A six year old girl was sitting in the living room, listening to a crew member from a ship talk to her stepmother.
"He's gone." The crew member said "I'm sorry. He went overboard and we couldn't get to him."
The stepmother wiped away crocodile tears "Thank you. I'm sure you did everything. You may go."
The man bowed, and then left the house.
As soon as the door shut, the stepmother, Lady Guinevere, walked over to the young girl.
"Did you hear that girl? Your father is dead." Lady Guinevere smirked "You are not my child. You're nobody's child."
The girl sniffled, her blue eyes brimming with tears.
Lady Guinevere's two daughters, Lizzie and Lulu, peeked around the corner and laughed "She's an orphan! She's an orphan!"
Her stepmother grabbed her wrist and pulled her from her spot on the couch "I will not deal with you. I have enough responsibilities without having to take a child that isn't even mine!"
She dragged the frightened girl out the door and into the family carriage.
"Where are we going?" the girl whispered as the speeding carriage caused the wind to blow her blond hair around her face.
"To get rid of you." Lady Guinevere snapped "You are going to the orphanage!"
The young girl gasped as tears spilt down her cheek. She'd heard about the orphanage. They said that the owner was ruthless and mean. She treated the children like slaves. They said the orphanage was cold and dark, and the sunshine didn't even shine on it. They said that only the cruelest person left a child there, and many people that were considered mean and heartless wouldn't think about leaving their children there.
When the carriage halted, the girl looked at the building and began to shake uncontrollably.
It was three stories tall and made of grey bricks. It's black shutters and black door emphasized the haunted look.
"How many children do you have?" Lady Guinevere called to the house.
"None." The answer came as the door opened to reveal a lady that looked like she stepped out of a horror story. Her face was pinched up and she had a long crooked nose. Her hair was grey, frazzled and streaked with black. She had on large pointed glasses, and her eyes were squinted and hard. She had a hunched back and boney hands that were covered in moles and wrinkles.
"Well, I have one for you." Lady Guinevere yanked the girl from the carriage and pulled her towards the house.
"No. please." The girl whimpered "I'll be good. I'll do anything you want!"
"Be quiet!" Lady Guinevere snapped.
Now, the girl was panicking. The old lady was coming closer, a wicked grin on her face.
Just as the old woman was about to grab her, the girl let out a frightened scream. Her fear and desperation gave her added strength as she yanked loose from her stepmother and ran away, deep into the forest.
"Get back here!" Her stepmother screamed, but she didn't stop. She was too scared to stop. She ran until she collapsed from exhaustion. She just laid there in the dirt and cried until she didn't have any tears left. Hours later, she got to her feet and walked until she found the town. It was getting dark and the respectable people were closing up shop and going to bed.
"Excuse me." The girl said as a man brushed past her. but he didn't stop. She tried several more times to get someone's attention, but they either chased her away or ignored her.
She finally backed into an ally and sat down. It was getting cold and she was hungry. But no one extended any kindness to the girl.
The next morning, she woke up to see an old man in a tattered cloak looking at her.
She gasped and backed away from him until she was in the corner.
"I'm not going to hurt you." The man said "I'm here to help you." He tossed a piece of bread in her lap "Eat."
She looked at the bread for a second, then picked it up and hungrily ate it.
"You don't have a home, do you?" the old man asked.
She shook her head, still devouring the food.
"Well, you'll have to learn to get along on your own."
"How?" she asked as she finished swallowing the rest of the bread.
"She speaks." The old man chuckled. Then he became serious "On the streets, you have to fend for yourself. You have to take to survive."
"You mean steal?" The girl gasped.
The man nodded "Unless you want to die from starvation." He stood up "Today, and only today, I'll show you how to do it. But after today, you're on your own."
The girl stood up "Thank you." She whispered.
The old man nodded, then headed out of the ally with the girl right behind him.
He bumped into a man "Oh. So sorry sir."
The man huffed and walked off grumbling. As soon as he turned the corner, the old man held up a wallet "Easy. Now follow me." He took her back into the woods and started teaching her how to snatch things from people's pockets. At first, she couldn't get the wallet away from him, but as the day went by, she became more and more subtle.
When she had finally gotten averagely good at snatching the wallet from him, he told her to walk off and try to sneak up on him.
"Are you going to try and get it yet?" he asked "I'll just catch you like I've been doing."
Five more minutes passed "Okay kid. Come on out! I'm finished waiting."
The girl walked to where he was.
"I waited forever for you to get this wallet!" he said, sticking his hand in his pocket "And I am…" he pulled his hand back out of his pocket and checked his other one.
The girl laughed and held the wallet out to him "Looking for this by any chance?"
The old man chuckled "You're a better thief than I thought." He took the wallet and stuck it in his pocket "You're on your own now kid. Good luck." Then he walked away.
And that's how her life ran, she stole to survive. But, she never stole money, only food. Every now and then, she'd go back to the orphanage to make sure there were no more kids sent there. And over the period of fourteen years, she rescued three kids from the place and took care of them. She didn't like stealing, but knowing she was taking care of others made it easier.
The town had grown use to the girl, although they hated her. They never when she was going to pop up and take some food they were selling or taking home. And since no one knew her name, they called her Cinderella, because she was covered in dirt and her clothes were ratty and torn. But even though the adults despised her, the children loved her. They saw the beauty beneath the dirt and tattered clothes. They could see the Diamond in the rough.