The fairy is no godmother. She makes the shoes from diamonds, not glass, and the girl bleeds as she dances but nobody notices. She pays the price in blood every night for three nights and she wins the prince’s heart.
The prince is no longer in love with her. He visits the rooms of the newest addition to the court, the general’s youngest daughter.
The fairy appears.
When the prince returns to his wife, she offers him a love potion. His hollow eyes never stray again.
Nine months later, the fairy returns for her payment. The girl watches as her daughter is replaced with a changeling. To others, the child has the same blue eyes. But she has long learned to see what others cannot: dark, pupil-less eyes, and limbs too much like a sapling tree.
Magic changes over time. The king’s thoughts never stray from his wife, trapping her in the castle walls. She is too beautiful, he thinks. He has already sentenced his treasurer to death for gazing at her.
The fairy reminds her, but she already knows. The greater the wish, the heavier the price. She wakes up in the morning, but the king does not. The court wastes no time in a coronation.
She sits upon the throne, the crown weighing on her head.
In time, she will pay the price, and it will be costly.
Amina Razzack is a journalism graduate based in India who enjoys all forms of storytelling. She is a first time fiction writer and enjoys travelling to make some stories of her own.