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Cinderella (Rewritten)

Cinderella (Rewritten)

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Published by Jay Edma

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Published by: Jay Edma on Jun 02, 2010
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06/02/2010

 
Tails and TalesCinderella (Rewritten)
When you’re looking at a muzzle of agun and your hands are up, you really can’t domuch of anything. You just stare and breathe.And that’s exactly what Ellie’s mother isdoing.There are four other people in the room.Two of them are grown men with loaded .38s.One of the said guns is currently pointed atEllie’s mother’s face; the other one at Ellie andher boyfriend, who both sat frozen on the king-sized bed.Me, I’m just lucky nobody’s pointing anygun at me. They have no reason to as I’m lyingon my stomach under the bed, with only my furryhead poking out of the long bed sheets. Fromthat position, I have a pretty great view of theunfolding drama in the room.It’s one of those days when I’m glad Ichase rabbits, fetch sticks and roll over thegrass under the hot summer sunshine. Notmany people—not even hardened criminalsever have the urge to shoot a Dalmatian puppy.My name is Tails; and I have a story totell you.
Part 1
 
TEENAGE LOVE AND A KILLER
Once upon a time—in 1901 to be exact—an earthquake occurred 200 thousandkilometers off the coast of the Philippines. It wasso powerful that the inhabitants of the nearbyislands woke up as the earth rumbled and shookbeneath their bare feet. It was as if the gates of hell have opened for its god and his pack of hellhounds.In a panic, they rushed out of their hutsand ran for the hills.Even as they watched from the safety of ancient trees and elevated ground, anotheisland emerged from the depths of the Pacific. Itwas large, more so than the isles that surroundit. The waves rose up and up as a multitude of stars in the night sky fell as one in a shower of sparks.The natives watched in awe, holdinghands and uttering their god’s name. Finally, thetides ebbed and the earth ceased to quake. Thenewest isle in the Pacific glowed iridescentlyunder the silvery moonlight-- hills and trees,cliffs and waters, topped by a blue mountain inits center.Years later, maps were drawn about thisisland and they realized it was distinctly shapedlike a crescent moon. Decades more and theLuna-Ri-- as it is now called—would attractlocals and foreigners alike. In 2000, it wouldbecome a bustling seaside city, a melting pot of races; and one of the world’s favorite touristdestinations.The island has many interesting stories.I am involved in most of them. This is thebeginning of one.It was in 2010, on a hot summer day thatseventeen year-old Ellie Rinna realized twothings. One-- that she was attracted to her friendPaul. And two-- that someone was trying to killthem.They were grabbing a quick bite at adiner in the corner of Elm and Grove. They’d justfinished signing up for the next school year atthe university. The day was almost over. From asmall booth in the ground floor that faced theocean, Ellie and Paul sat and admired thesunset.Another perfect Luna-Ri sunset, Elliethought dreamily. She watched as the skyexploded into reds, oranges and yellows. Ithadn’t been a mistake when—in one of hemother’s eccentric moods—they decided tomove here from Manila. She hoped that theywouldn’t have to leave again; Iliana Bay was thethird city they moved into in the last seven yearsand she loved it here.Ellie watched the waning sky and onlylooked away from the window when the waitresscame to take their order.“It’s a nice view isn’t it?” Ellie told thewaitress. She glanced at the nametag. “Anna.”That was Ellie; she sometimes talked toperfect strangers.Anna gave her a curt nod. “Yes, we suredo. May I take your order?”As usual, Ellie ordered enough burgers,fries and milkshakes to last her two days. Thewaitress scribbled into her little notepad.Paul smiled in amusement. He was pureFilipino, seven months older, tall and lean. Butfrom the rare occasions that Ellie saw himshirtless-- not that she was looking closely—hehas pecs and abs a girl would want to touch justfine—not that she ever wanted to.“What?” Ellie asked him as the waitressflounced away. She watched his black hair shinewhere the fading light struck it.You eat like youre gonna dietomorrow.”
 
Ellie has just turned 17 last week, smalland golden-skinned with thick dark brown hair that fell to her shoulders. She’d once asked her mother at dinner where she got the hair.“Your father,” her mother had said in her cool detective’s voice.“You say I’m half-Filipino, what’s theother half?”Her mother had sipped her water andchanged the subject. That was almost alwaysthe case.“Life’s too short,she told Paul now.“And I’m hungry.” She smiled back at him. “Hey,you ordered as much as me. What’s your excuse?”“I’m a guy,” he said, baiting her. Shedidn’t disappoint.“What’s that supposed to mean?”Paul enjoyed the glare she gave him.“Girls shouldn’t pig out. They should look goodfor the guys.”She was about to kick him under thetable when she realized that—“You’re playingme again.” Her face broke into a grin to matchhis.“Got ya,” he laughed. She laughed too,but still kicked him under the table. As he cried,“Ow!” and rubbed his leg, she winked.“Don’t ever say anything sexist again.”By the time this was happening, I wascircling the block and following Ellie’s scent. Shesmelled fresh and citrusy, a smell I always lovedbesides chicken adobo and pizza. As I paddedmy way down the street, people and kids smiledand cried, “Oh! How cute!Some even madebeckoning motions at me but I ignored them.My focus was on Ellie. She was goingto die in 10 minutes.***Anna the waitress came back with aladen tray. The food was slipping precariouslyon the plastic plates and Paul had to get up andhelp her place it on the table.“Thanks,Anna told him curtly. Shedidn’t look at either of them.Then, out of the blue, she said, “I knowyou’re mother.”Ellie looked up. “Who? My mother?”“Uh-huh.” She gave Ellie a cold sneer.“We go way back.”Before Ellie could ask any further, sheturned around and left.Ellie watched her go. Finally, sheshrugged it off.“Probably had a long day,” Paul saidwith his mouth full of burger. Ellie pouredketchup at her mound of fries and dug in. Shewas already forgetting the weird talk with thewaitress. She began laughing.“What?” Paul asked, though it came outas “MWAART?”“I just can’t believe the college cashier can run like that,” she said. “She doesn’t look it.”“Fast as hell,” he agreed.You would’ve thought the universitywould have better security during sign-ups. Thatmorning, a man had tried to snatch an incomingstudent’s tuition money. As he was about tomake a getaway with the cash—and with threesecurity guards on his tail—the cashier, Mrs.White had taken it upon herself and chased after him too. Ellie and Paul saw the whole thing.“She overtook the guards,” Ellie said.She could still see the overweight Mrs. Whiterun, her whole body shaking with effort, her large bosom like melons jiggling against eachother.“And tackled the thief,” Paul said.“She sure can run,” she said, lickingketchup from her lips.“Fast as hell,” he said, and withoutthinking, leaned across the table and licked theketchup off of her himself.They didnt know who was moresurprised. They sprang apart as if doused withcold water. Their eyes were wide, but somethingelse was also there.Ellie’s heart hammered in her chest. Itdidn’t pump as hard as the time she and her mother were walking home when some vagranthad jumped behind a tree and came at themwith a cleaver (her mother, being a policedetective, had made a sweeping motion with her leg and took the man down).This rapid heartbeat of Ellie’s was not of fear. This heartbeat felt good. It was of excitement. Her face grew warm as she staredat Paul.Attraction is the weirdest thing; it makeseven ketchup sexy.“What just happened?” Ellie whisperedat him. Outside, the sun died to make way for the night. Lights began flickering from everybuilding in the block.I don’t know,Paul said. It justhappened.”They didn’t move; the food lay forgottenin the moment. Both were thinking that theywere hungry for something else.Something that involves a lot of kissingand touching and…“Are you sorry?” Ellie asked.Paul thought for a second. “No. I’m not.”“Good,” Ellie said.
 
They grinned at each other.Twelve feet away as she wiped spilledCoke at another table, Anna waited for them todie.***Two minutes before the bullets flew; Iwas sniffing the air for Ellie and came up withsomething else. I was suddenly assaulted bysomething bitter. I turned round and round,following the scent and finally realized itemanating from inside a parked Honda across adiner.Curiously, like any dog would, I crossedthe street to the beat-up car. The bitternessbecame stronger, mixing with sweat andunbrushed teeth. I wrinkled my nose.I glanced up and saw the driver seatwindow open an inch. The unmistakable muzzleof a sniper rifle appeared at the opening. Ifollowed its direction and saw to my doggyhorror Ellie and Paul sitting at the diner acrossthe street.People walked up and down the blockbut no one seemed to notice the man—I couldtell by the smell—about to murder two teenagersfrom a sucky old Honda. A normal dog wouldhave sensed the danger and hightailed it out of there. An ordinary dog would have gone homeand chased his tail to the delight of his humanfriends.But I was no ordinary dog. I wasn’t theUnderdog, no superhero but still…I barked at the man and ran like hell tothe diner.Ellie and Paul might have sensedsomething. They’d stopped eating and their eyesfollowed my approach. I liked to think that theycould hear my puppy-bark outside the glasswindows and know that something was wrong.It might have been me or just plain luck,but Ellie glanced to the right to the parked car. Isaw her eyes widen in recognition. Not fonothing was she a detective’s daughter. Sheyelled, “Everybody down!” I’ve got to admire thisgirl and her friend; both have fast reflexes andducked from sight before the first round of bullets crashed through the glass.People screamed amid the gunshots.Me, I was panting and also running for cover. Broken glass bounced harmlessly off myback as I hid behind a fire hydrant. I lookedback.The shots kept coming and coming andthe people inside and outside the diner werescreaming and screaming. It was a disturbingcacophony of human and deadly firearm. Therewas the strong smell of gun powder in the air;shell casings littered the street. People of allshapes and sizes ran in all directions—well,except in the line of fire, they scattered like antsin a sudden rainfall.It stopped as abruptly as it came. Annaappeared from an alley behind the diner and gotinside the car. “Hurry up!” the man told heurgently.“Go! Just go!” Anna told him. She smiledat the chaos in the diner and saluted. I growled.Not only dogs have bitches. Humans have themtoo.The car came to life and shot throughthe street in a screech of rubber. It disappearedas it rounded the corner. I bravely padded to thediner where glass, ruined upholstery andsurprise deaths were the day’s Special. Thepatrons and waiters moaned. Everyoneappeared to be unhurt—cuts and dislocatedlimbs yes, gunshot wounds, no—except for one.A Korean tourist lay unmoving by the counter,his fruit salad all over him.I watched this man’s spirit float to theceiling and disappear.But Ellie; where is she?Paul was helping her up. She thankedhim and shook glass from her clothes and hair.Both have minor cuts in their arms and lookingas pale as ghosts—something they could havebeen if the bullets had their way.“They’re gone,Ellie whispered. Tearsglistened in her eyes and Paul draped his armaround her. He held her close.She surveyed the room, at the peoplerising unsteadily to their feet, crying children, toa trembling waiter calling the police in his cellphone. Her eyes found the sole casualty in theroom—the dead man there in the corner-- andshe turned away, looking down and finding me.I wagged my tail. She reached downand cradled me in her arms. I barked and lickedher knuckles where I could reach it.Paul patted my head. As the confusionwaned to make way for horror and the need for safety, we—two humans and a dog— pressedagainst each other and thought the same things.Glad to be alive.Who would do this?Thank God.Why?I could predict when good people wereabout to die. Something in the air around thatperson changed when Death has its eye on him,or her. There was certain coldness, a sadnessthat smelled faintly of blood.When I saw Ellie and got drunk on her sweet scent, I also caught Death’s. I just knew I

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