When she received an invitation to the ball, Cinderella scurried about the house looking for the things she would need before her fairy godmother arrived at dusk.
Cobwebs spun by twelve-legged spiders would be woven into a fine gossamer dress for her to wear that evening.
One large pumpkin she had stolen from her neighbour's garden last Halloween (but she couldn't remember how); this would become the coach to take her to the ball.
She wasn't particularly fond of mice, so she thought she would instead ask the white doves to draw her coach.
We could transform the stepsisters into horses and make them draw the coach, a little voice piped up.
Cinderella shushed the voice and busied herself in her household chores.
Think about it, continued the voice. The stepmother would make a fine coachman, seeing as how good she is at using the whip.
Cinderella ignored it, and dusted the furniture.
What if the pumpkin is all rotten from the inside and the coach collapses as soon you step on it?
Cinderella shut out the truth of possibility, and swept and mopped the floors.
What if the fairy godmother doesn't turn up?
Cinderella told it to shut up, and did the dishes.
What if the prince already has a lover leaning on his arms?
Cinderella sang aloud, and washed the clothes and hung them out to dry.
When evening came and her stepsisters and stepmother left for the ball, Cinderella ran up to the attic to wait. Evening bled into night but no one came. Cinderella started to sob at the realization she was doomed to a life of eternal slavery, and that there was no happy ending in store for her.
Look, said the voice. You tried it your way and it didn't work. You might as well let me have a go at it now.
Cinderella kept mum. And as suddenly as grey clouds conquer a clear sky, Cinderella stood up and shook herself. She wiped the tears with the back of her hands, landed a swift kick on the pumpkin and sent it hurtling down the stairs, and tore around through the house like a whirlwind. She picked a rucksack from one of her stepsisters' room and filled it with good clothes, sensible shoes, and loads of money from her stepmother's purse, and slipped out of the house.
The stepsisters and stepmother returned home to find a note from Cinderella saying she was gone and that she had paid herself in cash and kind for all the household services she had rendered all these years. The note also carried a warning against reporting the incident to the police or attempting to track her as she would then be compelled to produce proof of how her father's death came about at the hands of her stepmother.
She is writing a book now, titled Cinderella and I, recounting her escape and subsequent adventures across the world.
I am sorry to break this to the world but Cinderella was damaged goods. Who wouldn't be after years of domestic abuse? She needed someone to look after her, someone real, not illusory figures like Prince Charming or fairy godmothers or some such fantastic figment of imagination.
I am happy to say Cinderella is well and recovering now, under my careful oversight and guidance, though she keeps mostly to herself these days. The miracle was that she found it within her to bring about the transformation. As her closest friend and ally, I am honoured she considers me her true voice and has given me this opportunity to present her story, our story, to the world.