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Cierra 03-27-2006 09:29 PM

Under the Hayloft
This is a short Cinderella-ish fairy tale I wrote for a contest thing. I'm hoping it'll win me a prom dress.

With a final pat, I left Phantom to his hay. It was already near midnight and soon I would have to hitch the stallion back to the carriage for our trip home, but for now I was content to let him eat and relax. Backing out of the stall, I didn’t notice the stranger who had entered the stables until I bumped right into him.
“Oh! Pardon me.” he said, placing a hand on my shoulder to steady me. I looked at the young man, dressed in the formal attire of those attending the ball. He looked familiar but I wasn’t sure where I’d seen him before.
Remembering my manners, I replied, “No, forgive me. It’s my fault. I didn’t realize there was anyone else in here.” He smiled at me, his blue eyes shinning in the dim light of the barn. I turned away with a blush.
“A pretty girl like you should be at the ball.”
“I’m just a stable girl milord.”
“But the whole kingdom was invited, servants and nobles alike, or so I was told. The king is determined to have his son married off by tomorrow morning.” There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice, but I took no note of it.
“Which is exactly why it would be pointless for me to attend. What chance would I have with a prince?”
“You’d be surprised.”
He shook his head. “Never mind.”
I smiled. “It’s enough for me to be able to hear the music.”
The man sighed. “Yes, the musicians are good this year.” I turned to look at him.
“Sounds like you’ve been to a lot of these.”
“Sure, all the time.” His sarcasm returned and I laughed. He laughed too. It was a nice laugh, the kind that would make even the gloomiest person smile.
“Why aren’t you there now?” I asked, once we’d both recovered.
“What? And be bored out of my wits? I think not.”
“Yes. I suppose no man can keep a girl’s attention with Prince Charming up for grabs.”
He winced. “I hate that nickname.”
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing.” A new song started and he bowed, taking my hand. “May I have this dance, milady?”
I blushed and curtsied the best I could in my servants dress. “Of course, milord.” And we were off spinning and dipping, up and down the barn aisle.
Midway trough, he paused. “Might I ask your name?”
“It’s Katherine.” I replied. “But my friends call me Katie.”
“Katie… It’s beautiful.” He kissed me: a small kiss, but a kiss none the less.
The clock struck the hour just as our dance ended.
“Midnight,” he said. “I should return to the ball.” He turned to leave.
“Wait!” I called after him. “You haven’t told me your name.”
He smiled. “I was hoping you wouldn’t ask.” He kissed my hand. “Perhaps my father was right and I will meet my bride at this ball. Perhaps I already have.”
Then he was gone.

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