The Wronged Princess - Book I (Chapter 6, page 1 of 7)


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The interminable minutes that dragged by before the carriage drew to its final agonizing stop were enough to send a girl mad, even one accustomed to long bouts of silence. 'Twas not the wheels moaning or anything else so undignified that had Cinderella unnerved. Just the long and trying drive entrapped with a maniacal stepmother and two stepsisters subject to cruelty.

Rustling skirts sounded beyond the door, then the shift of weight indicating the driver's movements ascending the carriage causing it to rock softly. Excited murmurs and other indistinguishable noises created nervous flutters deep in Cinderella's abdoment. A scrape for the steps and the door finally swung open, flooding the inside with sudden light. Cinderella squinted. And plucked her foot from harm's way in Stepmama's haste to alight.

An eerie inclination swept through Cinderella that if she remained behind, her absence would go unnoticed for hours, days even. She knew she was much too much of a coward to carry off such a daring scheme. Resolved, she forced herself to follow Stepmama's bulky form, thus affirming Cinderella's invisibility.

A collective gasp sounded upon Cinderella's descent. She did not believe for an inkling that the group was cheering Stepmama.

A slow building hum that resembled something toward alarm filled the air. And, truly, if the crowd was alarmed by Stepmama's presence, it said something for the intelligence of the population. Cinderella swallowed a giggle. Her stepsisters' cruel humor must be rubbing off. Cinderella leaned to one side and peered around Stepmama where a cloistered group hovered.

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