Caged Canary

by Neophyte

>>garish, unusual, dreary, singing, imprisonment

"Please, sir. My voice is strained, I can't perform again today. Please, I just need a short rest." croaked a hoarse soprano voice.

"I'm sorry, Lilliane, but you know I have no control over such things. Come along, it's your last performance and then you can rest. The Baron is waiting." replied a smooth, yet strained tenor. The man tugged on Lilliane's chains with a soft clink, pulling her along slightly faster. Her dainty feet struggled to keep up with her larger male companion's strides until, finally, they arrived back stage again.

With the usual dexterity, the attendants removed Lilliane's chains and reapplied her makeup. Her pale complexion shone like porcelain after they were done with her. Afterwards, she changed out of her plain, torn robes and into her costume, a garish dress with a purple and orange checkerboard pattern. Donning a hat of the same design, she stepped out onto the lavish stage. Her sole observer was the Baron, dressed in a white tuxedo with white dress pants, a red rose tucked in the chest pocket. His featureless masked unnerved Lilianne greatly, but she must sing. That was her job. Her station.

She a sang a mournful ballad of lost love, an unusual choice for royalty. Normally when they requested private shows, the Royalty liked to hear of past heroes or the great deeds of their houses. But today, the Baron wanted to hear the story of a man who had true love in grasp, only for it to be snatched away at the last second. Lilliane's voice came dangerously close to giving out all together during the highest notes, she could feel the glares her handlers gave her. She was terrified, Lilliane knew all too well what happened to performers who couldn't sing.

After her performance, the Baron applauded (as is common courtesy) and promptly left. Lilliane, too, retreated backstage where her obnoxious costume was removed and her chains reapplied. Again, she was lead back to her cell and the door shut with the familiar clang. Lilliane retreated to her usual corner, directly diagonal from the door between her and freedom. But she knew that she couldn't leave. Her family sold her for her voice, and she now belonged in her cell. 

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Left By: cain

This is really sad... I think your writing is very good, because I found myself really feeling for Lilliane's plight and hoping she would be able to escape. I think a lot of it was in your strong descriptions, which really placed me in the scene. For example: the "soft clink" of the chains, the "purple and orange checkerboard pattern" of the dress, and the Baron's mask.

When I finished reading this, I wanted to read more. And I think you could take this and really go somewhere with it, because it leaves the reader with so many questions. The fact that the Baron has a featureless mask leaves us wanting to know more about him. His odd song request made me think that he himself might have a tragic story - perhaps he suffers from lost love. And finally, you've done a great job making the reader care about Lilliane. I want to know more about her, and I want to see her story have a happy ending.

I think, when one writes a story, one should strive to make it as interesting, which means avoiding cliches. Some of your work here borders on the cliche: Lilliane being dainty and of pale complexion, for instance. I think I would have liked her more as someone burly and not too beautiful, whose only real asset was her voice. I guess what I mean is that she is too close to the "beautiful imprisoned maiden", and perhaps this would be more interesting if you deviated from that more.

We're still implementing comment replies, so for now if you'd like to reply to this feel free to message me here: Anyway, this was a really enjoyable read (as you can tell I got quite into it). Thanks for sharing, and write on!

Left By: Neophyte

Thanks for stopping in and reading my little story! I'm not a very experienced writer and this represents one of my first forays into narratives as well as writing an general. If you have any thoughts on the story, please feel free to give it as harsh a critique as possible.