I sat in silence, in darkness, on my fluffy mattress with silk sheets and downy feather-stuffed pillows.
The grandfather clock in the dusty corner rang the hour, six bells tolling loud and low. It's golden pendulum swung to and fro, glinting in the afternoon light streaming from the crack between my curtains. I held my hand up to this small hope of the world outside, examining my lily white fingers to the sun's golden glow. They were thin and bony, long nails perfectly manicured and painted blood red.
My mother loved the color red. She insisted my room be of red; the drapes were crimson as was the bed's sheets and pillows, adorned with big ruby-colored bows. Though it was my deathbed, in fact.
My mother continued to come to my room, without fail, every morning to brush my hair and apply layers upon layers of makeup to my gaunt and pale face. Once, only once, I had caught sight of my reflection, and almost had an episode from what I saw. The only features colored on my face were my lips, eyes, and the rouge on my cheeks.
And my clothes...those horrid uncomfortable clothes! She dressed in me in red gowns with big puffy skirts that hid my horribly disfigured legs, the corset cinched until I could hardly breathe. No, no nightgowns for my Irene, she would say. She must be immaculate. For whom? For the Devil when I descend into hell? Surely I shan't go to heaven, with all the naughty twisted things I have done in my relatively short life.... Of which I shall not go into detail.
In Egypt, their color for death was red, not black. My room was painted in the color of death. The stench of death and decay seemed to hang in the air around me, my own body putrid and corrupted by the foul disease eating away at my life.
Every magician and sorcerer from here to Eclipsee had been called forth to cure me, to work their wondrous magic and make the princess well. But all had failed. Their incantations and disgusting potions only made my stomach turn and my head throb. If anything, it hurt more than it helped.
So now I lay, upon my bed, immaculate, awaiting death to come a-knocking at my door.
A sudden rapping came at the large wooden double doors to my chamber, causing me to jump, falling back painfully upon the pillows.
"Come in," I croaked, surprised at how hoarse my voice sounded.
It was Mother.