By Ella J. Olson

Long ago, there was a human kingdom. Their pride and joy was their princess, Princess Lily. One day she vanished. The kingdom blamed her disappearance on their neighbors, the creatures of the forbidden forest. War broke out and both sides had hatred towards each other. But, one boy, one girl and one creature changed the realm’s history…

There was a boy in a small human village on the border of the forest. He was only 12, but his imagination was big. His dirt brown hair matched his emerald-green eyes. Freckles were dotted along his face and his clothes were tattered but still good. His name was Paxton. He had read books on the forest and was enchanted by the forbidden plains that edged his little town.

One night, while his whole village slept, Paxton awoke to a strange noise that came from his living room. He thought it was just his parents having a conversation, but when there was a crash, Paxton’s heart skipped a beat. He grabbed his stuffed bear and crept down the stairs. He watched in horror as a strange creature slashed its claws along his father’s face. Paxton then realized what was happening, his village was being raided. He had heard of this happening to border towns, but he never thought it could happen to his home. Another creature was going through their belongings. The creatures had a wolf-like tail and ears.

Paxton ran up the stairs but tripped and let out a yelp. He continued up the stairs and hid in his closet. He heard his door creak open and saw claws scratched against the ground.

“I smell you little boy. You either come out of hiding or I’ll find you myself,” the creature said.

Paxton just scooted farther back until the doors of his closet were slashed into splinters. The creature grabbed him and began to drag him back downstairs. Paxton broke free and jumped out the nearest window. The glass shattered and Paxton met the dirt. He grabbed his arm, which had a large cut on it from the broken glass. He looked up and saw his entire village being torn apart. Paxton turned to his side and spotted the forest, an escape from this. He darted towards the woods and began to run farther and farther in. He ran until his legs ached and felt like jelly.

Paxton spotted a cave and laid down against the rocky wall. He took off his shirt and wrapped a strip of fabric around his bleeding arm. As the light from the moon shone above him and streamed into the cave, Paxton’s eyes grew heavy, and he drifted off into a deep sleep.

The morning sun rose and warmed Paxton from the cold cave he slept in. He had only muddy pants and a thin tank top to keep him warm. As his eyes fluttered open, he saw the silhouette of a person. Their face was hidden by a hood and a scarf, only their light olive eyes were visible. The thing was, this person held a knife at Paxton’s throat.

“Who are you and why are you in this forest?” they asked.

“M-my name is Paxton, and I came here as an escape from my village’s raid!” Paxton blubbered nervously.

The person withdrew their knife and slid it in its holder in their belt. They stood up and peeked their head out of the cave, looking at the sky. “Ok kid, there is one thing you need to know about this place, never wander alone or you’ll become dinner. I can get you to an elf village so you can have a safer place to stay,” the person said. They helped Paxton up, took off their cloak, and wrapped it around Paxton. With their hand on their dagger, the person helped Paxton to the village.

“May I ask why you’re helping me? I’ve heard stories that the creatures of this forest were ruthless and merciless,” Paxton said.

“Well, I’m no creature, I wasn’t even born here,” the person said, pulling off their hood and revealing their face. Wheat brown hair fell out of the hood and rolled down to their hips and a scarred up yet beautiful girl now stood in front of Paxton. He saw something dangling from her neck, a small golden chain with the royal crest carved into its charm.

“You’re Princess Lily, but you were announced dead four years ago!” Paxton said.

“Dead? Is that what my parents thought had come of me? I’ve just been stuck here as a prisoner,” Lily said.

“Prisoner, but then where is your – ” Paxton began, but was cut off by a shake in the ground.

“Lily!” a loud voice bellowed.

From the trees out walked a boy, maybe 19, with pure white hair, deep black eyes and pale blue skin. Black feathered wings stuck out behind him and were open wide.

“Keeper…” Paxton mumbled.

Lily drew her knife and the two began bickering. The creature raised his hand and slapped Lily to the ground. His attention then darted to Paxton. Paxton was frozen with fear as the creature ran up to him, tackled him and glared at Paxton with a fire in his eyes. Just as the creature raised his claws, a girl appeared over them and kicked the creature off Paxton.

“Jinx, no. Leave the kid alone,” the girl said.

“Well, if you hadn’t run away Lily, I wouldn’t have to. Now, return home and I won’t hurt your new friend,” Jinx said.

Lily put away her knife and helped Paxton up.

“Um, aren’t you taking me to the elf village?” Paxton asked.

“Oh, little boy, you aren’t going to the elf village,” Jinx said in a creepy tone. Jinx dashed towards him, scooped Paxton out of Lily’s grasp, and flew away. They landed in a cave that was on the side of a mountain, high above the valley and Paxton was thrown into a cell. The bars rose and had officially locked him up. Jinx gave him a creepy glare and flew out of the cave.

A few moments later, he returned with Lily and threw her to the ground. “Watch the boy while I hunt. If you free him, you will be thrown into the cell with him,” Jinx said.

He opened his wings and flew off, leaving Lily and Paxton. Paxton could see through the bars that Lily’s hands were bleeding from being thrown against the rough stone floor. Lily grabbed a piece of bandage from a small chest and wrapped it around her hands.

“Lily, was it? What’s going to happen to me?” Paxton asked.

“If you’re lucky, you’ll just be a slave of Jinx with me. He may look like a threat, but he’s just a weakling who scares people into doing whatever his heart desires,” Lily said.

“So, how long have you been here? As a prisoner?” Paxton asked.

“Four years, maybe shortly after I disappeared. Jinx and I were friends, but something snapped in him one day and he enslaved me,” Lily said.

“Well, did you ever do anything harsh to him?” Paxton asked.

Lily’s eyes went blank, she had zoned out. She shook her head and grabbed a pillow and blanket. Lily slid them through the bars and gave Paxton a sympathetic smile.

“Paxton, there are some problems that just can’t be fixed. Make yourself a little bed and I’ll see you soon. I’m going to try to find something to break those bars,” Lily said.

She equipped herself with her knife and jumped out of the cave. Paxton could hear her yelling with joy as she slid down. He curled himself into a ball and sniffed. Soon enough, tears rolled down his cheeks and his body shook. What would become of me? A slave or that creature’s next meal? But Paxton then remembered his mother and father, and if they were still alive, they’d most likely never see their son ever again.

Days turned to weeks and weeks stretched to months. Paxton was still a prisoner of Jinx, but his bond with Lily grew. While Jinx was away doing God knows what, he and Lily would have little chats and Lily would tell him about the creatures she’d encountered on her little runaway adventures. At night, when Jinx returned, he and Lily would argue, and Paxton would close his eyes and hold back tears as Lily hit the ground. He wanted to get out of there, to get Lily out of there. But why wouldn’t Jinx let them leave? Two humans don’t really serve a purpose to him since he is a strong creature. Paxton decided he’d find out. One night, while Lily and Jinx were doing their daily fight, Paxton yelled, “Why do you keep us here? We serve you no purpose, so why keep us as your prisoners?”

Jinx glared at him and began to walk towards him. Lily was staring at Paxton and shaking her head at him rapidly, but Paxton kept talking. “Answer me you beast!” he yelled.

That angered Jinx, a lot. He ripped the cell bars apart and grabbed Paxton up by his shirt collar. He dragged him over and dangled him over the exit of the cave. It was a lot farther drop then Paxton thought.

“I keep you here because no other creatures believe I’m threatening. I thought that keeping you and Lily as prisoners was enough, but maybe killing one of you will prove that I’m not weak,” Jinx said with a craze in his eyes.

Paxton began to feel Jinx’s grip loosen on his shirt and just like that, Paxton was falling to his death.

“No!” Lily yelled and jumped after him.

She caught up to him and wrapped her arms around him. Paxton could see Jinx at the top, frozen from his actions. He spread his wings and dove after Lily and Paxton. Just as they were about to hit the ground, Jinx caught them. Paxton had his eyes open wide after that near death experience. He looked over and saw Lily wiping blood from her mouth and Jinx regaining his balance. They had all been changed after that event. Paxton felt that regret wasn’t the only thing that motivated Jinx into saving them. There was a sheer look of relief on Jinx’s face when he saw that Lily was safe.

“Thanks,” Lily muttered.

Jinx cleared his throat but didn’t speak. Paxton knew it now, Jinx only saved them because Lily had jumped after him.

“Um, sorry kid. I just…got angry,” Jinx said.

“It’s ok,” Paxton said.

Lily brushed herself off and glared at Jinx. “That was too far Jinx. Just get us back up to the cave and leave me alone for the night,” Lily said. She walked away and started to the foot of the mountain.

Paxton looked at Jinx with a sincere smile. “I know why you saved us, thank you,” Paxton said.

“I highly doubt that you know why I did what I did. Like I said, I just need you two alive so I can kill you later,” Jinx said. He grabbed Paxton and Lily, flew them to the cave, and Lily stormed off to her room. Jinx sighed and returned to his. Oddly, he didn’t put Paxton back in his cell, but wrapped a vine around his left ankle and just kept him locked to the ground. Paxton sighed and began to fall asleep.

As the days passed, Jinx began to lighten up a bit. Since their little incident, Lily had been colder towards Jinx and Jinx was nicer towards Paxton, since he did almost kill him. Paxton watched as Jinx would hopelessly look at Lily and sigh to himself sadly. Paxton could see that Jinx had feelings for Lily and was too afraid to show it. Paxton thought that he should know what happened between the two that made them this way. So one day, while Lily was out, Paxton looked at Jinx sitting on the edge of the cave and took a deep breath. “If you don’t mind me asking, what happened between you two that made you like this?” Paxton asked.

“She did something to upset me and we fought. I said that she’d be dead without me, but she shot back that if she hadn’t trapped the attackers, they’d both be dead. She said she saved me, and I never like when people helped me. I lost my temper and locked her away. For the past four years, we’ve hated each other. But…I grew fond of Lily, in a love sort of way. There were times we got along, I’d hear her beautiful laugh and see her snowy white smile. Her light olive eyes are enchanting and sometimes I can’t get her out of my head,” Jinx explained, looking lovesick when talking about Lily.

“But then why don’t you tell her?” Paxton asked.

“I don’t think I could, and you’ve seen how I usually treat her. There is no way a kind-hearted beauty like her could love a short-tempered beast like me,” Jinx said.

Paxton placed his hand on Jinx’s back while he covered his face with his wings. Paxton then saw Lily climbing back up the mountain and an idea struck him. With a little nudge, Jinx tumbled down the side of the mountain and crashed into Lily. He caught her before she hit the ground and held her at his side. Paxton could see Jinx being flustered while Lily was just a little shook. But at that moment, they locked eyes and smiled at each other. Jinx was keeping them both afloat by flapping his wings. Then, both of them looked at Paxton with angry faces and Paxton knew he was in trouble. Jinx flew Lily into the cave and dropped her on top of Paxton. Lily pinned his arms above his head and Jinx held out his claws. Paxton closed his eyes in terror but soon opened them in surprise as Jinx tickled his stomach.

“Ok! Ok! I’m sorry!” Paxton choked out a laugh.

“Thanks for almost killing us, you dork!” Lily said with a mischievous smile.

Paxton was released and they all just laughed. Paxton saw that Jinx was smiling at Lily as she let out her laugh and he smiled sweetly. They may have their bad moments, but there is always love in their friendship.

Paxton didn’t know what he was feeling, but he felt accomplished. Lily and Jinx began to get along and Paxton was happy because of that. He hadn’t returned to his village, but Paxton had found a new family there. For the coming years, his family only grew. By the time he was 18, he had a little niece named Zira. In the end, all Jinx and Lily needed was a young boy’s help and together they lived happily ever after.


SCSC Writing Contest Anthology 2021–22 Copyright © by Original Authors. All Rights Reserved.

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