by Rebekah Postupak
Hers was the last face I expected to see outside the cave door, but there she was, hunched over, greasy hair, warty nose, raven on her shoulder, like the past five years hadn’t even happened.
“Cinderella, tis I!” she rasped, doing a skittish dance with her feet and finishing with a cackle.
“I see you’ve been taking your Creepy Pills, Mother,” I said, sighing and stepping back so she could come in. “And it’s Rapunzel.”
“All you girls look the same,” she said, shuffling past me with a shrug, “you, Cindy, Snow-Whats-Her-Name, Rose-Something-or-Other, Belle, Dusk—”
“Aurora? Huh. Well, you try giving unmedicated birth to ten famous princesses and see how good a job you do with names.”
“You’re a marvel, Mother.” I heard my own bright-eyed baby gurgle in the other room and cleared my throat loudly. “So! What brings you to this dull little corner of the kingdom?”
She flopped into a chair and said nothing, instead staring around the room making odd but soft, whale-like screeches.
After spending a couple decades locked in a tall tower by a witch, though, I had mastered patience; so I tossed her a light smile and resumed preparing lunch. It was just little Tenebrae and me today, which meant a simple menu of chicken, ham, and smoked pork loin, capped by delicate slices of roasted lamb. My stomach growled. Only two hours past a glorious breakfast of dried fish with goat’s milk, and already I was hungry. I wondered vaguely if I was pregnant again.
Oh. My mother had said something.
“What was that?”
“Smells good, I said!” she shouted.
“Thank you.” Hmm, what had I done with the leftover pheasant?
“Don’t suppose you have any cabbage to go with it? Any kind would do—I just get this hankering sometimes, for a head of fresh, gr—”
“What? Can’t a person feel in the mood for some gr—”
“MOTHER!” I slammed the meat fork on the counter and whirled to face her. “Will you please do me the courtesy of not mentioning that word! Or have you forgotten how I wound up in a tower in the first place?”
She studied me curiously. “That was you? I thought you were the one always eating veggies under your bed.”
“That was Pisa.”
“Are you the one who read a romance novel during your wedding vows?”
“Fired the scullery maid so you could scrub the hearth yourself?”
“Well, shoot. Which one of you is good at dragons?”
For the first time I noticed her singed brows. “Aurora, but she’s—”
She leapt to her feet and hurled herself to the door. “Aurora! Then off I go. Duty and adventure call!”
“But Mother—!” My protests slogged through the air of a now-empty room.
I sighed again and turned back to the food. It wasn’t easy having a deranged mother; rather miraculous, actually, that we girls had survived her parenting unscathed.
(Wouldn’t bacon go great with this??)
498 words, written for Alissa Leonard‘s weekly flash contest #FinishThatThought, with the mandatory (customizable) starting sentence and the optional judge’s challenge of including a fairy tale name and at least one each of a land, sea, and winged animal, and excluding color. Now THAT’S a challenge!
P.S. I adore my mother.
P.P.S. This silliness is probably a lot more nonsensical if you don’t know the original Rapunzel tale by the Brothers Grimm; read it here.