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Anne-Margaret McElroy

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Queen of the Castle
By Anne-Margaret McElroy
Monday, April 08, 2002

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Queen of the Castle

Spiral stairs, towers and drawbridges make up the bulk of the massive wood structure that sits grandly in the hot, sunny, open field.
“Caroline?” A small boy yelled from a low swinging drawbridge at the entrance of the castle.
A young girl around the age of eight appeared to be hiding. Hunched down, she sat quietly in a pair of faded, light blue coveralls and a simple, short-sleeved, white shirt.
Her long thin arms were wrapped tightly around her knees; she rocked back and forth quickly in a pair of worn Adidas high tops that made a squishing noise across the thick wood planks.
Several children clambered across the wood and rope drawbridge that swung erratically under the commotion as they called out Caroline’s name.
Caroline raised long, slender fingers to her mouth as if to giggle at her own cleverness at not being found. She sat a few minutes longer, and then pushed herself up on legs that seemed almost too long for compact upper torso,
Her fist clenched high in the air, as if holding a sword, Caroline threw her head back and a wide smile lit her heart-shaped face.
“I won! I’m Queen of the castle.” She yelled, and then turned swiftly climbed up narrow stairs leading to the highest tower.
Peering through a small window at the top, she looked down to see the other children make their way through the various twists and turns of the labyrinth of stairs on their way to capture her.
Looking more like Rapunzel than a Queen, Caroline’s long tawny hair wrapped in front of her left shoulder, spilling out over the window frame. The midday sun’s rays caught the numerous highlights that streaked her hair.
Caroline’s eyes grew wide, and she shrieked, suddenly realizing her playmates were getting too close.
Her nervous high pitched laugh echoed through the narrow passage that leads to the adjoining tower as she climbed upward.
Scrambling across a rope drawbridge, her tiny, freckled nose wrinkled and her slightly arched brows furrowed in concentration as she teetered to and fro, trying desperately to keep her balance.
Once she reached the other side, Caroline smiled to herself and slumped down before her friends could see her.
It was not long before Caroline was discovered. She leapt up and bounded forward up a flight of stairs, being a head taller than the rest of the children she fled from, seemed to give her an unfair advantage.
A few children looked as if they had grown tired of the chase and decided to seek shade under a few oaks that stood behind the castle, while others slid down slides, plunging into the hot sand below.
Caroline stopped on one of the bridges and looked down at her friends.
“Aren’t you playing anymore?” She asked, obviously disappointed.
“I’m tired Caroline.” One boy replied.
“You always win anyway.” Another boy yelled.
Caroline looked a little smug as she smiled down at the two boys.
“Fine, but I’m still Queen of the castle!”

       Web Site: Under The Willow Tree

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Reviewed by Mitzi Jackson 4/17/2002
this is a really cute story and sounds like you knew my when i wAS YOUNGER!!!
really nice

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