And I talked to Jessica, even though she was sleeping. I knew she couldn't process what I was saying, couldn't understand; but I talked to her anyway, until I finally fell asleep beside her.
I wished I hadn't, though. Fell asleep, that is, because she grew, as I slept beside her, right on the ground, she aged. She aged years in only hours. And I wished I had seen her in all of her growing stages. But as I slept, even though it was only eight hours at the most, she changed drastically.
I awoke to see a child running her fingers through my red hair. She was naked now and had thin blond hair, so light it was nearly white. It was falling gently into her large eyes and chubby cheeks, flushed and full of youth. She looked around the age of five.
The little girl started to laugh.
"What the hell did you do to her?!" The anger in my voice made her stop laughing, but she was still unafraid.
"No silly," she smiled, "I am Jessica!"
She held my head to her chest. Her chubby fingers stroked my hair. Even after I stopped crying she wouldn't let go.
They were beautiful eyes. They were identical to Jessica's and that is when I knew.
So I prayed, and she did not change at all... for three months.
But after three months she seemed to reach her preteen state. I did not act as I did before. I only held her and told her she was beautiful.
She stayed a preteen for exactly six months.
Her next aging was, unfortunately, her last. She looked my age, although we both knew better than that. She was more beautiful than I would have ever thought possible. Her eyes had only grown bigger and brighter from when we had first met.
She had a small waist and she had developed, literally overnight, large breasts, that her hair fell into. I smiled up at her when I awoke. She smiled back as she threw on my old clothes from the backpack.
I could see a cloud rise in her eyes and I sat up to look at her, questioningly.
She found a cloak of just the right size for her small shivering body. A cloak that was all black on the outside in which she could hide; and all red on the inside, a warm color. Wrapped in this cloak, the little girl knew she was safe.
The black cloak disguised her feelings well, so that the King and Queen didn't punish her as much or even notice her that much.
Time passed, and the princess began slowly to blossom as all little girls do. In Spring she felt the first stirrings of life, of creation, of sensuality as the flowers opened up their buds from the long winter nap, yet no one -- not the Queen, not the King, no one -- told her about all these new feelings stirring up inside her. No one knew of the spring inside her, the wild rush of life.
Pretty soon there were young men coming round the castle door, wanting to meet the Princess of the Dark Cloak. There were things she had to learn. And she became busy and busier the older she grew.
And like all princesses, eventually this one wed her prince and left the big, dark, noisy, gloomy castle to find a home of greater sunshine and more love than she thought possible.
Known as the Princess of the Dark Cloak, she kept it as her trademark, so that everyone would know who she was, even though it was awfully small for an adult and awfully lumpy with all those stuffed inner pockets and slowly fraying on the edge from so many years of wear and tear.
Until there came a day, a long time after leaving home, she walked by a mirror and perchance saw herself in the old cloak. For lately she had been finding it hard to move about, increasingly difficult to breathe, as if she were smothering or choking, all tight inside and constricted. She looked in the mirror to make sure that ropes didn't bind her arms, as everything began to press in on her and scare her. In the mirror she saw how small was her cloak and how big she had grown, how the buttons in front could barely keep from popping, how her arms extended way beyond the sleeves and her knees appeared exposed. Most of all she saw how tight the cloak bound her so that she couldn't breathe right. It was heavy, so heavy that it exhausted her to wear it, but she had quite forgotten the pockets crammed with this and crammed with that.
Now being the Princess of the Dark Cloak, she had never, never taken it off. For hadn't the cloak been the very thing to save her life in the time of the bitter cold? So, as she looked at her reflection, she didn't know what to do. At first she just wished the pain, the tightness of breath would disappear, that somehow the cloak would magically enlarge and give her room to move about in but wishing is wishing, and wishing didn't remove the heaviness that had settled into her.
Then she decided just to live with the pain, and for a very, very long time she struggled with the cloak's weight and increasing heaviness until all her joints hurt, and still the cloak bound her too tightly. For it was a child's cloak, and the Princess had become a woman.
...Anyway, he walks out and greets the mother - Valerie Kin, I think her name was - and her kids come out. It was so creepy! They all look like the same woman, but in different ages. Valerie must be, what, forty? Her older daughter couldn't be more than twelve, thirteen at most, and the young one, I'd say six. Both spitting images of their mother - same hair, same eyes, same nose. Not the same clothes, no.
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