Mother Gothel slammed the door behind her, putting the lock on to keep me down here. She was angry with me again, realizing I was not going to give up on my dreams.
I wiped a tear from my cheek, closing my eyes.
I was approaching the adult age in a few days. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to see what this place was like and why it was so bad.
For eighteen years, she kept me in this basement. She had been waiting for me to gain my powers so she could use them to her will.
I never told her I already had them.
I placed my palm face up, my eyes lighting up as a ball of light hovered above my hand. I moved my hand around, moving the ball with it. I controlled this light and I still found it so mesmerizing despite how long I had this gift.
I used the movements of my hand to push the light wherever I wanted it to go. My eye caught on something unusual that I hadn’t noticed before. Crawling towards the area where my light lingered, I took a peek in a hole. It was small, small enough to fit my hand inside.
I sat back, tilting my head. It was tiny but I could work with it. I was going to work at this hole until it was big enough for me to fit through.
I heard a door, causing me to jump from the sudden noise. I looked back at the woman who called herself my mother. “Mother Gothel, did I do something wrong?” I asked in a quiet voice.
She walked around, shaking her head. “I want to apologize for my behavior. It was not supposed to go the way it had. Can you forgive me?”
Could I forgive her? “Are you finally going to let me go outside?” I smiled, getting too hyped for my own good.
She turned to me. “Rapunzel, I cannot let you go out there. The world is cruel to people like you. You may not have them now but you will soon. When they know, they will use you. I predict they’ll come for your birthday and when they do, I want to see them.”
“No!” she snapped. “I told you no and it stays that way. Do you hear me?”
“I want to see the world...” I looked down at the ground.
I cried when a stinging filled my left cheek. She looked at her hand, putting it back at her side. “No more of that talk. Be grateful, you little brat. You understand?”
I nodded a bit, trying to keep the frown from forming. What a fail that was. “I understand.”
She pushed my hair back, looking at my face. “Good. There are bad people in this world. I’m protecting them from you.” She left with the last word.
I looked at my fingers, watching them shake. “You can’t protect me from yourself.”
She had spent all these years warning me about the bad people in this world and she was the worst of them all. She took me from my real parents. She locked me down here and crushed my dreams. Was that normal for a mother to do?
I looked back at the hole, wiping my running nose on my little nightgown.
I was going to get out of here. I wanted to see everything she warned me to be afraid of. I had to see if her words rung true.
The basement was dark and covered in dirt. The only thing down here was the tiny mattress I slept on. There was a specific corner I designated for my bathroom business. It wasn’t ideal but I had no other choice.
The entire floor was made of dirt. This basement was in what seemed to be an old house.
Mother Gothel fed me. If she wanted my powers, she had to keep me alive somehow.
My hair went past my feet but slowed on growth through the years. I wasn’t too sure why. I did notice that my hair would split at the ends. I always pulled one strand and ripped it off of the other strand.
I looked up at the door, listening to the footsteps on the other side. I twirled my hair around my finger, shivering.
I brought my knees to my chest, pulling the skirt of my nightgown over them. I then pulled my arms inside the sleeves, breathing hot air into the neck hole.
My hands gripped my thighs as pain shot in the area just below my stomach. It was happening again. Another mother was coming to ruin my life. Were mothers just bad people in general?
Dripping began from between my legs, and I didn’t look to know it was blood. Why would mothers do such awful things?
Coughing into my cacoon made of my gown, I heard the door open. I looked at the light source. Mother Gothel put a plate down, waving her hand. “Come eat.”
I brought my limbs out and crawled to the plate. My stomach grumbled, letting me know how it felt about the food. Mother watched me scarf the food down with my hands.
Mother left me to my food eventually.
Once my plate was empty, I sat back, watching the door. The silence gave me a chance to look at the hole I’d found. I used my ball of light to light my way as I dug, using my hands.
I looked around the room, making sure she was not coming back.
I moved away from the hole when the door creaked open. “Rapunzel, I got you a friend,” Mother Gothel said.
I crawled over to see the friend she had for me, stopping upon the sight of a vicious animal. “What is this? This is not a friend.”
She laughed and shook her head, holding onto a leash, the same one she’d used on me a few times. “Exactly. This friend will teach you some lessons.” She let go of the leash and closed the door, locking it.
The animal came at me and showed me its sharp teeth, growling. “Please, don’t hurt me!”
The animal didn’t listen as it bit into my arm, chomping on the bone. I screamed out, using my other hand to form a ball of light, throwing it at the animal.
The animal moved away, making a noise and watching the light.
I coughed, inspecting my arm. Blood seeped from the holes made by its teeth. I crawled over to the animal, watching it inspect the light. “Don’t you dare hurt me like that. I never did anything to you.” I pushed the light over to the hole, following it. The animal beat me to it, sniffing and beginning to dig.
This animal was much faster at digging than I was. “Whoa, what you got there?” I barely crawling over, earning a growl from it. I backed up. It continued to dig and dig, but the door opened up. I looked back at the door while this animal growled at Mother.
She walked down the stairs, giving me slow applause. “You lied to me, you stupid girl.” She walked over, trying to grab my ball of light. I closed my fist, making it disappear.
She grabbed my neck, squeezing. “You had the power all this time. You thought you could hide it from me, didn’t you?”
I tried to get her fingers off but my strength never compared to hers. She dropped me and scoffed. “You really are pathetic.” She grabbed my good arm, pulling me along the floor. I tried to stand but she was too quick. My feet dragged behind.
Once we got out of the basement, she took me to the bathroom. Her bathroom was much nicer than my own. There wasn’t a pile of shit anywhere. That’s what she called it.
She started the bath. “We may as well get you cleaned up if you’re going to live. You never should have lied to me.”
I sat on the ground, observing the white tub in front of me.
She grabbed my gown and pulled it off, looking at my legs. “You are so filthy.” She put me in the tub, washing away the period blood.
The hot water felt amazing on my skin. That basement was always so cold.
Mother used the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash to get me cleaned up. She washed my bloody arm and looked at it, making sure it wasn’t infected.
She looked at me and rubbed her thumb on my cheek. “My sweet baby girl.” I didn’t believe her words. How could a mother let an animal attack me one second and say something nice the next?
She grabbed a towel, helping me out of the bath and wrapping it around me. “It’s a good thing you don’t have breasts.”
I looked at my chest, then hers. I didn’t understand why she had them and I didn’t.
“I never have to worry about any man using you for that reason if you happen to be around one.” She dried my hair after drying my body. “Men love breasts and you cannot give them what they love.” She smiled at me.
When she pulled my gown over my head, I frowned a bit. She wrapped a bandage around my arm, taking me back to the basement. “I’ll be back soon so we can talk about your powers.” She locked the door behind her and left me with the animal.
The animal growled, but I made the ball of light appear by the hole. It began digging once more.
I walked to my mattress and sat down. I grabbed my chest, feeling nothing. I didn’t have breasts. It was an awful feeling. Was I not a girl? What was wrong with me? Why did Mother have them but I didn’t?
I looked over at the animal. It seemed so preoccupied with digging and I didn’t mind. As long as it didn’t want to eat me, I was happy.
I studied my ball of light, shaking my head. Mother knew about my powers. What could that mean for her now that she knew? What would she do to me?
I eyed my bandage, seeing red bleed through and stain the white. This is what she would do. If she didn’t like what I did, she would hurt me. She was evil.
I was soon to be eighteen and I was still in this basement. My mother was using me for my powers, something she warned me of.
The animal stopped digging, looking in the hole. I coughed, crawling to the hole. The animal dug a bit as it crawled into the hole, disappearing.
I looked at my own body, wondering if I could fit. I had to try. This was my one chance at freedom. I could stay here or I could explore the world. I knew which option I wanted more.
I looked at the hole, sticking my foot inside for a test.
I looked back at the door that kept Mother Gothel separated from me. If I hurried, she could never catch me. I pulled my foot back in, remembering exactly how the animal got out.
I followed the same action, crawling through head first. I used my hands to pull myself, seeing the light at the end of the hole. Light, like what I created with my own hands.
I crawled faster, my insides twisting as I got closer to freedom.
I screamed when a hand wrapped around my ankle, pulling me back the way I came. I struggled but I was still no match.
Mother flipped me onto my back, using her hand to squeeze my neck. “You want to leave me? How could you do such a thing?” she yelled into my face.
My only focus was on breathing as she squeezed the life out of me. This was going to be my end. I would never see the real light outside of this basement.
Just when my eyes closed, her hand loosened. Air came rushing into my lungs. “You can never leave me, Rapunzel.”