I have had an anonymous request to re-post the earlier Midwinter stories that were posted on the old boards, so, without further ado, Olivia’s first appearance…. A Very Gothic Cinderella Or - The little glass slipper Part 1 MONDAY NIGHT “We all wear masks sometimes, Madame. Even you.” said the actor playing Percy Blakney. The girl looked for the remote to turn off the TV; it was getting late, time to get ready. She searched through her cloths scattered on the floor. She wasn’t particularly tidy; she got enough of that at work. Laundry was never at the top of her ‘to do’ list and things lay strewn about everywhere. The maps and blueprints were still on the desk, but those she planned to get rid of very soon. There was no point risking them becoming exhibits ‘a’ through ‘g’ at a trial. She found the remote underneath the bland dark green cleaning uniform and clicked off the television, even though she almost wanted to keep watching. She loved The Scarlet Pimpernel. A&E had done a good job with it, but she had never seen any version, on stage or on film, that had been half as good as the book. Idly she reflected what she liked best was that the main character was so sneaky. And he never got caught. She didn’t plan on getting caught either. Not that she was about to go and rescue people from the clutches of Mademoiselle Guillotine or any other instrument of death. Oh no, she had something much more elegant and glamorous in mind. It would be enchanting, and perhaps even a bit legendary, if she succeeded. If. As she got ready for what she hoped to the first of several escapades she glanced down on the items that had spilled out from her purse after throwing it down after getting home from work. There was security tag with her picture facing up on it. ‘Olivia Midwinter’ said the nametag. Almost every day she wore the tag, not that anyone questioned a girl with a mop and vacuum cleaner in that awful dark green cleaners uniform. She grinned too herself. Pretty soon, she thought, security systems were going to be tightened, since that was the knee-jerk reaction to a robbery. Lock the barn door after the horse has left - or been absconded. Robbery. She, Olivia Grace Midwinter, was about to cross the line over to breaking and entering, larceny, possession of stolen goods, and possibly destruction of property. It’s gonna be great, she thought. As she got dressed she scornfully thought of others with their costumes, gags, and gimmicks. Honestly, did they want to get caught? Probably, most of them were insane. Well, she wasn’t insane and didn’t want to get caught, and (hopefully) wouldn’t. When everything she needed was in the inconspicuous shopping bag she calmly went downstairs and onto the street, just another pedestrian, hoping her face didn’t reveal she felt like her stomach was full of butterflies. She wondered if grandpapa had ever got nervous before doing a ‘job’. Then she reminded herself of the old saying; fear is a good thing, it means you’re paying attention. ******************* When she got to the jewelry store it was already fast approaching the witching hour. Causally she went into the restaurant next door and used the public rest room. On the end stall she taped an ‘Out of Order’ sign on the door. Inside she pulled off her long brown skirt and gray sweater and stuffed them in the bag. Underneath she was wearing a skintight catsuit she had dyed herself. It was a blend of mostly grays and blacks, among other colors. ‘City camouflage’, she called it. For she had realized the nights were not pure jet-black, but rather an endless medley of shifting colors. Over the catsuit that fit her like a second skin she already had the dark sleeveless vest jacket on that had been her father’s. The vest had pockets practically all over it, and in each she had already stashed what many referred to as the ‘tools of the trade,’ most of them inherited from her grandfather. Over her feet and most of her calves were the tall black boots that had once been her mother’s. As a little girl she had clomped about in them, so small was she then that they practically came to her waist. ‘It’s Puss in Boots!’ her mother would exclaim delightedly. ‘How can I help you marquis?’ Olivia would pip back, pronouncing the foreign word ‘more-key’. Now they fit perfectly, for she had the same feet as her mother, petite and dainty. On her hands she pulled on a pair of black leather gloves that came past her wrists. Next she wrapped her hair around her head. She had already put her long, dark blond, slightly curly hair in a braid before she had left. Now she pinned it in place and completely covered it with a dark gray wool cap so that not a strand was visible. More like little Furball, she thought to herself, then that other d.i.d. For the final touch, the face, Olivia opened the old face cream jar and began to apply the special mixture she’d made. The main ingredients were ashes and charcoal, mixed with some oils and creams, with a touch of walnut juice, to make a dark paste. When she was satisfied that not a square inch of skin was showing she left the bag in the stall and crept out the bathroom window. ‘Catwoman, eat your heart out’, she thought. ******************* Later, back in pedestrian mode, as she walked up the steps (the elevator had broken several months ago and never been fixed) she wanted to laugh out loud. Grandpapa would have been most proud. A successful crime completed! ‘One down, five to go,’ she thought as she twirled the ring around her finger. It was going to be a wonderful week, ending with what was surly going to be a night to remember, if all went as planned. She admired the blue and clear stones in the hallway light. ‘Absolutely wonderful’, she thought. Back inside the apartment she saw on the news she’d lucked out big time in that the Bat crew and GPD had been tied up all night with one of Joker’s escapades. No one even knew the ring was gone yet. ‘Just wait’, she thought contentedly, ‘just wait’.