• Prachi Daga

The Mayor's Only Daughter

Knick-knacks lay haphazardly on the carpeted floor, furniture upturned, books tattered to the last page, cotton spilling out of throw pillows, expensive-looking chinaware smashed onto the wall that held scratched pieces of the rich emerald green colored wallpaper hanging on the brink. In between all the mayhem, sat a petite girl—the mayor’s only daughter.

Her stunted growth, compensated for with an extremely sharp mind. Her head drops sideways, with her palm outstretched in front of her face, looking at the dripping blood; it is thick, thicker than it should be, like mayonnaise. Three tiny fingers run along with the flow, pulling down three streaks of blood painlessly; she then draws with her stained fingertips, three parallel lines with three stripes on both sides like an arrow with a straight shaft and an inverted arrow point. Silent whispers choke the room.

My shadow, I will finally get to meet her. She won’t have to stay locked in my head. She can be free. You did a good job, little one. You’re here! Of course, I am here, where else would I be? Where were you, why haven’t you spoken in days? I had to be patient, for our sake. Papa doesn’t like us talking, you know that (and you are a rattle mouth). Are you proud of me? I made him his coffee just the way you asked me to. Yes, yes I am. You gave him the rest he deserves. He’s always working, you’re a kind daughter. But there is one more task; you will have to break the last barrier that’s keeping us apart. Will you do that for m…us? The little girl nods. After a pause the voice continues with an assumed answer, go to dad’s secret study. The one you’re not allowed to go to (which you follow like a naïve idiot.) But…Papa will scold me when he wakes up. Don’t worry he will not (wake up). Trust me. She gets up and brushes flecks of dust off her skirt and fearfully climbs up the humongous staircase to the study. The heavy door creaks open to a spacious room with a tall ceiling. Do you see the door, near the bookshelf? Open it. That door opened to a glass barrier, almost opaque except for one small spot in the middle, translucent. Place your palm there. What is this? PALM! She shudders and places her palm in place; bloodied fingertips with runes on the other palm places tip to tip, inch to inch. Wait, has this happened before? Maybe. The glass gradually transitions. It has!

An image of her mother in a flowy, dark green gown—guiding her palm to the transparent glass barrier…angry, seemingly identical twin on the other side mimicking; glass turning translucent, her favorite chinaware-broken, lastly scratched emerald green wallpaper play out in her head like a scene from a movie. Her mother's persistent spells couldn't shield her from the inevitable for long, not then, especially not now.

Glass fades with the scene. You’ve been running away from your memories, little one says she in dismay. Who are you? I am you, the mayor’s only daughter.


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