The Starring Role
1051 words long
What does happily ever after actually give you, anyway?
Notes from the author:
A fairy tale gone wrong; that was the prompt, and it was ambiguous. (The best writing prompts are.) It could refer to a happily-ever-after that went sour, or it could mean no happily-ever-after after all. Or it could mean a fairy tale turned upside down and inside out, inverted, subverted, interrogated to its core. Seems to me, that's when a fairy tale goes right.
The other prompt was the word "meticulous," which immediately brought to mind one of the classic impossible tasks from the fairy tale trope toolbox.
"We shall have a coach-and-four, coach-and-four, coach-and four," sang the ugly stepsisters delightedly. Eleanor watched them follow her stepmother out the door, and sighed. It might be easier to bear, she thought, if her stepsisters weren't so prone to sing-songing their every thought. But that was life in a fairy tale. She sighed again and knelt to begin her task.
A pair of starlings alighted on the window and peered into the kitchen with bright, beady eyes. Eleanor was not entirely surprised. She'd half-expected visitors of some sort, birds or a fairy godmother or a talking goat. It was that kind of fairy tale.
"Tit, ker tit, we saw it all," said one starling, and the other answered, "She'll never let you go to the ball."
Eleanor gathered her thoughts, lining them up into rhyming couplets. One had to follow protocol in a fairy tale. "It's true, it's true, but what shall I do?" She scooped up a handful of barley and peas, which she held out to the birds. "I want to go, really, I do."
The first bird answered back right quick. "Then go. Why let them tell you no?" Said the second, "Make your own damn dress and go."
This was not according to script....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for September 16, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1051 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.
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