3 of 5 stars.
The blending of families can be its own drama, if not horror story. This is especially true when there are children involved on both sides of the equation. This tale explores some of the complications and machinations for preteen children left of their own.
12 y.o. Peter and his new step-sister, 8 y.o. Darcy, find themselves alone on their parents’ date night after the sitter is called away to the hospital for an emergency. On this occasion, Peter watches horror films [not allowed] in his stepfather’s private study [also not allowed] until Darcy finds him. Darcy, obsessed with princesses despite being a dirty, smelly child, talks Peter into playing with her for money. Peter agrees because he needs the money and comes from the poorer half of the union.
The game, ironically, is Cinderella and the Evil Stepsister. After much arguing and negotiating, Peter is Cinderella, albeit also Evil . . .
This short story was included in the anthology The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2010 edited by Paula Guran. I’ve previously read this author’s “I Can See Right Through You” and “Monster”.
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