before the curse
Ratgirl the not very nice name some whispered behind the back of Gweena Madalaine after an 'accidental' curse put her in this horrid state.
Heated words were exchanged between she and Annabel Lee - things were said about Annabel's mother that shouldn't have at moment when Annabel happened to be holding a dangerous magical weapon, the Ogre's Eyeball, and pointing it directly at Gweena.
Unexpectedly it fired and Gweena was eerily transformed into the one creature Annabel Lee had always accused her of being so like - a rat. And to add insult to injury a yard of pink embroidery floss appeared out of thin air and magically stitched Gweena's pouty lips together tighter than the laces on a blacksmith's boot. But even that did not entirely prevent her from garbling threats at Annabel at every opportunity.
Ratgirl's transformation was not a sight for the faint-hearted. Even Annabel Lee had to wince when she appeared.
Gweena Madalaine had been a privileged child, unlike the others. She was born into royalty and a prima ballerina, even at such a young age. (she was 14 when she perished with the other children).
When she was nine she lost her small round island home to a powerful earthquake that crushed it to bits and drew every trace to the bottom of the sea.
Gweena lost everyone, she was the only survivor.
With no family remaining she was sent to the workhouse. A workhouse was hardly a place for a young lady of Gweena Madalaine's station.
Within minutes of arriving, even cold and dripping from the rain, she stood defiant and confident in the front hall, her long golden curls cascading royally over the dull woolen blanket, her crisp blue eyes and pretty face capturing the attention of the entire faculty, including the Master who knew that a true princess was among them and they were in awe.
From that first day Gweena had the authorities where she wanted them. She dazzled them with stories of life as a princess of an entire country - omitting there were only 600 citizens, albeit, all of them elite - and entertained them with private recitals to show off her superior dance skills, and she was very good.
They were under her spell and while they pampered her the rest of the poor orphans were neglected worse than before.
Once a princess always a princess.
It was no surprise that from the start she fell at odds with Annabel Lee and that after their deaths in the boat that fateful night, things were no different between them, but the consequences were far more dangerous.
The children may have become spirits but a ghost in that enchanted world was not free from mishaps, as Gweena could testify. A tumble down stairs or bomp on the head was normal but throwing a curse when angry was dreadful and foolish, and nearly impossible to reverse. Annabel, tough as she was, came to regret what she'd done to Gweena and tried to remove the curse but was unable to do so.
Gweena hated Annabel Lee and spent countless hours alone plotting what she would do to retaliate.
She suffered as a rat girl, especially only able to speak in a muffle, but it was a lot quieter for the rest.
Did she ever regain her normal lovely looks?
Did she repay Annabel for what had been done to her?
There is much more to Ratgirl's story and will be revealed, one way or another in time.
Ratgirl, Gweena, will haunt you forever