Wednesday, May 6, 2015


“Noli me tangere,” she thought as her lady-in-waiting came to cup her elbow. Touch me not. It was impudent of her to have interrupted the dance, anyway. Just when the violins had begun to swell and the harpsichord rippled out those fine arpeggios she adored. How could one’s feet stay still then? Waving away her servant, she pursed her lips and resigned herself to food.

Ah, what a day to be Queen. There were so many papers to sign, crowds of footmen in their stark white suits. She realised that she needed her court; as a child monarch she could hardly act independently, but their constant presence at her shoulder was a bore.

She giggled, suddenly. It must have seemed startling to those around her, but she couldn’t help herself. A thought: queens are good at dancing, and nodding their approval to the court musicians, but not that suitable for serious things like wars, treaties, that sort of thing. At least not she, Queen Beatrice, Child Queen of the Territories. She wasn’t even sure what the territories were, but they sounded dreadfully rough.

What hurt most about being this reluctant monarch was that her parents must have died when she was very young. So young, in fact, that not one recollection did she have of nursing at her mother’s breast or of being cast in the air and caught again by her father, the King. Imagine! Having to trust her instincts when it came to etiquette meant she often let her people down. She could tell – the disappointment would flicker across their faces.

They tried their best, though, poor, loyal courtiers. She smiled at them as she gathered her gown around her knees to sit in the Great Hall for the feast. She could still hear the music playing. It was gentle and it soothed her while her maid servant cut up her food for her. Music. Art. Those pleased her.

The art in the Great Hall wasn’t impressive. It looked like it had been filched from an infant's classroom somewhere in those primitive territories. Beatrice made a decision to commission better art after the, the, the eating was over.

Dinner seemed to come earlier and earlier these days, and she was glad of it. Living life exclusively in the castle had made her fret more about the unknown, the things outside. Long, grey shapes swooped down in the evenings and brought with them fears of dragons and bigs with teeth. Bigs. There must be another word, but Beatrice couldn’t pluck it out of the air. It was frustrating being only a child. She knew that the people wanted to help her but she felt reluctant to give in to them.

The tall helper in the white robes gave Beatrice a mouthful of eat. It was… it was… it was… soft. Smelled like old day. That one when FALLINGFALLINGFALLINGDON'TTOUCHME!

The orderlies looked up, startled at the sudden whimpering across the canteen. They sat back, relieved. “Don’t worry”, one shrugged at the other, “it’s just Bea again; poor old soul forgets she’s ninety-nine, some days”.


This post was written as part of a tandem blogging experiment. EIGHT other bloggers have used the same title as a prompt, and their work will go live at the same time as this. None of us have seen anyone else's posts yet, so each will take a unique angle on their blogs. Take a look at their creative efforts at blogging “Ninety-nine” and like, share and comment if you've enjoyed what you read!

Click away on the names below:



  1. This will be me, at ninety nine.

    This will be me.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. You'll be next to me. We can race zimmer frames X

  4. Hahahahahahahhahaha oh, I love this! You make senile dementia seem fun, Scott!

    1. I wish that were true. It's a theme that sticks with me, having lost family members to it. I wonder about what it must feel like to descend into the fog.

  5. Wow wow wow wow wow. Dude, you are so great. Love this. Loved: "resigned herself to food"
    Loved the bigs and the whole ending. So so great.

    1. It terrified me, for personal reasons. Thank you.


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