This is my entry into the "What If?" Fairy Tale Madness Blogfest hosted by Morgan Shamy.
Anna rolled over and groaned. What did they stuff the mattresses with--gravel? Giving it up as a bad job, she sat up and swung her legs over the edge, her toes searching for the ladder. You’d think such a high, thick bed would be soft.
There! Her toe caught a rung, but she misjudged, slipped, and fell. The floor struck her with a muffled thud. Thank God for thick carpets or she would probably have broken something. Everything in this place was thick: thick beds, thick walls, thick carpets.
Gasping, she pushed herself into a sitting position and glanced up at the bed with a shudder. She might as well sleep on the floor now. There was no way she was going to climb back up there just to toss and turn again. The floor wasn’t soft, but at least it was smooth. Pillowing her head on her arm, she stretched out and managed to drift off.
The creak of the door woke her and she tried to sit up, but found that her joints had stiffened overnight.
“Why are you on the floor, dearie?” The landlady peered at her in concern.
Anna tried to be tactful. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I couldn’t sleep way up there.”
The old woman shuffled over and grabbed Anna’s arm. Seeing the bruises, she cackled--actually cackled. “You’re the one--the real princess! Now we can appease the gods.”
With surprising speed and strength, she tied Anna’s hands behind her back and lifted her to her feet. Stunned, Anna allowed herself to be led outside, where she stopped. Dominating the backyard was a large marble altar, its surface marred with many bloodstains.
Turning to run, Anna crashed headlong into a handsome young man. “Please, help me,” she begged. He smiled a mocking smile, and everything went dark.