In the dreams, the prince always had black hair. It makes sense, thought the boy with the dreams. I saw him once… a long time ago… he has black hair in real life… That seems like so long ago…
Drifting in and out of reality, a young blonde boy lay at ease in his bed. He stretched his skinny arms above his head, letting out a tired sigh. "Good morning," he told himself, poking his warm toes out from under the blanket. The birds chirped outside his open window, flying around, bringing food to the nests on the roof, in the gutters. With a content smile, the boy sat up and threw off the warm blankets. Cold morning air nipped his skin, and he dreaded the chilly atmosphere in his attic room. "Deal with it," he said, sliding to the cool hardwood floor, his feet creating a soft patting sound.
Rubbing his sleepy eyes, the boy walked to his window, happy with the bright morning. Opening his clear sapphire eyes, looking to the sun, then back to his dull attic room, the boy continued smiling. "I had the most wonderful dream," he sighed fondly, looking outside again. "I dreamt I was dancing in that marble castle," the boy said, pointing to the crystal clear castle beyond the village, "The insides were gold and you know who I was dancing with?" A little blue bird with a white head sat on the windowsill beside the boy. It cocked its head to the side and looked up. The boy leaned down on his hands and looked at the bird. It flew away, but the boy remained still and the small creature returned to look at him again, as if asking, "Who? Who were you dancing with, young child?"
A playful smile now made its way to the boy's lips, and he responded to the bird's unasked question, "The prince!" The boy twirled around his room happily, then flopped back onto his bed. "I danced with the prince in his castle of gold."
Bong! Bong! Bong!
The boy with blue eyes sat up quickly on his bed, daydreams lost by the castle's clock chiming the hour.
Bong! Bong! Bong!
"I hear you, I hear you," the small boy muttered, "Gimme a minute!"
Dropping his nightgown on the floor, the boy washed his face and dressed in his everyday wear. Patched brown pants that ended just below his knees. A dirty, torn long-sleeve shirt and a black button up vest that went over it. Lastly, a pair of black slippers so worn, it was like wearing none at all.
"First things first," the little blonde told himself as he slipped on his tattered slippers, "I have to feed that rotten cat."
The boy made his way down the creaky attic stairs to the main entrance hall. In the hall there were granite stairs leading up to the main hall where the bedrooms were, but if the boy kept walking, he would make it to the dank lower kitchen. The cat could be in a number of places in the large estate, but was most likely sleeping in Step Father's room.
He made his way up the smooth stairs, gripping the wood railing he had polished yesterday. Down the hall, the third door on the left. That was Step Father Tremané's room. On the way, the boy drew the dark red hall curtains, letting in the sunlight. "That's better."
Back to the task at hand. The boy crept into his step father's dark room. The only light came from the crack left in the door. The bed was a pile of dark sheets, and the step father's form could just barely be seen. Next to his elegant bed of over a dozen pillows and laced with a gold headboard, was the cat's bed. A round cushion with a comforter fatter and fluffier than the boy's, the cat was a ball of black and gray fur atop it. With quiet feet, the young boy with blue eyes scooped up the cat. "Come on Luss," he whispered, sneaking to the door, "I'm making you breakfast first."
The cat, Luss, rubbed against the boy's shoulder until they made it to the muggy kitchen.
The boy set Luss on the table. "The dog is in here," he muttered. Stepping lightly to the brown mutt, the boy leaned down and patted him. "Hey Bern," he soothed, "Time to wake up you dog, you."
With a wake-up whimper, Bern the dog sat up and yawned. He ignored the cat on the table and set his head in the hands of the boy. "You're a good dog, huh?" The boy smiled and scratched behind Bern's ears. "Time to go outside, boy," the blue-eyed child said and stood to open the door, "Go on." Bern stood and stretched, then walked slowly and sadly out the door. "I'll be out to feed you in a minute, boy."
The young blue eyed boy set to warming milk for the cat and preparing a soup for his step family. The boy heated water and prepared tea. He set out trays and arranged plates and bowls on them. "Okay," he sighed, wiping his forehead, "Now to feed the animals."
Grabbing a bag of grain, he slipped on his outdoor shoes and went out the door. First, throw grain to the chickens. He watched the hens peck and squabble. The mice dodged in and out of the quarrel, grabbing what food they could. The boy smiled and went to throw hay into the old gray horse's stall. He brushed down the old horse and gave him an affectionate scratch under the chin. "Lastly, food and water for Bern…"
The little boy looked up from pouring water for Bern. He could hear his step sister screaming his name from inside the chateau, demanding her breakfast. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he exclaimed and scrambled back into the house. Two service bells were ringing: step brother's and step sister's. The boy hurried to prepare their breakfast. "Here," the boy shoved a bowl of milk at Luss the cat and piled the breakfast trays into his arms.
"Cinder! I want my breakfast! Hurry up you slow little twit!"
"I'm sorry," the boy opened the door of his step sister's room, "Here Annabella. I have your breakfast right here."
"About time," she said, crossing her arms over her magenta nightgown, "Set it here." She scooted over in her bed, making room for the tray, her red curls bouncing lightly.
"I'm sorry for the wait," Cinder apologized.
"Don't let it happen again," Annabella growled, "Now get out!"
Cinder, the little blue eyed boy, closed the door of her room behind him and went to his step brother's next.
"Step brother Desmond," Cinder said as he entered the room, "I'm sorry I took so long."
Desmond sat in his bed, surrounded by gray sheets and golden-green pillows. His dark turquoise eyes were narrowed, but the soft-spoken man said nothing. Cinder nodded politely and set the breakfast on Desmond's bedside table. "I'll be going now," Cinder said quietly, "Is there anything-?"
"The laundry," Desmond said, "Over there on the dresser."
Over on the black chest of drawers was the step brother's white laundry bag, tied at the top and looking stuffed with clothing.
"Yes step brother," the blue eyed boy nodded again and took the laundry out to the hall. He had yet to deliver his step father's breakfast.
"I'll leave you there," Cinder told the bag of laundry he had gotten from Desmond, "And I'll take Step Father his breakfast, and then come back for you."
The boy with blue eyes knocked on the bedroom door of his step father's room before he entered. "Step Father," he said gently, "I have your morning meal."
Mr. Tremané sat up in his bed, luminescent green eyes glowing in the dim light. "Come in, child," he said, his voice gravelly and intimidating.
"Where would you like your breakfast?"
"On the table there," the step father pointed at a cherry-wood table just out of his reach, "I'll eat after I dress, thank you."
"Of course step father," Cinder replied, "Be careful it doesn't get cold."
"Cinder, take my laundry before you go."
"Yes step father," said the blonde boy as he left the room, picking up the three laundry bags on his way out.
"Chores, chores, chores," Cinder sang to himself as he skipped to the laundry room, "It seems that's all I ever do."