Previously on THE REAL CINDERELLA STORY…
In this Grand Search for Miss Chinda Ella Babalola, the Presidential Igwe Apparent left no stones unturned. First of all, he set up a committee. This committee then set up a taskforce called Operation S.E.A.R.C.H—for See And Return Chinda.
The first day, they toured the northern part of the country and found her not. The second day, Oghenekevbe summoned the head of the committee to his princely chambers.
“How far?” asked the Amanyanabo.
“Sir, we’re on top of the situation. The investigation is ongoing and I believe we’ll soon find her,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Effiong Onicha Sanusi.
The Prince sighed his disappointment. Why hadn’t he asked the damsel where she lived? It’d have cut this search short. Well, there was no use crying over spilled kunu. So his people went back to upturning every stone in the kingdom.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the Electorate of Lagosia, Teremena began to suspect something. Chinda had been acting weird. It wasn’t that she was happy or anything of the sort—but there was something about her sadness that seemed forced. The girl was supposed to be in a state of perpetual misery. But lately, a light had appeared in her eyes, in spite of all the work she constantly had to do.
“Have you girls noticed anything about your stepsister lately?” she asked her clueless divas one evening while they sat in the living room, watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians on their 200-inch Chingchong touch-screen TV.
“No,” said Drusilla, watching as the live-in boyfriend of one of the Kardashian women engaged his girlfriend’s brother in a drunken fight.
“What about you, Anaste?”
“How would you, when your eyes are forever glued to the screen of that I-Tab?” her mother snapped.
The girl said nothing, too intent on uploading picture after hideous picture of herself on Instagram. Using a lot of filters and 360 cam, she brushed up the last picture until it was perfect, and captioned it: Sexy and I know IT!
Immediately she posted it, the comments began to pour in.
“@chiji: who tell you say you sexy? Monkey! @oriolu @ritzy @rambo check dis girl out.”
“@thedon: I no know why na wowo people dey get internet subscription.”
“@singa: @remifine @sugarsugar @abule… come and see your sister o!”
“@kelvino: Dis girl, get off IG. You resemble nightmare.”
“@firstsaint: you people should leave this girl alone nah. IG trolls.”
“@adelove: @firstsaint is it that her pictures don’t use to give you eye ache? Ass kisser.”
“@firstsaint: @adelove if you don’t have something nice to say, shut up.”
“@truelove: make una leave @firstsaint. Maybe na her boyfriend. Him fit wowo pass her.”
“@hardeysholah: u r lyk a zoo reject.”
On and on the comments went, but Anastasia ignored them all. Haters gonna hate – that’s what the famous Herbert Macaulay had said. No, that was Lord Shina Peters. And she was an ardent reader of his books. These people were just jealous of her. A few of them, like @firstsaint, always spoke the truth. He was a gentleman, who acknowledged her beauty and defended her.
“Will you wipe that stupid grin off your face and listen to me?!” her mother suddenly barked, startling her out of her delusions of beauty.
“I wasted my money, outfitted you like royalty and made sure you attended the Royal Ball!” the woman railed. “All I asked was that one of you bring home the Junior Igwe as a son in-law. But what did you two nincompoops do? Nothing! Simple conversation – Mba! Dance well nko? Mba! Yet you people will watch only MTV in this house, from morning till night!”
“Mummy, it’s not true o,” Drusilla cut in. “We also watch E! Enter–”
“Will you keep kwayet! Look at your head like your father’s people! The girl that boldly walked up to the Prince, ate with him and danced like a pro, does she have two heads?”
Her daughters grumbled, their eyes shifting away from her angry gaze. What’s her problem sef, they thought. But still, neither of them wanted to be the target of her ire.
“And speaking of the girl who made the prince run after her… Hmmm.”
“What is it, Mum?” asked Anastasia.
“I’m suspecting that girl is Cinderella,” her mother mused.
“EH?!” her daughters shouted simultaneously.
“That’s impossicant! Where would she have gotten the fine clothes and the fine shoes and the carriage?” Drusilla asked. “Forgerrit, Mum. It’s unpossibles.”
“Impossible, you idiot! And no, it’s not impossible. With the right kind of jazz, anything can be done. And she’s not been herself lately. I think I’ll go and raid her room.”
Her daughters giggled in excitement as she summoned Cinderella, who was washing dishes in the kitchen.
“Go to the farm and bring me some fresh vegetables. I’m craving pumpkin leaf and tomato salad and meat pies. Hurry! I’m very hungry.”
“Yes, ma,” Cindy-baby replied and hurried out to the backyard, wondering at her stepmother’s bout of cheerfulness. The woman was never happy unless she was involved in mischief of some sort or was causing someone misery, usually Cindy’s. As she went off to the farm, one mind told her to go back and remove the shoe from the hiding place under her bed. The other mind told her that her stepmother would never venture into her room. Trusting her second mind, she picked up a basket and went off to the farm to fetch the veggies.
Madam Teremena watched from the kitchen window until the girl was well away from the house. Then she ran off to the cramped little cubicle under the staircase, where she’d assigned to the girl as her bedroom. When she got to the door, she paused in an uncharacteristic attack of shame and guilt. Shaking her head to banish the strange feelings, Teremena turned the knob, pulled open the door and stepped into Cindy’s room.
Written by Eketi Ette