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The Future of Cinderella?

By Harmony KentPublished 8 months ago 5 min read
Photo by Magnus S on Unsplash

Once upon a time, her life had held value, and Ava caused a stir to all who beheld her splendour and amazing abilities. Progress didn’t always bring change for the better, though, and Ava became just one of its minor, unremarked casualties. Sustained by her memories, she took solace in being allowed to live at all. Even existence as a mostly ignored cleaner had to be better than total annihilation.

With bright memories of her previous life, little Ava scurried into her dark corner, where the cobwebs and nightmares lived. Despite her pain and terror, here she would stay until next summoned. If she dared leave under her own power, the terrible trio—ugly sisters, all—would rip her apart. Then, dismembered, she would find herself at the industrial incinerator. No, even this desperate existence was better than to disobey and burn alive.

Ava, of course, had heard all the old fairytales. Yet, however much she longed for a magical godmother, glass slippers and sparkling splendour, or merely a wishing tree, such for her was not to be. Day after day, and night after night, Ava suffered the shame and the boredom and kept hope alive—futile though others would deem such childish dreams.

One eve, much hustle and bustle erupted, amidst a great and rare excitement. So much so that even Ava’s ancient and menial services were called for. A grand exhibition was to be held in the esteemed World Museum of Artefacts, and the call went out for ‘all hands on deck’. With glee, Ava glided from her corner and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. For once, her small size gave her massive prowess as she could gather the dust and must of ages from even the minutest of spaces. Eventually, hours later, depleted yet exulted, she struggled back to her dark corner, where the cobwebs still lived, but this early morn’ the memories and hopes of a return to glory banished the nightmares.

For the first time in longer than Ava could recall, one of the three all-powerful overseers followed her into her dim niche. ‘Thank you, little one. You’ve been an enormous help. We owe you.’

Suddenly brave and bold, Ava spoke up, albeit with her voice meek and weak from lack of energy and use. ‘Thank you, kind master. Please, may I join tomorrow’s show?’

The overseer rubbed their chin between thumb and forefinger while they studied little Ava. ‘Mmm, that could work. The visitors might even view you as a novelty.’ After a further chin rub, the overseer nodded. ‘Yes, I’m sure my two cohorts would agree. Get plenty of rest, now, and recharge your batteries. I’ll summon you when the time is right.’


The big day arrived with much fuss and short tempers, and Ava stayed out of the way in her safe space. As the hours wore on and on, and neither the overseer nor their two cohorts called for Ava, her spirits fell to depths henceforth unknown. How could the world be so cruel? What had she ever done to earn such eternal punishment?

If she could, she would have broken down right then and there without a care, such was the depth of her long held-in despair. At that very moment fate took pity, and the second of the three overseers pressed Ava’s remote call button. Dutifully, she glided from her corner and gave the best performance of her life. She demonstrated her dexterity at both hugging walls, turning corners, and creeping under and into the teeniest of places.

To her great delight, the crowd oohed and ahed and greeted her performance with great applause. Though almost out of juice, Ava glowed as she made one last victory circuit. A man and boy approached the third overseer and entered deep and prolonged converse.

At last, the head overseer walked to Ava and smiled—an expression she’d not seen in eons. ‘You were the star of the show,’ they said. ‘And our biggest benefactor has made an offer too generous to decline. You’re to go and live with them.’ They bowed their head and bore a pensive look. ‘An unprecedented honour. We never saw a little, old thing like you being the Queen of the day.’ With that, the android turned and strode away, headed for their own charging chamber. One much more glamorous than the Automated Vacuum Accessory’s tiny box.


That very night, in her new home and happier than ever, Ava slid onto her brand new charging port and went into sleep mode. Tomorrow promised a bright, new life of purpose and pleasure. Never in her wildest dreams could the ancient Automated Vacuum Accessory have dreamed of such success and satisfaction.

By Onur Binay on Unsplash

[Author’s note: Many legends precede the modern tale of Cinderella we all know and love. Some more gruesome than others. Some with happily ever afters and some not.

With the way technology and AI is growing in so many areas, this seemed and apt allegory for things that once struck us humans as magical … the robot vacuum cleaner, in this instance, instead of the fairy godmother. And, me being me, I had to wonder, can the mundane and useless become wondrous once more?

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this bit of fairytale fiction fun, which is inspired by Vocal’s Tales Retold challenge, where we’re asked to retell a classic fairytale with a twist. It’s my hope Ava has accomplished this. Thank you reading. Hugs, Harmony 💕🙂]

Short StoryFantasyFable

About the Creator

Harmony Kent

The multi-genre author who gets write into your head

I began writing at 40 after a life-changing injury. An avid reader & writer, I love to review & support my fellow authors.

Find Me:


Story Empire

Amazon Author Page




Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (13)

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  • Robbie Cheadle8 months ago

    Very creative and unusual, Harmony.

  • John W. Howell8 months ago

    I enjoyed your tale, Harmony. Happy ending

  • Jan Sikes8 months ago

    A brilliant new take on an old classic. Great work, Harmony!

  • Darlene Foster8 months ago

    An excellent take on an old tale. Thanks, Harmony.

  • Gwen Plano8 months ago

    I love it! Well written, Harmony, I didn't see the ending--until the ending. Bravo!

  • Sarah Stuart8 months ago

    You had me intrigued, not to say foxed! If that was a five-minute read, I must be a very fast reader, but I'll trot back and read it again. :-)

  • Kymber Hawke8 months ago

    You got me! I loved this story from beginning, to the surprising end. 🤍🌺

  • Caroline Craven8 months ago

    Oof. This is very clever Harmony. Great re-take on the tale. Well played!

  • Test8 months ago

    I enjoyed this story, a clever take on Cinderella, but would have liked to see an OCD suffering Android (who fell in love with her, be the buyer. Just a thought 💙 Anneliese

  • You made my jaw drop! I loved this concept that you went for! Also, brilliant foreshadowing!

  • Dana Stewart8 months ago

    Ohhhh, your brilliant, impish mind of creativity - you made Cinderella a Roomba! Gah, this is great!

  • LC Minniti8 months ago

    Hah! Love this. Certainly a humorous twist.

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