The Stepsisters — an excerpt from the book
…And so, Eleanor and the Prince were married and they lived happily ever after.
(The two stepsisters, however, were moved to the castle, where they were forced to live in the tower, three hundred and sixty-five steps away from the nearest bathroom.)
—from Cinderella Spinderella by Mark Binder
Two Belles in a Tower…
Dawn came early, as it always did, to the small room at the top of Palace Tower. Its bright red and golden rays pierced the tightly drawn curtains, shutters and shades, crept across the floor like a mischievous child and then flashed onto the closed eyelids of the sleeping young woman.
“No!” she yelled, her voice fierce with rage.
“Wha?” came another woman’s voice muffled but panicked. “Huh? What?”
“Not again!” screamed the first woman, who leapt to her feet and began pounding at the sunbeam with her pillow. “No no no! Go away! Go away!”
It wasn’t much use. You can no more stop the sun with a pillow than you can prevent fairy tale true lovers from finding each other. The light spread through the chambers, bringing with it the hopeful glow of a new day.
The woman with the pillow hammered at the sun until the seams split and the room was filled with a cloud of feathers.
“Gris,” said the other woman, softly. “That’s the seventh pillow this week. You know that none of the maids will come up and clean here any more. We’ll have to do it ourselves. Yesterday I found feathers inside both my socks. I don’t know how they got there.”
Still the empty pillowcase flailed up and down like a long wide strip of wet lasagna.
The first woman turned to her sister. Her broad face was red with furious rage. “Is it too much to ask,” she snarled, “to be allowed to sleep past five in the morning?!”
“I don’t know,” said the second woman, hissing now through clenched teeth. “Somebody keeps waking me up.”
They stared at each other, one holding a limp pillowcase, the other with hands on hips.
“I hate her,” said the first.
“Me too,” said the second.
A moment later their words were drowned out by a deep and resonant tone.
The two women held their hands to their ears. There was a bell in the Palace Tower just below their bedroom, and it rang only on occasions of great sadness or great joy.
Then the church bells began to ring loud and joyful peals of celebration, first five, and then ten, and then every bell in the kingdom as the word spread.
The two women rolled on the floor, trying to escape the barrage of bells and the glare of the spreading sun.
It seemed to go on and on forever, although it was probably just a minute.
And then it stopped. The ringing was done. The day was lit.
“The Royal Baby is born,” spat Griselda.
“I guess,” said Esmerelda, “that makes us Royal Step-Aunties.”
They stared at each other. Twin sisters, but not identical, one was fat and the other bony. Their parents were dead. They had lost their home. Their servant girl had become the Princess. They had lived their whole lives with each other, and they had no one else.
While every other citizen in the entire kingdom cheered and rejoiced, the stepsisters, in their gilded prison at the top of Palace Tower, came together in a hug and sobbed.
…. TO BE CONTINUED! If you enjoyed this excerpt and would like to read more, please Buy the book!