The Irony of Twins

This is an assignment that I wrote for my creative writing class. We had to choose flowers and write a piece inspired by them. The names I have chosen for the characters are Lily, Laurel, Orange Blossom, Narcissus with the corresponding meanings being majesty, glory and respect, 'your purity equals your loveliness,' and self-love. The blackberry bush and sunflowers represent envy and false riches, respectively. I meant to write this in a fairy-tale style. I hope I succeeded.

There once ruled a regal family, one by which the queen was head. They called her Lily the Majestic and her husband, Laurel the Nobel. He was glorious and successful, and a capable lover. With him, Lily bore two beautiful identical twin girls. She gazed out at the dawn and turned to her first: "You shall be called 'Orange Blossom,' and may you grow lovelier each waking day." The second twin looked her mother straight in the eyes. "Ah-ha!" she said. "You shall call your pretty little self 'Narcissus,' and may you grow to be a dauntless individual."

Growing up, the twins became inseparable. They would attend tea parties with the duke's children, fix each other's hair, and listen to the court men's praises. "Oh, your hair is lustrous!" they would say. "Other princesses would die to possess your beauty, princess!" They would hold each other's hands and curtsy together to the praises, but as they became older, they grew apart. They brushed their own hair and attended different parties. 

Like their mother said, Orange Blossom grew up to be a lovely lady. The royal party and peasants noted her lithe frame and sweet, soft-spoken voice among the royal gardens. While Orange Blossom stayed in the company of flowers, Narcissus was busy being among the admiring eye: she attended parties, participated in gossip, and flourished in compliments. The crowds would look at her and say, "Look! Her ballgown is ravishing! The embroidery is just exquisite!" and Narcissus would continue to glow. 

One evening, Narcissus overheard a crowd comparing her and her sister. "The princess, Narcissus, is frightfully beautiful, yes-- so very bold, sharp and cold. Oh, but have you ever noticed how lovely Princess Orange Blossom is? Her frame is delicate with dainty hand, and her voice is ever so soft-spoken. If you were to touch her, why, she'd break! But my my, I cannot take my eyes off of her." Appalled, Narcissus dismissed herself to her room and wept out on her balcony. "What do they mean by 'frightfully beautiful'?" she asked herself. Down below in the garden, a lustful guard overheard his princess: "A beauty is what you are, my princess. And by fright, they mean only of what their hearts cannot bear to hold a gaze to; for you are the most beautiful thing a soul can ever be in the presence of. Come down, my love. I am not afraid."

Desperate for company, Narcissus rushed down to the gardens and into the arms of the guard. Wanting to please his princess, the guard offered anything to Narcissus to make her his. At this offer, Narcissus thought to herself. I should make it so the kingdom can only see me as the beauty, she thought. She told the guard to follow her sister to the forest, for even Orange Blossom tires of the royal gardens. "Make it so she disappears," she ordered the guard, and so he set off to the forest the very next day. 

Out in the forest, Orange Blossom dawdled through the flower fields listening to the woodland creature noises. How peaceful, she thought. I could live like this forever. The guard tailed behind Orange Blossom very closely in the nearby blackberry bushes. Her daintiness mesmerized the guard, even he could not take his eyes off her. She reminded him of a softer Narcissus, one that wanted to protect him and be protected by him. He wanted a closer look and moved forward, just a little bit. And then the leaves rustled. 

Wide-eyed and terrified, Orange Blossom looked in the direction of the blackberry bushes. Remembering his orders, the guard charged forward and slashed his dagger across her frail bodice and dress then fled. Orange Blossom laid there in the company of the woodland creatures. Their broken hearts hung in the air. Saddened, the squirrels gathered fruits for her, but she could not take them for her lips had lost their mellifluous voice; the deer gathered twigs so the princess could protect herself with shelter and fire, but her hands had lost their ebullience; the birds gathered flowers and laid them around her for that was all that they could do. Their princess had lost her loveliness and died. 

Returning to Narcissus, the guard presented her with a bouquet of sunflowers and a strip of Orange Blossom's white dress. Smiling, she led the guard to her bedroom. Her taut pale skin showed itself, just as her twin sister's did underneath the dagger's mercy.  

The End

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