Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Awakening: When the Masks Come Off

This is part IV of my series of short stories, which are fairy tale retellings. You can read the previous installments here:
Awakening 
Awakening: Blood on White Snow

Awakening: When the Masks Come Off by Laura Greenwood

There was once a young girl who lived with her loving father, but her father was lonely and decided to remarry. He married a Countess, who already had two daughters. When her father died, her Step-Mother thought that the girl was a threat to the good marriages of her daughters and relegated her to the roll of a servant. The girl was forever more known as Cinderella.

***

I looked at my reflection in the mirror, looking at my perfect reflection, my light brown hair perfectly curled and my make up subtle and sophisticated. Tonight was the New Year’s masquerade ball, a whole evening of colour and mystery, but there was something I had to do first. I had a visit to make.

***

The girl was sat with her head bowed in her hands, crying I think when I arrived. Normally I like to watch people’s misery, but this time I have a better plan. I make my voice sound sweet and charming when I call out;

 “But Cinderella, why are you crying, you shall go to the ball!” The girl looked up, a haze of messy yellow curls framed her tear stained face, pretty I guess but in a youthful way, I wasn’t really sure why Philip wanted this one. She looked surprised, not that I could blame her, after all she had thought she was alone until I spoke.

“Who are you?” She asked in a timid voice, betraying her fear. I almost shuddered with the pleasure of that fear.

“Why I’m the person who makes dreams come true.” Not exactly a lie, she wanted to go to the ball and Philip wanted to drink her blood, two people got what they wanted. “Now let’s get you ready for the ball.”

“I can’t go.” She sniffed, and now it was just getting pathetic. “I don’t have anything to wear.”

“But you do my dear!” And I produced a beautiful pale blue gown, almost white. I’d chosen it with Philip in mind; he’d appreciate the contrast between the pale gown and the dark red of her blood. The girl squealed in delight, running her hand through the fabric. It was then that I knew I had her, hook, line and sinker.

***

The carriage we had taken drew up to the palace doors. As soon as we arrived I told Cinderella that I had to leave her to enter alone, which was true, and that she should go ahead without me. She looked nervous and excited at the same time, and I smiled at the anticipation of the night’s events.

I entered the ball alone; looking at the people around me I saw all kinds of colours, though none were as stunning as my own dress of course. My dress was red with black accents, striking and beautiful. My mask matched of course. I looked at Philip across the room. He smiled at me and I felt my heart flutter. His silhouette was suave in a black suit and tie, and a crisp white shirt. All the men in the ballroom wore something similar but Philip just looked a cut above the rest.

I saw him approach Cinderella, her dress glittering in the candle light. He whispered something in her ear, and I felt a brief cold stab of jealousy before he looked up at me and raised his chin. His signal for us to take little Cinderella upstairs.

I climbed up the stairs slowly, the anticipation building. I could hear the rumbling of Philip’s voice coming from a room to the left at the top of the stairs. He liked to toy with his meals; he liked to make them think that he loved them. There was a gap in the door and I looked through, I could see Cinderella leaning back into Philip’s chest, his jacket now on the chair near the door. He was whispering in her ear, probably sweet nothings, and she was moaning, probably thinking about what she wanted him to do to her next. Philip looked up to see me watching and smiled the smile he reserved only for me.

Then it changed, and his smile became more sinister, with his fangs now clearly visible. Cinderella was clueless to what was going on, even when Philip spoke my name and told me to enter. As I walked forward he bit. I saw Cinderella’s eyes dilate in shock, and as she saw me she gurgled, as if trying to ask me to save her. At that point, with the smell of her blood in the air, my own fangs came down, and I moved forward to her other side.


The fear in her eyes slowly ebbed towards a vacant stare, the little girl that thought she could steal my Prince was no more. “Maia.” Philip growled. I looked at him, not a drop of blood marring his white shirt. He stepped towards me and I lifted my face to his. Our lips met, and at that moment I knew that no little girl would ever steal my Prince. It took more than a woman to hold him. He was mine.