Excerpt from part 1 – Nascence

He makes up his mind, makes straight for the walls and jumps over, all in one swoop. Breathless with excitement, heart thudding in anticipation, he lands inside the palace grounds, tearing a path through the bushes that grow close to the boundaries. He emerges onto the open lawns, and before he is aware of it, knocks down a doll, forcing himself to rein his horse to a standstill.

Alarmed he dismounts from his steed, and walks towards the figure to make sure he has not broken anything. Then another little doll (no not a doll, he corrects himself, it is a little girl), runs towards him from the trees. She stops wide eyed in surprise and asks him in a soft melodious voice “Is she dead?”

“Dead?” he asks incredulously “Is it alive?”

“We were playing hide ‘n seek,” she pouts from behind the fringe of hair partially covering her eyes.

“So that’s why she was here hiding behind the bushes so near the wall?” he points to where he had struck down, a hair’s breadth away from the wall.

“You’ve killed her!” she declares eyes flashing.

“No I’ve not!” he says enraged by her audacity.

They are about to come to blows when the doll/ girl/ figure on the ground groans. They look at each other, eyebrows raised in surprise and cease their quarrel long enough to run towards her.

“Maya, how are you. Maya!” the girl exclaims putting her palm softly on the brow of the doll like figure on the ground.

“Maya?” asks Yudi rolling the name around in his mouth.

“That’s her name,” says the other girl, looking at Yudi strangely.

The both stand over the other the little girl, who is utterly still on the ground. They peer into her face and wonder what to do next.

When she suddenly sighs, rolls over, opens her eyes, and groans. She looks straight at Yudi with the greenest eyes ever, consuming him in fierce concentration and falls completely in love with him. Then she holds her breath, and resumes the earlier stillness. Only her eyes are open, and she continues to look at Yudi, unwavering in her attention.

“Maya, Maya are you ok?” the other girl asks again

Maya does not reply. She looks at Yudi, and holds out her arms to him. Yudi shrugs at the other girl his eyes full of questions. Nevertheless, he proceeds to walk forward and picks up the figure from the ground. He follows the other girl through the grounds into the palace

They enter the palace and Yudi looks around, entranced at the high ceilings, the jewels in the arches, the plush carpets in the colours of the rainbow. He places the girl on a soft couch, which is as big and as wide as his entire living room floor at home. It is like a boat that one could sink into.

There is a sudden furor as the queen runs out to meet them. She stops at the couch and pulls the little girl to her chest.

“Oh!” exclaims the queen looking at the girl who is still standing “What happened to her now?”


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