Thursday, 23 February 2012

A Wicked Fairy Tale - Cinderslut

Another fairy tale themed post! Again, this piece was written while I was at college and was inspired by none other than Angela Carter. Now that I am studying her at University I find there is a lot more to her stories than I had originally thought. Back in college I just thought she wrote sexual, feminist pieces, but now after learning about sexual politics, agendas, moral pornography I know how wrong I was. I preferred my college perspective; it was easier. Anyway, this is my Angela Carter-esque version of Cinderella. Enjoy.


Once there was a widower, who soon after his wife’s death married another wealthy widow for he had lost all his money in poor trade. She was cruel, vain and completely selfish. She had her new husband completely under her control as soon as they were married, and let her two equally selfish daughters run amok; terrorising her husband’s only daughter: Cyndi.

The stepmother had always hated Cyndi, since she had first laid eyes on the child and wanted to get rid of her, but there was nothing she could do while the girl’s father, her husband, was still around. It was then that the stepmother decided to take action.

One day a couple of weeks after the wedding, while making her husband’s tea she dropped a spoonful of rat poison into boiling water, mixing it thoroughly with the tea leaves. She gave it to her husband and smiled as she took a sip of her own untainted tea. She watched with a twisted grin as he gulped the tea down. Instantly, his eyes bulged and his lips turned blue, he slumped in his chair and the china cup smashed on the floor. The stepmother waited a few seconds, taking a couple more sips of her tea, before letting out a convincing scream.
Cyndi knew that her father’s death was no accident.At the funeral she was forced to stand with the servants while her stepfamily sobbed fake tears. Cyndi did not know it, but as her stepmother squeezed the false tears from her dry eyes she was already planning on how she would get rid of her dreadful stepdaughter.

Cyndi had always been a generous, sweet natured child but after her father’s death she was treated worse and worse and could no longer keep smiling. She was forced to work around the house and sleep in the cellar next to the hearth. Her stepsisters even gave her the wicked name of ‘Cinderslut’.

The manor soon fell into disrepair as Cyndi’s stepfamily spent all their money on frivolous things like dresses, perfumes, and jewellery, although none of these things could ever really help their hideous appearances or personalities. The roof had fallen apart in some areas and ivy grew into the walls, cracking up the frail foundations. A few of the windows were boarded up and the front door rattled in strong winds. Cyndi could not stand how despairing the old manor looked now, and her hatred for her stepfamily grew.
A few months after the funeral, the perfect opportunity arrived for the stepmother to finally get rid of Cyndi forever. An old Baron friend of the stepmother’s had come to her late husband’s funeral and had expressed a desire in her little stepdaughter. The Baron had a drooping moustache, baggy jowls and a large belly, but plenty of gold and the stepmother could never say no to gold. She sent for Cyndi straight away. Whereas the Baron was near to old age, Cyndi was only just approaching womanhood. Her hair was thick and bright, her skin was beautifully unblemished, and her body was becoming supple and soft. The old Baron slavered at the thought of her being completely his, and only his. The stepmother could not help but notice the look he had on his face and was pleased that Cyndi would get what she deserved.

Cyndi entered the drawing room with her head held high, her butterscotch hair tied back with a headscarf and her face speckled with soot.

-          Cyndi, this is our very special guest, the Baron, the stepmother said.

-          Nice to meet you Baron, Cyndi bowed gracefully and the Baron eyed her young body much to Cyndi’s disgust.

-          The Baron has a wonderful proposition; he wishes to make you his wife.

Cyndi did not even falter; she would not give her stepmother the satisfaction. She could hear her stepsisters’ delighted cries of laughter at Cyndi having to marry this repulsive letch. She really did not want to marry this Baron but she could see no way out of it; she simply stood with her back straight and said nothing. Her stepmother seemed to think this meant that she was accepting the Baron’s offer.

-          Then it is decided! Cyndi will marry the Baron at midnight in three days time! The stepmother declared vindictively.

Before the Baron left that day he took Cyndi’s hand and pressed his lips to it in a slobbering kiss, she quickly snatched her hand away.

-          I look forward to tomorrow night, my dear, he whispered into her ear, whilst smelling her hair with undisguised pleasure.  Cyndi shuddered and stepped away from him; not wanting to be near him. His odour was overpowering, it was as if he had gone fishing for the weekend but had forgotten to wash since. The smell made her gag.

As soon as the Baron left and her stepfamily finally stopped laughing at her spitefully, Cyndi ran out of the unkempt manor; anger forming tears in her eyes. She ran to the bottom of the garden to the small overgrown gravestone of her Mother. It had been many years since she had been down to visit her Mother’s grave and hundreds of branches snaked across the weathered stone. Cyndi fell to her knees and finally let the tears fall.

She did not know how long she spent by her Mother’s grave but she felt exhausted and weary from the day’s events. She could not believe that in a few days she would be a married woman; a slave for yet another person.

-          Oh Mother, what am I going to do? Cyndi whispered to the overgrown grave.

A bustling wind rushed through the branches and whipped at her hair and a small purple flower with delicate petals but vicious thorns came to her attention. She peered at the flower; towards the middle the purple darkened to pure black, and just a sniff made her eyes flicker and an instant drowsiness fell upon her.

-          Hawthorn, she muttered.

She stared at the grave. Was this her Mother’s wish; to poison the Baron with this deadly flower? She looked back at the disastrous manor occupied with equally disastrous people. It was suitable revenge for what her stepmother had done to her home, family, and life. She plucked the small flower careful not to touch its thorns or breathe in its scent. She hurried to the kitchen and ground the plant up in a small bowl, amazed at the amount of black sap it released. She quickly poured it into a vial and corked it, tucking it safely in her apron.

As the clock struck midnight, she realised with irony that in three days time she would not be a wife, but a widower.
The Ball was the talk of the ton. Hundreds of noblemen and lady friends of the Baron were invited and they were quick to accept. It was quite a scandal for the Baron to marry a woman untitled, much less a girl-child. Cyndi could feel their eyes following her but she tried to ignore them. It would not do for her to become nervous. She put her hands in the pockets of her lavish white gown and fingered the vial. It was only a matter of hours.

The ceremony was to come first though, and now Cyndi knew she must kiss the Baron no matter how much he disgusted her. When the time came she could see her stepfamily smirking gleefully behind their gloved hands, pretending to be crying with happiness. Cyndi held her breath and clenched her eyes shut. Again, the stench of fish overwhelmed her and her throat convulsed. His lips were moist and leathery, but it was the touch of his hands on her waist that made her recoil rapidly, breaking the kiss. The Baron smiled wickedly.

-          Yes, we must leave it for later; he murmured so only she could hear. Cyndi cringed. She had made up her mind; and this was the time to do it.

-          Why wait? She asked in what she hoped was a seductive tone and licked her pink lips timidly. His face brightened and his moustache twitched furiously.

-          Oh yes, my sweet, why don’t you go up all ready? I’ll entertain the guests for a while then I will join you. But please, put on the clothes I left for you.

Cyndi dreaded what awful clothes he had arranged for her to wear but exited the ballroom none the less. The Baron had given her a tour of the castle before the wedding so she climbed the stairs quickly to the Master Bedroom.

It was a dark room, with mahogany furniture and deep red velvet curtains and covers, all of which had the exact same smell as the Baron. Cyndi tried her best to hold her breath but could not last for long, so instead she willed herself to forget the smell was there; it was not for much longer and then she would be rid of this foul smelling monster.

The garment on the bed consisted of a lacy white negligee and white stockings; the fabric of both was so sheer that her body was practically bare. The negligee showed off her white skin, her pink nipples, the roundness of her bottom; each curve was on show. But Cyndi had to be strong so she sat proudly on a chair and waited for her newlywed husband.

It was not long before the door opened and said husband burst in, practically trembling with desire. His moustache was twitching so furiously this time when he saw his young bride in the virginal white gown and her blonde hair falling around her shoulders that it practically flew off his face. He devoured her with his eyes. Cyndi stood and beckoned him towards her with a finger. He came to her in a lust filled daze.

-          Oh, but wait. Cyndi interrupted, you must be thirsty, how about some wine, a toast to our marriage?
The Baron yearned so much for his girl-bride that he just nodded his head, enthralled by her glowing skin and tender body. She poured two goblets of wine and with nifty fingers poured the contents of the vial into his goblet too. The dark liquid turned the wine black before fading back to ruby red once more.  Cyndi turned to her husband, goblet in hand and smiled. She raised the wine to his lips and he drank eagerly.

After the first gulp the Baron’s eyes dimmed and his mouth slackened. After the second gulp his body stiffened and juddered. The spill of wine stained the front of Cyndi’s gown crimson as the goblet fell to the floor. The Baron pitched forwards towards Cyndi but she shoved him away causing him to crash to the floor. Then, just as her stepmother had before her, Cyndi let out a very convincing scream.
Rumours had of course spread instantly as to how the Baron had died. But the Baroness never mentioned it and would give cold glares to anyone who did. She had inherited a lot of money and power with her widowhood, and with that power she had her stepfamily evicted from the manor and sent far away so she would never have to see them again. She also gave her mother a proper burial, right next to her father’s and a planted a small Hawthorn bush on top.

Just in case she was to wed again. 

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