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A Different Kind of Spell
" 'Iselle, hurry up, mom said we only had one hour to get over to their palace to steal the shoe".
"One hour? Stars, couldn't she have found a better day to do this? My hair is not behaving, I can't leave the house this way."
'Iselle spent three and one half hours on her hair every day, and that was when she wasn't doing anything special, that was just to go into public places without feeling totally embarrassed. Everyone who didn't know her thought she was favored with great hair. It was golden brown, and looked wild yet manageable. When the ladies in town looked at her they wished they had her hair.
'Iselle would have gladly traded her hair for theirs. It took her an hour just to brush it through. Tasia used to tell her to comb it, but that didn't speed it up any faster. She used a whole bottle of conditioner on it each day to no avail.
"Let's go already, at least maybe no one will recognize us, or at least they won't recognize your hair".
"Oh, all right." While leaving with her sister, 'Iselle thought, "Yeah, they might not recognize my hair, but they would surely recognize your head." Tasia's teeth were awful, there was a big gap in the middle. Her sister had a problem using her teeth for everything unimaginable. When they were teens, she had been caught a few times using her teeth to pull splinters from her hands, and tried to pull a nail from a board. She had to quit, she later confided as her tooth started shifting.
'Iselle, was also remembering how her sister used to hit those that made her mad with the back of her head. Their mother always said she was hard-headed.
Leaving the bungalow they shared with their mother, who unbeknownst to them at that moment was once again scouring the countryside looking for suitors for each of them. On the way to their step-sisters home, they were discussing the plan.
"What was it mom said?" 'Iselle mused. "Oh yeah, she said the maid would leave the key under the rock by the back door."
Arriving at the palace, the girls hid behind some yew bushes, trimmed into odd shapes. Looking at their watches they saw they had less than five minutes before their step-sister would be leaving with her husband the prince for their weekly visit to see his mom.
A few minutes later the Prince and Princess climbed into their awaiting carriage and headed down the lane to the restful home for the elderly. Once the carriage turned the corner out of view, the two sisters hurriedly ran from their hiding spot towards the back door.
"Wow, look at the gorgeous rock garden, and the fish, look at all the colors....."
"Rock garden, oh no, how do we find a key under a rock in a rock garden? Oh, look over there, by the door, there's one rock sitting all by itself. I hope that's the one".
It took both of them to lift the rock and move it aside so they could see beneath it, sure enough the key was there. As they were putting the rock down, one of the girls, Tasia, let go of the rock and grabbed the key in her palm, causing the rock to give her sister a huge gash that began to bleed.
'Iselle began to yell at her sister, "Now look what you've done."
"I guess you can't go into the palace now, you'll get blood over everything", Tasia told her.
"Oh no you don't. Just give me a moment, I see some soft leaves over there, I'll staunch the flow, we're in this together".
A few minutes later, both girls entered the palace. Their mom told them to go to the room their step-sister had before she married the prince. It would have the shoe. The shoe that belonged to 'Rella. The shoe that the prince carried around with him to find the owner after the ball. Their mom thought that if they had the shoe in their possession it's magical powers would allow them to find husbands.
It took fifteen more minutes for them to find the room they hoped used to belong to 'Rella. It looked like any other ordinary guest room that their friends families had for company. But as they looked around the room, they saw the comb, brush and mirror that 'Rella owned when she lived with them. Hanging in the corner was the raggedy dress she wore to clean their house when she was younger. Feeling that they were getting warmer, they went towards the closet on that side of the room.
When they opened the door, the closet glowed as if the sun was hidden within. They couldn't see where the light was emanating from. But on the hanger was the dress she wore to the ball, and on the shelf were two things. One was the glass shoe that everyone wanted to call a slipper, although it wasn't something anyone would ever wear when wearing pajamas.
Oddly enough, the other object was a grasshopper. It looked like a 3-D pin. Both girls thought it was a bit weird to find the grasshopper there with the shoe, but soon the thought of removing the shoe pushed all thoughts of the grasshopper aside. Both girls began to reach out their hands towards the shoe, when they heard these words at the same time: "Don't touch it".
They both snatched their hands back to their sides, more from a reflexive action than obedience. Tasia turned towards 'Iselle and told her, "you're hand is cut, besides one of us has to take it to get it home."
Her sister said, "my hand is no longer bleeding, and I'm the older sister, I should be the one to take it home. Mom wanted me to get it, she just sent you to ......." While talking 'Iselle was reaching for the shoe once again. And once again she was interrupted with, "Don't touch it".
"Would you quit telling me not to touch the shoe, Tasia. I've about had enough of your lip".
"My lip," Tasia responded angrily. "I've not been telling you to leave the shoe alone, you've been telling me."
"No, uh oh, it can't be. It can't possible be this nice looking grasshopper pin telling us to leave the shoe alone, can it?"
"It's utterly absurd to think this grasshopper is talking to us. What would be the point of that?"
They then both turned towards the grasshopper and in unison they yelled at the grasshopper, "Why not?"
While looking at the insect, they saw it pick up one leg, unfold it and begin to rub it against the other leg. Oddly enough it's legs made a distinctive sound. After listening intently for a few moments, both girls realized it was speaking to them.
It said, "All I know is that the shoe can only be touched by the owner, which is not either of you. A calamity will befall the person other than the owner who dares to touch the shoe, therefore I strongly advise against that action."
The girls looked towards each other. They knew without speaking out loud, just what their mother would say if they returned empty handed, since this was the last opportunity they had.
Looking at the time, 'Iselle saw they had less than twenty minutes to get the shoe and escape back home. Feeling she had no choice, she quickly grabbed the shoe.
Goodness, was she ever hot. And where was she? In a big tent, a tent that looked like it's top was covered in colored stripes starting at the center and going down each side. She picked up her hand to wipe her forehead and her hair felt like it was sticking out all over. Not like it usually did before she had it somewhat tamed for the day, but it felt like it was sticking straight out. Feeling it she noticed it was courser than usual.
Once she wiped the sweat off her forehead she happened to glance at her hand and almost fainted, it was colored with beige power. Uh oh, mom would have her head, she had never used her mothers facial powder before. And for the realm's sake why was she so hot? Finally, she couldn't stand it any longer, she saw someone out of the corner of her eye and asked if there was a mirror nearby.
Looking back at her from the mirror was a clown. Still flustered she exclaimed, "move out of my way, I need to see myself in the mirror, you're blocking my view." Immediately after wards she yelled, "Quit mocking me, you don't need to repeat everything I say." Then she looked around, but she was alone in the dressing room. She touched her head and realized the clown in the mirror touched it's head also.
"Oh, no!" She shouted. "No way; I'm a clown, how?" Then her memories returned at full force. Memories of a grasshopper pin, no that was a real grasshopper, telling her to leave the shoe alone, Shoe, SHOE! Realizing she wasn't in a place she could do anything about that shoe, she decided to explore. Cautiously she peeked out of the dressing room. She saw people, mostly men but a few women hurriedly walking back and forth across the inside of the tent.
Another clown across the way saw her and waved her across to where a crowd of clowns were gathered. He said the clown leader had been looking for her all over, it was almost time for them to begin. He must have seen the question on her face, and said, "It's time to begin what we've been practicing since we were hired."
"Great," she thought. "Not only am I now a clown, but I'm in an unfamiliar place, I've been hired to do a job and I don't know what that is." She ended with thinking, "This isn't calamity, this is the pits."
Meanwhile, back in the palace, Tasia heard a loud bang and noticed that her sister had disappeared. "Oh my stars, what happened to 'Iselle?" She asked no one in particular. She jumped when the grasshopper answered her. She had all but forgotten it was with her in the room and saw the whole thing.
"I told you both, but she chose not to listen, calamity, it was calamity took the clown away."
"Clown? That was no clown, that was my sister! Why would you call her a clown?"
"Did you not see her hair? It was red and stuck out all over." The grasshopper quipped.
"No it's not. It's golden brown and thick an ....oh, I forgot. I wouldn't let her finish getting her hair manageable, that must be why you mistook her for a clown?"
"Still, I must get that shoe".
"Remember, calamity took your sister, it can take you too."
"Yeah, right. It probably took her home, empty handed since she obviously didn't keep it in her hand when she was transported back home."
Resigned, the grasshopper said his last words, "You've been warned, calamity will follow you like it followed your sister."
Tasia reached for the shoe, determined to latch onto it and keep it gripped in her hand when.......whoosh, someone was hitting the back of her head over and over again. If they didn't stop soon, she would be sure to get a royal headache.
She then realized that they had her around the neck, but why wasn't the air being squeezed from her lungs? Dizzy, why would she feel so dizzy? She decided to shut her eyes. Then, her teeth began to throb, something was forcing a nail between her teeth, and then pulled her head upwards with the nail intact in between her two front teeth. What is going on?
Finally, whomever had her in their grip put her down, she looked out of the corner of her eye and saw she was on a tree stump. All around her was felled trees. Right then someone yelled, "Didn't I tell you to bring the hammer with you? Go get it, you'll be using it all day." Then someone picked her up once again.
Later that week, their mother, after searching high and low and not finding any suitor to marry her daughters, realized that maybe at long last they would not be coming home. Maybe the odd story the maid told about the glass shoe on display, and the spell put on it was really true.