"Oh mother don't I just look fabulous in this dress?" Clarisse cried, spinning around in her long pink ball gown. Her mother nodded slowly as a thin smile touched her lips.
"Well, not as beautiful as I look!" Claudette huffed, shoving her sister out of the way to show off her purple dress. Her mother nodded again.
"Please, you don't look half as pretty as me, but if you did, you wouldn't look as stupid," Clarisse said, brushing a strand or red hair out of her face.
"Shut up you ugly bitch, you don't know the first thing about beauty," Claudette growled, slapping Clarisse hard on the face. Clarisse cried out and grabbed Claudette's hair, pulling it hard. Their mother's smile twitched down into a frown as she watched her daughters' display.
"Girls, girls, stop this nonsense. You are both beautiful and the prince would be lucky to choose either of you tomorrow," she said, stepping between her bickering daughters.
"At least we know one thing. He won't be choosing Cinderella, that's for sure," Clarisse giggled.
"You're right, she's much too plain and down right weird. Plus, there isn't a single pretty aspect about her, she doesn't even have a nice dress," Claudette agreed with a terrible sneer.
"Hey, Cinderella, come down here and see what you will never be," Clarisse called up the stairs.
Slowly, a small figure dressed in white with pale blonde hair made her way down the stairs. The other three women gasped as they saw Cinderella walk into the light. Her hair was tied up in the back with her bangs in braids around the top of her head. Black eyeliner made her crystal blue eyes stand out magnificently and ruby red lipstick complimented her pale skin. Long milky white gloves went all the way up her arms past her elbows. Her dress was long and beaded with crystal beads that made the snow white material sparkle. Her shoes were not visible but one could safely assume they were high-heels due to the rhythmic taping noise she made as she walked. She clasped her hands in front of her and slowly raised her eyes from the floor to meet the still shocked faces of her "family". Her step-mother was the first to regain her composure.
"Tell me, just who approved of this…this…thing? Is that what you've been doing up there in your room instead of doing your chores?!"
Cinderella quickly shook her head "no". "I only worked on it after I had done all of my chores," she explained in a voice as soft as goose down.
Her step-mother's frown grew and her eyes narrowed. "Are you sure you did all of your chores to the best of your abilities?" she spat with a glance at her two daughters. The two got the hint and nodded to each other.
"No she was defiantly being sloppy. I found a stain on my favorite dress the other day!" Claudette said.
"Yeah and there was dirt on the floor after she said she had cleaned it!" Clarisse added.
"Well then, it sounds to me like you don't really deserve that dress," their mother droned with a sickening grin. Claudette and Clarisse mimicked their mother's expression and began to advance on their step-sister with grabbing hands.
Cinderella immediately understood and attempted to flee but Claudette snatched her arm in a bruising grip and Clarisse yanked her back by her fine hair. The blonde girl let out a cry of pain as her step-sisters pushed her to the ground and began tearing bits of fabric from her petite form. Claudette found her silver heels and quickly pulled them from Cinderella's small feet, throwing them back at the sobbing girl's head. The sisters worked together to strip Cinderella of the remnants of her beautiful dress and did the same to her undergarments once it was discovered that they were silk. They punched and kicked the small blonde before they were finally called off by their mother.
"Now, now, girls, don't kick a dog when she is down," she said gravely as her smile returned to her cracked, grey lips. Claudette and Clarisse did as they were told and stepped away from Cinderella who remained where she was, sobbing and shaking. "Go back up to your rooms." The sisters left, snickering to each other.
The mother stepped forward and looked down at the still-beautiful, pale, bruised body of her step-daughter. Cinderella's light hair fell in front of her face as she cried. She was like a crippled baby dove, so delicate and already broken. She grabbed a fistful of the yellow hair and pulled the sobbing girl to her feet forcefully. She began to drag Cinderella up the stairs, pausing to pick up a riding whip. She unlocked the door of the attic and threw the young girl into the room. Cinderella collapsed on the floor before pulling herself up and desperately trying to crawl back away from her step-mother. Her head and back contacted the wall and she stopped, shivering as fresh tears already began to form in her sky colored eyes.
"I-I'm sorry, m-moth-mistress," she choked out, trembling. She turned her head to the side and allowed more hot tears to stain her face.
Her step-mother did not respond. She simply grabbed Cinderella's neck and threw her onto the ground on her stomach and proceeded to viciously beat the small girl. Cinderella kept crying the entire time, long used to the beatings, she did not cry out but simply cried quietly as the whip marked her pale skin. When she was done, the step-mother left the room, kicking Cinderella in the chest on her way out.
Cinderella lay where she was for a few minutes, still sobbing quietly. The sting of her marks slowly subsided and she raised herself into the sitting position. Her arms trembled as she held herself up. She looked at the door and realized that her step-mother had not locked it. The French venues' eyes narrowed as everything her "mother" and "sisters" had put her through flashed in her mind. Anger began to flow through her as she picked herself up off the floor. She hated them all. She knew her godforsaken step-mother had poisoned her father to get his money…and she figured she might as well return the favor. Yes, she would make them pay for everything they had done to her and her father.
The small girl went to her closet and picked out a pretty, dark blue dress and slipped it on after putting on some new undergarments. She extinguished her candles and sat on her bed, waiting until everyone was asleep.
Soon, everything was quiet and Cinderella crept silently from her room. She slipped down the stairs and made her way down the hallway. The long, thick rug was soft under her bare feet. She had a memory of running down this hallway as a young girl to go to the very room she was headed to now but instead to crawl into bed with her father after having a bad dream. Now she was going to this room for a very different, much darker reason.
She slipped into her step-mother's room without waking the sleeping woman. She made her way to the bedside and looked down in disgust at the ugly old bat laying there. It was a favor upon all humanity to end this…creature's existence. Slowly, brilliantly slowly, Cinderella slipped one of the soft pillows out from under the sleeping woman.
"Goodbye mistress," she hissed before pressing the pillow over the woman's face. There was a slight struggle, but in the end, the old wrinkled body lay still. Cinderella checked the body's pulse quickly before a smile spread across her pretty face for the first time in she didn't know how long.
Cinderella walked back out into the hallway but this time went to the kitchen. She rummaged through one of the drawers until she found what she was looking for, a large steak knife. She then made her way to Clarisse's room. This one was easy, a quick slit of the throat and the ugly girl bled out before she even had the chance to become fully aware of what was happening to her.
The next one would be tricky. Well, trickier at least. Cinderella crept into Claudette's room. Claudette was the mirror image of Clarisse and was also snoring loudly. Cinderella spotted a necklace on Claudette's bedside table. She quickly snatched it up. Gently, she began to poke Claudette with her finger until the girl snorted awake.
"What do you want? You're not supposed to be down here," she snapped. Cinderella held up the necklace and Claudette recognized it immediately. "Hey that's mine!" she cried.
Cinderella quickly turned and ran out of the room with Claudette right behind her. She had made sure to leave Clarisse's door open so she could enter it easily. Just as she had thought, Claudette followed her in here too. The ugly step-sister did not have a chance to fully process the bloody scene before her before Cinderella plunged the knife into her chest. Claudette looked down at the knife in her chest, then back up at Cinderella for a moment as if in disbelief before she let out a short scream and collapsed on the floor, dead.
Prince Henry rushed down the castle steps to where a guard was comforting a young blonde woman who appeared to be in hysterics. She was laying on the ground while the guard cradled her as best he could in his arms while she attempted to choke out words through her sobs.
"What's going on?" the prince asked, immediately concerned.
"She's been like this since she got here. Something about her step-mother having a heart-attack and her sisters killing each other," the guard explained.
"Please Madame, what is your name?" Prince Henry asked, crouching down to the girl's level and putting a hand softly on her shoulder. She raised her sky-blue eyes to look at him and he was taken aback by her beauty despite her tearstained face.
"M-Maria," she choked out then threw her arms around the prince's neck and buried her face in his chest as she collapsed into more sobs. The guard moved to pull her off, but the prince signaled that it was ok. He picked up the girl and carried her into the castle, ordering that she be fed before going back out to meet the guard.
The next day it was announced that Claudette Dubois, Clarisse Dubois, and their mother were pronounced dead. Their mother of a heart-attack and Claudette seemed to have killed her sister in a fit of anger after finding that Clarisse had taken a necklace from her and then killed herself after realizing what she had done. It was also announced that the ball that was originally meant to help the prince choose his princess was being changed to a celebratory ball since the prince had chosen a princess the night before. Madame Maria le Faye.