Prince Flynn was full of good hope, light, passion. The day had finally come. He was going to win his love over forever.
He couldn’t think of anyone else but Rapunzel. Her golden hair, her large blue eyes, her childlike expression when she smiled at him as he serenaded her, her absolute devotion.
For all the women who had fawned over him at court, batted their eyelids flirtatiously at him, worn the most magnificent gowns that gold could buy just so they could get in his good books, he felt only contempt mingled with pity. They all came to court with some sort of haughty confidence in their ability to bewitch him. They became vexed when he would not, could not give them what he wanted. Try as he might he couldn’t love them.
But Rapunzel! He had fallen head over heels in love with her since he had set his eyes on her. The pool of gorgeous hair, her most striking feature, shone like a sort of halo around her head. Her goodwill erupted into the universe and outshone everything else, paling all royalty in comparison. Yes, she was born to be a queen and he would make her one. He knew that the day had finally arrived when he would ask her to escape with him, leave the tower and her evil witch godmother behind forever.
After all, nothing could stand in the way of true love.
He finally arrived at Rapunzel’s tower. He dismounted from his horse, his heart full of hope and promise and called out like he always did, ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair!’
And her thick golden braid descended before his eyes, gleaming in the milky moonlight. The prince began his slow climb and the closer he got to the window atop the tower, the gladder grew his heart! He could not even express how overwhelmed he felt that night at the prospect of laying his entire world at Rapunzel’s feet. He was the Prince of vast lands, well-loved and desired everywhere he went and come morning, everyone would know of the kindness and beauty his heart desired!
With these thoughts Prince Flynn climbed higher and higher until he reached the window. Unafraid, he swung his legs inwards as he did every night and opened his arms wide to embrace his love.
He froze in shock. Standing before him was the witch! Rapunzel’s godmother. She held a gigantic pair of gleaming scissors in one hand and that is when the prince noticed- Rapunzel’s thick braid was hanging from a hook in the wall but they weren’t attached to that beautiful head anymore!
‘Where is she!’ he growled fiercely, drawing out his sword with one hand.
The ugly witch cackled, her wrinkled face full of glee and hatred.
‘So this is he, the prince who won my precious girl’s innocent heart!’ she hissed in a smothered voice that made Prince Flynn’s blood curdle. ‘Be patient my lad, she is right here. With me.’
And at just that moment the witch moved to the right to reveal Rapunzel, who was standing behind her. But she looked different. Her hair had been cropped short in a pixie cut. She wore a shirt with short sleeves, her midriff was bare and loose purple pantaloons encircled her waist, with slippers on her feet. What caught his attention, however, was her bare skin, which was covered in tattoos. Long, winding lines of ink sketched over her abdomen and her taut stomach, her arms and her back!
As he stood their in stunned silence, taking her in, Rapunzel laughed. It felt unnatural to him and the hair on his back rose with the agony of an inexplicable grief.
‘Rapunzel, my love, what is this? What is wrong with you? It’s her, isn’t she’, he yelled out suddenly, raising an accusing finger at the witch who stood quietly nearby, her arms folded and a smirk struck perennially on her face.
Rapunzel laughed again and the prince felt confused.
‘My silly darling,’ she mocked, ‘Don’t blame my guardian so. She is quite innocent in all regards. It was my desire to have an intense make-over!’
Prince Flynn could feel his heart shattering and yet he maintained a composed countenance. ‘How could that be sweetheart?’ he cried, ‘When just yesterday we had hopes and dreams and prayers for the future and you never told me about your plans regarding today, even though we were planning the months, the years ahead of us!’
Rapunzel smiled, a little sadly. Reaching out to the table behind her, she picked up a satchel that lay there and slung it across her shoulder.
‘That was the past, my prince.’ She told him calmly. ‘Your sweet nothings were beautiful but they sickened me! It was the same thing, over and over. Riches and brocade wall hangings, silken gowns and rich feasts, jewels the size of my fist.’ She held his fist out to him, passionately overcome. ‘It all sounded magnificent but the more I heard, the less I desired it. I want freedom, Flynn. I want to fly like the birds, explore the world, meet strangers and have strange encounters. Have amorous experiences and countless fleeting affairs! I cannot let you bind me. I cannot let you take me from this tower and plant me in a castle- much more enchanting and a lot more luxurious but still a prison!’
‘But you could have said all of this to me!’ The prince felt betrayed, utterly and completely. In his dejected state, he fell to his knees. ‘You would have been my queen, you could have demanded anything! You only had to tell me, I would bring the moon to you. She too, would have worshiped you.’
Rapunzel only shook her head. ‘I do not wish to be worshiped. I wish to be free.’ She bent towards him and reached out with her hand, touched his temple and moved her finger slowly down his cheek, towards his lips. ‘I’m sorry love, but my fickle heart cannot be yours. I made my choice and my godmother is letting me go.’
‘I thought she wanted to hold you here forever?’ The prince whispered, throwing a disgusting glance towards the lady who still stood in the corner with her jaws wide open and her face contorted.
Rapunzel shrugged, ‘She is old now and she doesn’t mind.’ She straightened up and smiled. ‘Besides, I made my darling godmother an offer she couldn’t refuse. She is to have you with her, Prince Flynn. Forever and ever.So long, my lovely, handsome Prince’.
Rapunzel laughed again and turning away, went to the window. She held on to her own braid and swung out freely, disappearing into the night sky.
The witch, left alone with Prince Flynn, began snapping her scissors, her wild eyes blazing.