Sylvia stared out the window, watching the vampire inhabitants in the Kingdom of Fools go about their daily routines below. A roly-poly woman hung wet clothes on a line to dry, her fangs visible for only a second each time she grabbed one of the clothespins held in her mouth. A man dressed entirely in black leather looked more the part until he bent down to pet a calico kitten that rubbed up against his leg. The man turned and nodded a silent greeting to another pale-faced gentleman walking by, this individual carrying large metal buckets in either hand. If it weren’t for the obvious red liquid contents of the buckets, it would be easy for one to presume the second man had just finished milking an extremely large cow.
Shaking her head, Sylvia thought back to all the childhood stories that doubled as warnings. Beware of vampires, they’re blood-thirsty beasts that prowl the night! Don’t venture far from home – their favorite snack is a lost little boy or girl! Sylvia raised a brow at the man with the kitten, the latter of which now drifted to a peaceful nap in the vampire’s arms. Clearly whoever came up with the misinformed common knowledge must have consumed large quantities of ale before devising their frightful tales.
A knock at the locked door informed Sylvia that someone, likely her uncle, was attempting to check up on her. Sylvia snorted at both the monsters busying themselves with mundane chores and the unwanted consolation. She turned her head however upon realizing it was not a “tap-tap” she heard but “scratch-scratch”. An almost adorable whimper that could only come from a particular pint-sized, furry creature confirmed who her visitor on the other side truly was. Sylvia rushed over to let Obmuj in.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you out,” she said the monkey as it ambled to the other end of the room and sat atop a mahogany vanity table. She relocked the door and plopped down on the matching plush cushioned seat in front of the vanity, reaching up to scratch Obmuj behind the ears. “I bet you’d help me take on the Keepers if you could. You’re not coward or too worried about your own business like those useless people downstairs are you?”
Obmuj’s response to this inquiry regarding his bravery was to jump onto the back of Sylvia’s shoulders and begin searching her hair for nonexistent fleas. Sylvia humored the monkey’s grooming session until he actually began pulling strands of hair loose from one of her pigtails.
“Obmuj, stop you’ll give me a snarl!” Sylvia shooed him off, daring a look at the vanity’s mirror while he retreated to the edge of the bed. “Some stylist you are, half my hair is down now and the other half still up.”
She let the rest of the disheveled tresses down, considering the difference between these two sides of her face as she continued surveying her reflection. She’d always worn the pigtails because everyone said it suited her and it was honestly one of the few ways she could give any excitement to her thin, lackluster locks. But it was also the hairstyle preference of a child.
V’s earlier proclamation of her being a ‘boring, boring, ordinary girl’ to the Keepers rang in her ears. Granted, he’d stressed her ordinary status in attempt to protect her at the time but Sylvia was certain such embellishment hadn’t been greatly needed given her nauseatingly innocent appearance. And the both the Keepers and the guards themselves had grouped her together with Arthur and Megan as ‘the children’. She kicked her heels against the seat’s spindle legs while focusing on the side where her hair lay loosely down to crest her shoulder. Despite bearing the same plump cheeks and big green eyes, this half of her face appeared somehow more mature.
Sylvia wrinkled her nose at the woman-child staring back at her. The reflection took on an angry scowl as she tossed her hair band at the mirror and yanked the remaining pigtail loose. “I’m done being a little girl that supposedly needs help from anyone!”