Strangely enough, I sort of want to find out what happens to ol' Miranda after writing this fish-wrapper-worthy opening. Will she find the magic crystal? Why were all the dudes on horseback fighting each other? What cocktails do they serve in the land of the dead? Read on...
THE TIME-TRAVELING DEAD GIRL WHO IS SECRETLY A PRINCESS
Miranda woke up by the side of the forest pool, yawned, and stretched. She’d had such a lovely dream—something about a castle by the sea, and a heavy crown being placed on her head. Foolishness! She was but a poor farm girl, not a princess or a queen. She resumed her task of gathering herbs, which she had been occupied with before succumbing to a brief nap.
Miranda sought the herbs in the densest, darkest part of the forest, dropping the hensbane and gnarlyort into the braided basket that hung over her shoulder. It was the eve of her sixteenth birthday, and she had led a rather ordinary and boring life. Little did she know that everything she knew and loved was to change—irreparably and abruptly.
Miranda glanced into the pool of water at her feet, around the edge of which grew the healing herbs that she used to make her tinctures and potions. She saw a lovely pale face framed by red tresses, her eyes green and large. Her mouth was as pert as a rosebud, but with a sultry little quirk to it that suggested mischief.
A noise caught her attention. It was a party of elves, dwarves, and gnomes, trooping past on their way to the salt mines. Miranda smirked and shook her head at the little creatures as they scampered along, their green cloaks and jerkins blending with the colors of the forest.
“Folderol and higgledypuff,” said one of the elves. “The legions in the west are massing, but the clouds are brewing in the east as well.”
“Sure as shenanigans,” said a fat dwarf.
“But what of her ladyship?” said the elf, his small pointed ears twitching. “There’s been talk of her being sighted on a white horse at the cliff’s edge, and I say it’s not poppycock!”
“Blither and blast,” said a gnome. “Will ye stop talking when there’s work to be done?”
“Ah,” said the elf, ominously. “When the magic crystal is found, then the work won’t matter so much anymore, will it? Only a young girl can find it, they say. A young girl with magical powers and whatnot.”
Suddenly, there was a cracking sound. Miranda glanced up sharply to see a man on a white steed, gazing at her through the trees. He was joined by another, and another, until the forest was filled with men on white steeds. Miranda froze, hardly daring to breathe.
Suddenly, the steeds charged at each other, and the entire forest echoed with the sounds of clanging steel and the screams of dying men. The battle raged, with trebuchets rolling, horses dying with great gusts of blood bursting from their bellies, and explosions bursting in the trees. Men died by the cartload, their corpses piling up on the forest floor like wheat sheaves. Miranda screamed and ran hither and thither, finally crouching low next to the pool with her basket of herbs over her head.
Something exploded in the water and Miranda was sucked violently through the pool and into a bedchamber, where a handsome teenage stranger lay on a bed, wearing nothing but a pair of boxer briefs. A calendar on the wall read “Hot Guys and Baby Animals 2011.”
“Where am I?” muttered Miranda. The voyage through the portal had disarranged her garments, and she noticed with annoyance that her basket of herbs was gone—no doubt flung into another dimension.
The handsome stranger raised his head. It was only then that she noticed his eyes were hollow and soulless.
“Why, you’re in the land of the dead,” said the man, and smiled, revealing two very white and pointed canine teeth.