Thursday, August 6, 2009

Saving Beauty, By Heather Spiva

Note: This was intriguing because it involved fostering the endangered heroine, and I liked the dedication.

“What if they find her?” asks the father, sitting in a rocking chair. He was holding Katherine, who was wrapped in the softest silk, gurgling in her sleep, oblivious to her perilous future.

“They won’t find her,” says the mother, straightening her hair. She presses her coat down and adjusts the buttons. “It’s why the baby dedication is happening here, at our house.” The moonlight touches her earrings through the window with brilliance, like stars falling from the sky.

“But she looks so much like us,” he moaned, touching her jet black hair and eyes, “so beautiful.”

The mother lifts up the baby bottle in her hands, studded in diamonds and looking more like a necklace wrapped around a wine glass. “I know, and we’ll see her again, soon. But for now, she needs safety. Katherine may be the heir of our estate, but seekers of our fortune have ravaged our security. Katherine is another commodity… but the most precious of all. And she must be kept a secret until the vultures have left.” The father nods in agreement, but a tear rolls down his cheek. “Aunt Matilda made this for us,” she continues, eyeing the bottle, “the perfect spell to keep her safe while she’s living with her in Glenside Cottage. If Katherine can stay away from the here innocent and unpolluted until sixteen, then we have saved her from harm. And we can raise her later, when all is safe.”

Mother and father clasp hands, and with baby Katherine in a blanket of the finest cotton and wool, softer than a lamb and gentler than a downy duck, they leave her room. Katherine would never know her parents had to let her go. She would never know she even had parents… not for a long time.

They walk out to the back yard where one other family gathers; friends by the name of Geer: a mother and father, a little boy of three, and another baby wrapped in a blanket of equally fine material. There was no talk, no whispering, and no words of congratulations or happiness. They were there for a reason so dismal and sobering, hardly a word needed to be said.

The father puts the bottle in the baby’s mouth. Katherine’s lips eagerly find it and she drinks in bliss, amidst the sadness and friends. Aunt Matilda holds the child as the minister blesses her, dedicating her to God. And as he speaks, she speaks too, in a whisper so gentle it puts Katherine back to sleep.

“Katherine, you are mine to raise,

And to watch over until the time,

When normalcy returns to home,

Safe from thieves and safe from crime.

You’ll be secure, I’ll guard your heart,

Disguise you well, far in the forest.

Until you take your rightful place,

When sixteen years are spent before us.

With onyx eyes, you’ll return home,

From golden hair to locks of black.

But watch yourself, that no one may,

Trespass your fate, behind your back.

For if you see but an ounce of sin,

You’ll pay for it with a frozen death,

Ne’er to wake, unless finds you a Geer,

To kiss your lips and awake you from rest.”

Katherine’s dark hair turns to gold, her black eyes to blue as soon as she is whisked away that fateful night. Almost sixteen years pass. Aunt Matilda raises Katherine as if she was her own. And Katherine grows up. Now, she is nearly ready to return to a new and safe home.

On her birthday, Katherine takes a walk through the woods. She comes upon two men, brothers, dueling with swords and laughing the whole way through. She hides behind a tree and watches them. She’s never seen boys so up close before. They are young and handsome and having great fun.

But as the older brother turns around to adjust his foot, just sunk into a wet bog, the younger brother stabs him with all the strength he can muster. The older one falls to the ground, in shock and grief.

“But why?” he asks.

The younger brother replies, “Because, my whole life has been spent trying to be more than you; to surpass your God given, first born blessing. I can’t stand it anymore. The Geer household is mine to run now.”

With the deed now done, the younger brother leaves in haste. But Katherine has just witnessed a murder; something she’d only read about in the bible- like Cain and Abel. And having seen this, before sixteen, she is (unknowingly) doomed to die. She runs to his side- she has to do something to help. Is he even breathing?

And then she feels the pinch of a blade between her ribs.

“I thought I saw someone,” the younger brother sneers at her, sweat dripping down his face. “Well, you can join my brother if you want,” and with that, he stabs her too. Aunt Matilda hears screaming, and finds Katherine a moment too late.

But all is not lost! For the older brother isn’t dead after all, only wounded. As he lies in bed recovering in the cottage, Matilda watches the transformation, as Katherine’s blond hair turns to black, her blue eyes to deep onyx. And she weeps. For nearly sixteen years Katherine has stayed pure, innocent; awaiting an unknown future, and now her fate is sealed.

Later, when Aunt is asleep, the boy returns to Katherine’s side. She is pale with death, but her hair is beautiful, her lips so red. He kisses her gently. “Thank you for saving me,” he whispers. And in between tears of gratitude, and his head in his hands, Katherine’s eyes open. And with a flush in her cheeks she says, “You’re welcome.”

One month later both of them are at the altar, holding hands and exchanging vows, hopeful for a happy life together. With younger brother in jail, and two households united at last, their youthful expectations of a blessed future quiver full with excitement.


  1. Thanks Kate for the opportunity!
    I had a lot of fun with it.

  2. You are welcome, now get your family and friends to comment and they may win a prize. Check out