Abigail was quite a sight.
It was not her thick, black, unruly hair, which stuck up in impossible directions, in defiance against attempts to brush it down.
It was not her tiny stature, short and squat, which made her seem like a child years younger than her fourteen years of age.
It was not her preoccupation with becoming a fairytale princess, living in a constant dream land of her own invention, which made her prone to aimless soul-searching walks through empty corridors, wistful bouts of poetic verse and diary keeping, and long hours spent practicing proper princessly behavior in front of the mirror.
It was not even her dresses, each covered with a startling number of ribbons and bows, trimmed with miles of lace and ruffle, poofed to cupcake shape with a dozen petticoats.
It was her teeth.
Each tooth was tinged a dull shade of yellow, somewhere between two or three inches in length, and came to a sharp, needle point.
All 56 of them.
She had not been outside her home since she was an infant. Her parents kept her inside to spare both herself and themselves from ridicule, and so she grew up alone and isolated. She entertained herself by wandering the massive mansion, passed down in her family for generations, reading dust-covered books located in unused rooms, playing with lost toys and ancient belongings, and creating clothing from her imagination based on cracked porcelain dolls and antique paintings on the walls.
Abigail was not exactly lonely, for the dream world of her imagination was filled with magic. Her stuffed bears came alive and followed her on her adventures. She met ghosts in the attic, wee folk under the beds, and talking mice in the walls. She was their ruler and their heroine, beloved, shining, and the most beautiful princess in the world.
She fully expected to meet her Prince one day.
The late afternoon sun slanted sideways through the windows in the lofty attic of the mansion. Abigail had wiled away her the day digging through the many trunks stored and forgotten over the years. She'd found a box full of tiny spoons, and another of broken pocket watches. One trunk had old photography albums, grave men and woman staring out in sepia tones. In another, she'd found a brass candlestick, a rosy chipped teacup, four white chessmen, a jar of hatpins, and one left shoe. There were always bounties of moldy vintage clothing.
At the bottom of one of the many trunks, she came across a small iron box, held shut with a tiny lock. She blew the dust off the top causing a cloud, then held it up to her ear and shook it to hear a faint rattle. There was no key to be found in the trunk, but after pulling and twisting on the tiny lock, it was old and rusty enough to snap.
Nestled on a pillow of black velvet was a tear-shaped jewel of blood red, attached to a delicate gold chain.
Abigail held the necklace up in the light, and it glinted in the dusty sunbeam. It perfectly matched her current outfit, really, which was a striped jumper of wine and cream and dotted in tiny roses, the sides lined with a half-dozen ruffles each, matched with a long sleeve blouse with lacey cuffs. It would be just the right touch. She slipped the chain over her head - it caught on her teeth but she shook it loose - and laid the jewel over her heart.
"Thank you," said a voice emphatically. "It was terribly cramped in there."
Abigail looked up to see a tall man leaning casually against a pile of stacked trunks. He wore a black waistcoat that flared out behind him, lined in the same deep red color the of the jewel. His hair was pulled back in a small ponytail at the nape of his neck. His boots were heeled. He looked like someone out of an old painting. He had a mischievous smirk.
"You were trapped? In the box?" Abigail's words were mumbled and slurred due to the obstruction of teeth, but the man apparently understood. He shook his head, sadly.
"No, the necklace." He gestured gracefully towards the jewel dangling on her neck. "A wicked witch put a spell on me and hid me away, never to be seen again."
Abigail nodded, having experienced her share of wicked witches through the years in her imaginary royal kingdom. The fan opened his arms and took a few happy steps as though reveling his restored freedom.
"But you have saved me. Maybe now, little miss," the man drawled, stropping in front of the sunlit window and casting Abigail into shadow, "I can help you."
"I'm a Princess," she said, squinting up at him. "Princess Abigail."
"Well then, Princess. Let us make a deal together." He leaned down to grin widely at her, a twinkle in his eye.
Each of his teeth were sharp.
Aw, man, I want to keep writing! I suppose I have to let you all hijack my story, though.
This was originally an idea for a short story I had, which is why I have the pictures, but I figured I'd never get around to writing it. Maybe at the end I'll tell you how I'd planned it to go, and we'll see how much has changed!
Fun fact: in the first draft of this chapter I spelled Abigail’s name as "Abagail", assumably thinking of "Abaddon". Developing a 40k obsession.