The governess was ugly but the master fell in love with her anyway. He wooed her with pianofortes and ancient scarabs. When those didn’t please her, he threw her out of the house. She married the gardener. She had always preferred flowers.
The prince married the princess and they lived happily ever after until their days were cut short by a coup. But they were shot in their sleep—a single blast from a revolver offed them both—and likely never knew what happened to them. In fact, they were smiling as they died, their naked, alabaster limbs entwined. Even the bullet holes through their temples were clean and perfectly aligned. One drop of mingled blood stained the silky, white pillowcase. The guardsman, Tim, who killed them, was dragged away and hanged. The leaders were upset with him; he knew the plan; they had wanted the royals alive for a show trial, and now there wouldn’t be any weepy spectacles and grand speeches. Instead, even the rebels felt sorry for the dead couple.
“So pretty,” they said, rolling the bodies up, before dumping them in a mass grave outside the city walls. “Such a pity.”
The hounds picked up the scent almost immediately. They went from the patch of sand under the swing set to the shed near the fence. They found the wire cutters and a rag that you’d used to dry your tears, still damp. Then they bayed, signaling that you had stood right there in the shade of the aluminum shanty, pondering what action to take next. Your loneliness was pungent. And the detectives and the chief of police, who didn’t understand these howls of sympathy, took it to mean that their fine pups wanted more meat. The dogs did not disabuse them of this notion.
Illustrator: Haley Crain is a graphic designer by day and a rookie webmistress by night. She recently relocated to Minneapolis from her home state of Georgia, but cross her heart and hope to die, she will never call Coke “pop.”