“Runaway Bride”

Isabella Fernando '22

Is that them? Are they coming? Faster, faster Helena, they could be here any minute.

It was late at night when Helena made her daring escape from the castle. Her father was forcing her to marry some prince from a foreign land for, let’s be honest here, business, politics, peace. Helena likes peace between her families, but not when it interferes with her personal life. She’s heard the prince is a lazy slob, that he’s a pig. Helena shivers just thinking about it.

Helena couldn’t be more worried. She has a friend two towns over that will let her stay at her house, but she’s gonna have a hard time getting there. She can’t hire a carriage because her face is too recognizable, but she is terrible at directions.

‘’All the trees look the same. Which way is north?’’ She was frustrated to the point of tearing her hair out.

‘’Why? Why can’t I figure this out? It should be easier than this. Read. Read the stupid map, Helena.’’ The map just kept getting blurrier, blurrier as she forced herself to read the map.

‘’Gosh, I’m useless.’’ It was starting to get dark, and Helena was still stuck in the forest. Suddenly, low whistling could be heard from in front of her. She quickly rose to her feet and pulled out a knife. Slowly, she pressed her back against a tree and tried to see what made the noise. Across from her in the tree branches were two figures. They were wearing cloaks, and one of them had their bow drawn at her.

‘’What are you guys? Mercenaries?’’ She remarked at them, still with her knife pointed at them.

‘’Couldn’t we ask the same of you, Miss?’’ Bow-and-arrows replied.

‘’In my defense, you startled me. Now if you’ll put your weapon down, I’ll be on my way.’’ Helena replied evenly, trying not to appear as frightened as she was.

‘’No, you won’t. We overheard you talking to yourself, and you don’t know what to do. If you don’t mind, you seem to have a map and a weapon. We could get you to your destination, wherever that might be if you share your supplies.’’ Bow-and-arrows offered.

‘’How should I know you just won’t shoot me?’’ Helena questioned.

Bow-and-arrows lowered his bow. ‘’Well, you’ll just have to trust us, won’t you?’’

‘’If I’m going to trust you, I need to see your face,’’ Helena said. Bow-and-arrows and his accomplice jumped down from the tree. They lit a lamp and pulled down their hoods. Bow-and-arrows looked good. Dark hair, green eyes, and a nice jawline. His accomplice was a bit chubby with curly brown hair. The accomplice looked familiar, but she didn’t know why.

Bow-and-arrows extended his hand. ‘’My name’s James. My partner’s name is Alex.’’ Helena shook his hand. He, James, must be a servant, certainly not anyone rich. His hands had too many callouses to be a rich man’s hands.

Her hands were soft. She couldn’t have been a hunter or a servant. That was curious to him. Who could this mystery lady be? In fact, what was her name?  

‘’Nice to meet you, James, and you as well Alex. My name’s H-Helena.’’ She blushed and watched as James’s eyebrow arched. Cute.

Alex watched them in silence and thought the girl looked really familiar.

‘’Come on, Helena. It’s getting dark out and the forest is no place for a lady.’’ Helena scoffed but followed James lead. They walked for a while. Helena had to slap and poke herself to keep awake. James started to realize this and offered rest. Helena was going to refuse, but she yawned and James guided her to a soft patch of ferns. Sooner rather than later, Helena was fast asleep, on James’s shoulder.

‘’So James, do you know what you’re doing? Do you even know if taking her on is a good thing?’’ Alex asks. James looks down at Helena and smiles.

‘’Yeah, I think it’s going to be a great thing,’’ James responded. When Helena woke up, her head had moved to James’s lap and his head was lying on a log. James was still sleeping.  For some odd reason, she felt insanely happy, and at peace.