Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writing Prompt: A Ride Home

First, some background before we get to the writing prompt. 
You can buy this amazing piece of art
on Karen's RedBubble.
I was inspired this morning by some beautiful illustrations I found on (where I usually get my writing prompts) by artist Karin Hallion, which each featured a Disney princess from a scene in her movie. Included in all the pictures was a tall blue box, sometimes with its door ajar, and a hand reaching out, beckoning. I was especially inpsired by the image of Belle, standing alone in a field by her home. (Mostly because it was the title of the piece,) I could imagine she had just sung out her private yearning for adventure when a strange noise interrupted her and a man wearing a suit and tie and Chuck Taylors on his feet stuck his head out and said, “Did someone say ‘adventure’?”
But the problem with the inventor’s daughter hopping in the TARDIS and leaving her poor provincial town is that it completely ruins her story. She doesn’t go to a spooky castle full of enchanted objects and fall in love with a Beast who turns out to be a prince. (Sorry if that was a spoiler, Beauty and the Beast has been around forever; the first version was published in 1740, so not knowing what happens in the end is like not knowing how Little Red Riding Hood turns out.) (Anyway.) What we in the fan fiction world refer to as canon (or, what really happens in the story) is very important. Without what really happened, the characters would be different. They wouldn’t learn the same lessons or react the same way to things if their experiences were not exactly (or very nearly) the same.
The result of my wonderful beginning was that I couldn’t decide what would happen next. Because of course Belle would go, because of course she wouldn’t be able to resist the call of adventure from the great wide somewhere. But any adventure they went on would mess up her own timeline. She’d miss Phillipe, her father would die of cold in the castle tower, and the Beast and his household would never be human again.
So I looked at the other pictures. I imagined Ariel joining a man in a bow tie who had “reversed the polarity” of his swimming pool to fill the console room with water, and how strange he would look with a fez perched on top of an antique brass diving helmet. I imagined a man in a leather jacket offering his hand to an Arabian princess and saying, “I can show you the universe… come on. Do you trust me?” And I imagined Rapunzel, watching the lanterns float into the sky as she sat in the doorway with her feet dangling off the edge, informing a frizzy haired man that she liked his scarf.
But none of these ideas, no matter how wonderful they were, let the stories of these princesses go on as they were after they were returned safely to them. Ariel would forget about Eric and bore people with details about the lost underwater kingdom of Atlantis. Jasmine would ignore Aladdin when he showed up on his flying carpet to fly her through the clouds; who needs clouds when you’ve already drifted through the stars? And how are Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder supposed to get together if she’s already achieved her dream?
The only one that really left the story intact was the one I chose to write about. So without further ado, I present my Doctor Who/Cinderella crossover, A Ride Home.

The clock struck midnight and her carriage was nowhere to be seen. She fled down the steps away from the Prince; she was determined that he would not see her transformation back to poverty.
Come Away With Me by Karen Hallion
And then, there it was. She was sure it hadn't been there a moment ago. A man stood in front of it, smiling. He gave a bow and held out his hand. "My dear," he said gallantly, "might I offer you a ride?"
"My carriage...!" she protested, as the clock chimed its last.
"It should be able to find its own way," he replied, and whisked her inside, shutting the door behind her beautiful skirt.
It was the largest carriage she had ever seen. Her eyes stretched toward the ceiling but could not reach it. There didn't seem to be any seating, but the man walked forward to a table in the middle of the room and started busying himself there. He turned his back on her, and she was grateful. Any moment her dress would again become the pink affair that her stepsisters had ripped to shreds earlier that evening and her beautiful night with the Prince would exist only in her memory.
She closed her eyes and sighed. At least she had been able to avoid the sight of the Prince. The thought of him pierced her heart. She would never be able to see him again.
A tear slid down her cheek and she wiped it away with a gloved hand before her rescuer could notice it. Then she opened her eyes and looked down at the gloves on her hands. They were the same as those that held the arm of the Prince while they strolled together on the terrace. Even more amazing was the gown she still wore, the same as she had swirled happily in while dancing with the Prince at the ball. And her shoes! A quick examination of her feet showed that she was not quite in full possession of her godmother's gift of footwear. One of the glass slippers glistened at her toes, while the other seemed to have disappeared.
She looked up to find her rescuer watching her with a rather amused look on his face.
"I... don't understand," she confessed.
He chuckled. "I'm not sure it would be worthwhile to  explain," he replied.
"How can this be?" she wondered aloud. "At midnight... it was supposed to end at midnight!"
"Suppose it isn't midnight quite yet," he suggested.
"But I heard the clock strike!"
Her rescuer merely shrugged and smiled.
A new idea entered her head. "Earlier this evening I met my fairy godmother," she said slowly. "Could you perhaps be my fairy godfather?"
Laughing as he pulled a lever, her rescuer turned and held his hand out to her once more. "My dear," he said, escorting her to the door, "That's exactly what I am."
Cinderella stepped out of her godfather's carriage and into the garden where she had seen mice become horses and a pumpkin become her means of getting to the ball.
She turned back to her fairy godfather, who was standing in the door of his strange blue carriage, his hands on the lapels of his suit jacket. "Thank you, Fairy Godfather."
"You're welcome, my dear," he replied, bowing again. "Oh, and by the way," he added, turning back to her, "I would keep that last slipper safe if I were you."

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