finding that she had to force herself to take each step.  Yet there seemed to be something else coming from the inside of her.  She felt a somewhat comforting sense of strength, something that made her feel that everything was going to be okay.  Even though this journey today would be painful, she had a strange knowing that it would end well.

The path before her was clear this time.  She knew exactly how to get back to the place that she had accidently stumbled upon weeks before.  Just a little farther ahead, the Princess could see her old playhouse.  Once again, the fearful anticipation crept over her, but she forced herself to keep going.  She knew she needed to make herself to remember and relive the moment that had changed her life so dramatically.  She stepped over the rotted wooden step onto the porch and pushed open the squeaky door.  Tip toeing as she had done as a child, so as not to disturb her sleeping baby doll in the opposite corner of the room, she approached her old play kitchen set.  There was the prized teddy bear, exactly where she had left it just weeks ago and where it had fallen so many years ago.  She did not pick it up today, but chose to sit on the dirty floor beside it.

The Princess closed her eyes as she reached to hold onto her fuzzy teddies soft paw.  Hot tears began to stream down her cheeks once again as she allowed herself to adventure back to that day so long ago.  She was just a very young teenager then.  She had stopped coming to her little playhouse as often, but still found herself attracted to the peacefulness of the forest.  She would still occasionally sit and rock her baby doll, not seeming to want to let go of the special parts of her childhood.  More so now, she found herself contemplating her future dreams of being the best wife and mother in the whole world.

It was one of these occasions that the Princess had been admiring her treasured teddy bear and thinking of one day passing on this treasure to her own daughter.  She was startled by the sound of footsteps on the porch.  She had never seen another person in the forest before, and only those friends whom had been invited had ever been inside her little playhouse.  The playhouse door was suddenly thrown open.  In walked a man, only familiar to her, as she had seen him before on her trips into town.  She remembered him because it made her feel uncomfortable when he looked at her.  He seemed to stare at her and he was often at the same places that she would visit.

A wave of terror instantly swept over the Princess, even before her eyes fell to the large silver knife that was in the stranger’s hand.  Frozen with fear, the Princess was unable to move. The stranger grabbed her arm and threw her to the ground.  He clasp his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams.  She felt the cold blade of the knife against her side as the assault began.  She remembered the hot tears that had fallen that day, too.  She could not look at this persons face.  He was a horrible monster!

She was having a difficult time grasping what was being done to her.  Her thoughts ran wildly as she attempted to comprehend what was happening.  Why would someone do this?  How could someone be so horrible to another person?  What would people think of her if they found out?  Surely somehow she had caused this.  Had she smiled at this man when she saw him in town?  She was always smiling at people, in spite of being warned that not everyone was a nice person.  She should have never gone into the forest alone.  This day, she was supposed to be working, not day dreaming in her playhouse.

The assault felt like it came to an end as abruptly as it had started.  The monster almost seemed to become afraid of something himself.  As he left the little playhouse, he told the Princess that no one must ever know of this.  He threatened that if she told anyone, he would find her and next time he would really hurt her.  She would be very sorry if she ever told a soul.  The man disappeared into the forest as the Princess sat and cried.  She could not tell anyone what happened that day.  It was a horrible thing.  She felt dirty and sickened by the tragic event that had just occurred.  She knew she had lost some thing that day.  Innocence, worth and value had been robbed from her.  She knew she would never be the same because of this.  She would not realize until years later, how life altering this one event would be for her.  The man was right, no one must ever know.

The Princess sat for a long time in the old playhouse that day as she relived her victimization.  She allowed herself to grieve and thought about the years that had transpired since that day.  She could now clearly see how this one event had caused her to lose so much more than a moment of time and childhood innocence.  Being able to see clearly into the past, brings light to the present and healing to move forward into the future.  Another day, the Princess was sure she would spend more time here.  But for this day, she was done.  She knew that she had taken an important step.  She had faced her past and would tell her story now.  Maybe it would help another to venture into their own hidden memories and allow light to fill that dark room they’ve been unable to enter.

It was time to go back to the castle and put on her beautiful “princess” garments once again. She must never allow fear or the past to keep her from being who she was.   Once a princess, always a princess!  And yes, even when bad things happen, a princess can live happily ever after and that she did!

 

The Dark Room, Continued… Part 2

The night was long, cold and eerie.  The Princess struggled to find a comfortable position on the small porch of the cottage as she drifted in and out consciousness.  She forced herself to keep her eyes closed so as not to observe the shadowy figures moving about the clearing.  Whether they were real or imagined, she did not want to know.  Thankfully, the restless moments of wakening were quickly overtaken by her exhaustion.  As dawn approached, the Princess became keenly aware of her own hunger and thirst.  She needed to get back to the castle, but the door to this room seemed to have a magnetic attraction on something deep within her soul.  She dozed briefly until daylight came.

The little clearing was so peaceful.  The sun light pierced through the forest trees as the sounds of singing birds filled the air.  How could there be something so dreadful in this beautiful place?  The Princess just had to see what was in that room.  What was drawing her here?  Why was so much emotion and fear attached to this place?

As the Princess got up and approached the door, apprehension once again attempted to overtake her.  Somehow, she mustered the strength to face whatever it was that was causing the fear.  Her shaky hand gripping the knob, this time she was able to push the old, creaky door open.  She stood in the doorway for a moment and peered into the dimly lit room.  Yes, this was familiar.  This had been her playhouse as a little girl.  As her eyes skimmed the objects in the room, she recognized each item as having once been a part of her life.  Some items made her feel warm and safe.  There was the little table and chairs with the tiny china tea set still set for a tea party.  Over in the corner was the little doll bed that her father had made with his own hands.  Her favorite doll was still swaddled and appeared to be soundly sleeping.  Next to the doll bed was her little rocking chair where she used to sing as she pretended to rock her baby doll to sleep.  The Princess remembered daydreams of one day being a real mommy and how wonderful she imagined that would be.  From that little rocking chair, she dreamed of someday being the best wife and mommy in the world.

Why had she been afraid to enter this room?  Why had it been so many years since she revisited this wonderful place?  Why had it been suddenly abandoned?

As the Princess felt more relaxed now, she allowed her mind to wander farther into her childhood memories.  She was surprised that she was actually enjoying her little journey.  Suddenly her gaze fell on an object on the floor beside the little kitchen set where she had once pretended to cook wonderful meals.  She moved closer to see it.  As she bent down to reach into the shadows, terror once again swept over her.  With her shaky hand, she grasped the soft furry paw of her favorite, most valuable, childhood treasure.  The Princess brushed the dust off of her old tattered teddy bear.  It had been given to her as a very special gift.  It wasn’t just an ordinary teddy bear.  This teddy bear was considered to be a valuable collector’s item, something to be taken care of, held onto and cherished.  And that she had done.  Tears began to trickle down her cheeks as the ugly memories associated with her teddy bear emerged into her conscious mind.  The waves of emotion once again consumed her as she clutched the teddy bear to her chest.  She now knew why she had not come back to this place, why this place had become a room of terror.  She had a choice to make now.  Once again, she could run as fast as she could far away from this place, never to return, or she could face this thing that terrified her and allow this past part of her history to become part of her story.  The Princess knew that she had to come back here.  She had to face what she feared, possibly reclaim a part of her that had been lost.  She laid the teddy bear back on the dirty floor where she had found it, the same place it had landed years ago when innocence was stolen.  She vowed to herself to come back to this placed.  It would just have to wait for another day.

To be continued…

Do you think bad memories should be buried and left for dead or brought to light and faced head on?  Any of your own stories that you would care to share?

The Dark Room…

It was a perfect spring day.  The fragrance of the brightly colored flower buds poking through the damp soil of the garden filled the air.  The air was fresh, crisp and clean.  The temperature was at that sweet spot between slightly cool, yet comfortable.  The sunshine was warm and gentle breezes stroked the hair of the Princess. The Princess looked beautiful as she meandered through the wooded garden.  Everything about her world seemed to be perfect.  Nothing was out of place in her life and no situation overshadowed that would cause distress.  All was a picture of perfect peace and beauty.  Or so it appeared…

The Princess enjoyed her daily journey but had wandered farther than usual today.  Intrigued by what was beyond her normal path, just a little farther over the next hill and just around the next curve, she found herself in a thickly forested area.  Her path was now a little unclear and the realization was setting in that she could, quite possibly be lost.  Should she stay where she was until someone found her or should she try to find her way back home?  It was late in the afternoon now and the sun would be going down soon.  She surly did not want to spend the night in a dark forest with wild creatures.  That was not the place for a Princess to be.  The possibilities were frightening.  She must try to find her way home.

Having lost her sense of direction, the Princess chose the path that seemed to be more clearly marked.  As she passed through a particularly thick area of underbrush, she came to a small clearing.  In front of her was a weathered little house, very tiny actually, like a child’s playhouse.  This was strangely familiar to the princess.  It seemed as if it had been a part of her life many years past, yet her memory of it was so vague.  As she hesitantly approached, she could see peeling paint, smudged broken glass windows, and pieces of shingles that had been eaten away by time.  There was a tiny porch, just big enough to hold the little rocking chair that was still in its place.

The Princess cautiously placed her weight on the rotted step to the porch.  The cob web covered front door was slightly open.  The Princess could see objects in the room but it was too dark to make out what was inside, yet she had a strange sense that these objects meant something to her.  An unexplainable, anxious fear began to overtake her as her shaking hand neared the door knob.  The princess quickly pulled back her hand.  She couldn’t do it.  She just could not enter that dark room.  Why, she did not know.

She was surprised by the hot tears she felt streaming down her cheeks.  A rushing wave of indefinable emotion brought her to her knees.  With her face buried in the silky folds of her beautiful gown, the Princess gave in to the sobs that came from a deep, unfamiliar place.  The sobbing seemed to last for hours and darkness had now overtaken the forest.  Too weak to move on, this is where she would spend the night.  Cold and alone, the Princess curled up on the dusty, rotted, wooden porch of the tiny play house in the forest.  What wild creatures of the night were out there, maybe even watching her?  What dangers await her in this dark and lonely place?  What nightmares were lurking in the hours just beyond the point of sleep?  Overwhelmed by exhaustion, the princess closed her eyes, hoping the light of day would come quickly.

To be continued…

Have you ever found yourself standing before a door you were afraid to open?  A room of uncertainty, you were afraid to enter?