Schizo Cinders

Down in the cellar, a shape moved in the semi-darkness. Gently, the girl wiped the dust off the shelf as the candles threw her shadow just as disrespectfully as her mother had treated her for all of the girl's 17 years. As she finished her dusting, a tear fell onto the surface she had just cleaned. Cinderella stared at it mournfully, but left it to be consumed by the air. Like wax which seeped off the points of brightness, it reflected the light from the tiny window, but the candle-juice set after a few moments. The girl got to get feet and slowly walked to the window in her dirty-grey cotton dress. A vividly crimson mouth upturned into an upside-down smile, while more tears oozed out of horribly pink eyeballs as she stared into the garden veiled with brown cloud. Lightning flashed, lighting up her face and startled, she took a step back as the thunder arrived.
The lightning was blinding, and for a second she could only see red and blue shapes pulsating through her vision. They went soon, but a hazy white figure remained in the room. It was as if it had disjoined itself from the lightning - a storm nymph. It was read, Cinderella knew that. It spoke to her, with a cool, sharp voice, and she recognised this voice - it was that of her Godmother.
"Envy."
"I am jealous. I want to go the ball with Gyndela and Aliye and stepmother. To dance with the Prince."
"Clad in that?"
"I want a dress too. Give me a dress," demanded Cinderella childishly.
"Follow." The Godmother wafted up the cellar stairs then down the corridor and stopped at the locked entrance of the mansion's east wing. The glass door which separated the two realms showed Cinderella a dark, cobwebbed hall with five doors leading away.
"Stepmother said I shouldn'a go in there. Daddy's room is in there. Daddy haunts it."
"Do you remember your daddy, Cinders? Does it still hurt?"
Cinderella nodded. She remembered the man who killed her mother in front of her 5 year old eyes. He married another woman after being charged not guilty because of lack of evidence, then had kept sexually abusing Cinderella until she had pushed him down the stairs. She had gotten away with patricide because it looked like an accident..
"He loved you more than your mama and stepmother. He was going to give you a present when you were 16. You killed him before. But I will give you the dress he was going to buy, but for today only. Come." She passed through the glass effortlessly. Cinderella, however, kicked a pane in the bottom and climbed through this, cutting her left arm accidentally. Both entered the room of Cinderella's father together, but the girl went to open the wardrobe alone.
The dress was wholly white. Cinderella took it from the hanger, slipped out of her rags and donned the ball gown. A glance in the mirror let her view herself in all her true beauty. Her long, light brown hair draped over her bare shoulders and the dress had a wiring to give her a thinner figure and fuller bust. The silk sleeves which were attached to the dress at the side of each shoulder also had wires to keep the sleeves from falling down. The shoes - when worn - fitted beautifully and made her two inches taller. Cinderella smiled joyfully.
"Thank you, Godmother!" she cried, the first words spoken since she had put on the dress.
"Go now. The palace is not too far to walk, but wear a shawl in case it's cold. And, my darling, you must be back before twelve or these clothes will vanish as you walk so proudly with the higher classes."
***


As she reached the palace, she took off the old shawl and left it by the gates. Upon being asked her name by the man at the door she said nothing but gave him an agonizingly beautiful smile, which tore his heart into pieces. As he stared at her, paralysed, she pulled back one door and entered the hall.
The ball room was large, with two galleries, one above the other. On the lowest were the musicians, and on the topmost sat the king, looking bored. Below these, on the lowest level of the hall, people twirled in their silk, lace, black, white and deep red, the colour at the height of fashion. Cinderella spotted her sisters dancing with two men as unpleasant-looking as themselves. The stepmother was talking to a duchess. Everyone seemed to be having fun. But one sad-looking figure looked around forlornly. All of his clothes were black as though he was mourning, except the small gold crown on his head. The lonely eyes passed through each person, regardless of them, when they rested on Cinderella. The Prince smiled and walked towards her.
A rush of excitement squeezed her insides and made her shiver. He reached her, but did not even have to ask to dance. And there they were, Ivory and Ebony, at the centre of so many green eyes. Cinderella ignored them all. There was no-one but the Prince there, smiling at her as they spent the hours in unbelievable joy. Then the chimes came, one by one and Cinderella ran away, tripping over her shoes and kicking it off furiously. She would not now be able to keep her dress and shoes, but her dignity and her love must be retained! At the eleventh stroke, she got out of the gates and undressed in the bushes. Leaving the torn ball gown to be stained by the dew, she wrapped the shawl around her almost naked body and ran home, scared that her stepmother would be home before her.
***
Cinderella lay on her bed in the small, dim garret. She had not bothered to put on a nightdress, just lay there in her undergarments, with the shawl around her shoulders. The images in her head were too vivid to call her room real. She missed the Prince terribly, and knowing that she would never see him again brought tears to her eyes. As they ran down the sides of her head and into her ears, the stepmother opened the door and seeing the girl dressed, or rather undressed, like that made her turn around and speak to the wall of the corridor:
"Put on some cloves, yer daft doxy, we've got royalty at the porch."
It took a few seconds for this to filter through Cinderella's occupied senses. She had not even noticed the stepmother's entrance, but the words made her jump up and put on a yellow frock, then rush past the woman down the stairs and into the main corridor. She could see her loved one staring at her, smiling furiously and trying to form a sentence. As she rushed towards him he yelled "That's her!" in a most vulgar tone for a Prince to have. He took her into his arms and got his servant to fit the shoe onto her tiny foot. Again he spoke: "I went around half the city trying to find you. Please, come back with me and marry me."
Cinderella put her arms around his neck as he let her down. "Of course." She embraced him as the stepmother and her two stepsisters watched this.
"How does Prince know Cinders, mama?" asked Gyndela unpleasantly.
"I met her at the ball yesterday," smiled the Prince.
"So you were that tart, then!" This was almost spat. The stepmother's tone was so full of hate Cinderella felt uncomfortable with arms wrapped around the Prince and turned to face her. "I told you not to go! You disobeyed me!"
"I wanted to go, though. You went and I had a dress.."
"But it's all right now. She'll marry me and live in my palace. She'll never disobey you again," said the Prince weakly.
"You can't marry her! She's mental!"
"No I'm not! Just because you give me those pills.."
Aliye laughed. "She gives you those pills because you've got a chemical imbalance in your brain. Come on, don't even bother denying it, Cinders. You're a few bats short of a belfry, and the Prince should know that too."
"Why did you suddenly decide to come to the ball," asked the stepmother in an unexpectedly sweet tone.
"The voice.. the fairy asked me to.." murmured Cinderella, looking confused.
"See, she's just been forgetting to take the medication for a few days," grinned the stepmother. "You really can't marry her. Without the pills she's delirious and with them she don't know who's Aliye and who's Gyndela! Who are, incidentally, these two girls. Would you care to meet them?"
But the Prince turned coldly and left with his servant. Cinderella watched him go then rabidly flew at the three women. "You evil bitches! I loved him! I loved him and you made him go.." She lashed out with her nails and legs violently, until the three had managed to restrain her.
"Cinderella, he would have found out anyway," said the stepmother, not unkindly. As soon as she had finished, however, Gyndela gave her stepsister a vicious blow to the head. The girl collapsed.
***
She had not moved since she awoke. There was nothing to move for, nothing in her indifferent eyes to care about. The limp figure breathed gently, but that's as far as she got with movement. They would never let her go after that, she thought vaguely, with a slight hope in her heart in case they decided to let her go. But a shout came: "Yer ain't coming out, psycho. We're gonna keep yer alive, though, so you best be thankful for that. An' you should also be grateful we ain't sending yer to a loony bin, my girl."
The confirmation of her fear filled the room and exploded into her mind. He world was nothing but this part of the attic - she might as well forget all which is outside. There would be no further trees, no animals, no princeā€¦ Cinderella's eyes were as dry as a funeral drum, but her soul inside her was screaming and weeping, pleading to let this emotion out. It was not allowed.
Cinderella silently went back to watching the ghost of her father kill the ghost of her mother over and over again. She could stop it, she knew, but watched the scene with morbid fascination. After the fourth death, she poured some murky water from a jug the strangers left.
The powder inside was the dissolved pills - she would have to drink the solution every day or die of thirst. Fortunately, the medicine did not affect her as it had done before; usually it made her depressed because she knew they were taking away her freedom, but she had no freedom at all here and just fell into a state of calm.
Cinderella watched the face of her parents disappear as she fell from the heights of hallucinations into glorious apathy, from which she never rose.