A Fairytale, Ending
By Marissa James
The fairies couldn’t agree on how this Ever After began—perhaps a mirror was involved, perhaps a spindle; maybe a frog, possibly a shoe. Other folk supposed it was simply a matter of too many fairies getting involved in the first place. These things tended to be hard to keep track of.
The Ever After in question belonged to a heroine of unthreatening kindness, magnificent hair, and quite a knack for musical improvisation. She lived most of her happy young life in a cottage on a glass hill. Or was this where the shoe came in? Princess or scullery maid, damsel or seamstress, her goodness, purity, and innocence made her a target.
Was it the evil queen, wicked witch, or big bad wolf who sent poisonous apples to the girl? Animate housewares raised the alarm while friendly woodland creatures sought to intervene, but too late. The enchanted carriage that had come to whisk her to safety unwove itself from gold back into straw, the footmen back into horses, the horses back into dwarves.
Alas, none of these efforts could save her from capture by henchmen, from being locked in a stairless tower higher than her hair was long, or from the pea-riddled mattresses that plagued her ensorcelled slumber.
A slew of brave princes—blandly charming, interchangeable in character and chin shape and, admittedly, tending towards hero complexes that elevated their perceptions of personal exceptionality—came to her aid with noble steeds, righteous swords, and a glass slipper or two for good measure.
Together the princes broke the spell, slew the dragon, defeated the witch, disbanded her minions, saved the maiden, and rescued her motley friends. It was a busy day for the lot of them. The heroine thanked them with a song of extemporaneous gratitude.
Many of the princes fell in love at first sight. Others had been smitten well before setting out on this quest. Still others hoped for a moment alone to try for true love’s kiss, to see how well their voices paired in duet, or maybe even to get to know her name and favorite breakfast food, for starters.
With an infinitude of Ever Afters arrayed before her, the heroine considered her options. Brave or bold, clever or cunning, how could she decide on one of them over all the others when she’d never so much as seen a prince before in her life?
As far as the fairies were concerned, one prince was as good as the next—as long as the heroine found the Ever After she was after, their work was done.
It didn’t seem fair to choose just one, so the heroine opted to give each prince an equal trial period; the question then was how to decide the order in which she would court them. So, she rolled a die, flipped a coin, and assigned them all randomized numbers for perfect objectivity.
One fact was without a doubt: she lived happily, happily, happily for quite a long time after.
About the Author:
As a fine art professional, Marissa James has wielded katanas and handled Lady Gaga’s shoes. As a veterinary assistant, she has cared for hairless cats, hedgehogs, and, one time, a coyote. As a writer, her short fiction can be found in Daily Science Fiction, Mysterion, and many other publications, and is forthcoming from even more.
She resides in the Pacific Northwest and can be found tweeting about all things writing at @MaroftheBooks.