The Usual Precautions III – Cinderella’s Zombie Apocalypse

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Cinderella looked at the pumpkin coach and looked back at the Fairy Godmother.

“It’s all vegetably inside!”

“Beggars can’t be choosers, sweetpea. We just need to get you inside the palace, away from this lot.”

Above them, in the Ugly Sisters’ bedroom, something hit the floor, there was a shriek,

“My leg! You ripped off my leg!”

“Braaains!”

“You bitch!”

Sounds of fighting.

“Inside the palace, you’ll be protected by soldiers. And you’ll have plenty of time to, you know, fix the prince’s interest. As it were.”

The cellar door rattled.

“Braains?”

Cinderella blanched and climbed into the coach. The pumpkin seats were a little sticky but the fairy godmother assured her that the magic ballgown would shrug it off. The coach galloped magically through the wall and off to the palace. The Fairy Godmother vanished in a puff of sweetly-scented pink smoke. The door burst open and two zombies in ripped ball gowns fought their way through the door.

“Braains, Cinders!”

“Braaains!”

The months passed. Summer turned to Autumn. The zombie menace receded. The Kingdom harvested meagre crops and by and large adopted vegetarianism; they had seen too much of the alternative. Cinderella sat at a palace window. Her dress was real non-magical silk, her golden hair was wrapped around her head in complex shapes, in her hand she held a tambour – she was embroidering a silk handkerchief with gold thread.

Enter the Prince. Now King since the unfortunate hunting accident with the bear. Zombie bears, who’d have thought it?

“Ah, my love, there you are!”

“Were you looking for me?” asked Cinders, sweetly. She knew the answer.

“What? No, no. I knew you’d be here, dearest.”

They sat for a while in silence.

“Embroidering are you?”

“That’s right.”

The King contemplated his shoes. Or the floor. Or the immensity of the known universe. Or…

“What are you embroidering?”

“A handkerchief, my lord, for your sister’s birthday present.”

“A handkerchief? Lovely! It’ll be the best present she ever had.”

“Well, I’m not sure. I think the gold thread might make it a little scratchy to actually use.”

Awe spread across the King’s face.

“So it might. So it MIGHT! Cinders, you are so very brainy.”

“Braaainy!” joked Cinders.

“Yes, that’s what I said.” The King frowned. Cinders sighed. She had heard there were no nerves in the brain. You couldn’t feel it being touched. You felt no pain as it was eaten. Or eaten away. She wondered how much of hers was left.

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