by Leila Skidmore
There was ice in her veins. That was the story the whispers told. Ice in her veins, and a chill in her gaze.
She knew the stories. She heard the words, though they were spoken in low tones, down quiet corridors and off in dark corners.
Away from her ears.
So they thought.
They approached her with reverence. With fear. She knew the telltale signs.
A quickened step, when given permission to leave her presence.
Her face hardened as she watched the retreating back of the latest fearful servant, fleeing away from her in relief.
She could hear the servant's dress, rustling in time with the hurried steps she was making.
She could see the tension, taught across the servant's shoulders.
Emotion rose in her. She pulled her gaze away, and instead looked out the window. At the lush green farmland. The dark forest to the west.
At the sheep, grazing peacefully in the fields to the east. All of it. Was hers.
Emotion rose again. She wrestled it down, angry now. She must be calm.
She knew she had to set aside the 'her' which ached inside. The 'her' which ached to be free of the weight of the crown. And of the chill of the ice.
Which longed to feel instead the warmth of the sun kissing her face. And the gentle caress as a slow breeze brushed against her skin.
But here. She was not free. She must affix herself instead to the persona they expected.
The Ice Queen, as they called her.
The Ice Queen. The one with no heart.
Her eyes glassed over. Emotion gone again. She continued to watch the horizon. Waiting, for nobody. Hoping, for nothing.
A Queen. Her lonely heart, trapped in a prison of ice.
A prison, which was not of her own making.