It was three years ago. I wanted to join a project on Wattpad about rewriting fairy tales in a modern way. I dealt with Rapunzel in a realistic and present-day way, but I could not bring it to an end. The project did not continue anyway.
Today, this story waiting to be completed, came out of a file unexpectedly and found me. “I promise,” I said. “I will bring you the end and tell.” I hope you like it too.
“You don’t need the city library.” said Gothel, shaking her head quickly. Her curly, black curls accompanied her movement like a spring. “One of your teachers gave you an assignment to research a topic that you can’t find in the books at home?”
“No.” Rapunzel pursed her lips. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but was cut off.
“I can get you new encyclopedia series or find a book on that subject.”
“Mum!” said the girl wearily. She clenched her fist and wanted to bang on the table, but she hid it behind her to avoid being scolded by her mother. “I’m bored. I’m so bored. I don’t want you to bring movies anymore, nor do I want you to load new music on my mp3 player, I don’t want to read books, do crafts or…” She gasped and swallowed. “I want friends, mom. Just a friend… I don’t remember ever going out of the house until today. My feet never touched the city, which I watched from my room on the 50th floor of the skyscraper. You didn’t even send me to school, you brought home a tutor. Mom… I want to get into a crowded place for once.”
“Impossible.” said Gothel. “We talked about the evils of the world. Girls are good, they are all good, and if good girls go out, bad things will happen to them.”
“Just the library…” As soon as Rapunzel began, her mother said, “No means no” and dropped the subject. “By the way, I’m on duty tonight.” She got up to get ready. “There is food in the fridge, you can warm it up.”
Gothel was a wealthy single apothecary. She studied without financial support from her family. In order to earn money, she worked as a waitress or shop assistant in her spare time from school. They were tiring years. It was the people who wanted to take advantage of her being a lonely young girl, which exhausted her – it wasn’t to work until midnight and go to class early in the morning. She got bad offers. Her number was distributed. She was followed to her house.
The woman, who finished her school with honors and managed to open a beautiful pharmacy on a busy street in the following years, became alienated from men with the trauma caused by these events. She never thought of getting married or having a relationship. In contrast to this coldness, there was a motherly side in her. Her phone was full of baby photos she had downloaded from the internet. She admired the children who came to her pharmacy. Sometimes in her dreams, a blonde baby called herself “Mom!” Then, she woke up with a smile that would soon turn into disappointment.
One evening, Gothel realized that she had forgotten her house key at the pharmacy. She delved in her pockets and saw that the key was in the shop. She relieved. She jumped in, drove to the pharmacy, unlocked the locks, and lifted the shutter she had taken down two hours ago. Her eyes widened when she caught sight of the thief trying to open the safe. Her hand went to her phone to call the police.
The thief immediately left the safe. Through the glass, he could be seen opening his palm and waving his hand. “Please!” His muffled and low voice was also heard as he approached the exit. He opened the door. “Please don’t call the police!” His voice became clear and louder.
“Look,” said the thief, panting. “I am a poor person. My wife is pregnant with our fifth child.” A bitter smile accompanied his words. “She craved lettuce. But… But I spent my last money buying bread. Tell me, without money on a winter day, where can I find lettuce at this hour?”
Gothel didn’t think she was an unscrupulous person. However, as she listened to the man, no compassion awoke in her. Her face was expressionless and her eyes were dry. Cold winds were blowing on her left side.
“I did not damage any drugs, I did not empty the safe. It’s just…” He held up the fifty dollars he had received. “This much. This money will be enough to keep my wife and children happy. But if I go to jail, they will all be devastated.”
“Show me a photo of your wife and children.” Her voice was even more soulless than a corpse.
The man took his wallet out of his pocket. He showed her five photos one at a time.
“Alright.” After a short answer, the woman took her hand from her phone. “The safe is over there, take as much as you want. I won’t make a complaint.”
The thief had a sigh. He relaxed and felt uninhibited. Thinking if what he heard was true, he prepared to step behind the counter as if stepping on a cloud.
“However,” the woman’s voice raised behind him. “I want you to bring your newborn child to me.”
He turned his back. “What?”
“You will call me during the birth and I will take the child away. I will raise it. You will never see your child again.”
The man’s lips began to tremble, his brows furrowed. When the woman said “If you don’t agree, let me call the police,” the horror surrounded him got even more intense.
Some words spilled from his lips. “Isn’t that a heavy punishment for fifty dollars?”
“What? Do you want to raise your fifth child too?” Gothel came in. The sound of his shoes echoed on the ground. “In poverty, by stealing money… Isn’t it a pity? Isn’t having children you can’t care for instead of birth control, punishing them for your pleasure?”
Her voice was getting louder. It did not turn into a shout, did not lose its harmony, and was heard like the most striking line of an opera.
The man nodded, his facial expression reminiscent of a child with bleeding knees. He did not take any money from the safe other than fifty dollars.
Gothel did not give up on her decision. He took the baby the day the thief’s wife gave birth. She followed the procedures and registered the girl named Rapunzel. She was now officially a mother. After achieving her dream, she dedicated her life to her daughter. She saved money. She bought the top two-story flat of a luxury skyscraper and furnished it. Playroom, sports room, library… Everything a child and young girl could dream of was present in her home. She had the best caregivers and teachers brought in. Gothel never let Rapunzel out. She didn’t cut her hair either. She combed and knitted beautifully every evening. So much so that when the girl turned eighteen, her hair came down to her knees.
On the evening of the day Rapunzel complained of loneliness, Gothel left her phone at home, which she didn’t use much, except for mandatory meetings. That’s what she usually did during night duty. She knew her daughter was playing on the phone, but she didn’t worry. After all, there was no internet connection, her daughter could not communicate with the outside world. The girl, who was alone at home, said goodbye to her mother. She took the phone and sat cross-legged on the couch. She played the candy game and then the bird toss game.
She lowered the notification bar from above and clicked on wireless connections as usual, desperately. Among the networks with the lock image in the lower right corner, she did not expect to encounter a newly opened unencrypted network. Her eyes shone. For a while she didn’t know what to do. She looked at popular apps. She downloaded a popular photo-sharing app whose purple and orange logo looks very nice to his eyes. She made a nice account for herself. She posed for the front camera with her blonde hair thrown forward and set it as her profile picture. She took a few more photos and shared them with words after “#” signs.
Her notifications were soon filled with hearts by a profile nicknamed “Prince” The profile was filled with photos of muscles, mostly taken at the gym. Prince was a young man whose style was inspired by popular icons.
Not long after, a message came from the Prince to Rapunzel.
“Hello. Can we be friends?”
That’s how their conversation started. Rapunzel gave her mother’s number to Prince. She deleted the photo-sharing app to avoid getting caught. They started texting every time Gothel left her phone. Their conversations became more frequent when the girl didn’t content with duty nights and took the phone while her mother was sleeping at home.
Their friendship soon turned into a relationship. At first, they were sending daily photos to each other. Then one night the girl undressed before the photo was taken.
Prince and the girl did not sleep until morning most nights. The girl was tired in the mornings, she could not even open her eyes at breakfast. Insomnia caused distraction. Rapunzel forgot to wipe the net one night, and Gothel, unable to decipher her daughter’s recent weirdness, found her phone connected to the unencrypted network one morning. A doubt came over her. She looked at her files. Even if Rapunzel deleted the messages and the photos sent by Prince every time they spoke, the photos she took remained in the phone memory. Gothel came across the nude photos of her daughter.
She nearly broke the phone in anger. “Rapunzel!” she shouted inside the house. She grabbed the big scissors from the bathroom and shouted impatiently. “Rapunzel! Come here immediately!”
She grabbed the girl who came in fear and said “Yes, mom” by the hair. She cut two thick braids from the roots with scissors.
“Look!” she said, grabbing her and bringing her in front of the mirror. “The only thing they find you worthy of love is what they see there. No one knows your good heart. None of your good manners or wisdom cares.”
“You learned about Prince, didn’t you?” said the girl, bursting into tears, angrily. “You won’t be able to stop us this time. Prince loves me!”
Until then, Gothel had never been angry or shouted at Rapunzel. She cried for hours, her hands was trembling and her face was red. She thought that even if she took the greatest precautions, she would not be able to prevent a small bird from flying into the traps. The next day, she had a new lock installed on the door, changed phone number. She never left her phone.
Prince could not hear from the girl for a week, but he knew the hours when her mother was not at home. Taking advantage of location information the girl sent before, he found the skyscraper. He went up to the fiftieth floor and knocked on the door.
“Just me,” he said. “Prince!”
“I can’t.” said the girl behind the door. “I am locked at home. My mother doesn’t want us to talk.”
“Please do not! How long will you endure this life? We can escape together. We will live happily ever after!”
“I’ve never been outside, I don’t know how to live outside.” said Rapunzel. She was biting her lips to keep from crying. “Give up this dream, go now.”
She sat by the door, closed her eyes and waited. She was both relieved and filled with the darkness of despair as she listened to the Prince’s distant footsteps. The road to freedom was closed before it even opened.
She stood like that for a while in frustration, her head against the door, her knees bent… Then she got up and went to her mother’s room. That’s what she did when she got bored of seeing her own room. She lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Her mind was as gray and empty as the ceiling.
She thought a bird had landed on the sill when the glass rattled. She raised her head when the sound didn’t stop, and when it became deep and harmonious like a knock on the door. As she raised, her eyes widened. Prince was there.
She ran and opened the window. Before she could say, “How did you get there?”, she noticed the fire escape the boy was standing on. She took a deep breath and put one foot on the window sill. In her second move, with Prince’s help, she climbed the fire escape.
The man’s face fell when he saw the girl’s hair. “What happened to your hair?”
“My mom cut it.”
She went down the stairs with Prince, taking nothing of what she had left behind. When she got down to the street, she anxiously hugged her lover’s arm. The noise of passing cars, the smell of exhaust, the crowd was alien to her. She closed her eyes and matched her steps to his.
Outer door’s key of the apartment turned twice. “I’m here, Rapunzel!” Gothel came in, exhausted. When she got no answer, she thought the girl was asleep. After washing her hands and face, she went to the kitchen and drank water, all her cells were renewed. When she went to her room to take off her clothes, she noticed that the window was open.
“She must have wanted air,” said she herself.
After watching TV for a while, she decided to wake Rapunzel for tea. She knocked lightly on the door of her room.
There was no sound. She gently opened the door. Fear fell in her heart when she saw that the bed was empty. “Rapunzel!” she shouted, calling the bathroom, the kitchen, every room… Finally, out of breath, she had to accept the reality of the possibility she feared.
Her daughter was not at home. She had escaped.
Prince took the blond-haired girl home. It was an ordinary house with three rooms and a living room. After showing him the rooms one by one, he took her to the bedroom, where only a worn-out sofa bed with the checkered fabric.
“Will I sleep here?” Rapunzel asked. At the same time, she struggled with disappointment. Prince did not have a glamorous life as reflected in the photo-sharing app.
“So be it,” she thought. Even if she was poor, she would be free.
“We will sleep together, side by side.” said Prince. He pulled Rapunzel close to him to sniff her short hair. Cleanliness, the smell of shampoo enchanted him. “I’m going to sleep catching your scent.”
The young girl felt a sense of distress. She was frightened by this man and his touches. It was as if Prince’s every move had a dark side, a rough and unloving leaven. For example, when he pulled her hair near him to smell it, he wasn’t kind, it hurt. He had always scowled along the way. Wouldn’t a person smile for once?
As the shroud of darkness fell over the city, Prince took Rapunzel with him. Together they did the same thing that any sexually reproducing animal does. They didn’t make love because it didn’t have anything to do with the verb “to love”. Prince was so rude that Rapunzel went to the kitchen and cried until morning. With her hair cut short, she smoked her first cigarette that night, as described in a song.
Although she had never been outside, she knew how the economic system worked. She was aware of what money is and how to earn it. However, Prince was not working. He used to go out early in the morning using his unemployment as an excuse, visit places where he could take cool pictures, and return home late at night after getting drunk. He was managing with the debt he borrowed from his kith and kin.
As the days passed, Rapunzel was all alone again, confined to four walls. Ever since she saw missing notices given by her mother online, she could not step foot on the street. She was terrified that one of the neighbors would see her. The man she lived with was also so careless that the girl even hesitated to ask for her needs. She was often verbally and sometimes physically abused. “Why?” she was asking. However, she did not yet have the courage to admit her defeat.
Television and the internet used to bind her to life like the Avatar’s strings, exacerbating her agony. The murders of women she passed by while she was under a safe roof were posing as a threat to tomorrow. Rapunzel would like to be a colorful fairy tale, not a black and white photograph printed on 3rd page. As her doubts increased, she often fell into crying fits. The pleasant moments with Prince dwindled, and their quarrels escalated like storms on the high seas.
One day, Rapunzel was out of patience, like a glass having carried the heavy burdens on it for so long and shattering from a single extra blow. The young girl, who didn’t even have a mess to collect, decided to go back to her home. One morning, while Prince was asleep, she tiptoed and opened the outer door without making a sound. She put on her shoes, which had been cold from not touching the skin for a long time, and got outside in no time flat.
She passed cars that looked like steaming dragons, past pedestrians who looked like ants. She wrapped his arms around herself and walked with her head bowed. Every noise was like a declaration of war against her. Her stealing looks wandered over people’s faces. Who would she trust to ask for their phone to call her mother? Wrapped in clouds of doubt, the sieve in her mind did not pass anyone, and the young girl randomly walked, walked, walked…
Water found its crack. Rapunzel also found her home. She went to a policeman she saw on the road and told her problem. Phones were picked up, interviews were made, and a blond-haired daughter; she was reunited with her mother, whose eyes were bloodshot from longing, sadness and lack of sleep. She hugged her hands and cried and apologized for what she had done. Gothel also hugged her daughter. She had already forgiven her. She was the baby she gave birth to from her heart.
When Prince opened his eyes, he felt like a pile of ingots. “Rapunzel!” he shouted. The answer he got was silence. Standing in anger, the man walked through all the rooms of the house, one by one. The threats he muttered through clenched teeth were like magic words. When fatigue prevailed, he slumped into the nearest chair with a loss.
She had gone. Were the little fights, the little slaps, the little shouts the reason? Had he not freed her from captivity and given her freedom? Prince had never locked the door, even if Rapunzel chose not to go out. How could someone like him be abandoned? He thought he was going to go crazy.
He suddenly stood up and yelled, “You should have gone down on your knees! You ungrateful freak, you should have gone down on your knees!” Wiping his tears, he flew out of his house like a bullet. He was going to go to the skyscraper and call the girl to the last account.
Gothel had never shut the bedroom window since her daughter had gone. During the day she rushed between the police station and the hospital, and at night she stared into space in the dark storm of her deep interrogations. If she could turn back time, she would not lock her daughter up like a bird, but raise her like a fox. She realized too late that she could protect her daughter not by isolating her from life, but by giving her experience in life.
“You,” she said to herself, “didn’t you fight with your blood and sweat?” She realized that she had deprived her daughter of many social skills, because she had locked her away so that she would not experience what she had been through. She would correct her mistake. In her new life, she would let Rapunzel go to school, make friends, seethe with people.
Even though Rapunzel returned home -in her habit- she forgot to close the window. She went to bed, tired of the evening and the day. Then a shadow appeared on the bedroom window. Two hands gripped the side of the window, then a body, then a scruffy, stubbled face.
When Gothel recognized the visitor, the cold wind that had blown in her heart when she had caught the last thief in her shop returned. The middle-aged woman stood up, folded her arms, and looked into the intruder’s eyes.
“Where is she?”
It was a question Gothel had been asking herself for days and had yet to find the answer to.
“Let go of my daughter!” she said. “She doesn’t want you.”
“I will call her to account.”
“You’re going to call for what, huh?” She clenched her fists and walked towards the tall man. “I am the one who grew her like a flower, and you who plucked her from her soil. Actually, I will call you to account. By what right did you hurt my daughter?”
“Don’t make fun of me.” said Prince. “She came back to you. She is hiding at home right now, I know. Get out of the way, we’ll talk.”
Meanwhile, Rapunzel was sleeping in her room, who knows in what dream. When Prince tried to push the mother through the bedroom door, Gothel shouted, “You shall not pass!” and grabbed his arm. The scene where Gandalf does not let the Balrog pass was happening again.
Prince was caught off his guard and the fight was over. The mother dragged her daughter’s ex to the windowsill. She just wanted to say, “Get out the way you came!” but the man lost his balance. He went into free fall from a distance of tens of stories. The barbed-iron net stretched five stories down took his eyes as it saved his life.
Prince went blind and went to live in a care center. Gothel was arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison after several trials. Rapunzel was left alone and free in the skyscraper, as she always dreamed. She lived ever after – happily? That’s suspicious.