Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Phuong Nguyen

I once thought that once upon a time meant that I would get a happily ever after. That no matter what happens—that whatever crap lands in my hellhole of a life— somehow things will all turn out for the better.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

“It’s too bad you couldn’t come to the ball, Cinderella,” Anastasia said with a triumphant sneer. “The prince couldn’t keep his eyes off of me.”

Stepmother pinched her thin cheek and beamed with pride. “I just know he’ll come calling on you soon.”

“Of course. He has to return my shoe after all.”

I stumbled backwards in a blurry haze. “I’ll get you your tea.”


No, this wasn’t supposed to happy. I was supposed to go to the ball and meet the prince. To fall in love. This was supposed to be my reward for being kind all my life. She wasn’t supposed to charm the prince. She wasn’t supposed to live out my dream.

Yet somehow, in some way, she did. She will.

It wasn’t until then that I knew happily ever’s don’t come for free. I’d have to work for my dream, my future.

It took me a few minutes to prepare their tea. Only a second to pour in the arsenic.

Later, I hummed a little tune to myself as I washed the dishes. A dream is a wish your heart makes. When you’re fast asleep…

Thud. The first thump came from the directly above my head. I didn’t even look up, still continuing with my chores. After I wiped my hands on my tattered apron, I picked up Anastasia’s sparkling blue mask and brushed at the invisible dust. Thud. Another one. This time from the bedroom above the dining hall. Barely noticing, I fastened the mask on and brushed a few blond tendrils off my face. It fit perfectly.

Thud. The final thump was the loudest of them all.

Finally I allowed myself to smile and settled on the wooden with the glass slipper in my lap. Now I’d just have to wait for my prince to come.

11 Comments

  1. Brewed Bohemian
    Apr 18, 2012

    ooohhhhh – LOVE!!!

  2. Bullish
    Apr 18, 2012

    This rocked my socks off!!! Awesome!!!

  3. Kern Windwraith
    Apr 18, 2012

    Oh, yes! Go, Cinders! You crafty, murderous, little sweetheart! The heck with sweeping and during and cooking and schlepping–just reach for the poison. Fabulous!

  4. SJIHolliday
    Apr 18, 2012

    Excellent. I’d always thought she was too damn weak 😉 Thanks for entering!

  5. Afsaneh
    Apr 19, 2012

    Have to love a dangerous woman! Great story!

  6. moonduster
    Apr 21, 2012

    Murderous Cinderella! Love it! :) Well done!

  7. Sarah
    Apr 21, 2012

    How dare they try and steal her happy ending! Maybe Cinderella wasn’t such a good girl after all?
    Love the different slant you added to what is my favourite fairytale!

  8. Ang
    Apr 23, 2012

    It’s about time Cinderella took matters into her own hands. Love it!

  9. Cameron Writes
    Apr 24, 2012

    Love the feisty ones – no time for weepy-sweeties. Thanks for that

  10. Lia Keyes
    Apr 25, 2012

    Oh, you got me! Totally didn’t see that coming, and I love the way you wove in little extras like “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” LOL! Totally charmed by this Dexter-ish Cinderella!

  11. Jeff Tsuruoka
    May 1, 2012

    Wonderful slant on the Cinderella story. Nicely done.

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