She was the prettiest thing he’d ever seen. Little red cloak and hood, face just peeping out. Good enough to eat, he thought. He pounced.
Once upon a time I had a wicked stepmother. She had my father bewitched; he only believed the sound of her voice, he lost all ability to pay attention to my brother and me. We told him how she was mistreating us, but he didn’t believe us, he almost didn’t hear. She put broken glass into our food and told us to eat ut all up. We threw it out when she wasn’t looking. We weren’t stupid. Her pet cat Fritz watched us throwing the food away. He was orange and bad-tempered. We thought she told him by magic, at night, when he sat on her lap and she whispered to him. We though he whispered back.
So she stopped that, but then she had her servants sneak into our room and steal our clothes. There was a big old rooster that wandered around as he pleased. We thought he must be the one getting in and taking our stuff. It was cold, and we shivered with hardly anything to put on any more.
Her gardener came in and nailed our windows open. ‘For the good fresh air,’ she said, smiling approvingly as the cold blew in.
At night we dared not look out. After that time we tried to shut the window, and looked up to see a black form flying over the roof. It looked like our stepmother’s shape. Where was she going like that? Our father must have been sound asleep. We knew she put things into his evening coffee, we’d seen her, flicking her fingers deftly over the cup before presenting it to him.