It was beautiful.
Written on cream-colored parchment, with elegant swirled letters looped around like birds’ wings and flowers and cats’ eyes and every lovely thing. The letter sat in her hands, mocking her with its beauty and mystery.
If only she could read it.
Ascending the stair to the Spider’s lair, she studied the letter, drawing out every bit of beauty she could before she handed it to her stepmother. As she shuffled down the bare hallway towards her stepmother, her steps dragged, delaying the moment when she would have to hand it over. Finally, she could delay no longer. She raised her hand and knocked.
The door opened, almost of its own will; she entered. This room, like the hall, was bone-bare; a drab canvas over which the blood-red smile of the Spider held sway. Once in, the letter swiftly flew from her hand, alighting on her stepmother’s with a grace almost mocking. The black eyes flitted over the letter with apparent disinterest, widening one moment before a command.
“Bring Margolette and Isabelle.”
Intentionally, she dragged her steps, hiding her joy at the command. It would not do to give any signs of happiness; it would be taken away if the Spider knew. Once she had left, she danced her way down the hall to her stepsisters’ room. Two beauties in one day!
It was almost too much to bear.
Margolette and Isabelle; even their names were beautiful. Thus, it was no great surprise that their quarters reflected their beauty. From an early age, their mother had surrounded them with beautiful things, teaching them the various graces and how to sway the hearts of men. They were cold; cold and beautiful, and their smiles were cruel. If they had wished, they could have crushed Hazel at an early age; but she amused them. they played with her as a cat, stomach filled, would play with a mouse.
Her innocence remained, however.