Beauty and the Beast
There once was a family. It was a functional family in many aspects. It had a mother, a father, a brother, and two sisters who lived in relative wealth. This was shortly to change.
In order to understand what had happened to them we must do simple math. Subtract the mother from the family, then divide the wealth by the number of people left, then subtract ¾ of the wealth, then add age, then add spoiled children and finally add poverty. The sum is very different then what we started out with.
This was what happened to Beauty's family. They had started out well enough, but a run of bad luck decreased the number of people in the family as well as the money in the family. Therefore it was necessary for all of them to go live in the countryside, where there is fewer people and money, so they would still seem well off.
Too bad most of the family wasn't suited for it. However, reader, you probably have not the slightest clue on the personality of the family members. As a kindness I shall describe them in an ordered list.
1. The Father. He is rumored to have another name, but that is immaterial. What is important to us is the fact that he is cowardly. Very cowardly in fact. Only his bad judgement exceeds his cowardliness.
2. The Brother. His name is Philip. Pretty stupid. Stupid enough for us to ignore him.
3. The sister number one. The middle child. Not stupid, not cowardly. No her fault is greediness. But she can get away with it because she's gorgeous. As many scientists have discovered, a beautiful woman bends the laws of physics and gravity in strange ways. This one was no exception. Great legs. Oh yeah, her name was Suzie.
4. Lastly, sister number two. Beauty. Sadly, not half as good-looking as Suzie. Her mother screwed up with her. Thinking, Hey if one of my daughters is beautiful, won't the other be as well? She named the poor kid Beauty. Thank goodness that Beauty didn't inherit the brains of mama, or papa for that matter. It just so happens that she inherited the intelligence of her maiden great aunt Jessie. Of course, that leads to speculation on whether the intelligence was the reason why great aunt Jessie was the old maid. Often told to shut up (Beauty, not Jessie).
So now reader, you have the current cast list. This hopefully gives you an inkling on the miserable happenings that went on in the cottage. It also leads you to chapter two, which promises to have no math in it.
Yes, reader, I can sense that you're impatient. So I will start the plot. You have no idea how much you hurt me by being bored. Ingrate.
Beauty, Phillip and Suzie were working that morning. Or to be more accurate, Beauty was working, while the other two were complaining. To be fair, they were very good at complaining, and not at working. So it would only be natural that they would do what they were good at. Somehow, Beauty failed to see the logic of this when presented with it.
"Beauty, can't you work faster?" Suzie said in a nasal voice. Suzie's voice was a work of art. Naturally high pitched and hard on the ears, she could lower it to a huskiness that would make men cry.
"I could if you helped me." Beauty said sensibly.
"She could... but you could just work harder. After all, you are the youngest." Phillip broke in.
"Oh but Phillip..."
"No, I command you to!"
"But...you can't. I'm not your slave." Beauty was getting angry.
"Yes, but this will all be mine one day. So you're living on my land."
"But...what about my dowry?" Beauty smiled a wicked smile.
Phillip burst into tears. He was very mad at the fact that getting rid of Beauty would involve getting rid of some very good land.
"Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!" He bawled. Beauty stood up.
"Phillip. Dad is on a business tr..." Beauty started. But then the unexpected happened. Their father came in.
1. Very pale
2. Very scared
3. Breathing heavily
4. With hair all over the place
He ignored his bailing son and went to examine Beauty. Then he shook his head.
"Damn child. Why can't you live up to your name."
"I need to send you to a ravenous Beast who lives in a horribly gothic, yet perfectly romantic, creepy castle. Here comes the bad part. I told him that you were really pretty. I'll have to send Suzie instead. Damn."
"Dad! I can't go. I'm too pretty. He'll eat me." Suzie whined.
"You're bright, you'll figure out how to survive... no wait. You know what, Su? I'll send Beauty with you and between your looks and her brains, you'll be able to holding out for a month."
"She's not that smart."
Beauty sighed. No sense in tangling with her family. She went up to pack and felt grateful that she would now only have to deal with Suzie. She was also glad that her life was going to be interesting. After all, when you live in a horribly gothic castle things have to happen. It's regulations.
The journey there was relatively uneventful. Relatively because very few journeys utilize magic horseless carriages that mysteriously show up at your doorstep as transportation, unless you live in a different setting and then what are you doing getting into a strange car anyway? Uneventful because besides that, not much happened. So the sisters were left to their own thoughts, or in the case of one of then lack of thoughts.
But all good things must come to an end, and so did this. They were plopped on the pavement leading to the castle, feeling very small. It must be explained that although the castle was very big, that did not make them feel small. After all, buildings are supposed to be bigger than people are, it's a characteristic. Otherwise it gets uncomfortable. Ask Alice if you have doubts. Anyway, the thing that made them feel tiny was the huge ink black shadow, that was very clearly housing a large creature. The two sisters froze. Finally a rough shadow of a voice cut through the airy silence.
"Which of you is Beauty?" It tugged at both of them, drawing them closer and yet repelling them to the very ends of the earth.
"I am." Beauty was amazed at herself. She felt numb and disoriented, but not concerned at all. Her soul had been cut off from her mind.
"Oh. You have company, Beauty. Lovely company." For a second the voice could charm apples into being oranges. Then it became beastly again.
"I'm Suzie. Her older sister. I'm the pretty girl and she's the brain. Dad sent both of us for good measure. He didn't want to be recalled on account of Beauty not really being beautiful." Suzie widened her eyes. Beauty looked away in distaste. She hated when her sister acted the breathless baby doll. She was too good at it.
"Well, I am glad that your father had the foresight to send you Suzie. We will have good times together." The voice turned its full forced on Suzie. She nearly melted till she remembered that she was too beautiful to melt. Free from the voice, Beauty began hovering closer to reality.
"But of course, dear sir. I will be happy to..." Suzie smiled. Then she grabbed Beauty. "What's foresight?"
"It's when you see out of your forehead."
"Oh. Okay. He's good. Sounds handsome. Has castle. I like him."
"But...I don't think he's really that good looking."
"Nonsense! With a voice like that?"
"Can't you hear the growl in it?"
"What are you ladies whispering about Suzie?" The voice started plying again.
"Oh it's my silly sister. She thinking you're the beast. I told her no, a person that sounds so wonderful is a man and..." Her voice tapered off into a squeak as the shadows were relieved of their personage. It was dressed in man's clothing, albeit very large man's clothing. Even so, they were small, and the muscles could not be hidden. Not on a thing on the creature was not made for the hunt, for the kill. From the claws to the teeth it was more like Fido on steroids than like a man. Suzie flinched while Beauty narrowed her eyes (Beauty will be doing a lot of that as she's nearsighted somewhat and glasses haven't been invented. I think).
"Oh." Suzie said delicately before fainting like the lady she was.
"Oh." Beauty said softly before following the Beast, who had picked up Suzie, to the rooms. She looked on unpleasantly as the Beast gave her sister one last longing look before depositing her on a grand bed. She couldn't tell who she thought was getting a raw deal, a girl with an ugly suitor, or a suitor who could not see the ugliness in the girl.
© 2000 Copyright held by the author.
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