Status: once upon a time, there was a co-write...

Broken Illusion


Wendy had always loved her birthdays. At midnight exactly, she would scramble to the window and wish hard. She would listen to the twelve chimes that signified the new day, coming from the giant clock tower in the centre of the kingdom. She wished that she would be teleported into the world of her stories; a world of endless fantasy and adventure. She wished to fly through the skies with Peter Pan, and to dance around a fire with Tiger Lily and her tribe.

At midnight exactly on Wendy’s seventeenth birthday, Wendy wished that her fantasies would stop leaking into her real life. Psychic visions… saving the kingdom… these were the things that would get her killed. She shut her eyes tight and wished harder than she ever had before.

“Happy Birthday, Wendy Darling,” Peter whispered, after the clock had finished ringing. He placed a rough hand on top of hers and squeezed. Wendy opened her eyes, sighing.

“Happy indeed.”

Peter shrugged, slowly peeling his hand away. They sat for a moment, both listening to the other’s breathing, both staring out at the illuminated clock face.

“Do you know the legend of the clock tower?” Wendy asked, assuming he didn’t. Peter shook his head, he knew little of the kingdom’s stories and history.

Wendy’s eyes filled with tears. Everything Peter had said hit her suddenly, and she realised something terrible. She was most definitely going to get herself killed. The story of the hunchbacked beast that lived inside the clock tower would have to wait for another time – even if it was one that Wendy loved to tell.

“You’re are upset?” Peter’s voice was filled with confusion. Did he really think she’d be pleased by his news?

“No,” Wendy wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, “just tired.”

Peter floated a little ways up from the roof, holding a hand out to Wendy. She took it without hesitation. Peter pulled her up into his arms, and flew them back to the window of the nursery.

“Goodnight, Wendy Darling.”

Wendy nodded in response, closing the window ever so slowly. To Peter, she looked like she was in a trance; wide-eyed, shuffling slowly away from the window and into bed.


Wendy shared her birthday with just two other girls in Kensington. They had been left at the gates of the palace by their parents, and led by a servant boy into the grand ballroom. All three girls examined one another, hoping to find something extraordinary about the other two. Wendy couldn’t help but feel afraid, she was sure the queen would sense something about her.

“Stand side-by-side,” the servant boy barked at them. They did as they were told, but Wendy couldn’t help scowl at the boy when he turned away.

To the left of Wendy was a blonde girl, quite a bit taller than Wendy, who was undeniably beautiful. Wendy recognised her from around the kingdom, but did not know her name. And to the left of this girl was someone Wendy did recognise, from her short time in school. In the kingdom, education was a costly fee. It was something her parents could only afford every now and again. She believed the girl’s name to be Cassandra, and she was impossibly simple. Everything about her look was boring, and if Wendy’s remembered right, everything about her personality was also boring. She would pass the judgement for sure.

The beautiful girl began to tremble, her hands shaking violently. Wendy made sure the servant boy wasn’t looking, and then reached out to take the girl’s hand.

“Don’t be scared,” Wendy mouthed, staring straight ahead. She saw the girl’s blank look from the corner of her eye and mouthed the words again. The girl dropped Wendy’s hand, giving her a sharp nod. Wendy couldn’t help but smile, but she quickly wiped it away when the servant boy cleared his throat.

“And now,” he shouted, his voice cracking slightly, “you shall be judged by her royal highness: Mistress of All Evil, Queen Maleficent!”

Her name rang out across the ballroom, and there was a puff of purple smoke. It tainted the white room with its darkness, forcing the girls to shut their eyes tight. It didn’t choke them like regular smoke, and could be seen even behind their eyelids. This way, they knew when it was clear without having to open their eyes.

When they did open their eyes, they were met with the face of Queen Maleficent. It wasn’t a shock to them, they were used to seeing her face everywhere. She was the face of every product in the kingdom, the face of every event, the face of the entire kingdom.

The queen’s skin was deathly pale against her clothing. She was wearing a cloak made of raven feathers, which shimmered in the light. Underneath, she wore a long, black gown that clung to her slim figure. It moved like the breeze between the trees at night. As Maleficent paced back and forth, Wendy swore she could see the darkest shade of purple woven into the impossible blackness of the queen’s attire.

Wendy and the other girls curtsied, as was expected of them. Queen Maleficent watched them with a smug smile that made Wendy frown instinctively. She thought she saw the queen look her way, and quickly wiped all expression from her face. At least, that’s what Wendy hoped she’d done.

Maleficent extended a bony finger out towards the first girl, grinning from ear to ear. She bellowed out a single word, ‘name’, and shrugged off her cloak.

“Jane Marie Barrett, your highness,” the girl squeaked, barely managing it.

Maleficent began to laugh, cackling like the witches that occasionally appeared in Wendy’s stories. Wendy couldn’t help but wonder if those witches were real, just like Peter. It was wrong to think of such things at a time where normal was so important.

Jane Marie Barrett was allowed to leave. Maleficent branded her to be completely ordinary.

“You,” Maleficent hissed, dragging the ‘o’ out as she stepped closer and closer to the blonde girl.

“Aurora. Aurora Costa,” she kept her head high, looking the queen right in the eyes. Her voice was equally as beautiful as her face, melodic and enchanting.

Maleficent’s smile vanished from her face, and took the warmth from the room with it.

“Tell me about yourself, Aurora.”

Something about the way Maleficent said the girl’s name made Wendy’s arm hairs stand to attention. What was happening? Why was she taking so long to pass judgement on Aurora?

“My name is Aurora Costa. I am seventeen years old. I am beautiful, but my beauty does not compare to yours. I am educated, but not all knowing like you. I have no magic, and you are the most powerful magical creature in all the kingdom. I-”

Maleficent interrupted the girl with a long, loud yawn. She turned away from Aurora, holding a hand up to motion for her to stop.

“You are telling me about myself,” Maleficent screeched. She took a deep breath, before turning back. She was smiling again, but the room still felt cold.

“I’m not remotely interesting,” Aurora was much quieter now, “I promise.”

“You bore me, girl. You make me want to sleep for eternity.”

“I’m sorry,” Aurora began to sob softly. She buried her face in her hands, her shoulders shaking as she cried. Maleficent watched her, overjoyed. Wendy saw lightning flash in her dark eyes. Maleficent had a terrible, wicked idea.

“You need to be punished for boring me so,” Maleficent yawned again, “you are hereby sentenced to sleep.”

Aurora looked up from her hands. Her eyes were wide, terrified and relieved. Sentenced to sleep? What kind of punishment was a nap?

“For eternity.”
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Long chapter is long. Glad to jump back in with this story.