Echo and the Prince
Once upon a night sky, a beautiful shadow gazed longingly out
the tall tower window. The wind blew his blonde hair back from his
perfectly sculpted face, making him close his crystal blue eyes and
sigh in relief.
“Samuel! Get down here now!” an angry voice called from the
bottom of the stairs.
“One second, Aunt Julia,” Samuel called, rolling his eyes,
taking one more breath of freedom, and turning towards the door.
Samuel Hatchery was a condemned one. He’d been under his
aunts control sense he was very young. His parents had died when he
was seven years old while on a trip back from southern Germany. There
had been no place for him, so they took him in and locked him up.
He’d done whatever they’d asked, well, demanded, ever sense.
“What do you need, Aunt Julia?” Samuel asked as he reached
the base of the spiral staircase where his short aunt stood with her
rather bony hands on her broad hips.
“You were suppose to dust the library,” she snapped, her
voice high-pitched and nasal.
“No one every told me, and I did that the other afternoon,”
Samuel protested in a quiet voice.
“Do it again then! I saw dust!”
“But that’s in_”
“Is that cheek I hear, Samuel Lee Hatchery?” she interrupted,
“No, Ma’am,” he answered, and moved away towards the library.
“I wasn’t finished yet, boy!” she said, and he returned to
her side to await the next blow.
“Clean the kitchen once you’re finished and we’ve inspected
each and every book. Then you can gather the wash,” she said.
Samuel walked away, head down. He didn’t say another word as
he worked, pulling book after book off the many shelves and tediously
dusting every jacket before replacing it once more.
He hated this job mostly because he loved to read and was
forbidden to open a single book from the library, or the house at
that. His aunts said it was so that he didn’t get any ideas and lose
his focus on the real world. He didn’t understand, but never said a
word about it to them. It would just be another vain fight that
would leave him alone in the dark dungeon with their usual victim,
Mr. Bogardee, whom they raped when the men didn’t give what they were
“You call this clean?” his other aunt, Aunt Caroline, shouted,
brandishing a book at him from where he knelt on the floor.
“I just started, Aunt Caroline. I’m sorry,” he said quietly,
not looking at her eyes and instead at her rather large mid-section.
“Don’t speak to me when not asked!” she said, lobbing the book
at Samuel’s head.
Samuel fell back onto his rear, blood dripping from his mouth
thanks undoubtedly to his new busted lip.
“Get back to work,” and she spun on her heel and stormed out,
nose held high in the air.
Samuel wiped the blood off with the rag in his pocket,
fighting back the tears of pain and rage. He wanted to run to his
room and doctor his throbbing lip, but knew he’d have to wait. They
held his life in their hands could kill him slowly, and surely would
if he chose to disobey. He knew better after all this time.
It was nearly eight o’clock in the morning by the time Aunt
Julia approved of his work, and instead of letting him go to his room
to sleep, ushered him into the kitchen to make breakfast for them.
“Hurry it up, boy, and try not to over do it!” Aunt Caroline
said as Samuel scrambled eggs for her.
“Yes, Ma’am,” he said, his eyes fluttering from exhaustion.
He’d been up sense five o’clock the previous morning and wouldn’t be
aloud to sleep until around twelve that night.
Aunt Julia walked in, primed and ready to fool the world like
usual, and took her seat in the King’s chair. The chair Samuel’s
father would’ve sat in to this day had he still been alive, and it
made Samuel livid. He gritted his teeth and took it out on Aunt
Caroline’s scrambled eggs.
“I want an omelet with pepper, bacon, and sausage,” Aunt Julia
said. “And fresh squeezed orange juice.”
“Yes, Aunt Julia,” he said, and he began her breakfast as
“You will go to town today,” said Aunt Caroline. “The
shopping list is on the table and must be done.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” he answered, walking their plates to the table.
“Go now while the population is low,” said Aunt Caroline.
“You know the stipulations, so don’t you dare put one toe out of
“Yes, Ma’am,” Samuel said, and he hurried out, grabbing the
black cloak from the peg by the door and the list. He stepped out
into the sun, shrugging the cloak on as he shook his head, and
mouthed, “While the population is low…” He smiled in amusement,
downed the hood, and set out.
The air was fresh and cool. Birds chirped and people talked.
They were all things Samuel was alien to anymore even though he was
seventeen years old. But he was only aloud out every few months if
he was lucky, and that was only when either his aunts were too ill or
had company that they didn’t want to show their personal slave to.
He took as much time as he dared in gathering all the supplies
on the surprisingly long list, until the weight forced him to retire
to the palace, falling over himself at the weight.
“Do you need help?”
Samuel turned to see a tall man walking up in a white shirt
and gray, faded pants. He had short brown hair, brown eyes, and had
a fine shadow of hair on his chin that’d been growing for a couple
“No thank you, sir,” Samuel answered, his heart pounding
painfully against his rips as the man came to a stop before him.
“Are you sure?”
“Liar. Here. Let me help you,” and he took an armful
without Samuel’s answer. “Where to, young prince?”
“Um, to the palace,” Samuel said as he watched the man take
a few confident steps.
“So you are the prince then?” the man asked as Samuel fell
into step beside him.
“Used to be though. I knew your father rather well. Great
king,” he said, closing his eyes as if moved by the thought. He
looked back at Samuel with a smile, and said, “I’m Echo Hertz.”
“Samuel Hatchery,” Samuel said, looking up to see Echo
smiling another broad, white-toothed smile.
They walked on in silence until Echo finally said, “You don’t
talk much do you prince?”
“Don’t call me that, and no,” said Samuel, making Echo smile
that smile again.
“Alright, prince. We’ll have to fix that,” he said. “Come
back later tonight. You deserve a break.”
“Yes you can. Just think about it. Good afternoon, my young
prince,” and he winked before handing Samuel back his things and
Samuel watched him until he had almost disappeared before
hurrying back through the palace gates and into hell once more.
Samuel went back at the thirteenth hour, and found Echo
waiting tall and patiently on a gray mare. His hair glowed in the
moon light, stealing Samuel’s breath for a second time in one day.
“’Bout time, prince. I was almost scared you weren’t coming,
and that I was sitting out here for nothing,” said Echo, sliding
stealthily off the horse.
“I’m only here for awhile, so don’t get too excited,” said
Samuel, glancing around nervously. He was terrified his aunts were
gong to find him out of bed and kill him…or worse.
“Just enough to show you a good time,” said Echo. “Come on,
young prince. This way.”
“Stop calling me that,” Samuel protested, but he followed Echo
anyway, a small smile playing across his face.
Echo took him to a small tavern where a band was playing loud,
upbeat music that made Samuel’s mouth drop open in amassment. People
were dancing around them, laughing and singing at the top of their
lungs along with the music.
Samuel was blown away. He’d never heard such music or seen
so much joy in his life. He’d only known cruelty and jealousy. Now
all he saw was happiness and a freedom that made his heart ache. It
made him feel lit and free for once in his life, and he knew, in
that moment, as the music met its climax, that he never wanted to
let it go.
“Having fun?” Echo said, that famous smile spreading across
his face as he came up to Samuel, who sat on a bar stole.
“This is amazing,” said Samuel. “I’ve never done this
“I figured you’d love it, but we need to get you back to your
tower, my young prince.” said Echo, and he extended his hand to
They smiled at each other for a second before Samuel took
Echo’s hand and let him lead him home.
Samuel slept very little that night despite the fact he was
thoroughly exhausted. He couldn’t get the sound of the music,
laughing, and that smile, of his cluttered head. Echo had taken him
by surprise. No one had ever cared about if he was happy or okay
before until today. No one had ever made him feel so light headed
or laid back. He was confused and had no one to talk to about it.
His aunts had just thrown him into the world with no advice or
guidance in the slightest, and now he needed what he could never get.
He continued to visit the city by moon light, and meet Echo at
the palace gates. They did many things. From horse back riding by
the lake, to Echo reading him many novels about fairy tales and
mystical lands. And every night at the stroke of four, Echo would
take him back to the gloomy palace gates, kiss his knuckles, and
say, “Sweet dreams, my prince,” and every time, it got a little
harder to let him leave.
Samuel didn’t understand why he meant so much to him all of
a sudden, but he did. He dreamt of him at night, he dreamt about
him while he did his mountain of chores, he dreamt of him while
gazing out the windows at the city…He was always on Samuel’s mind.
“Wake up, boy!” Aunt Julia shouted, popping him in the back
of the head, and making him hit the window with a loud, painful crack.
“Pay attention to your chores or you’ll go to bed without your
“Sorry, Aunt Julia,” said Samuel, hurriedly returning to his
“Boy, you should be more grateful. You have a roof over your
head and food,” said Aunt Julia, shaking her large head, eyes closed
as if looking at Samuel caused her great pain. “If your father saw
how you’ve been acting…”
Samuel cracked, the anger of ten years boiling over, and
making him hurl his rag into her overly make-uped face.
“How I’ve been acting? How I’ve been acting?! What about
you? You’ve pushed me around for ten years and treated me like your
slave! I am the prince! Not that I want to be worshiped, but I am
the prince!” Samuel yelled. “If my father saw this, you’d both be
heading to the gallows before you could breath a plea!”
“Are you threatening me you little cunt?!” she retorted, her
face turning a violent shade of purple.
Samuel didn’t remember much more as he fell into
unconsciousness thanks to the frying pan crashing into the back of
his head by the hands of a wide-eyed Aunt Caroline. They drug
him to the tower and locked him in, leaving him on the cold floor to
wake alone hours later in the night.
He stood slowly, and went to the window, tears sliding
silently down his cheeks. He prayed for a rescuer to come find him
and set him free. He knew that if some one didn’t, he would surely
die there in his tower, clinging to the window while his father’s
once great kingdom fell apart at his aunts feet.
He stayed locked up except for three times a day to go to the
restroom, in which he was still guarded like a hawk until the door
was securely bolted with him behind it. His aunts still yelled at
him, but he just let them. What good was it to argue back? His
heart hurt too much to care. Hope was dwindling from his soul. No
one was coming to save him and he knew that now.
Samuel was drug roughly from a dreamless sleep by the sounds
of something pushing his window open. He shot up out of bed to see
a knight in shining armor crawling through the window.
“Samuel Hatchery?” the knight questioned, it’s voice echoing
inside the armor.
Samuel looked on at it in confusion. He’d never seen a
knight before except for that one man in town who always clamed to
be a famous knight, but Samuel doubted that that one really counted
as an encounter.
The knight raised it’s hands and removed its helmet to reveal
a woman with long silver, blonde hair, pale skin, and crystal blue
“Who are you?” Samuel asked.
“Narcia,” the knight replied. “I have heard your cries for
help, and have come to rescue you from this horrible place and make
you my husband.”
“You heard my prayers?”
“Yes, prince,” Narcia said. “Now, we must go while the dark
of night can still hide us.”
He was interrupted again, but this time by Echo as he too
crawled through the window. His face was covered in a fine layer of
sweat and he was panting.
“Echo…” Samuel breathed as he hurried past Narcia and her
confused face, and into Echo’s arms.
“You choose the sweaty peasant?!” Narcia said in disbelief.
“I’m of royal blood! Descendent of many great rulers! What is he
descendent of? Many great farmers?!”
“Is that a problem?” Echo said, turning to Narcia.
Samuel retreated into the corner, watching them grow closer
and closer to each other until their noses were almost touching as
they circled each other.
“Yes it is peasant!” Narcia said, jabbing Echo in the chest
with a gloved finger.
Echo launched himself on her at the same time Narcia threw
herself at him. They met in mid-air, and tumbled to the ground,
Narcia’s armor clanging on the stone. They rolled around,
relentlessly pounding on the other until blood began to appear.
Samuel tried to hold himself against the wall so he wouldn’t
run in and get stuck in the middle, but the sight of Echo supporting
a bloody nose made his defenses start to cave.
“Enough!” Echo shouted, and the next thing they knew, Narcia
was shimmering and asleep on Samuel’s unmade bed.
“What happened to her?” Samuel asked, eyes still on Narcia’s
“She’s taking a dirt nap,” said Echo, wiping his nose on his
sleeves. “Come here.”
Samuel ran to him and threw his arms around Echo’s neck in a
tight, well over due embrace as light began to peak in through the
He felt complete and content for the first time in months and
sure he was doing the right thing for once. His rescuer had came,
and it’d been the one he’d prayed for every night at his window
before forcing himself to sleep.
“Let’s go, my prince,” said Echo, smiling and offering up his
hand as he crawled on to the window seal with a grace that blew
“Alright,” said Samuel, and he crawled into Echo’s arms, and
let him lower them to the ground where Narcia’s horse stood.
“Where to, my prince?” Echo asked as he lifted Samuel
effortlessly on to the large, black stallion’s back and mounting
“Anywhere,” Samuel said blissfully.
He nudged the horse into a gallop, and they rode off into the
So, the young Prince Samuel found his prince charming after
all, and they lived happily ever after…somewhere.