Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
The Cautionary Tale of the Accursed Looking Glass
It was the mirror that told her. “You’re gorgeous,” it said, “You’re beautiful, stunning, breath-taking...” and who was she to deny it?
At first she accepted its compliments with grace and a shy glance from beneath her luscious lashes and a remark about needing to wash her hair then, as the flattery continued, she smiled and flushed with pleasure and coyly brushed her hair from her face.
And the mirror was determined to boost her self-esteem and soon she was pouting and preening and mwah, mwah-ing at the mirror’s complimentary words.
Her fashion sense improved no end. Gone were the tomboy togs; rough-kneed jeans discarded for skirts too tight to be called pencil-thin, casual shirts lost amid myriad sparkly, sequinned tops, comfy cardies destined for charity replaced by slinky, tight knits and street-fighting, puddle-jumping trainers traded in for heels that would give sky-scrapers vertigo.
And all the while the looking glass reported gorgeousness and unrivalled beauty.
“You’re amazing,” it told her, “much prettier than a picture…” and yes, she knew it.
The party did not begin until she arrived, and her sisters...well, ugly just wasn’t the word.
Dark as night hair was now platinum and bouffant, ribbons vanquished, shy fringe now swept away to show off blushed, sharpened cheekbones, and her lips plump and juicy and red; red as a crisp, ripe apple.
And the mirror loved her. Everyone loved her. Except, maybe, her sisters…they weren’t quite so keen, and her mother, it had been her mirror after all… But to everyone else, she was their darling.
Praises rained down, even on the sunniest of days, and the sunniest day came to town.
“Absolutely delightful, striking and so alluring…” said the mirror and she purred appreciation. She couldn’t find her flirty skirt, and missing amongst another mountain of rejects was the top she wanted, the lace one with strategically placed rhinestones.
“No matter,” said the mirror, “no matter at all…you look good enough to eat, just a dusting of powder and a dash of scent, and truly, you’re scrumptious…” and well, there was nothing more to be said, except. “Don’t forget your shoes…”
That day she was the talk of the town, but there was nothing new in that, the town barely talked of anyone else. Today, even her ugly sisters raised their badly-in-need-of-plucking eyebrows, and mother stepped out of her way.
All day long people echoed her mirror, salutations and accolades followed until the dwarf’s voice, grumpy it was not, rose above the tributes with a comment on her nakedness. And though people sniggered it was truly a compliment, after all her nakedness was pretty stunning…
Later that night, before the looking glass, she reflected. “Gorgeous,” said her mirrored image and smiled then the smile faded and her façade cracked, and the tear in the mirror slipped off the tip of her nose and landed on her shoe. The glass slipper which, in ten seconds precisely, would shatter the mirror forever…
This is my entry for Costumed Curses Contest hosted by Emmie Mears and Kristin McFarland. Go read the other amazing entries!