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poetry and short stories - they/them - harry potter (hufflepuff) - amateur guitarist - the beatles -
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What if every song, book, poem, or painting was just a metaphor for food?

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"living in the sprawl / dead shopping malls rise / like mountains beyond mountains," - arcade fire

"sullen eyes, your skies are empty / there's no saving you / life and death between your breath and barely breaking through," - heart attack man

lowercase is intentional.

An Alternative Cinderella

December 17, 2017


    Once there was a girl who's mother had died when she was very young. Her father remarried an awful, wicked woman, and he soon passed away too, leaving the girl to live with her wretched stepmother and stepsisters. Her stepmother made her do chores all day, and at the end of the day she was dirty and covered in soot from cleaning the fireplace, so she was called Cinderella.
    Although Cinderella had a humongous list of chores to do, she was hardworking and got through them quickly, leaving her with plenty of free time. Her stepmother ignored her most of the time, and didn't like her just hanging around the house, so Cinderella spent her time out in the woods behind their house. She taught herself various survival skills, such as how to build fires and shelters, and how to figure out what the weather would be like the next day and which plants you can eat. Most of the dirt on her clothes at the end of the day actually came from her time out in the woods, but no one knew it.
    She was seventeen when the letters arrived. The prince was inviting everyone in the kingdom to a ball, and according to the invitations, he was also looking for a future princess. Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters wanted this to be them. They naturally didn't want her to go, and she expected this and was fine with it.
    They left at eight. The night sky was deep blue with thousands of stars in it. Beautiful. Cinderella decided to go out to a meadow where she could enjoy it even more; with her stepmother gone, nobody would try and make her stay in and go to sleep.
    She went out to a field of long grass and began walking. As she walked, she thought about the invitations, her brain whirring like a machine. It seemed strange. Why would the prince invite everyone to the ball, if the point of it was to meet a possible wife? Surely he didn't want a peasant woman as a princess. Why hadn't he just invited all the girls from the upper classes to the palace? And, come to think of it, if he had invited everyone, that meant he invited men and the elderly too. It was entirely possible that the prince was looking for both men and women as a future spouse, but he wouldn't want someone twice his age to marry him. It was interesting... very interesting...
    Cinderella shrugged. Oh well. She decided to go back to the house and get some sleep.
    In the morning, her stepmother and stepsister hadn't returned. Cinderella made some breakfast for herself. The house was too quiet, so she went outside and took a walk through the neighborhood.
    But the town was quiet. It was like a ghost town. There wasn't a single person out, and the lights in all the houses were off. Cinderella whistled, trying to fill the silence, but she stopped after a while, walking quickly, desperate to find some kind of life.
    And at last she found another person. A very elderly man was walking about, also trying to find someone. He explained to her that he had been left at his house while his son, who was looking after him, went to the ball. They talked together and walked some more.
    They searched the whole kingdom. All in all, there were about thirty of them, and they were all people who hadn't gone to the ball. Mostly the people that were too old or too young to come, the people that had to take care of the old and young people, the disabled who had been left behind, and the introverts who didn't want to be in crowds. What was especially odd was that the disabled and the very elderly had not been sent invitations.
    Cinderella thought that something very strange was going on. She came up with a plan to investigate. She would go into the castle with nine others, and they would spread throughout the palace, pretending to be guards to hear gossip and find out what happened.
    The plan went surprisingly well. They got the uniforms and stood at the gates until their break. Then they split up, eavesdropping or starting conversations. What they heard was that the prince was actually a spy from another kingdom. He was holding everyone from the ball and the actual royal family captive, and planned to have them join the army of his kingdom so he could conquer other places. Cinderella and the other nine immediately went back to the rest and told them. They began hatching another plan.
    At dawn, Cinderella sneaked into the tower and pretended to be a servant. She gave the prince his meal, which tranquilized him, and she grabbed the key to the dungeons from him. She and the others proceeded to free the kingdom and the royal family, who immediately reclaimed their thrown and had the fake prince arrested.
    Cinderella received a medal from the king, and those that had helped her also got rewards. She was offered a large sum of gold, but turned it down, saying that the kingdom needed it for other things. Out in the woods, she built a cabin and wrote many journals on wildlife and animal behavior. At last, she was free from her stepmother, and the kingdom was safe.
    This is my slightly (well, OK, a bit more than slightly) alternative version of Cinderella, a popular folktale that most of us know. I'd love to hear feedback on it!


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