“There!” the fairy godmother stepped back to admire what she had done. The girl was pretty to start with – that always helped – but now she was truly beautiful. She would take the Prince’s breath away as soon as she walked in.
She walked around the girl, inspecting her from every angle. “That gown is the best I have ever created. It seems to trap the starlight and twinkle as you breathe. And those glass slippers make your legs look so elegant, my dear. Right, so: gown, coach, horses… I believe that’s everything. Just one more thing: whatever you do, you must, you absolutely must, leave the Palace when the clock strikes midnight. For that is when my charms must end and you will be the lowly scullery maid you were when I found you. Is that understood? The very stroke of midnight. Not a second later.”
“Yes!” enthused the girl. “That should be plenty of time. Thank you so much, Godmother. I could never have dreamed a girl like me would ever go to the Royal Ball.”
The old woman beamed. “Tush, child. And hurry you to the Palace. You must make the most of the opportunity.”
The girl stepped into the glittering coach of sparkling diamonds and the team of white horses bore her away to the Palace.
The Ball was well under way when the mysterious Princess Starlight made her entrance. She strode down the grand staircase with her head held high, for she knew in her heart that beneath the fancy clothes and the glamour, she was just as good as anyone there. The other guests parted, leaving her a clear path to the Prince who was holding the Ball in order to find himself a bride.
“Charmed, my dear,” he bowed low in greeting. He reached to kiss her gloved hand but instead found the blade of a kitchen knife slashing his throat wide open. The guests cried out in alarm as the Prince toppled. A pool of blood that was undeniably red rather than blue, spread from the dying heir to the throne. The girl had taken his breath away, right enough.
Starlight wasted no time. She curled a finger and thumb in her mouth and whistled. Her army of peasants and fellow servants swarmed the ballroom, hacking and slashing at the startled aristocrats.
It was a bloodbath but it was also the party of a lifetime.
As the grand clock struck midnight, and the chimes rang out heralding the start of a new day, Starlight’s trappings faded and fell away but she made no effort to flee from the Palace.
“Comrades!” she cried as her tattered clothes reappeared. “We have seized the seat of power in this land. No longer will we be oppressed by greedy, unelected tyrants who exploit us and deny us our fair share. Join me now and drink champagne from my slipper of glass!”
The peasants and the servants cheered, brandishing their blood-drenched weapons.
But when Cinderella took off her slipper, it crumbled to dust.
Oh well, she thought as the corks popped all around her, can’t have everything.
She surveyed the carnage, the hacked-off limbs, the bloodshed and the gore.
Someone’s going to have to clean that up, she thought.