By Rachel Ann Michael Harris
Mia fluttered through the tower window, her fairy wings leaving a trail of sparkling lights as she circled the room. A spinning wheel stood in the center, surrounded by dirt and straw. Shaking her head, she snapped her fingers. In a flash of light, she became the size of a human. Hands on her hips, she circled the spinning wheel again.
Fools. The lot of them. She kicked at the straw and huffed. The miller girl would never learn, would she? Even after she’d seen what Rumpelstiltskin could do, she had still abandoned this room and the wheel. And him! Her husband had poured so much magic into this… thing… and thought they’d get a child out of it? Fool.
Placing a hand on her stomach, she cleared her throat at the memory. They’d tried so long to have a child of their own. Eventually, she’d given up. But Rumpelstiltskin knew what a child meant to Mia and devised a plan. She’d laughed when he’d told her. A fool’s errand by a fool, she’d told him. The deal with the miller girl had been their last hope. But… Mia had hoped. And because of his stupid arrogance and pride, she’d lost both of them—her husband and the child that was supposed to be hers.
Dragging a hand across the wheel, she felt the smooth wood, polished from use. And the tingle of magic. Golden sparks flew under her fingers as she ran them along its edge. Rumpelstiltskin had infused quite a bit of his power into this wheel to allow it to spin straw into gold. Leaving some behind.
Clutching her organza gown, Mia crushed the fabric in her fists as she thought of the disdainful king. When Mia had revealed the deal between his wife and Rumpelstiltskin and demanded the child, the king wrongly believed the contract had been fulfilled and rejected Mia’s demands. That peasant had looked on, dressed in silks and pearls like she really was a queen with a smug smile on her face as she cuddled the baby in her arms.
That the magic seemed to agree with the king still filled Mia with a fiery rage. When she’d tried to place a curse on the boy, their oldest child, the one that should have been hers, it failed. The boy was out of reach.
But not their youngest.
The memory of the king and that peasant’s terrified faces when she appeared a year later at their daughter’s christening made Mia smile. Did the peasant really believe guessing a name was the end of the story?
The miller girl should have learned caution after almost losing her son. Desperation made her willing to trade the most precious thing in the world—her son—then overconfidence made her lazy when it came to protecting her daughter.
When the king and miller girl lost the second most important thing, they would understand why it was never smart to betray a fairy. The curse she had spoken sixteen years ago would be fulfilled. Today.
Lifting a hand over her head, Mia snapped her fingers. Her hair turned grey, and her dress faded to a plain brown. The skin on her face sagged and wrinkled. As her back arched, she lowered herself onto the stool beside the spinning wheel and pressed the pedal with her foot. The wheel spun hypnotically. Taking up some of the wool she’d brought, she sent it around the wheel and stretched it to the spindle.
The door creaked open, and a young lady poked in. A cascade of golden hair fell down her shoulders and framed her delicate face.
“Come in, child,” Mia croaked.
The girl took a tentative step. She watched the wheel go around, and her gaze followed the wool as it wrapped the spindle. She reached out and touched the smooth, twisted yarn, then her fingers traced the lines in the wood.
“What is your name?” Mia asked.
Mia smiled. “Would you like to try?”
Picking up the spindle, the fairy passed it to Rose, who took it and began wrapping the wool around it. As she got to the tip, she pressed down.
“Ouch!” Rose jumped and dropped the spindle. Blood welled from the prick on her finger.
Her face fell.
Swaying, Rose collapsed into a pile of straw.
Mia smiled. Grasping the wheel, she pushed it into a crazy spin, scattering the wool into piles on the floor. The girl was gone. Now that peasant and the king would know what it was like to lose someone who was more precious than gold. To lose a child.
The faint memory of another fairy tinkering with Mia’s curse made Mia snort. Let Rose’s parents have desperate hope. It would make this revenge even better. Because who could fall in love with someone they’d never met?
Snapping her fingers, Mia returned to her fairy form and flew out the window.