I’ve been on a fairy tale kick lately, on netflix that is. There are several great made-for-t.v. miniseries that put a modern spin on some fairy tale classics. If you haven’t seen them yet, you should check out Tin Man, Alice, and Neverland. No doubt as a result of this input, I came up with this beginning for a short story. Enjoy!
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” A whisper barely loud enough to reach its target escaped from the heart-shaped lips of a porcelain-skinned girl.
Moist brown eyes stared at the reflection, seeing only flaws.
“Isabella? Isabella!” Her stepmother’s voice carried up the stairs, forcing Isabella to blink away the encroaching tears.
“Yes, I’m here,” she replied as she rose from the cold wood floor.
“Time to come down now. Your father’s home.”
“Coming,” she said with a sigh.
Small hands smoothed the front of a spotless blue dress. Delicate slippered feet padded down the steps and stopped when they touched the first row of white tiles.
Isabella watched her father hang up his coat, slide off his polished leather shoes, and pull his phone out of the front pocket of his briefcase.
He walked past her without glancing up from the screen.
Isabella bit her lip and followed him into the dining room.
She watched him ease into his chair as he pressed a few more keys, then set the phone within easy reach, just to the right of his fork.
“How was school today Isabella?” he asked without making eye contact.
Before she could answer, the kitchen doors swung open and her stepmother entered the room carrying a tray laden with food.
Her father smiled.
Her stepmother smiled back as she set the tray on the table, then leaned over to give her father a lingering kiss.
When it ended, her stepmother sat, and finally noticed Isabella.
“Isabella, come sit down.”
That was the last thing anyone said to her.
Isabella picked at her food as her father and stepmother talked and laughed.
After an obligatory fifteen minutes, she excused herself and returned to her room.
She stared again into her wall-length mirror and this time when she spoke, she swore she could hear a voice laughing behind the reflective surface as it whispered,
Not you Isabella, definitely not you.