Sophie and ‘The Book’
As the weeks went on Sophie used ‘The Book’ and treated it with almost obsessive love and care. Sophie ensured it went everywhere with her. She took it to school, to her Dad and new Stepmum’s house and her Mum’s house, she even took it when she visited her Nan. Sophie became very good at hiding the book from them all, remembering the warning that ‘The Crone’ had given her. She religiously recorded everything she did on her quest, what she ate and when and how far she travelled on her quest. Her cheeks became less round, her limbs thinner and leaner. The more she turned to ‘The Book’, the smaller her body became, as this happened her soul dwindled. She became weary and sad. Sophie withdrew from her friends and family, as her quest became more and more prominent in her mind. She became fearful of seeing her friends lest they should distract her from her path; she NEEDED to become a beautiful princess. All the cinema nights, birthday parties and sleepovers that Sophie was invited to were avoided in case she was offered any of the sugary delights that ‘The Book’ had banned her from. She was afraid she might do something else that may sabotage her quest, like being still for too long… ‘The Book’ required her to constantly move her body. Although Sophie still did not know what her soul was, she felt something deep down inside her had changed.
Miss Heather’s Pens
At school it didn’t go unnoticed that Sophie was not quite herself. Miss Heather, Sophie’s teacher, wondered what was troubling her once bright, cheerful and creative student. She sat down next to Sophie and, gently, asked what was wrong. Sophie shrugged it off and defensively clutched her bag to her chest. That was when Miss Heather noticed ‘The Book’, she glimpsed a quick look at its cover and instantly recognised the evil that had snuck its way into her best student’s life. She was not sure but Miss Heather was almost positive she heard a low, warning growl from Sophie’s bag. Miss Heather, knowing Sophie loved art, gave her some special pens to draw with. Miss Heather carefully took Sophie’s bag and placed it by her desk. Miss Heather asked Sophie in an encouraging tone, “Draw me a picture of what you’d really like to be, if you could be ANYTHING in the universe”. Sophie sluggishly picked up the pens, but then a thought entered in to her head, remembering her quest… “A PRINCESS! I WANT TO BE A PRINCESS!” “Really?” Miss Heather questioned “….but a princess’ life can be quite limited.” Sophie thought again. “Anything? As in any creature real or imagined?” Miss Heather smiled, “Yes, Sophie, you can be ANYTHING that YOU want to be.” Sophie looked down at the pen in her hand and it came to her… a MERMAID! “I want to be a MERMAID!” she exclaimed, looking the brightest she’d looked in weeks. The pens immediately began to sparkle and glow, Sophie could not resist them. She drew the most beautiful Mermaid, with long flowing blue hair, shiny iridescent scales, a long soft curvy body and a beaming smile. Sophie was brimming with pride and Miss Heather insisted she take it home with her. “Promise me you will hang this up on your mirror tonight.” “I will” said Sophie, it was the first time in weeks she had felt happy. ‘The Book’ snarled and growled in her bag, but Miss Heather just gave it a little kick and it whimpered and fell quiet. Sophie didn’t know it, but a little piece of her soul repaired in that moment.
The Mirror and the Mermaid
That night Sophie did as Miss Heather had asked and put the drawing up on her bedroom mirror. As Sophie looked into the mirror she noticed that her normally bright, sparkly eyes had dimmed, her cheeks looked dark and hollow; she looked so dreadfully tired and pale. Sophie yawned and absent mindedly touched her own reflection. In that moment something peculiar happened! Instead of feeling the cold surface of hard glass, her fingers disappeared into the mirror as if it were water. Ripples appeared distorting her image. Sophie stood, mouth wide open with shock, quickly pulling her hand away. The ripples stopped. “It’s just my mind playing tricks on me.” But she felt compelled to do it again, reaching her hand towards the mirror a second time. Again the glass rippled like water and Sophie pushed her hand in even further. The drawing she had hung on her mirror suddenly came to life, tail swishing, arms moving and her mermaid swam out of the picture and into the mirror. Sophie started to panic “What on earth’s going on?!” she exclaimed. The mermaid turned, smiled and beckoned Sophie towards her. “My name is Sea Mist and I am here to save you…”
Sophie knew immediately that she was not in danger from this beautiful creature……but she was puzzled. “Save me from what?!” she asked. Sea Mist held out her hand “The spell that the evil ‘Crone’ has cast over you. Follow me and bring that awful book.” Sophie looked in her school bag, ‘The Book’ was there, its dark menacing cover, almost skin like, seemed like it was breathing. Sophie cautiously picked it up, not ever before noticing the horrifying nature of the book. It let out a low dangerous growl, but Sophie ignored it, placed it back in the bag, slung it over her shoulder and pressed on. “Won’t I drown in the water? I am not a mermaid”, Sophie hesitated. Sea Mist reassured her, “I will NEVER let any harm come to you, EVER.” Sea Mist reached out of the mirror and placed her fingers gently either side of Sophie’s neck. Sophie felt a tingling sensation as Sea Mist made gills appear, so that she could breathe underwater. Sophie sighed with relief. Sea Mist took Sophie’s hand and they swam off together into the mirror. Sophie kicked her legs in the water, feeling a mixture of excitement and fear all at once.