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Glass Stiletto

Meagan K. McKinley is a university student pursuing a career in writing. She prefers fantasy and supernatural fiction, but sports journalism is fun too. When not at university, she calls New Hampshire home, but who knows where the storytelling will take her next.
"Stiletto heels are named after stiletto daggers for a reason," she says, though she knows she'll get no response as she flushes the last of the bloody toilet paper. Even the private bathrooms have fancy hand towels, so she uses one to dry her shoe before she tosses it in the laundry basket. She'd laugh at her reflection if she weren't so well trained; glass slippers don't go so well with spandex shorts and a lace-topped corset. She'd had to let the prince take off her dress. After he'd seen the skinsuit though, well, she'd done what was needed. The stained suit is burning in his fireplace now, along with the bloody gloves.
The blue ball gown is a lonesome girl's best friend. She steps into the poufy skirts, slides her arms into the cap sleeves, and reaches behind herself to do up the clasps on the bodice. A quick check in the mirror assures her each one is aligned; it's no harder than doing up a bra day after day. Elbow length white gloves cover the scrubbed raw skin of her hands and wrists. This pair was tucked in pockets she'd sewn inside the skirts. They won't find fingerprints. Her father taught her better than that before he was betrayed and executed by the very prince she'd charmed tonight with shy praise and coy eyes.
Her stepmother never suspected the true nature of her father's wealth; he always brought back something to keep the lie of "business trips." Father had come from a long line of men and women whose business was death. Blood paid better than mercantilism.
The bathroom is just as pristine as when she'd entered--she's better than a sloppy blood trail. The same cannot be said for the bedroom. Sheets rumpled from the prince's careless passion and a pillow knocked to the floor in his futile struggle tell only part of the story here. She almost puts the pillow back, but she's not the maid anymore, playing the enslaved stepdaughter until her stepmother got what she wanted. There had to have been some blackmail somewhere on her stepmother's part for the King to finally agree to marry his younger son to one of the Duchess's empty-headed daughters. It's too bad the prince had an honorless heart behind those pretty eyes; otherwise he might not have been swayed from her stepsister tonight.
She stops in the doorway. Her victory over both her stepmother and the king is sugar sweet. It's almost heady enough to lull her into mistakes. One last look at her work is all she gives herself; the grimace frozen in place of the sleazy grin, the red blooming over the white Egyptian cotton sheets, the centimeter-wide hole in the muscular chest.
There's still no one in the hallway when she closes the door behind her. Luckily for her the guards fear the prince's cruelty more than they honor their pledge to protect him at all times, so they give him his privacy at first demand. There are no security cameras in the prince's wing.
The ballroom is still full when she returns, following the increasing volume of music down the halls she's not supposed to know. A white-shirt waiter nods to her as she takes a flute of sparkling wine from his tray. It's small, controlled sips as she mingles with the other girls. She can't afford even the slightest relaxation alcohol provides. Wiping her lipstick from the glass with a hand napkin like a good little noble girl only serves to remove any trace of DNA if they could even find her glass among all the others.
The girls, daughters of nobles and foreign royals and wealthy merchants and highest ranking military, all want to know what a tumble in the prince's sheets is like. She can be honest when she sighs and confesses, "The prince is a passionate bedmate." They giggle and indulge in chocolate-covered strawberries and decadent cakes while the prince is not there to see them eat.
Within earshot of a guard she tells two girls the prince was distracted by a maid while they were returning to the ballroom. "Those poor girls," a count's daughter murmurs. The Court are the worst gossips in the country; everyone knows the prince is insatiable and takes his pleasure from whoever he wishes, whenever he wishes.
Her exit from the ball is a dance itself. She curtsies to the king she hates, gratitude masking her triumph. The guards don't even glance at her as she leaves; they're too used to obvious threats to consider her as anything other than a frivolous girl in an overly expensive dress. There are noble daughters and ladies in waiting to kiss on cheeks, just cementing her subterfuge as a princess for the night. Drunk chaperones--all older, all married, some parents, some siblings--are easy to slip by as long as she appears to have a partner.
The midnight bell tolls as she gathers her skirts at the top of the palace stairs. Her limo is waiting in the driveway. Even though it's the only white one in the lot, a car is easy enough to repaint, a license plate to change, before driving out of town. They won't track her by finding the car. The driver and the footman holding her door were paid well, as befitting a wealthy princess with little care for money, but they know nothing, for her sake and their own.
When the prince's body is finally discovered, the guard at the front gate runs down the stairs. The prince's older brother is just behind him, watching the taillights grow smaller and smaller in the distance. The girl in the blue dress never even gave her name, even as she danced with his little brother.
"I'll find you," the good Prince Charming promises, picking up the glass shoe taunting him on the steps.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018


Written for a flash fiction challenge in a creative writing class, this story was originally much more of a "they loved happily ever after," kind of retelling of Cinderella. Then I decided that was boring. How could this Cinderella be different but still have the background story everyone knew?

- Meagan K McKinley
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