Story Contest 2016 #2 - Outstanding Stories » The Duchess’s Death
“The Duchess’s Death” is one of the outstanding stories of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2016 written by Korah Curri, The United States.
The Duchess’s Death
Duchess Cupcake paced around the room in a long blue dress waiting impatiently for her two best friends, Lady Sunflower and Lady Soulless. They rushed into the room and took hold of the beautiful Duchess’s hands.
“What’s the matter?” Lady Sunflower asked, “What made you call us so urgently?”
“It’s terrible,” Duchess Cupcake sat down on the sofa, “I have just been informed that I must marry the king!”
“Our own king?” Lady Soulless gasped. “But he is an awful man. You can’t possibly accept.”
“Oh, but I don’t think I have a choice,” she stood up again and turned to her friends. “I am a Duchess and should accept his offer with gratitude and dignity.”
“I am perfectly certain that you will not be happy with him, and you will not make him happy. Although he does have power, he is an awful man,” Lady Soulless clapped her hands together.
“I agree, you cannot marry the king, no matter how much money he has,” Lady Sunflower stood up and adjusted her purple dress.
“You are right. I shouldn’t be forced to marry any man!” declared Duchess Cupcake. “I will write him a note declining his offer.”
She sat down at her little table and started a note. She got a messenger boy to deliver it to the king. The Duchess and the two Ladies waited for a long while for an answer from the king. The messenger boy came back and gave a light knock on the door.
“Well, what did he say?” Duchess Cupcake asked in haste.
“He said, too bad.”
“Too bad?” Lady Soulless and Lady Sunflower burst out in rage.
“Who does he think he is?” Lady Soulless kicked the messenger boy’s shin.
“He’s the king, that’s who he is,” Duchess Cupcake said sadly and shut the door in the messenger boy’s face. “There is nothing I can do.”
“There is always something that can be done. No matter what the situation is, there is always a way out.”
Lady Sunflower took hold of the Duchess’ arm and they walked about the room.
“All we need is a plan, and some help. I know two peasants that can help. Jonah and Cocoa. They are stable boys and have a horse and carriage to carry us out of the palace,” Lady Soulless smiled.
“Yes, I am sure we can get you out. There are many good people in this kingdom. I will send for the peasants,” Lady Sunflower went off to fetch the peasants.
“What am I to do?” Duchess Cupcake asked, ready to help.
“You can pack your things, but not too many things.” Lady Soulless smiled. “Is there anything you need my Duchess?”
“I am fine, thank you,” Duchess Cupcake went off to pack a few things.
A few hours later, everything was in place. The Duchess was wrapped in a dark hood and had one lone bag in her hand. Jonah and Cocoa came into the room.
“The carriage is outside ready for you,” Jonah said quietly.
“And we have a good excuse for why we are going out of the kingdom. Let us go quickly. The hall is clear,” Cocoa took the Duchess’s bag and the six of them go off.
On their way down the hall, everything was quiet. However, when they turned the corner, there stood Sir Northaniel with a sword strapped to his side.
“What is the meaning of this?” He looked at all of them. “Why are there peasants in the castle?”
“Sir, the king has demanded that Duchess Cupcake marry him. He is an awful man and nothing good will come out of them being married,” Lady Sunflower replied.
“Don’t tell him that,” Cocoa looked at her with disappointment.
“Step out of the way, sir, we are on a mission,” Lady Soulless took the Duchess’s hand.
“I will not step out of the way and let this go by. This is the most stupid idea I have ever heard. I want to join!” he declared.
“Then let’s go. We haven’t any time to waste,” Jonah said, and they started out of the palace. They got to the servant’s door and stepped out into the fading sun. There was a carriage waiting, ready to go.
But then, Lady Stubborn strutted up to them.
“What do you think you are doing with the Duchess?” she asked Sir Nortaniel.
“We are taking her to get some fresh country air,” He replied.
“Then I will join you,” she looked at everyone. “I could use some fresh air myself.”
“There is fresh air inside,” Cocoa said, annoyed.
“I shall still come.”
Everyone looked at each other, but they shrugged and moved on.
Then the Duchess was helped into the carriage.
“We will come with you, Duchess,” Lady Soulless proclaimed.
“No, you must stay here. I can’t put you in any danger. If you were to perish for my sake, I would never forgive myself.”
“If we are to die, it will be by your side, my lady,” Lady Sunflower hopped into the carriage. Before Lady Soulless could jump in a group of guards came running around the corner.
“Stop!” Lord Nine shouted as the guards surrounded the carriage, “You are all under arrest for betrayal of the king!”
Late that night, about thirteen minutes before midnight, all of the friends were in a room waiting for Lord Nine to return with news about their fate. He entered the room and everyone stood up.
“First of all, I am very sorry for ruining your plans, but I am loyal to the king. Duchess Cupcake, you will remain in the palace under intense supervision until you marry the king. As for the rest of you, you will all be put in prison until you can have a fair trial.”
“Prison?” Lady Sunflower gasped.
“A fair trial?” Sir Northaniel scoffed. “There is no such thing in this kingdom.”
“I didn’t even know what was going on!” Lady Stubborn shrieked.
“I am sorry, but it is the king’s orders,” Lord Nine bowed and left the room. Everyone was quiet for a long time.
“I am very sorry, to all of you,” Duchess Cupcake bowed her head. “I shouldn’t have even considered the idea of running. I will do everything I can to spare your lives.”
“It is not your fault, my Duchess. No one should be forced into a miserable marriage,” Lady Sunflower’s eyes filled with tears.
“No, they should not. But, if we are to die,” Lady Soulless stood up and took the sword from one of the guards. Everyone gasped and shrank away from her, “we shall die together.”
Lady Soulless first took out the guard and then Sir Northainel by stabbing his chest. She killed Jonah and Cocoa by beheading, then stabbed Lady Sunflower, Lady Stubborn, and Duchess Cupcake. More guards came in just as the bloody sword was being pulled out of Duchess’ Cupcakes chest. Lady Soulless smirked at them as she falls on the sword and dies.
Everything went quiet as the blood of the seven friends trickled out until there was no life left. The Duchess, Sir Northaniel, and Lady Sunflower were given proper funerals, and the bodies of the peasants were given to their families.
But the body of Lady Soulless was laid at the edge of the kingdom, as a punishment for her soul, so that she may walk about the earth with no place to rest, till the end of time.