By Sreenidhi Srinivasan
Poor darling Ella. Precious, gentle Ella. Ella is kind and brave. She toils and she toils. But that evil stepmother and those nasty stepsisters. Ella deserves so much more.
That’s what they all say.
But I know better.
I know what she does when she thinks everyone is asleep. I saw her.
I used to be under her spell too. I happily partook in her little tea parties. But that was before I saw her.
One night I couldn’t sleep because idiot Gus, lying next to me, was snoring especially loudly. I heard the door open softly and saw Ella stepping out. I thought I’d give her company and followed her out.
Little did I know what I would witness next.
She went inside her father’s old study and bent down on the floor. Lifting the loose floorboard, she took out a box she had hid from us all.
I watched on, stunned, as she took out three dolls that looked suspiciously like the three other human inhabitants of the house.
That’s what poor, darling Ella practices when no one is looking.
Oh, I saw her. She picked up one doll and said in a tone I’d never heard before, “Covered in soot, am I? Let’s see what to cover you in.”
The next morning, the elder of the nasty sisters had grown up with nasty, red bumps all over her face and body.
Another night, “Lock me out of my own dining room, will you? Let’s see how your stomach holds up then, shall we?”
And the next morning, the stepmother woke up with a violently upset stomach.
I couldn’t tell the others. I couldn’t escape. What if there was a doll for me inside? We were all under her spell.
My chance came on the day of the ball. That witch of a fairy godmother had turned me into a horse. The clock struck twelve and we had to gallop back. I slowed us down. That way, the royal guard and that foolish prince she was trying to ensnare would catch up and take her with them. Kingdom be damned, I wanted to protect myself!
It worked differently from what I’d planned. The guards caught up with us and captured her. Instead of being taken to her foolish love-sick prince, she was incarcerated.
The birds fluttering around the royal prison tell me she’s asked for cloth, cotton and threads. Poor Ella, they say, she wants to keep herself busy by sewing. I know better. I saw her. If I get swallowed by that furry feline monster, at least you would know who to blame.