Beyond the glass: Crystal Princess

By Desert Mouse

"Its so pretty." The little girl thought looking out her window. Outside the snow fell like it was in a hurry to renew the ground below. Every year it fascinated her, it was unlike the rain of summer in so many ways. The snow fluttered and danced as it fell even when there was a blizzard like tonight. The child often wondered what it felt like to have snow touch your skin. But in her world there could never be snow.

Karen lived in this building her entire life. It was a laboratory of some kind, but she didn't know much about it because most of the time she wasn't allowed to leave the twelfth floor that made up her world. Her climate never changed, her place was always the same temperature. There was never any wind, rain, or snow. And she had complete control of the lighting system so she was never at the mercy of the sun or the moody skies.

Curiously she turned her attention from the falling snow to the streets far below her. it was a different world out there, one that she could never touch. All she could do was watch them, and they would never know she was here. Karen watched the little people's reactions to the blizzard, they hurried around like the fluffy white stuff must be painful but the girl could not understand. The snow didn't look like it was hard, or sharp. How could it hurt to be touched by it? And yet the little people ran from it, seeking shelter as quickly as possible.

"It's so pretty. I wish I could touch it." Karen thought sadly. But then a smile crept along her face, soon her friend Samantha would be here and she would have no more reason to wonder about the snow. Her friend would bring her work to do, and Karen decided that today she was finally going to ask the question that escaped her any time her friends visited.

"Karen, are you up here?" a voice called out softly. The child giggled and shouted back.

"Where else would I be?"  She crawled to the side of the couch and gripped the armrest with both her hands staring at the door. When her friend Samantha walked in and saw her she couldn't help but smile.

"She's an adorable kid." She thought looking at Karen. The child had long swirling blonde hair, and the brightest green eyes. They saw the world in ways that the doctor could never imagine.
"Are you behaving yourself Crystal Princess?" Samantha asked, she noticed that there was nothing playing on the TV so she had an idea what the child was doing.

"Are we going to start my lessons soon?" Karen asked giggling. She enjoyed the old nickname that Samantha had given her. It was from an old children's story that she used to read to her and it was a secret name between the two of them.

"Not today I'm afraid. I figured it would be better if we just played this time." Samantha said. She got a chuckle out of the disappointed look Karen was giving her.
"Don't pout Crystal Princess, I have extra homework for you to play with. And I've included instructions on how to do them. You should find more then double what you usually get." She explained. The child's face brightened up.

"You didn't think I would forget you?" Samantha asked.

"Why are you giving me extra?" Karen countered, suspicious of her friend's gift.

"I have to go away for a few days, I won't be able to teach you until I get back." Samantha replied.
"I know I told you about this…" Karen looked like she was in deep thought for a few minutes then replied.

"Oh ya… you did. I forgot." She giggled pleasantly.

"Getting forgetful? Maybe I should check my Crystal princess for cracks before I leave. I wouldn't want you to break." Samantha teased.

"I'm not going to break." She tried to pout. Her eyes drifted briefly to the window and she remembered something that she wanted to ask.

"Samantha why don't I get a Christmas tree?"

Samantha stared at her with a pang of guilt gripping at her chest. She wished she could tell Karen the truth but with the cameras watching every centimeter of the floor she knew Albert would have her hide.

"You don't celebrate Christmas." She attempted to point out.

"The little people do." Karen replied.

"But your not one of them Karen. That's something they do in their world." Samantha explained.
"Why do you want one suddenly?"

"I think its pretty and the little people in my shows always get one when it snows." Karen replied looking at the storm outside.

"The tree isn't connected to the snow." Samantha started to say. She was looking for a way to explain in a way that would satisfy the girl without getting either of them into trouble.

"Christmas isn't something you could start celebrating anyway. It's a celebration of a lot of things you will never have to worry about, like currency." She told Karen.

"I don't mind, the tree's pretty." Karen smiled making the doctor feel even guiltier.

"I don't think we can find one that could be brought here, but I'll mention it to Albert and see what he can find." Samantha promised.
"He's not going to be too happy about this request, but since her situation is his doing anyway I'll leave the responsibility of disappointing her to him." She thought. For now all she was going to do was make sure that Karen enjoyed the rest of the day.

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