The air was cold and filled with silence. Dark clouds covered the sky, highlighted red and orange by the setting sun. Alone in the royal graveyard stood two figures. Both wore only black and held each other’s hand as they stared at a newly placed headstone.
“Big brother,” the princess began solemnly, “can...can hope die?”
Her brother looked to her puzzled, “Why would you ask such a thing?”
“Because,” the girl began, her voice trembling as she held back tears, “when mother was sick, I had hope she would get better. But,” she sniffled and whimpered, “now she’s gone…” Her voice trailed off as she struggled to hold back her sobs.
Grimm held silent for a moment, then spoke while focusing back on the grave. His voice was slow and careful, “Lumia, when I read to you, what do you feel?”
“What?” Lumia looked up to him, confused.
“The fairy tales,” he looked to her with a gentle smile, “you seem happy when I read them to you, right? Why is that?”
Lumia frowned, “Um, I guess...it’s because I like their stories. They have adventure, and love, and friendship…” a small smile formed as she recalled her favourite tales.
The prince nodded, “That’s right. And look, even when I’m not reading them, just thinking about them makes you smile, even when you’re sad.”
“I guess…” Lumia pouted, “I don’t understand your point, Grimm. Fairy tales aren’t the answer to everything.”
Grimm chuckled, “Of course they are,” he knelt down, placing his hands on her shoulders, “Lumia, you smile from those stories because they give you hope.”
“That’s right. They’re stories you know; stories you love. They bring with them a light that blots out any darkness. As long as you remember them, they’ll be there to give you hope. Be it ten years, a hundred, even a thousand; those stories will always be there to brighten the darkness. Mother…” he drew a shaky breath, “she was like a fairy tale. She was strong and loving and saw the good in everything. So, as long as you remember her,” Grimm gestured to his sister’s heart, “she’ll always be right here, forever.”
Lumia put her hands on her heart and breathed in awe, “Always here…” She appeared to smile before her expression dropped once more, “Brother...you’re sick too, aren’t you?”
There was a pause, then a silent nod.
The girl’s hand made its way to his, her fingers snaking around and gripping his hand tightly, “Will you...die too?”
Again he remained silent, carefully thinking through his thoughts. Their mother had fallen deathly ill only a few days before. Ever since Grimm was a baby he had been sensitive to sickness. His parents, and Lumia, were always overly cautious to the point he rarely left the palace. Their mother would read him fairy tales to compensate, but when she fell ill he wasn’t allowed to be near her, even after death. As much as he had wanted to see his beloved mother in her final moments, he had complied, for Lumia’s sake.
After pondering, he looked to her with a smile, “Don’t worry, I’ll never leave your side. After all, hope never dies,” he squeezed her hand in assurance.
Her eyes locked with his. Finally, after holding back, tears welled up in her eyes. She flung herself forward and buried her face in his coat as she sobbed.