A stubby dwarf sits in his chair, glowering at the little girl with loose, coppery curls, wearing a long red cape, holding a stuffed bear in her lap.
Quartz: I don’t get it. You’re the main characters in Wind Me Up, One More Time. What are you doing here?
A red curtain materializes behind Quartz, the child, and the bear.
Opal (Quartz’s younger brother, or rather his voice comes from behind the curtain): Says the protagonist in Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins.
Quartz: Shut up! That’s not finished yet, there’s no certainty Nine Star Press will accept it, and I am a secondary character in Fairest, a dead secondary character, I might add. Not that I accept that. Ever.
Grace: So are we.
Grace: We’re not dead, but we are imaginary works within an imaginary work, so to speak.
Quartz: How’s that?
Grace: We’re the main characters in a secondary story playing out within Wind Me Up, One More Time. That would make us secondary characters, wouldn’t it?
Quartz: Well, I suppose when you put it like that, it makes a certain amount of sense. (mutters) Not that it does.
Grace: It confuses us, too. Christopher suggested we come talk to you about it.
Quartz: Of course he did. Way to dump other characters’ problems on other characters…(grumbles)
Grace: You did the same thing with Iama the Terrible. You decided to settle her rivalry with Oriana over whom was the more evil enchantress by sending them to Christopher.
Quartz: Well, he did a good job mediating between them. Seems like I made the right choice.
Grace: Which is why he sent us to you. It struck him as being the right choice, given some of the secondary character confuddlement we’re going through.
Grace: We’re not the only Grace and Theodora in Wind Me Up, One More Time. We’ve got a quest, but the other Grace and Theodora have all sorts of things we don’t. Like friends, tea, an itchy sweater, and a school they can’t wait to get away from.
Quartz: Can’t help you’re noticing you’re wearing a nice cape. Must be much nicer than some itchy sweater.
Grace: Thank you. (Grace smooths the edge of the cape in question.) The other Grace admired it, too, only there’s so much she has that I don’t. I’m a little jealous.
Quartz: What do you have?
Grace: I have a sister, Nathalie. The other Grace has that, too. Only Iama the Terrible, the evil enchantress takes her away from me.
Quartz: While the other Grace gets to keep her sister, eh?
Grace: Well, no. Her sister disappears. It looks like there’s no way to get her back for a while. I suppose I had my quest, a hope of retrieving my sister, even if it seemed hopeless.
Quartz: Go on. What else do you have?
Grace: I have Theodora here with me, but she’s not really mine. She belongs to my Nathalie, my lost sister.
Grace: Thank you, Theodora. It is nice to be needed, to hear you, and to be listened to, but I’m not your child. Not like the other Theodora belongs to the other Grace.
Quartz: Is that all you have? Really?
Grace: Well, like I said, I have my purpose, my quest. In all of the fragments of Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps within Wind Me Up, One More Time; my…I mean this Theodora and myself are in, the two of us are trying to get my sister, Nathalie back. I’m not sure if the other Grace has a purpose other than handling whatever life throws at her until the end.
Quartz: That’s something.
Grace: That’s true.
Quartz: Sounds like the other Grace got most of the frustration.
Grace: I get frustration! Not to mention hardship, longing, and I have to escape from actual enchantment.
Quartz: Isn’t that something else you’ve got the other Grace doesn’t? Enchantment? Not that it doesn’t carry a lot of heartache and pain you don’t want, but you seem to envy your namesake’s itchy sweaters.
Grace: The other Grace, well, her life isn’t without enchantment, but she really has to seek it out. Enchantment comes easily to me. In fact, I find myself trapped in a palace filled with it. At one point, the enchantment gets hold of me and refuses to let go.
Grace: Theodora would like to say she has one thing the other Theodora never did…Iama the Terrible’s heart. (She looks down at the stuffed bear.) Isn’t that a spoiler?
Grace: No, I suppose not, if you don’t say anything more about it. People might really misunderstand what you just said, though, as a result.
Quartz: I’m not sure why anyone would want an evil enchantress’s heart. They’re more trouble than they’re worth. Not that I’m biased, oh no, rage doesn’t fill me when I think of what that apple did to my daughter…bloody Oriana!
Grace: An evil enchantress’s heart is something, though? Even if it causes trouble? I didn’t think it was something she’d give away that easily.
Quartz: No, evil enchantresses throw theirs away. After which they cause all sorts of trouble. You know this as well as I do.
Grace: I suppose I do, but I’m glad she did. I’m not sure how we would have won without Iama’s heart.
Grace: You’re right, that is a bit of spoiler. Sorry.
Quartz: It’s hard not to give things away. Happily I have Nimmie Not and my brothers to, err, encourage me not to.
Grace: Well, Theodora and I do have each other, to encourage each other, even if I’m not actually her child. I suppose that’s something, too.
Quartz: I suppose it is.
Grace: Thank you, Quartz. Christopher was right. I do feel better after talking to you. So does Theodora.
Quartz: Do you? (mutters) I hate it when that boy is right. (He smiles through his whiskers.) Not always, though. Not always…
Nimmie Not: (voice coming from behind the curtain) Don’t even think it.
Nimmie Not: Don’t even think about boys in other universes. Remember I’m watching you.
Quartz: Oh, come on, he’s in love with Damian! Not to mention he has whatever weirdness is going on between himself and the twins!
Nimmie Not: Hmmph! Like that would stop a flirt like you.
Quartz: For the last time, I’m not a flirt!
Quartz: What’s so funny?
Grace: Your nose is turning red.
Quartz: (He puts a hand over his nose) It is not!
Grace: (giggles again)
Curious about this Grace and Theodora as well as the other two? Here are some buy links to Wind Me Up, One More Time, the story they all appear in...
Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/
Want to read the story which started Quartz grumbling (and blogging) about his fate as a secondary character? Here are some buy links to Once Upon a Rainbow Volume 1, the anthology of LGBTQIA+ fairytales in which Quartz meets the fate he'll never forgive, forget, or stop trying to make me undo in Fairest...
Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/once-upon-a-rainbow-volume-one/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/once-upon-a-rainbow-volume-one-mickie-b-ashling/1127395428?ean=2940155023067