(Cinderella reimagined in the style of Poe)
Once upon a time in a gloomy house in the middle of a dark and forbidding tarn there lived a girl named Cindermorella. Cindermorella’s mother had died when she was only young and her father had remarried before going insane from the loss of his wife and entombing himself alive. Now Cindermorella lived alone but for her cruel stepmother and stepsister. Cindermorella’s stepmother treated her like a servant, making her to all the chores, and her stepsister had a particularly nasty sense of humour, always setting up death traps around the house, which Cindermorella luckily managed to avoid.
In Cindermorella’s sixteenth year, the prince of the country threw a grand ball. Cindermorella longed to attend but knew that her stepmother would never allow her, so she went to the grave of her mother and prayed for assistance.
There rose from her mother’s grave two phantom horses, drawing a carriage fashioned from a coffin. Cindermorella climbed into this ghostly conveyance, and they were off at once.
The prince’s palace was a grand place. Cindermorella had never seen such splendour. The party was held in a series of seven rooms, with decorations and windows of blue, green, violet, all matching the colour of the room.
The prince was fascinated with Cindermorella as soon as he saw her. Her skin was pale as a corpse, her hair and eyes so dark, and her teeth were perfect pearls. He danced with her for hours, until their feet bled.
On the stroke of midnight, Cindermorella heard the ghost horse whinnying and knew it was time to go. As she rushed from the palace she fell upon the stairs, knocking out her two front teeth, which twinkled like stars as they fell down the stairs. She leapt into the carriage and was gone.
The prince, following her, picked up the teeth in his hand and swore to marry none but the mysterious girl to whom they belonged.
As news of the prince’s words passed through the kingdom, Cindermorella’s stepmother realised what had happened and locked her in the cellar. Her stepsister designed a ghastly device, a pendulum that would swing slowly lower, day by day, until, swing by swing, it cut through Cindermorella.
The stepmother ripped out her own daughter’s two front teeth, and brought her, bleeding sobbing to the door, just as the prince arrived.
The prince looked at the girl, but she was clearly not Cindermorella. He told her to leave his sight upon pain of death. The girl went mad and spent her last days wandering the tarn, gibbering and moaning.
Meanwhile, Cindermorella had enticed rats to bite through her bonds, freeing her. She emerged from the cellar, dirty and starved, to see her prince awaiting her.
The prince looked at his beautiful Cindermorella, with her missing front teeth and the rest of her teeth glittering like pearls in her mouth and ran to her.
They were married the next day.
Cindermorella and her prince spent a happy year together, but over time, he became more and more obsessed with her teeth. He would make her sit there as hour after hour he stared at her open mouth. One night, as she slept, he held her down and began to pull out her teeth. She awoke screaming, but he was too strong.
When the prince had taken her teeth, he strangled her and bricked her up in the wall of the palace.
The prince spent hours going through his collection of teeth, running them through his fingers like beads. He thought perhaps it was time he marry again.
He found a young girl with teeth almost as beautiful as those of Cindermorella. She was nothing like his former wife, her hair a pale blonde and her eyes vacant.
On their wedding night, as he slept beside her, he thought that her hair was perhaps a little darker than he had thought.
As days went by, his wife’s hair became darker, until it was almost black and her eyes took on a knowing gleam.
He woke one night with a feeling of dread to find Cindermorella lying beside him.
What happened next is not known, for neither of them were ever seen again, but to this day they say that if you put your ear to the wall in that castle, you can hear a heart beating within.