These are the winners of the "Cinderella by Anne Rice" writing contest. Contestants were challenged to re-write the Cinderella fairy tale in the style of Anne Rice. The first-place winner will receive a trip for two to New Orleans, including an overnight stay in one of the Rice properties. Second-place winner will recieve one autographed hardcover and one audio copy of "Servant of the Bones," plus Salon merchandise.
I wanted to marry this creature. That much I knew. I knew it from the moment I felt her small hand in mine, that soft and tender body against me, and the scent of her hair filling my lungs with my every breath.
It was a dance. I wanted it to go on forever.
Impossible to think of. Impossible that there could be a person, this woman, a flashing soul of so much beauty and strength and wisdom hidden deep in her soft brown eyes. Impossible that Fate had cared for me enough to give birth to someone who knew what it was to ache, to feel loneliness, to cling to the one next to you in a desperate grasp to not be lost to the tide of humanity that spun and swirled and moved on to the trilling music and which tried so hard to ensure that no life was without a little pain.
And I did not want to be lost. And I did not want to lose her. I wanted to hold on forever, whispering into her ear, feeling myself smile as she laughed, feeling my heart pulse another beat faster as she squeezed my hand, feeling myself, my soul, my being, for the very first time.
I wanted an eternity. I wanted day after day of this beauty, this darling, this love. I wanted to feel the tight circle of gold around my finger claiming me as hers. I wanted to wake to the sight of her long lashes lying against her cheeks as she slept. I wanted to take her body onto mine, feeling her heated flesh, tensing at the touch of her nails, feeling myself die a thousand tiny deaths inside her and knowing that once again I was hers, all hers.
She moved closer to me, making my eyes swim in black for the sheer pleasure of it. I could feel the tiny tapping of her heart against my chest. I longed to press my lips to that very spot, to soothe the shiver that passed through her fair skin.
"My darling?" my voice was soft, helplessly intimate as I felt her move closer still as if melting into the sound of my voice.
Unbearable to not kiss that tender mouth. "You seem troubled."
Her face became radiant as she looked up at me, impulsively slipping her arms around me and holding me tighter. "No. I only thought I saw someone that I knew."
I smiled, pulling her protectively into my arms, making a small show of my gallantry. "You do not wish to be known?"
Small shake of her head. "No. Not tonight." Another burst of radiance. "Except by you."
"Oh good," I dared to kiss her hand, feeling the warmth of her skin through the fine white gloves. "For I was in danger of being quite familiar with you. I am happy to hear it is with permission."
She giggled, a hint of the young girl in her still. For a moment I could see her aging, holding our young children in her arms, her hair graying, her skin fading, and the beauty of her eyes lasting beyond my final breath. "Do you wish me to be familiar with you?"
"Yes," my answer was intentionally comical in its speed. I was rewarded with another bubble of laughter from her lips. "Do you?"
Her head bowed for a moment, a blush touching upon her cheeks. "Yes," she replied, her voice almost a whisper, audible to my ears alone.
It was more than I could stand. I kissed her. Only for a moment, but it was long enough. My tongue darted out to take in the taste of her on my lips. A small groan escaped me as I saw her do the same.
"Should I have done that?"
"Should I do it again?"
She lifted her eyes to meet mine. Her voice was quiet, breathless. "Please."
We were lost in a private corner. Unnoticed as I brought my lips to hers once more and kissed her, holding her so close to me that her heart throbbed against mine as I tried to tell her with my mouth, my hands, my soul that I loved her. I needed her. I did not want to find life without her.
I wanted to weep into her satin hair, feeling her hands caress me as I cried, as I gave in to the agony of decades of emptiness, year upon year of being held behind a title and the utter humiliation of being put on parade in countless balls like this.
A thing from Heaven, this bird-like child who trembled as she held me. Placed into my arms surely by the faire folk so that I would not look upon the end of eternity alone, so that I could feel her tiny hand upon mine forever and always. The radiance of her eyes reminding me that I was loved, that I was human, that I had a soul beyond my name, my title and the demand to create more of my line before I died.
And would she be this for me? Would she bring this beauty, this radiance into my life forever? Would she take my fantasies and make them real, releasing me from the prison of my own imagination?
Impossible to think she would. Unbearable to think she wouldn't. Terrifying to think I might never know.
I vowed to ask her. As the clock struck twelve, bringing forth a new day, I would ask her. A new day, a new life, a new love.
And nothing under God would stop me.
In the dream she had found herself walking in an open field. It was
She felt herself being drawn toward a copse ahead of her, but, as in
From some distance behind her came the faint sound of bells, and, sensing
Later, when night had fallen, she lay in the grass with eyes closed. She
On the soft wind came a sound of music mysterious and dark and she felt
The old woman made an expansive swing with her arm and as she did so the
Cinderella stared mesmerized as the images began to jump and then steady
"Your prince awaits, my dear child," the old woman sang as she placed
Cinderella was left in the darkness alone. She made her way home in a