Photograph by Nick D. Klein
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“You Would Have a Queen”
The two girls hurry through the woods.
Rose tries not to make a sound.
Crystal keeps her face down, limps but pushes through.
Clouds cover the moon.
Rose stops. “I can’t leave Anna,” she says, talking low.
She turns and starts walking slow, back to the cabin where the girls were held. Scared, Crystal just stares.
Rose is anxious, nearly blind in the night as she pushes past branches. She’s not even sure how to get back to the cabin. He’d said no one would find them.
A light shines to her right.
Rose stops walking, thinking, breathing. She sees his silhouette behind the beam. Stays quiet until the giant man walks off and the light recedes.
A hand grips her shoulder. Crystal’s behind her.
Rose steadies herself, tells Crystal to leave.
“I can’t,” Crystal whispers.
The girls slip through the dark, holding each other, trying to find courage as the cabin draws closer.
A break in the clouds shows the cabin. Rose and Crystal slip in.
Rose kneels, feels for the panel on the floor. She finds it, lifts it, reaches inside.
When she touches the ladder, ghosts rush past her.
Rose forces herself to climb down, go back under the dirt, trees, earth.
Anna’s still there, lifeless, inert.
Rose knows if she doesn’t bring Anna, they may never find her again. So she whispers her name, shakes her, tries to wake her with force.
Nothing works, of course.
She pulls Anna up, lifts her over her shoulder, staggers to the ladder. Slowly climbs the worn wood.
Crystal helps pull Anna out, but Rose slips and kicks. The ladder breaks, collapses. Rose nearly loses her balance but grabs the edge, lifts herself free.
Crystal screams. Rose turns and sees the flashlight’s beam, sees the giant rushing at them.
The girls stumble from the cabin, Rose carrying Anna, trying to keep up with Crystal. But they’re too loud, the giant’s too fast. She hears him behind her, running with ease, smashing trees.
Rose drops Anna, cries out for Crystal to keep running.
The giant grabs Rose’s hair, her waist. Pulls her body into his, lifts her in the air. She tastes tears, feels fear overcoming her as his hand covers her face.
The giant drags Rose back to the cabin. Tells her she’ll never escape again. Tells her she should have stayed quiet, captive, controlled, caught.
He opens the panel to take her down and finish her off.
But he doesn’t realize the ladder’s been lost.
The giant lets go of Rose, his hands reaching everywhere, shouting as he falls. Rose hears him crash, curse. She hurries to act first.
She closes the panel, locks it. Rushes out as he roars below.
Rose finds Crystal outside.
The girls lift Anna, carry her away.
The giant’s shouts grow distant, dying in the air.
No one will find him there.
Nick D. Klein, a Washington, DC, based photographer, has been published in several lifestyle magazines, including Modern Luxury. He specializes in event and portrait photography. For more information and a gallery of his work, visit his web site.