Beneath Alders

green guilt


Rapunzel hears a gentle tapping at her window.

“I’m sleeping, go away.”

Tap, tap, tap is the response.

She puts her head under her pillow, grumbling to no one.

She wakes from her light sleep to another tap, tap, tap.

Now she’s grumpy. She throws her paintbrush into the hall from bed. She makes her most serious grumpy face.

Tap, tap, tap.

“I haven’t even had my fucking coffee!”

There’s a brief silence. Rapunzel almost falls asleep again. Almost.

Tap, tap, tap.

“Please go away?”

Tap, tap, tap. This time it’s a duet.


The duo pleads in response. Tenor and soprano.


Rapunzel opens her eyes. It’s still dark. Nobody is awake.

The war has been raging for years now. She’s numb to landing missiles and shrapnel in bleeding eyes. Numb like everyone else who’s still alive.

She sighs and closes her eyes. She’s too tired to make herself bigger than those notes.

Tap, tap, tap, like the wind in response.

“At least wipe the mud off your boots this time.”

The faceless manwolf pushes open the lockless window at the first sense of her verbal surrender.

Rapunzel again prays for more food.

He climbs into her bed.

She keeps her covers tight around her body, keeps her back to this intruder, keeps her head under the pillow.

Whimper, scuff.

She sighs, trying very hard to keep herself peaceful and compassionate before she’s had her coffee. Before the sun has come up. Before she has chosen to wake.

“It’s quite warm in here.”

Whine, whine, whine.

Rapunzel imagines what it must be like to be out there with no home, no shelter, no food, no two seconds to put together to find peace.

He must be cold. He must be tired. He must be aching after standing still in the cold for so many hours.

And still, Rapunzel doesn’t want him here. If there was no war, if she had learned to be callous, if she didn’t feel guilty for having this gentle space, she would have set the dogs after him long ago.

But here they are.

He whines again.


He kicks off his scuffed leather ankle-highs, spraying half dried mud all over her bedroom.

She lifts her emerald green blanket from her body and wraps it around the faceless manwolf.

Author: tendrilwise

Hi, I have a diploma in Journalism, I've published a novel, and I am currently studying psychology. My odd way of viewing the world either gets me kicked out of parties or invited to them. Jenn McKay

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