The woods sing to me as I walk out the hut, the sun still rising at the horizon, I sing along to the birds’ voice, the animals, and the forest. Ever since I can remember, I have lived with my three wonderful aunts and the children of mother earth, the forest animals. I am told that the light of the sun and the moon’s shine are like the smile of the world when I sing for her, I possess a voice gift. If only I could bring my glorious dream to life, as I sing to my forest friends. Today will be a great day.
My aunties, who I love a lot, call me Briar Rose, and today is my sixteen birthday. My heart dances to beats as I dream, a dream of a prince, true love to complete me. I sing as I live in my dreams only to hear him.
Him? A beautiful man walks right up to me and asks me for my hand, and as we dance and sing, the sun slips away, and this isn’t a dream. It’s him, who I have been waiting for so long, so deep. I look into his eyes, and I know this is right. That every minute of my life has come to this, for it is for him, I want to live, and for him, I want to be.
I told him to meet my aunts this evening, for I fell in love, which will be the best day of my life. I race to the cottage singing and dancing, floating in the air if I have to say. The clouds seem closer, and my heart beats faster; I can’t wait to share it anymore. As I returned to the cottage, I happily run to my aunts and hold them tight as I tell them that this is it, I have found love, and it’s as beautiful as mother earth on a rainy evening, its beauty I may fail to express but my eyes, they speak my truth so hear me as I say. As I dreamt of feeling this way for all these nights, today, it has finally come for love.
My aunt sits me down and tells me its time. I am princess Aurora, and I need to marry the prince my parents have in mind. My aunts are nonother than good fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. They tell me about the curse that befell on me on the night I was born; since then, the good fairies keep me safe; with their love and care, they protect me, and now as the curse has reached its final minutes, I need to go back where a kingdom awaits its princess, who shall today meet the prince who is chosen to marry her. My heart shatters, and I strain my ears to hear it break, but I hear nothing, nothing other than the deafening silence. I have a duty to a kingdom, king, and queen, for which I need to let go of this dream. I get back and dress up for a ball that awaits my return.
The deep-sea is filled with exquisite creatures, who I have the privilege to call my family. I love exploring, and together with Flounder; we go searching for human treasures. My dad always said that curiosity kills the cat, but I don’t want to live a boring life here. I want to see humans, just once. My sisters say that I have a heavenly voice. I want to meet humans and sing their lore to my sea friends.
I remember my dad—the sea king— told me to stay home as there is a massive storm coming. But I didn’t listen and swam away. That was the best decision I had made in my entire life. It’s because I met the handsome prince Eric. The storm made his ship topple, and I jumped in to save the prince. I took him to the shore and left for my home.
The prince took over my thoughts. But he wouldn’t accept me in my mermaid body. So I did what I thought was right; I went to Ursula. She gave me a human body in exchange for my voice. I would miss my voice, but the prince will accept me for who I am, right?. After all, I saved his life.
I met the prince again, this time as a human. He took me to the palace, and he showed me his beautiful kingdom. I desperately wanted to confess my feelings to him, but alas, I could not speak. If only I could get him to kiss me, I will get my voice back.
But I don’t know if he even loves me. I hope I find that soon.
Anyways, we have to go to some princess’ birthday ball tomorrow; and the prince has invited me to go with him. I hope I get to kiss him tomorrow, or else it will be too late.
The palace is decorated with shimmering lights and people in fancy gowns. But I feel so lonely here. I am glad to have met my parents, but this does not feel right. I want to go back to the woods, that’s where I belong. Everyone is here for their greed; no one cares about me. I am sure that they don’t even know me.
I went and sat in a corner, munching on some cupcakes when I saw this gorgeous girl sitting next to me. She had the same look of uncertainty and loneliness in her eyes. I could talk to her. As soon as I went to her side, she gave me a piece of paper.
“You don’t like this place, do you, I can see it in your eyes.”
I was shocked; how did she understand me so well? I understood that she could not speak, but I liked her.
“You want to leave this party?” I ask. She immediately nodded, and we quietly rushed away from the castle.
I took her to my home in the woods and showed her all the different places. We then sat next to the lake and talked about the love of our lives.
I listen to Aurora with intent as she tells me about this man that she met. It looks like she loves him, but he does not know. Oh, how much do I relate to her? I wish I could tell her that I understand her dilemma.
Aurora feels like a soulmate; I have never met someone with whom I have such a strong connection— not even Eric. The sky turned into hues of orange and pink as we sat, with our feet dangling in the cold water.
“It’s getting late, and we should go back”, she mutters.
I nod, and we rush back to the palace.
We got back to the party; it seemed like no one even noticed that I had left. I sigh in disbelief. I see Ariel’s face light up as a man approaches us. He looks like a prince, I thought. But he did not look happy.
” Ariel, I am leaving you. I do not think I can live with a mute girl for the rest of my life”, he shouts.
My fists tightened in anger as he spoke those words.
“How dare you say that to her”, I screamed.
I flinch as I see a shade of purple flash through his eyes. Ariel looks at him in shock and falls crying.
This is not him; I fell down crying as I realised what had happened. I knew Ursula did not want me to get my voice back, but I never thought she would go this far. She had cast a spell on the prince. I had to save him. I looked at Aurora, praying that she would help me.
“I do not understand what is happening, but I am ready to be with you. We will fight this together.”
I cried in joy as I hugged her. I took her with me to the ocean, where it all started. It’s time to finish this now. I told Aurora to wait for me as I went down to meet my father. As I reached the kingdom, my eyes could not decipher what they saw. There was my majestic father, cowered in front of Ursula as she laughed.
“Oh, there is our beautiful Ariel, well how are you?”. I tried to go to dad but she pulled me away, “Remember kid, you’re three days are over. Soon you will be disappeared from this ocean and no one can save you”
I sob loudly as my father bends down,” Please give me my daughter, I beg you. I will give you anything. Take my crown, please don’t kill my daughter”, he pleaded.
This is all my fault. I should have never gone to meet the prince, my father does not deserve it.
It has been a long time since she went, I am worried. I hope she is okay.
I get impatient and dive into the ocean following Ariel, only to see the sea king at his knees, powerless, and decides to give all his power in exchange for Ariel. Ursula, filled with the newfound power, grew taller, hovering over the vast ocean. Her passion felt stronger than our confidence, the king’s trident in her hand, ready for a strike. I look at Ariel with finality; fear runs down our veins, but I know this will end well with her, so I run for the strike.
I pull out arrows from my quiver and start shooting at her. I look at the queen as she dodges them and summons lighting using her trident. The lighting distracts her for a minute, and I shoot the arrow right through her. Ursula cries in pain, as a whirlpool starts swirling around us, and purple blood flows and mixes with the sea’s blue. Ursula stumbles, and as she falls into the never-ending depths of the sea. I touch the tip of the trident as it disappears with Ursula.
The world spins in circles as I watch with my half vision, the king and Ariel unite, and I fall to the ground. Suddenly, the stars forget to shine and a spark in the sky, and the world goes dark.
I feel the softness of the silk and fluffiness of the pillow my head lay on. My eyes slowly open only to see Ariel wiping at the side of my bed. I look around as my eyes try settling in—the stone walls decorated with beautiful paintings. I lay on a massive bed with pink bed covers, a soft breeze blew in the room, with the smell of peace and warmth. I smiled and stroked Ariel’s red hair.
The curse had played, I touched a needle, and a deep sleep awaits only to be woken by The One. I was puzzled; I looked around The One, while Ariel was sobbing and kissing on my forehead.
Her eyes sparkled; I couldn’t tell if it were because of the tears or the warmth I felt when she hugged me so tight and yelled for my parents to see.
“How did I get here?” I mumbled confused
“After you touched the trident, you fell into a deep sleep. Your parents told me about the curse. We searched far and wide for your love for weeks. He is a Prince of a far off land, beautiful as he may be, he never truly loved you. He was holding another woman, and when we asked about you, he barely remembered. We lost all hope, yet here you are.” Ariel cried.
At this moment, I felt my heartbreak, and I did hear them shatter. For years, I dreamt of someone who would love me like no other. A curse with so much hate could only break when someone whose love is so pure that an evil curse shall not suffice. Yet the curse broke.
I looked at Ariel and at that moment we both knew our true love. I dreamt of the stars and moons that would light up and be brighter when love comes by; now as I looked in the mirror, I saw my reflection and Ariel’s next to mine. We finally saw the light in our eyes, and sure enough, the stars and the moon sang to its light.
—Written by Snehal Srivastava and Alankriti Singh for MTTN
—Featured image by Sara Dharmik