A scrape, a sliver of light, a clank. And then it was dark again. She scooted over cautiously and reached out to find a plate and a cup. Her kidnappers weren’t going to starve her then. She bit into the tuna sandwich with a tinge of relief. After eating and drinking, Princess Diana curled up into a ball and closed her eyes.
There was a star in the sky when she awoke, which was strange, because she was still in the dark room. The darkness now had this edgy, hard quality to it.
“Do you want to go home?” The voice came out of nowhere.
“Of course I do,” Princess Diana replied, staring up at the star. “Who are you?”
She thought about that very carefully. “How did you get in here?”
“I think you’re lying.”
The voice chuckled, the star growing larger by the second. “Here. Look at me.”
The diamond was as large as her palm, shining brightly in the hard darkness. “You’re a talking diamond.”
“How do I know you’re not the one who kidnapped me?”
“Mmmm. So you think I kidnapped you and now am offering to set you free? For what purpose, may I ask?”
“To get on my good side. To get on my dad’s good side.”
A long silence.
“It’s true,” the princess said.
“No,” came the faint reply. “I just seek to find the best words to convince you of my sincerity.”
“Or of your duplicity.”
“Why do you not trust me?”
“Why should I trust you?” She waited for a reply, but when the silence dragged on, she started speaking again, cutting off whatever it was the diamond would have said. “This darkness is your doing. This hardness is your essence. For what is harder than diamond? What do you want of me?”
“Of you?” the voice was contemplative. “Nothing, really.”
And then the world seemed to spin.
There were voices. She thought she recognised one. Diamond.
“It wasn’t my intention,” the hard, cold voice said, “to give you that impression.”
Diamonds were sparkling, brilliant rocks weren’t they? Nothing but dark, black carbon, made to shimmer. It stood to reason that they were indeed heartless.
“You were only trying to rescue her?” This other voice was warm, familiar, and very angry. Father.
“As intentions go, I was just passing through. She looked out of place in that cellar.”
“She looked out of place. In a cellar.” Flat. Ooh, very angry indeed.
Diamond sighed. “I’m saying this all wrong. I’m more of a dazzle-and-leave person, than a stay-and-explain.”
“Explaining will go a long way today.”
Princess Diana forced her eyes open. A pale young man was on his knees before her father, held there by two burly guards. His green eyes flickered towards her before gazing up again at the king.
“You can believe whatever you want, Sire, but I assure you, I had no ill intentions. It was a simple mistake. I sought to question and explain where action would have sufficed. I apologise.”
There was a shimmer and the man disappeared, leaving the guards gaping. The king merely sighed.
“He has done me no harm, father,” Princess Diana said.
Princess Diana was home, in her room, with the lights turned on, as if nothing had happened. She sat, staring into space for a while, then got ready for bed. On her pillow lay a diamond, no bigger than a ladybug, set in a dark velvet choker. It seemed to wink at her.