Check out my latest flash-fiction story, Ella
A twisted take on the familiar glass slipper…
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Ella scrubbed the stone floor of the villa with a wooden-handled brush as beads of sweat dripped from her nose and chin. Her two stepsisters, followed by her stepmother, paraded themselves to the breakfast table and began to dine. Nothing more than indignant looks were cast in her direction. She listened intently as the trio engaged in morning conversation, “They found another one yesterday. Same thing as before. The final blow was a spike to the head, to the temple, to be exact,” her stepmother espoused.
“That’s well over a hundred victims now,” stated Stasia, her eldest stepsister.
“We have to be careful,” Brenna, her other stepsister chimed in, then added, “Someone else is playing the same kind of game, only they don’t dispose of the bodies.”
“Either way, we need to stop for a while,” the stepmother replied.
Ella continued scrubbing as her mind drifted back to the death of her mother, then the remarrying of her father and eventually, his own suspicious passing. The only things he left her were glass-making skills, tools, a furnace and her abusive step-family. Her time spent in the glass works had resulted in tiny holes burned into all of her tattered garments, earning her the chastising nickname, Cinder-Ella, from her tormentors.
“The prince has called for a town meeting. He’s brought in his personal security team and has vowed to find the killer. We have to attend, else we will draw undue suspicion upon ourselves,” the stepmother declared.
Ella cleaned up the remaining blood stains in the villa, then went to the glass works shed to stir the coals in the furnace and ensure the disposal of the trio’s latest body. She then completed her own preparations and departed for the castle several hours after her siblings had left.
Heads turned and whispers were murmured as the mysterious and beautiful figure strode into the fray gathered inside. She walked passed both of her step-siblings. Neither recognized her behind her wand held mask. The prince was immediately enamored and intrigued by the mystery that lay beneath. Within moments of them quietly chatting and giggling amongst themselves, they had departed to one of the verandas overlooking the castle lawns. A scream wafted in from outside. One of the prince’s body guards burst into the ballroom and announced, “The prince is hurt! Get help, quickly!”
The man rushed passed the guests and out of the castle, followed by more armed men and those seeking to witness the scene for themselves. The prince lay on the grass, a single clear, glass slipper protruding from his right temple. The severely tapered heel was embedded up to the very bottom of the shoe. There was no sign of the mystery woman.
At first light, the prince’s head of security, Ansel, scoured the kingdom trying to match the slipper to its owner. Before he had reached Ella’s home, her siblings ordered her to comb the villa for any evidence of the trio’s own misdeeds, then relegated her to the back porch while they spoke with their inquisitor. The trio were subjected to the slipper, but their feet were far too wide and pudgy to get even their toes inside. Ansel apologized and left the villa, though something about the situation had piqued his professional curiosity. Something just didn’t seem right. The women seemed to be hiding something, so he turned back to inspect the villa and its grounds more thoroughly.
Outside, Ella pulled her sandals off and promptly smashed her right foot with a wooden mallet. The pain was instantaneous and intense, but she had not struck hard enough to break bones, only to cause swelling. As she raised the mallet for the other foot, a crunching noise distracted her. Ella looked to her right to see Ansel standing a few feet away, staring with his mouth agape, just as the slipper fell from his hand and onto the ground.
Ella smiled, and without a moment’s pause, launched the mallet, striking him in the right cheek and eye. He went down hard. Ella’s face came into view through his uninjured eye; the glass slipper in her hand cast refracted sunlight across his face as she moved. She stooped down and retrieved the other slipper, smiled quaintly, then plunged both heels into the sides of his head. Ansel’s body convulsed briefly and then fell limp. Ella slid the fingers of her hands into the openings of the slippers, inserted her thumbs into the open toe holes, and used them as handles to drag the body into the glass works shed.
As she wrestled the body into the wheel-barrel holding scrap glass and maneuvered it into position to dump the contents into the furnace, slippers and all, she thought, “Well, I guess I’ll have to start disposing of mine too…” Ella retrieved two molds and arranged them near the furnace opening. She donned her leather apron and gloves, scooped a ladle of molten glass out and deposited it into the first mold, then repeated the process for the second. A lopsided, evil grin crept across her face as she sat and watched the two molds cool. Two, white-orange shapes glowed back at her, the shapes of two glass slippers, each with a severely tapered heel ending in a sharp point.
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