SHORT STORIES: Rosie | Cultured Vultures

SHORT STORIES: Rosie | EPK

There is a town in the middle of England, where the people shutter their windows and lock their doors at daybreak, and wait for the promise of the night to come as their saviour. It is here they tell of a monster unlike any other. It is here they tell the story of the handsome family at the end of the road, and their young beautiful daughter called Rosie.

She was fair and sweet to all who beheld her, but she only ever came out at night with her family on rare nightly gatherings. She was recognised by her cheery smile and her tatty and simple clothes. By night, Rosie’s family seemed like any other. Yet, in the day, strange sounds were heard. Wild screams and crying were heard in Rosie’s voice, as though she was the subject of abuse behind closed doors. Even after her father’s death, the cries continued, and the townsfolk pitied her but said nothing, continuing in their daily lives, praying for the little girl.

However, the truth was that it wasn’t the pain inflicted on Rosie that was a cause for concern. It was the pain she could cause, should she be released during the day.

You see, Rosie had on her a curse most unfortunate. If the moon was out, she would appear as a beautiful human. However, as the sun rose, she would transform into a monstrous beast, capable of unrelenting terror and massacres, should she go unchecked. So, her father and her mother, then her stepmother took perfect care to lock her away during the day. When the moon shone upon the land, they loved and cared for her as they would for any other child. However, at dawn, they would sit in their beds cowering with fear, hoping that the prison that held Rosie for years wouldn’t break.

And so, this continued on for sixteen years. While she remained animalistic during the waking hours, she grew naturally as a person. There came a time when she craved freedom. She wanted to explore. She wanted to see the world beyond the four walls of her home. However, she knew her stepmother and sisters wouldn’t let her leave the town without their supervision – especially close to dawn, but she was clever. She knew she was not like other girls, though she could never put her finger on what it was. However, she knew of the magics her father studied, the magics he passed on to her stepmother. So, one night, when she was allowed to roam the house at her own leisure, she would go into her father’s study, and began to read his extensive collection. Her stepmother foolishly didn’t think there was anything the girl could learn from the ancient tomes, imagining it to be nothing more than childlike curiosity. So, Rosie read, and read, and read. She studied every book, note or letter her father owned until she learned one night of a summoning spell.

This spell would bring forth an old woman who would fulfil the single wish of the summoner. Rosie scoured the house, stealthily picking the ingredients for the spell, until finally she was ready. As she did the ritual, an elderly woman stepped from beyond a void, showing only the barest hint of wrinkles, but her eyes spoke truly of her age, showing deep pools of knowledge and experience.

Rosie told the woman how she wanted to escape, how she wanted to see the world without her family watching her every movement. The elder gave her a promise: on that night, the prince of the kingdom was holding a ball, a ball which Rosie herself could attend. However, at the stroke of midnight, she would be transported back to her home. Rosie was blinded by the opportunity of freedom, however brief. She giddily accepted. In a whirl of light, she was no longer in her simple robes and shoes, but an extravagant dress of silver and white, surrounded by people she had never seen before in a grand room she had never been in before.

Oh, how she danced and sang with them that night, especially with a young man dressed in the finest of robes and who wore the most charming of smiles. As the hour grew closer to midnight, she danced more and more with him, the pair becoming more and more infatuated with each other. However, she knew that her time was creeping closer and closer to an end. As the big hand of a nearby clock approached midnight, she broke away from the prince, much to his surprise. Her time with him was perfect. She didn’t want to scare the young man as forces beyond her control brought her home, and so she ran.

But as the clock struck midnight, her glass slipper fell from her foot, the extravagant piece landing gracefully on the carpeted floor as the same unseen force which whisked her there took her back home. Her beautiful dress transformed back into her simple robes and her remaining slipper turned back to the worn leather of her usual shoes. It seemed her absence went by unbeknownst to her family. The only hint of her adventure was the single glass slipper, which survived unchanged, recovered by the prince.

That was when the great search began. Far and wide, the prince tried the feet of many a maiden, both noble and poor, old and young, native and foreign. Yet not one seemed to fit it. By the time he came to Rosie’s house at the end of the road, he was weary and fearing defeat. It was early evening, and night had only just appeared. He made his rounds, testing the daughters and even the stepmother. However, like the many women before, they failed the test.

Just as the prince was about to return home, the young girl rose from her captivity and caught his attention. Though she was somewhat familiar to him, he did not recognise her immediately. He urged her to try the slipper and despite her stepmother and sister’s protests, she accepted, fitting her slender foot into the glass slipper. The prince knew he found his lost love. As her family tore at her robes, the prince’s guards kept them away and he took her to his carriage, promising a wealthy life where everything she desired would be provided for. Now lost to the family, her stepmother and sisters wept and wept until morning passed.

News came and went about the great massacre of the castle. Royalty, guards and servants alike fell to the hands of a wild beast as early as dawn. Even the nearby wealthy villagers who surrounded the castle suffered great losses up until nightfall. The survivors found a young woman, streaked with blood and dirt, weeping for the family she thought hated her. Though cautious, a family took her in and tried to nurse her back to health until morning, where the massacre began anew beginning with surprised family.

At the third night, the people began to understand the beast, barricading themselves in their homes. It was then that the people knew of this beastly woman, the girl they called Rosie. By night, they hid from her. By day, no one dared to make a move against her, fearing for their lives, not knowing what she was capable of. And so, the fearsome legend of Rosie was born.

That is the tale of the town in the middle of England, where the people shutter their windows and lock their doors at daybreak, and wait for the promise of night as their saviour. That is the tale of the place where they tell of a monster unlike any other. That is the tale of the place where they tell the story of the handsome family at the end of the road.

That is the story of Rosie.

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