Something Lost

by Lisa Cristal

The breeze came in through the open window. Lila’s eyes fluttered awake and as she stretched in bed she felt lighter, as if something inside of her was missing.

She called to her mother in a panic, “Mother, something is gone.”

“Don’t tell me that you misplaced the necklace from your betrothed.”

“Of course not,” she said crossly. “It’s much more serious than that.”

Her mother pulled back the sheets and found a single drop of blood on the sheets.

“Who was with you last night?” demanded her mother.

“No one. Sister slept in my room.”

“No!” Her mother looked horrified, angry and sad at the same time. “The marriage imp has stolen your virginity. My mother told me about the legends.

“Your betrothed and his family will not be happy. Some do not believe that the marriage imp exists and think it is merely an excuse for wayward daughters. The best we can hope for is that your father can find more goats to add to your dowry.”

But Lila was not someone who would simply accept things. No imp was going to destroy her life.

Her betrothed, Matthew, came over later that day. “You seem different, Lila. You seem lighter and unhappy.”

Lila looked down at the ground. She whispered, “The marriage imp stole my virginity. But I know that that will not change anything between us.”

Matthew seemed startled. “Are you sure that is what happened? Of course, there are the old legends, but nobody believes such stories now. If my parents find out the marriage will be called off. According to our customs my wife must be a maid.”

Lila said sharply, “You know me. Of course, that is what happened. Technically, I am still a maid. When the marriage imp steals your virginity, he merely puts it in a red box. If I find him,I can take the box back and reignite my virginity.”

“If you say so,” said Matthew doubtfully.

“Let us go and hunt for the imp together.”

“I need some time to think,” said Matthew. “I’ll join you later.”

Disappointed, Lila began her search alone in the forest outside the village. At dusk she saw a small, wizened creature crooning to himself and hugging a red box. She quietly picked up a branch to knock him out. As she crept up, she heard him singing a song about beautiful Lila and his unconditional love for her beginning with her birth and reciting her accomplishments over the years. Fascinated, she put the stick down and listened. She began to realize that this imp knew her better than anyone in the world and loved her because of her strengths and despite her weaknesses. Then she thought of Matthew, who walked away at the first sign of trouble.

The imp turned to her and asked if Lila could forgive him. “I just wanted a part of you to be with me, even if it was for a small time.”

He extended the red box to her. She was so touched she bent down to kiss him. The spell was broken, and she watched as he turned into a handsome prince.

“I can never thank you enough,” he said. “Will you come back to my kingdom and marry me?”

She took the box and reignited her virginity. “I’ll think about it,” she said. “All of this has really made reconsider whether I want any man in my life.”

In her prior life as a trademark attorney Lisa Cristal only wrote non-fiction. The members of Writing Workshop helped her enjoy writing fiction and this assignment was writing fan fiction.