Grandeur


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"Mommy, please!" her voice ascended to an inhuman falsetto, almost a scream, a shriek. "Tell them! Tell them its not fair!" The tears began about half an hour ago, and there was no signs of them nearing their end. If anything, they were getting heavier, dripping, dribbling down her blotchy face like blood. Mommy couldn't stand the sight of this wretched, ugly thing in front of her: so different from the little princess she'd sent out to the ball only days ago. How had she become so pathetic so quickly? And how could this ragamuffin standing before her possibly ever be her daughter?

"Mommy!" the second howl followed, shrill and sharp, but filled with twice the fear and horror of the last one.

Mascara was raining black drops and splashes across the little girl's sallow cheeks, and her lipstick painted her chin a stark scarlet. All the work of her red-haired slave was put to waste; all because of some dumb old man who didn't even want her anymore. After all he'd said, after all he'd promised, and he'd found another angel to come and be his own little girl. For God's sake! All she'd ever strived to do was to please him, to fit his perfect mould!

Even perfect wasn't good enough.

Daddy wrapped a long arm around Mommy's shoulders, draping her in thick cologne and alcohol. He looked upon his daughter with disgust: the daughter he'd spent billions on, the daughter he'd worshipped, the daughter that was going to bring their broke family into money again.

When he spoke, his voice was hoarse and raucous, grating on the words until they split and broke. "You," his long, white finger pointed straight in her direction, and he burst into a sporadic coughing fit, "You. Its all because of you." His chest rose and fell, breathing rapid and desperate to speak, though his lungs seemed to be holding back air for themselves. "You failed this family. Its all your fault."

"I didn't! I didn't do anythi-"

"Exactly," charcoal eyes flared in fury, the ashes finally bringing back a spark. "You didn't do anything! You didn't DO enough!"

The little girl covered her exposed chest with white, shaking arms. "I'm sorry daddy. I tried my best."

"It seems," he rasped, "Your best, isn't good enough." Daddy grasped his tearful wife by her manicured hand, and forced her out of the white-washed room with haste. He couldn't spend a second long in there. Not with her. Not with her.

With a shuddering breathe, the little girl lowered herself to the floor, just a pile of silk and bones. She was so little now: perhaps because her dress was so big, perhaps because of other reasons. She wasn't sure anymore: not of anything. Her purpose in life was to be beautiful, fashionable, to be a role model for every Capitol child, an idol for everyone in the districts. At least, that was the deal, between her and Snow. He bought her wardrobe, her piles and piles of make-up and her lines of staff and beauticians. He said it was her he'd been waiting for forever, and she was his star: the rose between thorns, the glimmering moon between the rows and rows of grey stars. One in a million.

Where was her beauty, her talent for bringing joy? It was only last week that she was making the wealthiest aristocracy hang on her every word, sprouting laughter and happiness from their glossy, pouted lips. Who was she? Who the hell was this little girl, who couldn't even please her parents? Who the hell was she, anymore, without her dresses? Was her beauty all that made her: all that she really was?

"My God," she whispered, her hands sheltering her face from the world, and her eyes tight shut, trying to block out a hell set on barging on.

Who was she? Who on earth was she?

Her long, lanky fingers scooped up a handful of her pitiful dress, and with a sudden surge of ire, she ripped a chunk of the magnificent material out, leaving a huge hole in the skirt. Then another. Another rip. Another, until she was left in a skinny little nightgown, magnolia in colour: a peasant's dress. It seemed more fitting for who she was now.

She opened her eyes in one quick flash, soft, natural blue beneath running black, red and orange. And in that one second, she looked all the prettier for her ugliness. Who was she?

Her name was Isabella. She was sixteen years old.

The young woman rose to her feet.

 

 

 

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