The Spindle's Spell (Excerpt)
The princess woke, still panting from the nightmare. The witch had walked through the palace—no one could stop her—the witch had taken her by the hand—she couldn’t refuse—the witch had led her into a room that did not exist, full of people who couldn’t be real, had set her to tasks no one ever requires of princesses—she had hurt her hands, she had pricked her finger, she had bled upon the flax—

She looked down. Her hand was whole. It had to have been a dream.

She rang the bell to summon her maid and stretched luxuriantly while she waited. And waited. The maid did not appear. Growing impatient, she rang the bell again. When this second attempt yielded no better results, she huffed a sigh and alighted from the bed. She shivered; the room was cold. No one had been in to tend the fire. It had gone out.

She dressed herself, having no alternative, and soon found additional evidence of the servants’ neglect. No breakfast tray awaited her in the antechamber. No footman stood to attention outside her door. The halls were empty of attendants, the curtains had not yet been drawn back, and the wall sconces still held the remains of last night’s candles. The wax had been allowed to puddle on the floor. By the time she found her absentee maid in the kitchen wagering at cards with the bootblack and the porter, she was half-blind with fury, and half-missed the wretch when she slapped her across the face.

“Oh! And what was that for?” cried the maid, rubbing her face and glaring hot daggers at the princess. Her table companions bristled too, rising from their seats.

The princess, expecting her to cower and curtsy, was rendered momentarily speechless. The only words she could find—and it took some searching to find them—were, “How dare you?”

The worthless girl laughed. She did! Right in the princess’s face! “I should ask you the same, your used-to-be Highness,” she said. “Have you not noticed where we are?”
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This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for May 6, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1220 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art features "Woodcut with woman spinning with a spinning wheel," early 16th Century
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