Cinderella Goes To The Potty > An illustrated short story
by Justin Blaney
Cinderella lay in her bed, eyes wide, staring at the splintered ceiling. The stone wall next to her, lit by silver moonlight, was covered with scratches. Cinderella knew exactly how many scratches were on the wall without counting. She made them herself, scratched a new line every night when the clock rang twelve. 999 lines. Cinderella had always promised herself she would not stay long enough to see 1000. It was 11:58, two minutes until the clock struck midnight.
Cinderella tried to ignore the howls coming from the forest beyond the creek. Should she attempt to escape through the window, 60 terrifying feet above ground. Or, should she wait for the old man and the old woman to come. They checked on her every night about this time. She could hide behind the door, then shove them out the window when their backs were turned.
A scratching sound, like feet on stone, came from the other side of her rickety wooden door.
Something heavy was being drug up the stairs. Candle light flashed through the gap between the door and the floor. Voices.
“Hurry,” said the old man in a deep raspy voice. “The Tree is hungry.”
Cinderella crept out of bed and peeked through the keyhole. The old man drug an axe behind him. With each step up the stairs, the bloody axe head clanked on the wooden planks.
“Is the girl fat enough?” said the old woman.
“She’ll have to do. The Tree might eat us if we don’t feed it soon.”
The old woman reached the top of the stairs, fumbling with a rusted ring of keys. Cinderella backed into the shadows. The clock began to chime.
The handle turned. Cinderella grasped at the wall behind her, looking for something to strike her captors with, but her hand felt only scratches. She climbed up into the window.
The door creaked. Cinderella risked a glance down. Her stomach twisted. Her hand, slick with sweat, slipped and she nearly fell backward
“She’s getting away!” The old woman yelled.
“Grab her, quick,” cried the old man.
But Cinderella was quicker. She stepped out onto a ledge and slid sideways across the face of the tower. The old man crashed through the half open window, shattering the stained glass. He leaned out, head bleeding from a fresh cut, axe in hand. Swinging, his axe flew at Cinderella’s face. She ducked just in time, feeling a whoosh of wind as it struck stone. Sparks showered down into the darkness.
“Let her fall,” The old woman said. “The Tree don’t care if she’s breathing when we feed her to it”
As the clock finished ringing out, Cinderella heard the old man and the old woman clambering down the stairs. Cinderella managed to slide around to the side of the tower where she found thick ivy growing. She used the ivy to rappel down, wondering why the old man and the old woman weren’t waiting for her at the base of the tower.
She jumped the last few feet, landing softly in a bed of leaves. Crawling around the base of the tower, she peered through a glowing window. A huge tree with eyes and a mouth shaped like a toilet grew through the floor boards. Sticking out of the tree’s mouth were two pairs legs. The old man and the old woman.
Smiling, Cinderella realized they meant to feed her to The Tree, but became the meal instead.
There was nothing in the tower she wanted, so she dusted off her faded blue dress and turned to the forest. Goosebumps formed on Cinderella’s arm as the sound of howling grew on the air.
A broken sign, creaking in the wind, pointed down a dark, winding path. Toilet Forrest. 1 Mile.
Cinderella started down the path. The howling grew closer with every step. Coming to a bridge made from an overturned clawfoot tub, she glanced back at the tower, no more than a faint outline on the horizon. Breathing deep, she turned to the forest and crossed the creek, staring up at the dark trees growing tall around her.
Cinderella was going to the potty and there was no going back.
About the author
Justin Blaney is the #1 bestselling author of Evan Burl and the Falling. He’s a blogger at JustinBlaney.com and I4J.org, the creator of Isfits, and a film producer with Inkliss. He lives outside Seattle with his wife and three daughters. Connect with Justin on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.