12: Little House of Horrors
"After dark, the masters of the house returned home." (Little Snow-White, Grimm Brothers)
(A/N: Squeamish readers, beware! This chapter has some scenes that may disturb you!)
I burst into the small house without a second thought. Whatever inhabitants dwell inside will just have to leave or make room, for I could care less how welcome I am here. The crunching of my withering bones and the trickling of blood from open sores is more than enough to alert me to the fact that I need to rest. And this house looks perfect for just that.
Nearly perfect, at least. Something is quite odd about this house, apart from the pungent, musty smell that drifts into my nostrils. I limp through the doorway and shut the door behind me. My lone eye scans my new surroundings, drinking in every detail. I feel my thin lips droop into a frown.
Everything is so...small. The chairs, the tables, the dishes, even the fireplace. Everything seems to have been made for a very young child, one no older than the age of six. I lumber around the small living area, eying with discomfort the miniscule items that lie around the room.
Children, I decide. This must be a home for messy little heathens whose parents no longer want them. They all come here to this filthy cottage for refuge and waste their days away until it's time for them to resume their boring lives as meaningless peasants.
I scoff. Children are as foolish and as easy to frighten as dumb animals. One look at my new face and they'll be out the door in three quick seconds.
I feel my heart stutter a bit at this thought. A face that frightens little children. Is that something I should be proud of? While I lived, truly lived, my beauty was something I'd been quite proud of. No one in any land, near or far, could compare to my ravishing looks. Now my perfect face has crumbled, cracked, and decayed away into this horrid mask capable of chasing children from their homes.
I go to grasp at my red locks of hair, a nervous habit I've had since childhood. I'm quite shocked when I find that there is not a hair left to grasp. Of course--my hair is gone now, too. I laugh, for there is simply nothing else to do in this particular situation. I'm about to steal a home away from innocent children using my newly acquired appearance. The situation would indeed be hilarious, I'm sure, to someone from the outside looking in.
Time to get on with it. I put a hand on the short table and use it as support as I limp toward a staircase leading upwards. I haven't the slightest idea of how I'll make it upstairs in my current condition but I know that there are beds upstairs, beds to rest in. I suppose sleeping on the floor downstairs is an option but certainly not one for the princess of Livor. Father would roll in his grave if he knew I had resorted to sleeping on the floor, no matter what the circumstances may be.
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