Thursday, January 4, 2018

FRACTURED FAIRYTALE: CINDERBOY CH. 2

Hello! Happy New Year! Merry Everything! How are you!?

Did I cover everything? Okay cool.


WELCOME BOYS AND GIRLS to the second installment of Cinderboy! I'm SO glad you've joined me in this fractured, mashed up fairytale journey! I hope you enjoy the ride, because let me tell you, I did not read 50+ million fairytales (and own the same amount of books on said subject) for nothing!

For those JUST joining us, you can read the first chapter here: Cinderboy Part 1

When last we left our poor Agate, he had taken up his coat and gone dashing into the DARK FOREST, of which is aunt Wentle is the ruler. Will he make it to the ball in time? Will he get help with his wardrobe? And will we ever know how he got his hands on poison lace (honestly I have no idea how he did either)? FIND OUT IN THIS INSTALLMENT (probably)!



CINDERBOY: CHAPTER 2

(In which Agate meets his not-so-fairy-godmother)



    My first mistake in going into the Dark Forest was that I went right, instead of left. And everyone knows that the best way to go into enchanted forests is to take the left path--the one that looks difficult and dangerous and deadly. And any way you go, you need to make sure you do so in a counter clock wise direction and to always make a left.

   Always. 

    Which is why I have no idea why I turned right. I knew better. A will-o-the-wisp bobbed past me, taking me for some unsuspecting prince who'd taken a wrong turn and was trying to lure me deeper. Unfortunately for both of us, I wasn't that stupid.

     My second mistake was going in dark clothing. You'd think it would be a good idea. You know, blend in with your surrounding and what have you. Except that in the Dark Forest wearing dark things makes it easier for even darker things to find you. It's like wearing red in the snow. Just the thought of snow cause me to shiver, and my boot snapped a thick twig. I stopped. That was the third time I'd stepped on that particular twig.

  "Great, I'm lost." My voice echoed into the forest, sounding more like a lonely ghost's cry than my own voice.

    I took a slow circle--counter clockwise of course--and stared at the dark, finger like branches around me. All of the trees looked the same, as did the nine thin trails fanning out before me. I couldn't seem to find the path that I had once been on, which wasn't surprising. I hadn't been this deep in the woods before, and while I wasn't afraid of the creatures within them, I was afraid of dying of starvation. And cold. I hated the cold more than anything else.

    I had already tried going left at a six o'clock position. Perhaps I should try ten. Tugging my black coat closer around me, I circled counter clockwise until I hit ten, then hedged slightly to the left. That's another thing about trails in enchanted forests--go one hop to the left or right and you'll end up in a completely different part of the forest within minutes. It's all a matter of perspective. Something my mother had taught me.

    Unfortunately she'd never prepared me for the dark forest--she never had liked visiting aunt Wentle. Which is why, ten minutes later, I found myself right back where started, only this time most of my coat was tattered from a patch of scorch slugs and tangle-me-dead vines. My sleeves were also torn and my pants had been ripped in several places. Basically, I was unfit for a ball. But it was nothing a bit of magic couldn't fix when I got there. I hoped. Twelve was the next direction I chose, and I went counter-clockwise twice just to be safe before plunging almost straight ahead, veering to the left.


     The new trail appeared twenty one steps later, a well worn one with gold brown leaves thickly padding each side, and tree branches that arched above me like hands clasping one another. I paused. The downside to well worn roads was that they led out of the woods, not through them. And I did not want to end up in some village that broke out into song every five minutes. If you've ever heard a tone-deaf baker singing, you'd know why I hesitate to go into singing villages.

 "Lost?"

   The voice coming from my right was hoarse sounding, like they were in the middle of a bad cough. I really didn't have time for this. Sighing, I turned and came face to face with....well I'm not sure what. A man. A man my age who was very attractive, if I had to be honest. He was well lit by a lantern hanging above him, highlighting tawny brown skin, long, waving dark brown hair, and the most beautiful golden eyes I had ever seen short of a honey jar sitting in afternoon sunlight.

"That depends," I said, drawing myself up to my full hight. "on what you do to people who are lost."

"Normally," The man said with a smile, "I eat them."

"Then I'm not lost. Excuse me."

   I didn't have time to exchange words with a magical being, nor did I have the energy to waste my valuable wit on him. Even if he was cute. I'd rather take my chances in a singing village, where I'm sure they could point the way to the Dark Prince's castle. Because there's one thing villagers love singing about, it's dire warnings about the Dark Prince's home.

"I was kidding, Agate. It's a joke. Sarcasm. They told me you had wit, but clearly they were wrong."

    I spun around so fast my cloak fanned around in a great, arching swirl that I'd tried to perfect for hours in front of a mirror. And of course it had to happen when no one was able to see it. At least not anyone noteworthy. A perfect coat spin, wasted.

"Who are you?" I realize how cliche I sounded, but really, what else was there to say? How are you? Have you seen the Dark Prince lately? How's the kids?

"I'm your fairy godmother."

Really? 

He certainly didn't look like one with his plain clothes that were--and I'm being generous here--hand me downs from a farm boy. I knew better than to judge someone by their appearance of course, but I'm sure fairy godmothers had standards. They were a guild, after all. And guilds had standards about things like clothes and hair. 

"How do I know you're not some bog toad dressed as a human waiting to devour me?" 

"I would have eaten you a long time ago. If I weren't your fairy godmother, how would I know your name?" 

   A fair point. I looked back at where the forest road led. I could risk going to a singing village or....

"If you're my fairy godmother, prove it." 

"Your name's Agate." 

"The whole forest knows that." 

"You uh..." My supposed fairy godmother suddenly looked less sure of himself. "Your aunt is the ruler of the Dark Forest." 

"Everyone know's that too. Try again. Go on." I smiled. "I'll give you one more shot." 

"You're so..." My fake fairy godmother frowned, searching for a word. 

"Smart? Witty? Giving?" 

"Infuriating!" 

"So I've been told." I ran a hand through my hair, because I knew it would annoy him. Well, it annoys most people, anyway. Aunt Wentle goes purple when I do it to her. "Was that your final guess? Because I have a ball to get to."

    He was silent for so long I figured I'd gotten the last word. I went to leave, but his voice rang out behind me. 

"Your cousin Snowflake likes roses." 

    Slowly, I turned back around. There was no way. No one knew about her obsession over roses except me. Well, and Snowflake. I must have looked more surprised than I thought, because my fake fairy godmother smiled in relief. Relief.  Surely a real fairy godmother wouldn't feel relief at getting something right if they already knew the answer to begin with.

    I glared at him, trying to stare down my nose in that I'm-better-than-you way my father had taught me. Except you can't do that when your shorter than your fairy godmother.

"That was a lucky guess."

"But I was right! Now look Agate, you're lost, your clothes are a mess, and you have horrible manners." 

"Excuse me, I have wonderful manners." 

"Well--"

"And a wonderful sense of humor."

"And modesty."

I decided to let that one go, because I really couldn't afford to be late--or later, really--to the ball. 

"Look," I said, "if you're going to insult me, fine, I'm used to it. But I'm lost, I'm late, and my clothes are ruined." 

"I know. I can help with your clothing...your style is all wrong for the ball anyway." 

    I could feel my temper rising. I took a deep, slow breath through my nose, hoping to calm down. Instead I ended up coughing because the smell of dead leaves and musty, wet frogs filled my senses. It was during my coughing fit that I saw a yellow fissure of light streak past my ear. And then another, and another. It was like a bunch of fireflies had decided to have a party around me. One light flew past my nose, and caused me to sneeze. Which is when I heard a 'pop'. 

    When I looked down it was to see my once tattered outfit had been transformed. Instead of black I was covered head to toe in white and gold. White leggings, white breeches, a white vest with gold leaf vines, white shirt, and a great white coat with gold trim. I wanted to like it. I really did. Except I hate white. And anything that reminds me of cold. I glared up at my failure of a fairy godmother. 

"What," I said, trying to keep my anger down, "have you done?" 

"I've made you presentable for court. You do know the ball is themed, don't you?" 

"No." 

"Oh." My fairy godmother shrugged. "Well it is. It's winter themed. You look....really good in white. It brings out your eyes and hair. You're a bit thin though. Hasn't your aunt been feeding you?"

I could smell smoke, and I quickly curled my hands, stopping the fire that itched to leak out. 

"If by feeding me you mean do I get whatever table scraps Snowflake leaves behind, then yes, I do get fed." 

     We stood in awkward silence. I don't know if he realized that I knew he wasn't my fairy godmother (because a fairy godmother would know what my life was like), but he'd given me new clothing and information, regardless of what he was. I could have asked why he was helping me, but again, knowledge is dangerous, especially personal knowledge. This was probably the extent of his powers anyway. I clapped my hands together, hoping he didn't notice the soot on them, and smiled. 

"Thank you very much for the clothing. If I'm ever able to conquer a land for my own I'll be sure to name a forest after you. Um...what's your name?" 

"My name isn't important." Suddenly the golden eyed fairy godmother looked worried. Shifty.

"Oh but it is." I insisted. "How can I accept clothing from some one whose name I don't know?" 

"You don't need to know your fairy godmother's name, alright? Just...just get to the ball in time and make sure you dance with the prince."

"I would love nothing more than to do that, if I knew which way to go. Because I'm lost." 

"Right." Pushing his long hair back from his face (he had a lovely square jaw.), my not-fairy-godmother cleared his throat. "Go down this road. On the third tree before the end of the woods, go left. You'll reach the palace in no time. Remember, you need to dance with the prince. All night." 

"All night?" He couldn't be serious. "Do you know how many people will be waiting to dance with him?"

"Look, I don't care who you have to poison, transform, or curse, just make sure you stick with him. Now go!"

    He'd grabbed me by the shoulders and given me a push, causing me to stumble and almost fall in my new clothes. My new white clothes. I whirled to give him a piece of my mind--only to find him and his lantern gone. I rolled my eyes and head off in the direction I was supposed to.

     My life didn't seem to get any better the longer I lived in it. First my parents and my home were burned down to ashes, and then my aunt Wentle, and now this strange, golden eye man who'd tossed me in my least favorite colors had given me an impossible task. If I didn't know any better I'd almost say I was quickly on my way to becoming a princess locked in a tower.  At the third tree before the end of the woods I turned left, and hadn't gone more than ten steps when the world blurred together like a sort of shadowy watercolor. It snapped into focus after a few seconds and there, towering above black trees, was an even blacker castle.

     It's spires and turrets stood sharp against the night sky, and a lonely, moaning wind blew from behind me, stirring up dead leaves to dance in the sky. In the distance I could hear music. Dark, haunting, and beautiful. I had truly made it. I stuck my hands in my coat pocket against the cold, and my fingers jammed against stiff paper. Quickly, I withdrew the paper and found a black envelope. On the front in silvery lettering that must have taken hours to get correct, were the words I had longed to see nearly a year ago. 




You Are Cordially Invited

      
     Four words. Four words that would allow me entry into the world I knew I was meant for. Taking a deep breath I straightened my shoulders and headed for the castle, tucking the invitation safely into it's pocket. My fairy godmother may not be real, but the invitation was, and that was good enough. 




4 comments:

  1. OKAY OKAY OKAY I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS

    First of all:

    "Now look Agate, you're lost, your clothes are a mess, and you have horrible manners."

    "Excuse me, I have wonderful manners."

    = How to flirt 101

    SECONDLY.

    " It's spires and turrets stood sharp against the night sky, and a lonely, moaning wind blew from behind me, stirring up dead leaves to dance in the sky. In the distance I could hear music. Dark, haunting, and beautiful."

    This sentence alone deserves some kind of award. I saw ALL the things!!

    Thirdly, is the fairy god mother Rumpelstiltskin? I just have this HORRIBLE feeling!!

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    Replies
    1. OMG PLEASE TELL ME ALL OF YOUR THOUGHTS BECAUSE I'LL EAT THEM WITH MY FAVORITE SILVER SPOON.

      Firstly: RIGHT!? Agate has his emo flirting DOWN. Pretty good for a kid who hasn't gotten to flirt a lot. ;)

      Secondly: D'aaaaaaaaaaw! OMG I'M SO GLAD! Words. I like them. I like using them in creepy eerie, haunting ways....

      Thirdly: AHAHAHAHA I CAN'T TELL YOU!! But It's a good guess! Muwahahaha!

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    2. I can't wait for part three! I need to know!!

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    3. Hehehehehe! If I told you I'd give everything away! Soooo....you'll just have to wait. Heheh! ;)

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