"Cinderella" winners

The winners of the "Cinderella by Anne Rice" writing contest.

Published November 4, 1996 12:17PM (EST)

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.

| f i r s t p l a c e w i n n e r |

Scene from Cinderella

by Laura Troise

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.

"My lord?"

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.

| s e c o n d p l a c e w i n n e r |

Scene from Cinderella

by Robert Petretti

In the dream she had found herself walking in an open field. It was
mid afternoon, judging by the position and heat of the sun, and the long
grass to either side of the road was dusty and dull-green, nearly
lifeless. The road itself was actually a set of parallel dirt lines that
reminded her somehow of something long-forgotten and ghostly.

She felt herself being drawn toward a copse ahead of her, but, as in
dreams, even as she continued forward it felt as though she were not
moving at all. Looking down, she puzzled at the strange clothes she was
wearing -- beautiful and of the finest material that shimmered like some
mystical beacon out from the darkness. She thought: "I am someone
else ... but who?"

From some distance behind her came the faint sound of bells, and, sensing
an unknown danger, she moved quickly into the tall grass and crouched
low. It was not long before a carriage came into view over the top of the
grass, and it was a sight that was strangely familiar, yet frightening,
for she only had twice in her lifetime seen the royal carriage with its
fierce black horses, and then only at night; never, as now, in the light
of day.

Later, when night had fallen, she lay in the grass with eyes closed. She
was aware that the wind rustling through the field had awakened her;
aware that it was time to continue on to wherever she was going, for it
was growing cold and she was hungry. She arose slowly as her eyes
adjusted to the light of the full moon, which was bright enough to turn
the grass white and guide her walking. She stopped within the deeper
blackness of a tree's shadow and studied each direction, having no idea
where to go but not quite prepared to follow the road any further. For a
brief moment she felt terror and even a desire to see her wicked
stepmother and sisters once more, but then just as swiftly she felt calm
descend upon her and found herself moving almost in a trance toward an
amber light that pulsated through the trees.

On the soft wind came a sound of music mysterious and dark and she felt
herself begin to move to its rhythm as she neared the light that now
flickered crimson. A fire's flames made cheery leaps that cast shadows on
encircling trees, when suddenly a hooded figure emerged form nowhere and
held its hand out to Cinderella. "Come, my dear," the voice was of music.
"For I am your fairy godmother and there is much work to be done. We have
been waiting a very, very long time."

The old woman made an expansive swing with her arm and as she did so the
hood fell back to expose a face of such wrinkled glee that Cinderella
gasped and stepped backward. The trees themselves seemed to sway as
forest creatures and ghostly images swiftly emerged from the shadows and
began to dance about the living fire; some with the beauty of grace,
others with movements and expressions that were hideous to behold. "My
dear," the old woman grinned and pointed her crooked finger toward the

Cinderella stared mesmerized as the images began to jump and then steady
within the center of the flames: images of her scrubbing floors on hands
and knees as her stepmother stood over her bellowing insults; images of
Cinderella washing clothes at the river while her stepsisters laughed and
pointed. There came an image of Cinderella standing on a hill at sunset
with tears in her eyes and then suddenly this image was lost in
darkness. She was dimly aware that all dancing and singing had ceased as
every eye watched the flames and the image within that quickly grew with
near-blinding intensity to take the form of a man. He was dressed with
splendid formality in silk and velvet, and his raven hair fell heavily
from beneath a large plumed hat. He wore a mask that shadowed his eyes
but as he faced Cinderella she felt as though she had been singed and
then drenched in icy water. The fairy godmother cackled as the man made
the gallant gesture of removing his hat and bowing, and then as suddenly
as he had appeared he vanished within the flames that quickly settled to

"Your prince awaits, my dear child," the old woman sang as she placed
within Cinderella's hand a smooth oval stone that felt right to the
grasp. "The night has been chosen and when the sun has set and your
stepsisters have departed with their mother, hold this stone with both
hands and think of me; I will come to adorn and instruct you ... there will
be no fear."

Cinderella was left in the darkness alone. She made her way home in a
state of bewilderment as to how she had come to be in this field in the
middle of the night. She eventually found a familiar path and knew that
beyond this hill stood the stone cottage of her stepmother; she had been
made to stay in the barn, which did not bother her as she loved the
animals and her bed of soft hay. She turned to see the dawn appear on the
horizon and slowly held up the oval stone she had carried within her
palm. She looked once more to the vast gray sky with its approaching
light and for the first time in a very long while she began to pray.

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