Steve walked into English 311 wearing a toga and a gold spray-painted crown of leaves.
Dr. Lawerence, their English Professor, laughed at the front of the room along with some of the other students.
“Why is what Steve wearing funny?” Ambrose asked Jen, “Its not like this is some party.”
“I think it might have something to do with Julius Caesar. What about you?” Jen said dryly.
“The play we’re studying?” Ambrose’s asked. His friend, sitting behind him tittered. “Shut up, Dan,” he said.
Dan kept laughing, “How can you be reading Julius Caesar in English 311 and not understand why Steve is wearing that getup?”
Dr. Lawerence overheard his student’s conversation. He chuckled, ” ‘Beware the Ides of March,’ Ambrose. Remember what I said in Monday’s class?”
Ambrose shook his head, “Eyes of what now?”
The student’s around Ambrose and their professor laughed. Jen sighed. ” Caesar was assassinated on the ‘Ides of March.’ The seer in the play told him to ‘beware’ of it, but he was still stabbed and killed.”
“I thought Brutus murdered Caesar? Now you’re saying a seer did?”
Dr. Lawerence peered at Ambrose concerned, “Are you sure you want to major in English Literature, Ambrose?”
He looked up and shrugged. The professor sighed and returned to the front of the room. There was always one in every class.
” ‘Created by Emily Romano, the brevette consists of a subject (noun), verb, and object (noun), in this exact order. The verb shows an ongoing action – so the letters in the verb should be spaced out. There are only three words in the poem.
Each of the three words may have any number of syllables, but it is desirable that the poem have balance in the choice of these words. Unlike haiku, there are no other rules to follow.'”
Cinderella could feel her back begin to ache as she washed the floors by hand. The mansion she now cleaned had been her father’s mansion before her stepmother poisoned his tea. Her stepmother had convinced her father’ s old solicitors that Cinderella was too young to take care of the mansion when she was twelve-years-old. The vile woman had claimed Cinderella’s home for herself and her two spoiled daughters Giselle and Monique.
Cinderella wouldn’t legally be able to have the mansion back until she was married or twenty-five-years-old. She knew her stepmother wouldn’t allow either to occur. Her only hope was to be able to have enough money to afford the solicitor her stepmother had offended.
Her stepmother had refused to marry a well-known solicitor after Cinderella’s father had passed. She knew he was the only one who would take a servant’s case to get back at the stepmother. Until then, Cinderella’s jailor would keep the house and Cinderella as a slave working in it.
She finished washing the floor pleased as they shined. Then, her homely stepsisters walked across it with muddy shoes. When one tripped, both Giselle and Monique began to hit Cinderella. She pushed them away and they kept walking, calling her names. She had to rewash some spots on the floor but she didn’t care. Cinderella had a secret and it was going to free her from the tyranny of her stepmother and stepsisters.
A lonely beggar wandering past the front gate had seen Cinderella crying last night. She had
wanted to attend the ball and with the beggar’s surprising magic powers, he had granted Cinderella’s wish. She realized, however, the beggar wouldn’t be granting this wish without thinking about his own well-being. She could see he was a crafty man and wondered what he was up to, why he would grant her such a request.
He’d created a beautiful frothy blue gown for Cinderella to wear with the most stunning diamond high heels she’d ever seen; Cinderella had a thing for gorgeous shoes. They were so wonderful Cinderella asked if she could keep them after the night ended. The beggar had agreed with a mischevious smile.
Cinderella had a purpose in keeping her diamond heels. She had planned to sneak out of the house in one of her mother’s old dresses and sell her priceless heels to higher the solicitor who so despised her stepmother. She wanted the mansion and what was left of her father’s fortune, especially her sizable dowry, which her stepmother couldn’t get at no matter how hard she tried.
Moreover, Cinderella’s stepmother didn’t know about the money her father had illegally acquired on the black market. It was hidden away in offshore accounts only Cinderella knew about. She couldn’t access them until the day after the ball which was her twenty-fifth birthday.
Cinderella had attended the ball and knew the prince liked her as soon as he saw her. There was a glint in his blue eyes and he had this charming lopsided grin. She hadn’t meant to let him go so far with her — but then they did.
“I really like you,” he told Cinderella, “You’re much more fun those other girls who want to be my wife but won’t put out. Plus, you’re intelligent and make me laugh. Most of the other girls are too scared they will appear unladylike.” She’d giggled surprised at his comment and Cinderella found herself liking him.
She gave the prince a playful punch. He was entertaining but she knew she’d never see him again. Cinderella gazed up at him and said, “Look, this is a one-time thing and that’s all you’re about all going to get from me because I have a curfew. I’m not allowed out often.”
“I’m ‘the prince,’ I can overrule your curfew or any other rules your father has.”
Cinderella sighed, “Sorry, you can’t. I mean it, I have to leave.” Cinderella ran off
before her gown disintegrated and she was left in rags. She swore when she realized only one of her diamond heels had been lost. She’d left one behind while running from the prince but she needed both of them to afford the solicitor. Frustrated she went home and cried herself to sleep.
Then, the prince announced the following day, every young woman in the kingdom needed to try on the diamond heel left behind by the girl he desired above all others.
Cinderella rolled her eyes because she thought the prince was daft. Many women in the kingdom could have the same size feet. She thought about her missing shoe and the beggar, how she was sure he’d been up to something when he granted her wish. She thought the shoes might only fit her feet due to the beggars magic.
The beggar knew Cinderella valued the shoes above all and that’s why he let her keep them. It was strange she would lose track of such beautiful shoes because she loved them so much and had never had shoes this nice before. She knew the crafty beggar had to be responsible for her lost shoe. He probably made the prince fall for her and so that she wouldn’t be able to return to her plan, to sell the shoes and retain her birthright. The beggar had seen the shrewd woman beneath her simple wish.
Cinderella had only been interested in going to the ball because as she was cleaning outside, she recognized the beggar was a powerful wizard in hiding, who had the power to grant wishes. She hadn’t sought to meet the prince but to be provided with a beautiful dress and shoes she could sell to escape. She was upset about ending up with only one diamond heel.
The following week the prince and his servants arrived at the mansion. Her stepmother tried to lock her in a closet but Cinderella had hated her stepmother for many years. She’d had enough of her tyranny and punched the old bat, knocking her out then stuffing her in the closet.
Cinderella hurried down the stairs in one of her mother’s old day dresses. She interrupted Giselle and Monique trying with all their might to jam the shoe on their chubby feet. Cinderella feared her beloved shoe would shatter.
“Careful that’s a diamond shoe,” she cried bringing out the shoe’s twin, slipping both shoes on, doing up the straps, and parading around in them both for the prince to see. He was confused a moment because Cinderella appeared out of place in her outdated dress but he had her brought closer to him by a servant.
The prince gazed into her face and then moved her long hair out of the way to find the tattoo of a bluebird on her upper back. He declared she was the girl from the ball and she would be his new mistress.
“I’m delighted to see you again,” he said to her with a flirtatious raise of his brows. “You’d be the perfect bride but I’m guessing you have little wealth or dowry to go along with your shoes. On the other hand, you’re much less maintenance than any other girl who nearly fit your shoe.”
Cinderella huffed and being as polite as she could, asked to speak to the prince in private. She explained her entire situation to him concerning her stepmother. She told him how priceless her shoes were, that the mansion was legally hers, and that she had a large dowry along with whatever money her stepmother hadn’t used from her father’s wealth; it turned out to be a lot, more than her stepmother had ever realized. Cinderella smirked, it was so like her father to hide more of his money.
Consulting his advisors, the prince decided Cinderella would make a fantastic bride who would add considerable wealth to his kingdom. He sent for the bishop and they were married immediately. A large public wedding followed months later and the stepmother was forced to retire to the countryside.
The prince was generous and gave Cinderella her father’s mansion (with the
deed in her own name) as a wedding present. He married her sisters Gisele and Monique off to two of his dullest cousins but kept their dowries for himself.
He didn’t know about the money hidden in offshore accounts by Cinderella’s father and she decided not to tell him. She was no idiot and decided that every woman, even a princess, needed ‘get away’ money.
The prince was pleased with Cinderella and was happy to have found a princess who was fun and learned quickly. She was smart and helped him increase the value of his kingdom by increasing taxation on the peasants and middle class. Unfortunately, a revolution broke out in the country around the same time, disturbing their happiness. The king and queen were beheaded along with many other nobles.
Cinderella had grown fond of the prince, she was certain she loved him. They
had two twin girls together and it was lucky Cinderella had kept secret the money in her father’s offshore accounts. She used the money to escape to the US and start a new life with her family. The prince wasn’t upset Cinderella had hidden the money. He praised her for being shrewd and prepared for an emergency situation he hadn’t foreseen.
Life was rougher in the US but the money Cinderella had kept hidden allowed the prince to become the owner of several factories and make his way in business, mass-producing expensive shoes of all kinds for woman and men. Cinderella helped him design shoes woman paid hundreds and thousands of dollars to own.
Their twin daughters married well and a century later the Prince’s ancestors would bring out Cinderella’s diamond heels, showing them off as precious heirlooms. In the end, she hadn’t had to sell her diamond heels. Cinderella was allowed to keep them before they married in public. She’d told the prince, “Promise me we never have to sell my diamond heels. If we do I’ll disappear and you’ll never see me again.”
The prince knew Cinderella was a savvy woman who could easily slip away and by then he loved her more than he wanted to admit; he granted her request. He learned that day and later taught his grandsons in America, “Nothing comes between a woman and her shoes.” And that’s how Cinderella and her prince lived happily ever after.
Kyria had been warned since she was a small child, beyond the veil was dangerous. Her older siblings had told her monsters lived there, that there were witches waiting to eat a young child.
What the adults said wasn’t much better. Her Grandma Iris said she’d lose her soul if she was caught in the veil beyond. She talked about shape shifters and immortal creatures of the dark such as vampires and werewolves.
One day hanging the laundry on the line at her grandmothers, Kyria gazed at the veil nearby. She hadn’t thought of it for a long time and she wasn’t sure why it called to her now. She’d never admit she could hear the whispers of the creatures which lived their. They were tempting her and she knew it.
Did everyone in the village see the veil as she did? Kyria believed they had no idea where it physically was, that to them it was was only folklore for children and not a real thing; it was extremely real to Kyria and she knew for her grandmother as well.
Kyria was twenty-four and long past the age of adulthood. Her parents lived together and her siblings with their families. She hadn’t found a suitable man to marry so her father decided she should move in with her ailing Grandmother and care for her. He thought she needed to be of use somewhere since she hadn’t married quickly as her sisters did.
The more Kyria thought about the veil and the mist shrouding it, the more she thought about how she’d never put herself out there in life. She’d always done what she was told and when others failed she was the one who took their place, who filled in so everything went smoothly.
It was how she made up for her so-called “selfishness,” still being single and not having children for her family and village. She wondered why she had never pushed her boundaries and was tired of being ruled by her father’s and her grandmother’s whims.
Kyria loved her Grandma Iris the most because she understood Kyria better than anyone. But her grandma still cautioned her to never cross the veil daily. But grandma was inside sleeping and Kyria heard the whispers from veil more and more these days. They were a sirens call to her.
She ignored all she had been told by her grandma, her family, and her friends as a child. She decided today she would cross the shrouded veil into the other world. Dropping the laundry Kyria walked towards the veil and into the mist surrounding it. The veil shimmered as she came closer and sonorous voice could be heard singing on the other side.
When she reached the line where the spiritual and natural worlds met Kyria stopped for a moment and stood. She smiled and with both hands raised in front of her she was able to feel the mystical energy she was about to pass through.
She stepped into the shimmering fog and breathed deeply. Her long blond hair flew out behind her and it was the last thing her grandmother saw as she watched her granddaughter cross into the other world.
Grandma Iris sighed in frustration but she knew as it had been with her, the veil had been too much of a temptation for Kyria. She knew that adventure and discovery awaited her sheltered granddaughter. As it had been with Iris, the veil and it’s magic was in Kyria’s blood. Grandma Iris was the only one besides Kyria who actually could see the veil, she had made herself guardian of the gateway and hoped Kyria would take over for her one day.
But as the last of Kyria’s blond hair slipped through veil and disappeared, Iris couldn’t help being thrilled for her granddaughter. What awaited Kyria would shape and change her. It would motivate and hurt her, it would be an experience far beyond the scope anyone in the village would ever experience.
Iris blew a kiss towards the veil and whispered a blessing for Kyria. The feelings of excitement in Iris were so intense it was as if it were fifty-years-ago and she herself was crossing the veil.
I didn’tunderstand it, we’d been dating a year and Raph never touched me in public. He didn’t mind when I rubbed his back in the mall or if I made the effort to lace my fingers through his. When I first pecked him on the cheek in public he blushed bright red.
I asked him one day why he didn’t touch me in public. In private he couldn’t keep his hands off me. He didn’t mind cuddling at home and he often tangled his hand in my hair or massaged the back of my neck while we watched TV. I adored these touches but didn’t understand why he was afraid to initiate small bits of PDA.
I explained to Raph how it was important to me because it made me feel like I was his, that he loved me, and didn’t care what anyone else thought of us. He was angry at first and confused, but the next day as we grocery shopped he linked his pinky through mine while we waited to pay.
Two days later he casually put his arm around my shoulders at his friend’s house. I snuggled into him kissing him when his buddy went to grab more beer. I linked my pinky with his and smiling, Raph returned the kiss as his friend walked into the living room. I was thrilled Raph understood how much these small touches meant to me.