Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write for the FANTASY and/or SCI FI Genre (10/16/14)
- TITLE: A Charming Life?
By Katherine (Kat) Kane
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For the first few weeks, everything was deliriously happy, just as ‘Happily Ever After’ should be. They did everything together; opening castles, State visits, even deciding the names of their future royal offspring. Life with the Ugly Sisters was but a distant memory.
One morning, Prince Charming wasn’t his usual charming self. The previous night’s Magical Grand Ball had finished well after midnight and, judging by the quantity of mead imbibed, a success. But, for some reason, he ignored her all day. Cinderella put it down to him feeling unwell, but wondered how she had upset him.
When she asked, “Is everything okay, my love?” he just growled, “Fine, apart from you eyeing up Jack all night. I bet you’d be up the beanstalk with him, given half a chance!”
“You and that Grand Old Duke of York were getting very cosy last week!”
“Nonsense! Who will you going accuse me of flirting with? Rumpelstiltskin?”
“And then there’s Buttons... I’m going to watch you more carefully around men.”
Cinderella lay awake all night, wondering if her husband was right.
Next day, she thought she’d take a carriage ride to see Sleeping Beauty. After obtaining Charming’s permission, she arranged for the carriage to collect her at 10am.
But the carriage never appeared. At 11am she walked back to the castle, when she noticed the gnome gardeners pulling up and burning her prize pumpkins!
“What is the meaning of this outrage?”
“Begging your pardon, Ma’am, but Prince’s orders!”
“He said something ‘bout not wanting ‘em turnin’ inta carriages again. He wants us to exterminate the mice next.”
“I’d love to know where my carriage is. It’ll be ‘The End’ by the time it arrives.”
“I saw the Prince leavin’ in it, not ‘alf an hour ago. Said he ‘ad ‘urgent business’.”
As if by magic, Cinderella’s heart turned into lead. Oh well, I suppose I could always see Beauty tomorrow.
From that day on, the carriage was always ‘in use’ whenever she wanted to use it. Every message sent by carrier pigeon to her friends vanished, and no letters from friends ever arrived. She began to wonder if she was Rapunzel, lonely and trapped in her castle.
One day, she confronted Charming. His snarl of “Silence, hag!” was typical of how he spoke to her in private. But yet in public, he was charming personified.
Confused and convinced she was going mad, Cinderella decided it was time to summon the Fairy Godmother’s help; one thing at least that Charming couldn’t stop her doing.
On cue, the Fairy Godmother appeared in a puff of smoke. But she offered no comfort. “Well, dearie, my magic only brings people together. His jealousy shows he loves you. Maybe if you were a better wife to him... poof! Everyone gets their Happy Ever After and no magic required!”
Cinderella knew she was desperately unhappy and utterly disillusioned with the whole idea of ‘Happy Ever After’. Charming was hurting her worse than the Ugly Sisters. And the Fairy Godmother, who she hoped would fix everything, blamed her!
Magic can’t give the answer; there must be something better...
Life continued to get worse. She lived in constant terror of provoking Charming’s anger. Throughout her pregnancy, he huffed and puffed incessantly about how unattractive he found her expanding body, and how he would rather be with Snow White, Red Riding Hood and even the Wicked Witch than “this magically enhanced hippo.”
In desperation, she turned to an Ancient Book, shunned and feared by many as “The Biggest Fairy Tale of All”. It said: ‘This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us.’*
Charming’s love for me falls far short...
Not surprisingly, he ran off with Snow White, claiming to be ‘bewitched’.
Cinderella abandoned faith in Happily Ever After. All she ever wanted – and been waiting for – was a saviour to rescue her from her own vulnerabilities. Instead, Charming exploited those vulnerabilities, revealing himself to be, not her saving knight in shining armour, but a Big, Bad Wolf in a dustbin.
Once she had encountered Christ and his love, Cinderella wasted no more time on human ‘saviours’. No human, not even a hero, could ever match what Christ had done.
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