by Byron Bailey
Yisil emptied the red wine, glistening like fresh arterial blood, into the glass slipper. The fairy flame in the hearth cackled as it bathed her skin in a demonic, orange glow. Her fingers trembled. She reached for the bottle of hemlock juice, poured it in with the wine. Why oh why did the Academy have to bestow upon her the prestigious Glass Slipper Award for lifetime achievement?
The red wine and hemlock fizzed angrily. She clutched for a spoon and stirred. She, a paragon of fairy godmotherhood? What a load of rotten eggs! The truth was that when she worked on the Cinderella case, she never even contemplated helping the poor girl out of poverty. Cinderella did it all herself. For Yisil, it had simply been easier to play dollhouse and dress up than attend to her real duties.
She reached for the glass slipper and brought it to her lips. Menace-filled shadows lurched across the pink walls of her house. Fairy fraud and godmother without gumption, that was her. While she played dollhouse and dress up, her other clients had suffered horribly. A rage started burning inside her. A glass slipper! What was she thinking? Her arms shook, spilling hemlock and wine onto the floor. Suddenly, she hurled the slipper, shattering it against the floor.
The fairy flame stopped cackling and the shadows halted their lurching. Yisil sobbed as she cleaned the mess up with an old rag of a riding hood, its original color buried under a thick layer of dried blood.
Copyright © 2005 by Bewildering Stories on behalf of the author