Always, always alone
Once upon a time there was a lonely, lonely girl who lived in an attic. Though sunlight often filled the room throughout the day, she felt little warmth from it as she swept the floors with a small broom she had found. She did not sweep the floors because she was told too. She was never told anything. She did it to pass time. One cannot spend one’s life simply staring out of a window all day. She saved that for nighttime when all of the stars came out and the moon shone down so much kinder than the sun.
Alone, alone, always alone she was. Not by choice, never by choice. She did not know where she’d come from or why she was there in the attic. She had never encountered another soul in her life.
Alone, alone, always alone she was. Understandably, though she knew not what she missed, she desired a friend.
One day the girl sat at her window looking up at the moon. She noticed how particularly beautiful the stars looked that night. Suddenly one of the stars moved and grew in size. Alarmed, she thought for a moment it was falling from the sky. But after descending a few moments the star began to fly straight toward her eyes. The sight took her breath away. With amazing speed, the star flew up and bobbed and begged in front of her window, wanting to be let in. Quickly the girl unlatched the glass and swung it open, letting in a breath of fresh air. The star slipped out of the night and into the little girl’s world. She looked, mesmerized, as it flew around her room. Here she thought stars would be giant! Gleefully, having never seen such a little thing up close before, the girl chased the light around the room, jumping at it playfully before the light settled atop her dresser. But a surprise stood to be in store. Slowly, the light of the star faded away to reveal a beetle.
“Hello!” The beetle greeted, looking up at the girl, whom in turn looked down on him.
“Who… are you?” Croaked out a voice foreign to the owner’s ears. The girl did not know where she learned the words, only knew what they meant.
“I am Batul, the beetle!” He flicked his wings, lit up and scuttled in a circle as demonstration. “The Beetle King sent me! He has had his eye on you from the beginning and sees the good, innocence, and pureness of your being. But he also sees how lonely you are. He charged me, an officer in his army, to find you and take away your forever isolation. I am your company!”
“Yes, a friend.” Batul assured. With the gentlest smile the little girl offered her palm to him. She took and set him on her small straw pillow, as cloth and straw are surely more homey than wood, and she wanted to appear a good host to her guest. She then lay down next to him. Without further speak, the little soldier began to glow by way of night light, and the girl was able to fall asleep easily within moments.
As time passed on the two became close, spending hours upon hours by the window sharing stories. It took all of an hour to tell her story to the beetle, for her entire life could be summed up in an arm’s sweep of the attic. The beetle’s stories, however, entranced the girl’s mind to no end. Tales of the grand Beetle Kingdom, far far way between the sky and tree tops. Tales of places he’d flown to for the king on errands. No sooner had he finished one tale than she begged for another, long into the night. To travel around the world through another’s words is only second best to having those words be your own. He told her about his family back home in the kingdom. His wife and five children maintained the home, waiting for his return during his long tours abroad.
“You… don’t mind… being apart from them?” The girl found herself encountering a new feeling whenever the beetle brought his family to the front. Jealousy was its name, though she cared not what its title was. She was jealous of both the beetle and his family. The lot of them had someone, more than just a single someone to boot. She had no someone. No someone to look after her, to think of her, to wait for her. “Don’t you… miss them?” She would ask.
“Yes,” He replied every time. “But my duty lies first and foremost with the king and his wishes.
The girl envisioned herself traveling to the Beetle Kingdom. Batul described it as nothing but lights glittering off the glass wings of the beetles that lived there. Oh how I would like to go there, she though every night before laying her head down to sleep.
One day Batul posed a question to her. “You have never gone beyond this window, have you?” The girl shook her head. “Would you like to? If you could leave this place, your whole world, for a new one, would you?” She looked at him thoughtfully. “I have a confession. It is true I was sent here by the Beetle King to keep you company. But I was sent here to also propose an opportunity. As I said, the Beetle King has been keeping an eye on you, and truth be told he has taken a liking to you. If you chose, I can take you away from here to the Beetle Kingdom, but only if you agree to marry the Beetle King and become the Beetle Queen in return.”
“There is nothing for you here.” He stated. Which was most certainly true. The lonely girl had nothing to her name. She did not even claim the broom, not the window, not her cot. She felt no feasible attachments to the home of her life. She took one look around and left without further ado, not pausing long enough to even bid farewell to her pretend parents, who never paid much attention to her ever.