Fiction Friday: [The Red Reign]

[This week's Fiction Friday was a prompt from Scene Stealers.  Scene Stealers is a fun writing prompt exercise from Write to Done. They provide the first two sentences (or in this case sentence and a half) to be used as written, a specific writing exercise, and it can't be longer than 350 words. As you will see, my piece was too long to submit this time around. Click the link above if you want to give it a try. In the meantime...enjoy!]

She looked down on the village that had been her home until she was eighteen years old. Anna was so sure she’d never return, but he had other plans. 

It was now over a year since she’d ripped herself from his clutches, but details of the arduous journey clung to her memory like moss on a stone. The icy whip of the wind against her cheeks. Her calloused hands rubbing against the raw leather of her gloves. She doubted her decision many times along the way and worried she would become a perfectly preserved statue of ice hidden for centuries under a snow drift.  

But she eventually made it to America and then found herself plodding east. It wasn’t until Anna reached New York City that she found her new home. A place where she wasn’t gawked at because of her height or her ears. She settled into a data entry job that felt glamorous compared to the life she had escaped. During the holidays she picked up additional work and was doing quite well for herself. She had friends and fun and not long after escaping her horrific past, she found love. 

After a long day at work, coming home to Pete’s beaming smile and waiting arms was the highlight of her day. But yesterday, a turn of the key and crack of the door revealed only street lamps illuminating the apartment.  

Clicking on the lights, her eyes drew immediately to the blood red envelope propped up against the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter. The sound of her purse and keys hitting the floor muffled under the whoosh of blood rushing to her ears. Every beat of her heart throbbed in her fingertips as she reached for it with quivering hands. The note was handwritten and full of sharp angles. Every line of it turned Anna’s fear into anger.

 Dear Anna,
What a bad girl you have been. Do you not recall the extent of my powers? There is no place on earth where you can hide from me, my dear. And now you have given me no choice but to teach you a lesson. Unfortunately for your Pete, it will be a lesson that he must endure also. I will put him to work in your place until your return. Hurry along dear because, as you know, mere humans do not possess the stamina and fortitude necessary to handle the workload at this time of the year. If you truly love this man, I have no doubt that I shall see you soon.

The journey back was much quicker and this time she had no doubt she would make it. For Pete’s sake, she had to. As she looked down onto Santa’s Village, her pointed ears twitched at the sounds that had fueled her nightmares. The sound of strained backs and fingers rubbed raw. Of crying babies left unattended while their mothers’ worked an ungodly amount of hours on the assembly lines under watchful eyes. 

Anna drew strength from their pain and the world she had seen outside of this place. A world that she was determined to gift to her fellow elves. It was time that they stopped making everyone else’s dream come true and realized they could make their own.  

It was time to bring the big man down.