This story is by Emilee Dianne Goodwin and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
There once was a girl who lived in a snow globe.
“It’s not my fault you’re bad at this.”
It would help if someone weren’t always interrupting me!
“Well excuse me Mr. Narrator if I want a certain level of control over my own story!”
You want control? Fine.Take it!
“Finally! Sorry reader, whatever your name is. Excuse him. He can be a little touchy. I’m Lexa, aka snow globe girl. This is my story.”
Wow. Amazing job repeating what I just said.
“Can you be quiet for like… two seconds. I’m in the middle of my intro.”
“Thanks. Anyways! Like I was saying, this snow globe you’re imagining here is my home. I’ve lived here for as long as I can remember, and let me say this. I love living here. It’s great! This globe is my happily ever after.”
My name isn’t BOB!
“Whatever! Despite what certain naysayers may think, I have it made here. Follow me! I’ll show you around.”
Brilliant. Truly brilliant.
“Ignore him. As you can see, I’ve got this gorgeous castle plucked straight out of a fairytale novel to sleep in, a forest retreat to run and get lost in. I’ve even got my own pet dragon!”
That isn’t real.
“His name’s Stan. He sleeps a lot, but I love him. What’s that you ask? Yes! The glitter does rain down from the sky all the time. Isn’t it magical? ”
“My favorite thing about living here though is there’s no people!”
I agree reader. That doesn’t seem like much of a happily ever after.
“Don’t you get it? I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. In here, I’m a free spirit.”
Says the girl who can only walk so far without running into a glass wall.
“I thought I was telling this story? Why are you still talking?”
Because you’re not telling the whole story Lexa.
“What else is there to tell? This is my life. I’m happy with it. What more does a person need to live happily ever after?”
Take them to the edge Lexa.
“You know, you’re going to make the reader think I’m hiding something.”
“I’m not! There’s nothing to see at the edge. Everything I need is here.”
If there’s nothing to see then what’s the problem?
“Fine! Sorry reader. My nuisance of a narrator has apparently deemed this important. Follow me I guess.
“Okay Bob. We’re here. What now?”
What’s outside the glass Lexa?
“Like I said before. Nothing. Just some fog and mists and maybe the occasional fleeting shadow or – ”
“Bob what was that?”
“Don’t you dare start ignoring me now. I know you’re up there! Answer me!”
You’re happily ever after isn’t in the globe Lexa.
Every night Lexa made a point of walking the perimeter of her globe checking for anything out of place. She never found anything on her side, and nothing had dared come near her from the other. Lexa couldn’t complain. In her globe, she was always safe. Protected.
At least, that’s what she thought until she saw the boy standing on the other side of the glass, trying to draw her attention.
“Bob, what’s going on?”
As soon as she made eye contact, the boy calmed, motioning for Lexa to come closer. His features softened. He leaned forward, waving toward himself as if he were trying to lure in a scared dog.
Lexa glanced toward the trees where she could hide, but the second she broke eye contact the boy slammed on the glass. He clearly wasn’t leaving, but as Lexa looked into his eyes, filled with desperation and worry, she found she wasn’t leaving either.
It was all the boy needed.
He waited as Lexa inched her way forward, his hand laid flat on the glass and his eyes filled with a concern Lexa was surprised to recognize. He simply stood and stared as if he were seeing her for the first time.
“Who are you?” she asked, approaching the edge. From the look on his face he couldn’t hear her, or she him as he mouthed something in response. Lexa pointed to her ears. The boy understood. He held up his hand and pointer finger. The motion was clear enough.
The boy stepped back, looking up at the curvature of the globe. Lexa could see the gears spinning in his head, though she couldn’t imagine what the boy was thinking. The boy held up his hand and finger one last time. Wait here. He would be back. Then he ran off into the mists.
And though every instinct in Lexa told her she should run back to her castle and hide, she did as the boy said.
Suddenly the boy was there again, this time holding a pile of sharp rocks in his hands. He motioned for her to get back as he searched through the rocks and picked up the sharpest one.
Lexa went still.
“What are you doing?”
Lexa refused to move, so the boy simply moved down the wall slightly and placed the rock on the glass.
“Bob, what’s he doing?”
The boy began hammering the rock into the glass. Lexa leaped into action, mirroring the boy from earlier trying to get his attention. He paid her no mind, just continued his hammering.
“Stop! Bob do something!”
The sound splintered through Lexa’s world. Both she and the boy went still as a fracture began to climb its way up the wall.
The boy dropped his rock and picked up another, this one less sharp but larger then the first. Lexa didn’t wait before leaping into action again, but she was too late. With one final blow, Lexa’s happily ever after was washed out into the unknown.
She coughed, gasping for air that she had not breathed in ages since she had first walked into the globe. Its glittery contents had sustained her for so long, she had forgotten what real air felt like.
The boy came closer, but Lexa shoved him away barely able to get a word or breath in between spitting up wads of glittery goo on the ground.
“Lexa, it’s okay.” said the boy. “You’re free.”
“Free?” said Lexa, spitting out the last of the goo. Even as the memories began flooding back into her mind, she couldn’t stop her anger simmering just beneath the surface.
Ian. The boy was Ian.
Lexa remembered everything.
Ian was saying something, but Lexa didn’t respond. Her gaze fell on the gaping hole left in what she had thought was her home. Her safe place.
Her happily ever after.
On unsure legs, Lexa stumbled up to the edge of the globe. Something she had done hundreds of times before, but never from the outside looking in. Not since that first time when the Queen had lured her inside.
The mists all seemed to clear away as sunlight, real sunlight, shone into the globe. With it, she could see the dilapidation of the castle she’d believed to be a fortress. Without the glitter, she could see the forest fading in color. Even the dragon in his corner, now looked more dead than asleep.
Ian stood beside her. Together, their gazes fell on the rusted silver plaque fixed to the base of the globe. Etched into its rough surface were three words.
Happily Never After.
“Thought she was being clever.” said Ian. “Kept telling us you had gotten the ending every hero deserves.”
“To live in peace?” Lexa fixated on the plaque. On those words. “Without the weight of the world on your shoulders?”
“To exist as a shell of yourself.” Ian grabbed Lexa’s chin. Not hard enough to hurt, but enough to where she could see every bit of meaning in his eyes. “To live cut off from everyone you love.” He cupped her face in his hands. “From everyone who loves you.”
Lexa bowed her head, unable to bear the determination and hope in his eyes or say the words that she didn’t even want to admit to herself.
The Queen may have been the one who had lured Lexa into the globe, but Lexa was the one who stopped looking for a way out.
Lexa had given up, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to pick up the fight again.
“What if she’s right?” said Lexa, tears washing a streak through the glitter that still clung to her face. “What if we never make it to happily ever after?”
“Happily ever after isn’t something we make Lex.” Ian’s heartbeat was steady with every word. “It’s something we look back on and see how far we’ve come to where we are now.”
Lexa paused, taking in his words. “What if you don’t like where you are?” she asked.
Ian didn’t miss a beat. “Then you haven’t gone far enough.”