Into the Castle

“Why should we want to turn around?” you ask.

“We’ve only just figured out where we’re going,” your companion puts in. It’s almost agreement.

“As it pleases you,” the girl says, shrugging. She presses a sprig of rosemary into your hands. It smells sharp and sweet and green. “Here you are. That’s for remembrance.” Then she walks away, up the road and into the fortress. As she passes through the gate, she vanishes into the encroaching darkness.

You find yourself wishing you’d gone with her. You’re not sure whether you want to protect her, or the other way around.

You slide down from your horse, square your shoulders, and stride up to the guards at the gate. “We are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, come upon an urgent summons from the king and queen.”

One guard sizes you up. He has a hollow-eyed look to him, as though it’s been some time since he slept properly. The last sliver of sunlight gives his face a sallow cast. “Which one are you, then?”

Your companion looks aghast. “Why, you don’t think we could be the ki—”

“He’s asking if I’m Rosencrantz or Guildenstern,” you say, rubbing at your temples. “You couldn’t be the queen. You don’t have the bone structure.”

Well, which are you?