Diadem’s Vanity – by Cara Christianna Treacy (Middle School)

The handle trembled in her grip as her reflection was cast upon the glass of the mirror. Her gaunt proportions seemed distorted in this light, sagging and shrivelled. Her eyes twinkled no more that pale periwinkle shade, instead, a dull grey colour pierced the mirror as she glared contemptuously back. Her hair, greasy and limp, fell in thin locks around her head. Such loathing swelled her chest as she looked at a face she could not recognise.
A desperate, searching feeling hung in the room as she threw the mirror aside. It could not be a shock to her. Years had since eroded the face of beauty that was awed by admirers and courted by lovers. But, now, as she stood in her small bedroom, she thought with hopeless craving of the small box under her cabinet. How old that box was, she did not know.
As she stood there, her hand clasped around it, repulsion swelled in the pit of her stomach, roaring and howling at the hideous deed she would commit. What was inside, you ask? Perhaps to you or me, it may not seem much. A simple diadem rested on the plush cushioning.
This diadem, discovered in the late 1200s, was a creation of Catherina of Cantino in Northern Italy. It is said she was a renowned alchemist and could create powerful objects, such as the diadem with just a few sprigs of lilac and her knowledge. The woman stood now, in her small bedroom, with the diadem poised on her head, and the feelings of loathing and hatred seeped away. She waited only moments before rushing to her bedside eagerly. Years had lifted from her face; freckles had appeared and a slight tanned bronzed her nose. Her hair fell to her chest in tight, crystal-blonde curls and her eyes glowed the vibrant blue she dreamt of so often. No amount of happiness could compare to the euphoria that rushed to every fibre of her being as she gazed lovingly at the reflection that stared back at her. It had worked.

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-04

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