Officer Dawes touched the walls of the tiny attic. Rough wood was splintered with tiny lines. The lines formed letters. The letters formed words. The words formed sentences. The sentences formed paragraphs. The paragraphs formed a story:
Once upon a time there was a fairy princess in a dungeon. I am the princess. My name is Elizabeth.
It feels like I born in the dungeon. I was there because my mommy who was pretty and nice died when I was a baby. My wicked stepmother Denise hated me because my dad loved me, so I was put in the dungeon and kept there. She was jealous of me so wanted me gone.
One day a prince would come to rescew me. I know this to be true. I can see him when I close my eyes. He is on a white horse that likes to eat apples. The prince and the horse named Pearl because hes colord like a pearl both wear silver armor with dimonds that shine with light.
Theres no light in the dungeon. Its always dark, but I can see okay. I just close my eyes from time to time and it helps everything seem a little brighter when I open them back up. The only time I see light is when they feed me and open the dungeon door. I’m sick of SPAM and greenbeans, but thats all they feed me.
Sometimes I smell myself and I stink. I hope my prince is okay with that. It stinks up here because I don’t have a potty…
Officer Dawes had to pause. He called over his shoulder. “Hey guys, get someone to transcribe this stuff down and take lots of pictures.”
Another man, wearing a white doctor’s coat nodded his head and walked over and began snapping pictures. Officer Dawes touched his hands to the wall again and sighed.
There was more writing, much more. Some of it was about a stepmother who could turn into a dragon and a father that grew evil and began fighting off princes, killing them, and feasting on them. Much of it was a day-to-day account of life in the dungeon. The parts that seemed the most realistic hurt the worst of all. He read:
Everything is dark today. The dragon ate the sun. The princess hurts. Almost to much but not qwite to much to write. But she knows she must write. It is the only way to keep the shadows away.
Officer Dawes turned away and faced the tiny limp body being outlined by investigators. He looked at an arm that was much too thin and wiry with muscles. It was clear the little girl forged those muscles while carving these scrapings into the wall with the broken wire laundry hangar still clutched tight in her stiff, clenched fist.
He turned his attention back to the wall where the writing ran out. The paragraphs grew shorter, became fragments of images; the words less understandable, sometimes made-up; and the letters lost coherence, becoming random scrawls and scrapes.
There was no happy ending. There was no ending at all.