And so Goldilocks found herself in a kitchen that felt at once familiar and strange. She saw three bowls on a wooden table of questionable soundness, under whose third leg was stuffed a number of Splenda packets. She knew she should proceed with caution, but she was really goddamn hungry, and porridge always hit the spot. She intuited it was porridge not by sight or smell, but by the sure knowledge that it couldn't possibly be anything else.

She'd just finished getting cut out of a wolf's stomach, after all. She knew exactly what road she was on.

Predictably enough, she burned the living hell out of her tongue on the first bowl, cursing up a storm the likes of which hadn't been seen since that Midwestern upstart (and her little dog, too) had landed in town. The second bowl was stone cold, and the small sip she had of it made her shiver violently. She held her spoon poised above the third bowl and stared at its contents; a delicate curl of steam reached the tip of her nose. She felt its warmth on her face. It promised to be perfect. It promised to be just right.

It wasn't.

Fucking fairy tales, she thought. They get me every time.

Disappointed but not defeated, Goldilocks composed herself. She set the spoon down on the table. She smoothed her frock and tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear. She set her shoulders and lifted her chin. She walked to the door and through it. And as she did so, she caught her reflection in the window pane: still hungry, but none the worse for wear.