The gardens and paths that wound through and connected the quaint buildings of the hamlet were both familiar and strange to Marie. She recognized each one by itself, but they were put together in a different way.

The difference was more than just the arrangement. The people were more real than those who inhabited the hamlet that had been created for her amusement at Versailles. These people obviously had lives and cares. They waved or nodded to her and Nyota as they strolled by. Some called out “Good day, my lady.” as if she were some lesser nobility; as if she were not a queen.

She wondered if she was. Certainly the Royalists believed she was… or had been, until Louie met the guillotine.

Who am I now?

At least they all seemed to feel kindly towards her. None were calling her l’Autruchienne or snickering behind her back. Neither did they cower or bow as she and Nyota walked by. They knew her. They knew Nyota as well, a fact that seemed to puzzle her new friend.

A different building caught her eye, and she pulled Nyoto inside, curious. It was as if a small chunk of the palace had been ripped away to stand alone. Inside, people were milling about, admiring the fine architecture as well as what she could only assume was supposed to be a piece of art.

She and Nyota stared. Lark cooed happily. The large sculpture somewhat resembled a dog, although its approximation to reality was distant. It was red and shiny, like metal, and reminded Marie of sausages strung together.

“Is it sticking its tongue out?” asked Nyota, looking up at the strange dog’s head.

“I don’t know. Perhaps it is holding some kind of toy in its mouth?” Marie mused.

They walked around the thing three times before feeling the pull again, drawing them farther and deeper into the hamlet. More artwork was positioned at picturesque points throughout the gardens. Some were quaint, others grotesque, and a few were just as strange as the giant red dog.

It was not her garden, and yet it was.

She felt an ownership, an entitlement, and the feeling seemed to be enforced by the deferential respect paid to her by the hamlet’s inhabitants. It most certainly had a different saveur than the hamlet she knew and loved, but it was a flavor she decided she liked.

This bit was written in response to the Write on Edge prompt flavor. My mind is firmly stuck on my new serial What Would Have Been, so I wrote this bit as a part of chapter three (which will be up on Monday, January 16 at

Chapter one is called Epitaph for a King

Chapter two is called Nyota

Chapter three is Trianon

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