Unfairy Tales

Writing is storytelling. No matter how you slice it, you’re saying, ‘Once upon a time.’
—Mary Higgins Clark Writer’s Digest October 2003

Writing Prompt: Unfairy Tales

Write a scene that involves a fairy tale trope turned on its head or otherwise deviating from typical expectations. For example: A princess who’s cruel to her kind stepmother; a golden goose that lays explosive eggs; a big, frightening wolf who really just wants a friend.

Post your response in 500 words or fewer in the comments below. 

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96 thoughts on “Unfairy Tales

  1. writinglife

    Rounding another curve in what the knight had determined is a never-ending stairway a hint of light from somewhere ahead made its presence known. Reinvigorated the knight covered the last remaining steps two at a time.

    The knight deposited the torch into a holder on the left pausing on the landing before the only room in the tower. The knight wouldn’t need the torch in the room. Sunlight poured from the only window in the room. Just as the old man had said, a bed sat in the middle of the room.

    The knight felt rooted in place. The final objective of this quest now within reach and yet the knight hesitated to continue.

    Over a shared meal on that desolate road an old man had regaled the knight with a tale. The tale of a castle with a tower housing a slumber royal. The royal slumbering because of a spell cast on the entire kingdom. The room located in the tallest tower in the castle. The castle guarded by the fire breathing creature. The knights attempting to defeat the creature and awaken the royal only to be defeated. No knight had made it to the tower. What a challenge.

    Before departing the old man presented the knight with a sword and shield the old man said would allow the knight to succeed where all others had failed. They had come in handy.

    Now all that remained was the placement of True Love’s Kiss on the lips of the slumbering royal and the spell would be broken.

    But what did that mean for the knight?

    Royal life had held no appeal for the knight. A royal life is what the knight had fled choosing a life of adventure and quests. Adventure followed quests and quests were followed by adventures.

    Lately, the adventures and quests did not thrill as they once had, though this one was exhilarating. The time between adventures and quests stretched longer as the knight rode through one kingdom after another.

    The knight cautiously approached the bed. The knight had never failed to finish a quest before and would not do so now. A weary eye scanning the room for any final surprise this curse had to throw at the knight.

    There reclined on the bed was the slumbering prince just as the old man said he would be. As the knight removed her helmet raven curls tumbled down her back. Taking a deep breath, the knight kissed the prince’s lips.

    As his eyes fluttered open Princess Adela realized she was embarking on her next adventure.

  2. Jennifer Park

    21. The Flight

    [Follows “20. The Terrorist”, posted under “Unfairy Tales”. Taking Reatha’s suggestion of “Old Mother Goose” as inspiration. You can see a listing of the Darth Barbara saga chapters—all of which are posted under WD prompts—by clicking on my name above.]

    “Now try a right turn,” said the instructor.


    With a gentle tilt, Barbara steered the flight suit into a breathtaking arc across the sky. Literally breath-taking, in that the centrifugal force pressed against her lungs for a moment, almost nullifying months of training in a simulator, but also thrilling, wondrous, and undoubtedly beautiful. Barbara could not quite see the trails of sparkling plasma that were being shed from the tips of the simulated wings; the wings were just for show, not at all responsible for lift or propulsion, and therefore all the more breathtakingly beautiful.

    And the view!

    There was no doubt about it. Amm, the home of the Ummahamamm, was a beautiful planet. Its vegetation glistened with the hues of 25 different radiosynthesizing pigments, spread out in waves of pointillistic impressions across the land, remarkably well-conserved for a mid-industrialization planet. The planetary crust was rich in calcium, with abundance of copper, cobalt, and manganese, which made for dramatically shaped terrain with rich shades of green, indigo, and purple, readily carved and replenished by babbling brooks and burbling lava. As the sun rose and set, the dirt refracted the light in a shimmer—visible only from up high—that would have been the envy of any god, harlot, or avian.

    And Barbara was all three, in her experimental diplomatic garb giving her the appearance of a glorious angel riding on a phoenix of light.

    It was enough to let her forget about the personnel headaches.

    Indeed. I mean, the view…

    The trail of plasma…

    “Do you want to try an upward loop?”

    The sensation of…

    For #$%^’s sake, did the subsecretary have to go and get impregnated by a footsoldier? And not tell anyone until it started to show through the minion uniform? Unless she was about to lay a golden egg, she’d better…

    This was the problem of being a ranking diplomat, rather than a mere minion. Barbara was now responsible for other people’s mistakes.

    “Just tilt your head…”

    “I know. I know.”

    Barbara shook her thoughts off.

    She had lost her rhythm, and needed to gather herself before attempting the upward loop. Just like in the simulation, the movement was gentle and effortless. All she had to do was tilt her head, and the navigation system took care of the actual calculations.

    If only the assignment of military minions was as carefully calculated. Barbara had objected to them arriving at all, but she had no say in the matter. Sure, the Galactic Union had planned to use the terrorist attacks as an excuse to increase military presence, but…

    “Ummm… Uh-oh.”

    Not good. Sharpened her mind. “What?”

    “Hold on.”

    Barbara would have glared at the trainer had he been anywhere near her.

    “The autopilot’s #$%^ed… Ummm… How would you feel about going to the moon?”

    “What???” The planet had two gorgeous moons, in fact, but the suit was not space-worthy.

    “Just kidding. I’ve got it now. Bringing you down.”

    “Oh, good boy…”

  3. C. Ceynowa

    A Frog’s Life
    Word Count: 497

    If I avoided the heron’s nest at the pond’s edge, being a frog wasn’t so bad. The mud was cool in summer, and warm in winter. Some flies were sweet to the taste while others were slightly bitter. I tried a lizard once, but the bones upset my pallet. Unlike the other frogs, I could not bring myself to eat tadpoles.

    The first winter in the water was the hardest. I missed my warm goose-feather comforters and servants to build the fires before I arose each morning. I missed the variety of puddings and savory meats for morning, noon, and night meals. So many things I had enjoyed had disappeared when I dove into the witch’s pond to retrieve the glass globe for my young sister. I suspect Abigale was punished, despite her toddler youth, for saying I had turned into a frog – Father was never one for fantasy – just as I suspect that the trumpets I heard not long after my transformation were in honor of my death.

    My second winter in the water was not as difficult, and the many more that followed were easier still. I had long since ceased missing my human comforts just as I had ceased speaking. My voice was but a constant reminder of my fate, and, when I heard the distant sound of war followed by years of silence, I had made peace that my life as a royal was over forever.

    However, one day an old man and young woman came to the pond early. He began beating the long grasses looking for frogs to catch in a large net before placing them, none too gently, into a cage that hung on his hip. The girl was gathering the tubular roots of the plants that grew near, but not in, the pond.

    “Let her kissssss you,” a voice spoke to me from the lilies.

    “Pardon?” I croaked, startled I spied a silver snake just beneath the water.

    “A kisssss, will break the sssssspellll,” the snake slithered away. At the snake’s words, I recalled a story from my youth. A kiss from a pure heart would break any evil spell. Quickly I hopped along the bank towards the woman.

    “Pretty maiden,” I urgently called to her. Her head snapped up, eyes searching for my voice. “Here!” I hopped in front of her and sat as straight as I was able, “Please, maiden, if you be pure of heart, give me a kiss and I will insure you never want again.”

    “A kiss?” She reached out and took me gently in her hand. “You want a kiss?”

    “Yes I do!”

    “PAPA,” the girl screamed and squeezed me tightly. “PAPA! This frog is asking for a kiss!”

    “Asking? Girl, stop your folly and get back to digging for supper!”

    I knew the man’s voice. Father? The girl, yes, her eyes were the same as Abigale’s! I began to call her name, but, before I could, her hands deftly twisted my neck.


    1. hillsworth

      Aye Carumba!! How could she break his neck when she fully knew he was turned into a frog years earlier??? A better question might be…Who knew frogs had necks??? Funny read and written well.

  4. typewriter

    Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks who discovered a derelict cottage not far from the village where she came. The “little house”, she referred to, was in the forest. All the windows, barred and glowing an orange ambient. The roof made of straw. The front door was lopsided and securely. She didn’t know who had lived there.

    The little girl was hungry. She had wandered deeply into the woods and gotten lost.
    Her stomach screamed. It groaned a monstrous cataract, like a ferocious lion hunting prey. Goldilocks pressed both her flimsy, small arms around her abdomen. Her face pulled into a distorted taut.
    When she got closer to the cottage, she smelled a sweet aroma. The scent of honey, berries, and roasted nuts, fulfilled the forestry. What was that? She thought.

    She ambles around the little house, pancing and singing, through bramble and shrubs. Then Goldie stands at the base of the porch and looks up. The smell of wild animals vents into her nostrils. She gags, making a retch sound. She didn’t vomit. The smell wasn’t of any kind of beast she had ever seen.
    Goldilocks walks up the wide steps, head craned.

    She’s on the porch which creaks like rusty nails being pulled out of a wet board. And there is another sound, a kind that gushes, underfoot. Goldilocks looks down the length of her body, down to her black slippers. And what she sees is a blotch of mud (no, not really, but something else.) There are blotches—here and there—some dry and some wet. Goldie realizes she had stepped in poo. She kicks it off, and walks around them like they are landmines.
    She feels the doorknobs, giving it a twist. Locked.

    The sweet smell gets stronger. She can almost taste whatever it is.

    She goes around the house again…looking in all the windows. One was opened. Goldilocks slips into the window. She sees a table set for three. Bowls of different size are placed at each size of their chair. The biggest bowl on the table was yellow, the middle was red, and there was a wee-size one that was green.

    Goldilocks sits in front of the biggest bowl on the table. A yellow liquid bubbles inside the ceramic bowl. The steam clouds her face. The smell of porridge enlightens her face. The girl takes a spoonful of porridge and eats it. “It’s too hot,” Goldie says.

    She sits at the middle bowl and eats. “The porridge is too cold.”
    Goldilocks goes to the end, where the wee-size bowl is. The chair is not too hard, or too soft. It is just right.

    She picks the spoon up, porridge dripping off the silverware. She tastes it, “This porridge is just right.”
    As Goldilocks sits and eats all the porridge in the wee bowl. A sudden combustion happen. The sound of thunder clasps. The chair collapses in breakage, pieces explode under the girl’s buttock. The little girl falls a quick fall, tumbling down to the floor.

    Goldilocks feels exhausted, and full of all the porridge she had eaten. The noise in her tummy ebbs.

    She couldn’t go back outside, not with a full moon donning. It’s too dark. She would have to wade inside into morning. All she wanted was to lay down and sleep. Dream of a good dream.
    She walks up the stairs to a bedroom. There are three beds, one big, a medium size, and a wee-size. She sleeps on the wee bed, and dreams.

    When she awakes, three bears, one big, the one in the middle was medium-sized, and at the end was a wee-size bear, standing at the foot of the wee bed. Their eyes are tainted and looking malice. Their mouths drooling white shoe laces. The smell of shit premeading the whole room. Goldie gags.
    Goldilocks explains. But the three brown bear looks at her with fury.

    Wee Bear was crying, and ranting, “My porridge is all gone!”
    Papa Bear growls. His jaws opens a thunderous roar. Goldie, now-frightened, by that sound of the biggest bear of them all.

    The window, she thinks, is opened. She would have to make a run for it, if she wanted out safe and alive.

    The middle bear slaps the big bear over the head, “Ernest shut up!”
    The big bear rubs his head, “Why’d you do that?”
    “Look at that little girl. She’s terrified.”
    “But Mama, she ate up all my porridge. There’s not a single drop left in that green bowl of mine.”

    “I know Wee-Man, but there is more in the pot on the stovetop. I’ll warm up some more.”
    Mama Bear places an arm on Wee-Man and comforts him. She exchanges glances from her wee baby to Goldilocks, “Would you care to stay for porridge, miss?”

    Goldilocks smiles, “I certainly will.”


    They sit silently at the diner table with steaming bowls of porridge. They eat up. Goldilocks smiling as she was eating her porridge.

    The front door bursts open. A man in camouflage pajamas enters. A shotgun pops out.


    All three bears, dead. Papa. Mama. And Wee-Man. A cherry-circle on each of their hairy heads.

    “You killed them, you sonofabitch!” Goldilocks screamed. Tears began to leak. Glistening runnels ran down her blush cheeks.

    The little girl ran towards the hunter, screaming, both arms stuck straight out. Goldilocks wanted to rip a new one.
    The Camouflage Man points the shotgun.

  5. RafTriesToWrite

    It’s been a while since I was here, I got busy and chicken pox didn’t helped one bit. But now I’m back, and here’s my entry.


    A family of three bears who don’t have a home,
    Found a girl with curly hair that’s gold and alone,
    They followed her to this big, humble abode,
    Then watched her cook food from the side road.

    The bears could smell the food from afar,
    As the girl kept cooking like a rock star,
    Tossing ingredients and measurements at par,
    To a dish that the bears thought was bizarre.

    The baby bear’s tummy began to grumble,
    Mama bear’s knees started to wobble,
    Papa bear’s head beginning to bobble,
    As he thought of one thing, and that’s to nobble.

    To nobble the food that the girl create,
    He would take it in time, but now he’ll wait,
    Until the girl had finally equate,
    That she cannot finish the food she made.

    They saw the girl go up the stairs,
    So they made a move to eat the fares,
    But the girl heard noise from downstairs,
    So she took her gun and killed the three bears.

    The end.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Raf, great piece to return with, loved the last line twist.
      Now for the mom talk: Since you’ve had chicken pox, see when you should have a shingles vaccination. I neglected to tell my sons and one is still suffering.

  6. globehugger

    Charlotte reached out her hand. Michael grabbed it.

    “Come on, then. Let’s go,” Charlotte said, her voice tight.

    The two walked down the empty city sidewalk, leaning in to one another. The wind sliced their necks where skin was exposed. Trash swirled at their feet. The gray clouds in the sky took a deepening purple hue.

    It was here somewhere. People called it a “Cottage.” A place where there was still some food and warmth. That was what people said, or used to say.

    Charlotte saw the red postbox. This was it. She tugged at Michael’s hand and pulled him towards the grimy glass doors. Charlotte put her hand on the door and pushed. The door swung open, its bottom scraping the linoleum floor. Inside the fluorescent lights shone brightly on the shelves where packaged food used to be. Now there were only wrappers.

    Charlotte dropped Michael’s hand and ran up to the shelves. Her throat closed in panic as she grabbed the empty wrappers. Tears stung her eyes, and she whipped around. “It’s all—”

    Michael was holding candy bar. He looked at it and looked at her. “I found a box of ‘em,” he said with a small voice. “I think this is a Cottage.”

    Charlotte ran over to him. She touched the candy bar with her fingertips. “Are there more?” she asked.
    Michael nodded yes.

    Charlotte let out a laugh of relief and hugged Michael. They sat down by the box of candy bars, ripping the wrappers open and giggling as they smelled the sweet chocolate. With ravenous bites, they ate the bars one by one until finally giving in to satisfied exhaustion.

    Hours later, Charlotte awoke to Michael pulling on her arm. “Did you hear that?” he whispered urgently in her ear. Charlotte’s eyes flew open. The building was completely dark except for some dull moonlight leaking through the filthy doors. A scraping noise came from the back.

    “Yeah, I heard it,” she whispered back as she pulled her arm from Michael’s grasp and quietly sat up. The room took on a stale and foul smell, like bad breath. The air became humid.

    “Candy?” an old voice croned.

    Charlotte stiffened and then slowly turned towards Michael. She took his hand and squeezed. Staring into his eyes, she nodded slowly, and then again.

    On the third nod, the two jumped up and lunged for the door. Michael slipped on a wrapper and cried out. Charlotte reached back for him, pulling him to his feet and opening the doors at the same time. They ran into the street and kept running until they reached the end of the block where they could turn a corner.

    Panting, Charlotte put her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath. The icy air stung her throat. “I’m sorry,” Charlotte said. “I fell asleep.”

    Michael took a candy bar out of each pocket and held them up. “We still have some.” Charlotte smiled weakly and stood up, pulling her coat tight.

    Charlotte reached out her hand. Michael grabbed it.

    Wordlessly, they began walking, leaning in to one another and looking for the next red postbox.

  7. hillsworth

    All five sets of eyes squinted and rolled toward the flashing red light and the blaring siren that accompanied it. The placard on the wall just under the light identified it as the ‘High Vine Alarm’. Four sets of eyes belonging to Fee, Fie, Foe, and Fum turned and settled on Bumblebore, whose face started to show the disgust he was now feeling for Jack.

    “It’s your turn, B.B., and you know how fast those vines grow.” Fee said. “Best get going.”

    ” Yeah, Fumbledork, you heard the man. Get going.” Fum tossed his favorite nickname out there, knowing how much it irked Bumblebore. Fie and Foe started to laugh but were cut short when Fee said “Knock it off, guys. B.B., if you need help, you just got three volunteers.

    “Thanks,” He sneered at his co-workers, got up from the table and went to the sink to rinse out his coffee cup. “But I’d rather work alone.”

    Bumblebore takes the time to put on his safety glasses, hard hat and cut-resistant sleeves before leaving the breakroom. He thumbs through his ring of keys until he finds the one that opens the lock to the safety closet. Noticing the flat tire on the dolly, B.B. grimaces knowing he’ll have to man handle the four pads that hold the safety railing in place.

    Once the railings are firmly secured and the signs are properly hung on all four sides, with legible contact numbers and caution tape completely surrounding it all, B.B. slips into his extra-large fall protection harness, adjusts the straps, and connects the retractable to the D-ring that is centered in the appropriate place, right between his wide shoulderblades.

    He grabs the clipboard with the proper procedure paperwork and the gas monitor from the calibration docking station, climbs through a section of the railing and hooks his lanyard to the shackle that is mounted on the floor just to the right of the handle for the trap door.

    After filling out the required five pages of documentation and bump testing the monitor, B.B. is finally able to open the trap door, which is now starting to bulge against the pressure of the vine.

    He uncoils the clear plastic hose and drops an end through the hole in the floor. He makes sure all the numbers on the monitor turn green, giving him the ‘all-clear’ of any harmful gasses before he starts his decent.

    On his way down the beanstalk, B.B. reminisces about the glory days, when the humans would climb up the vine to the giants world. But, thanks to Jack for slipping and falling off the vine, the safety coordinators have deemed it to dangerous and now the giants have to come down to the humans.

  8. cosi van tutte

    Prince Michael never fancied himself a damsel in distress.

    Not even on those days when he felt down and depressed about himself and life in general.

    So, needless to say, being cooped up in a tower and waiting for someone to rescue him was not his idea of keen fun.

    It certainly was not everything he’d ever longed for in his life.

    He now knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that he would never long for such a disservice to his royal blood and lineage.

    But that was his reality.

    He was a prince.

    And he was locked up in a tower.

    He had tried various methods of escape.

    Everything had failed.

    There was only one thing to do: Sit and wait for a Prince or an adventurous Princess to rescue him.

    He was hoping for the Princess.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Princes Come,
        Princes Go
        An hour of Pomp and Show they know’
        And Over The Sands Of Time they go

        Wise Men Come, Ah,
        But Over The Sands,
        The silent Sands Of Time They Go.

        Lovers Come, Lovers Go
        And All That There Is To Know,
        Lovers Know,
        Only Lovers Know

  9. Smileyface256

    The old wolf trotted parallel to the forest road, just beyond the reach of human hearing. The people of the nearby villages frequented this road, and every once in awhile the wolf liked to watch them from a distance.

    He would have liked to talk to them as well, but all the humans he’d approached either ran or shot their firesticks at him. So, he watched over them as they traveled through the woods, keeping an eye out for trouble.

    He perked up his ears as a child’s voice filtered through the trees. Soon a little girl in a red hood with a basket over one arm skipped into view, singing a song about going to Grandmother’s house.

    The wolf smiled at her antics as he trotted parallel to the road. The girl’s music seemed to sweeten the air and make the sun shine a little brighter, and the wolf found himself drawing closer to her.

    The girl stopped.

    The wolf froze. Had he gotten too close?

    The girl peered into the woods, clutching her basket to her chest. “Hello? Is–is someone there?”

    The wolf hesitated, crouching behind a tree. “Yes, child. I was charmed by your lovely singing.”

    The girl blushed. “I was only singing to myself.” She frowned towards the wolf. “Who are you?”

    The wolf sighed. “If I tell you, you will run away.”

    The girl crossed her arms. “How do you know?”

    The wolf stepped out of the underbrush and into the road. No use in avoiding it further. “Because, I am a wolf.”

    The girl stepped back, obviously afraid and trying to hide it. She didn’t run.

    The wolf crouched down a bit, trying to look less intimidating. “No need to be frightened child, I promise not to harm you.”

    She gripped her basket with both hands. “Everyone in the village says you’re dangerous. They say you eat children.”

    The old wolf heaved a weary sigh. “That’s what they’re saying about me these days?”

    The girl frowned. “Well it’s true, isn’t it?”

    The wolf paused. “You’re the first one to ask me that.” He shook his head. “To answer your question, no…though I do snatch the occasional sheep.”

    “So you’re thief.”

    “Perhaps, but I like to think I’m a nice thief. I only take from the largest of flocks.”

    The girl tilted her head. “The landlord’s?”

    “If his flock is the largest, then yes.”

    The girl scrunched up her delicate little face in thought. “I suppose that’s not so bad, then.”


    “The landlord takes things from everyone else. He probably wouldn’t miss a few sheep.”

    The wolf chuckled. “I’m glad that we can agree on something.”

    The girl offered a shy smile. “Everyone says how scary you are, but you don’t seem so bad.”

    The wolf blinked in surprise. “That is the kindest thing anyone has ever said to me. Bless you, child.”

    The girl’s smile grew and she blushed.

    “What is your name?” asked the wolf.

    “My name is–well–everyone calls me Scarlett because of my red hood.”

    “Well Scarlett, you’re a very kind young lady and I’m glad to have met you.” He glanced at the darkening sky. “Now, where was it you were going?”

    “Oh!” Scarlett put her hands to her face. “I need to get to my grandmother’s house before dark!”

    “I see. Then there’s no need to delay you further.” He stepped off the road.

    Scarlett walked straight up to him. “Actually I wanted to ask…will you come with me, Mister Wolf?”

    The wolf tilted his head. “You wish me to…accompany you?”

    Scarlett nodded. “To keep the bad wolves away.”

    The wolf puffed out his chest. “Very well, Scarlett. I shall protect you from any evils these woods have to offer.”

    To his surprise, Scarlett reached out and pet the top of his head. “Thank you.”

    The wolf padded beside his tiny ward, listening to stories of her family, the townsfolk, and all about how her grandmother would love to meet him once Scarlett told her how nice he was.
    For years he had been alone, desiring friends but feared by all who saw him. Perhaps this one small girl could change that.

  10. Jennifer Park

    Ha! I did it!

    * * *

    20. The Terrorist

    [Follows “19. The Ummahamamm”, posted under “Secrets Within.” You can see a listing of the Darth Barbara saga chapters—all of which are posted under WD prompts—by clicking on my name above.]

    “Three thousand tonnes of silica pellets have been shipped to Opek-5. It will arrive in five days. The two thousand tonnes of Ummem meat is departing tomorrow.”

    “We are pleased,” Barbara said as majestically as she could. Her diplomatic uniform—which made her look like a celestial angel—was too large for the consular office. And it really did not make any sense for someone who was basically making a business transaction.

    “The procession is in three days, however.”


    “I apologize that the shipment was… late… but our target… We must have the explosives now for the attack to succeed.”


    “We have done everything you’ve asked!”

    “Have we not blessed you with a promise? You will have the result you seek.”

    “But, the explosives!”

    “You want us to provide you with explosives?”

    “That was what you promised! Three thousand tonnes of silica, two thousand tonnes of Ummem meat, and you…”

    “We acknowledge your sacrifice. Your wish will be granted.”

    “But where are the bombs?”

    “We did not promise you bombs. We promised you explosions.”

    The terrorist was baffled by this assertion. Perhaps he was not using his translator correctly? Perhaps he had made the wrong deal with the divine?

    Had it been deceived?

    “Memhamumhammemem Amhmamemmumammemmem, faithful supplicant, your wish will be granted.”

    “But… But… I want… I need…”

    “You wish to have the ‘bombs’ now?”


    Barbara smirked, and presented the terrorist with three Koshumik bulbs.

    It was even more baffled. “What are these?”

    “Take them.”

    It did, frowning.

    “Plant them where you wish, and your wish will be granted.”

    Koshumik bulbs, from Eche-Huche-2, grew astronomically quickly on water-based planets to which they were not native, spreading out underground hyphæ for hundreds of meters, sponging up all the nitro-carbon and hydrocarbon compounds they encountered. In oxygen-rich conditions, the mycelium could be easily ignited by simple detonation, sometimes by something as benign as a rumbling of the ground.

    Like during a military parade, due to start in three days, and targeted by the insurgents.

    Or during the mass panic following terrorist attacks.

    Barbara had already planted the bulbs all along the parade route, carefully spacing them for maximum effect.

    “Do you dare doubt us?”

    The terrorist was at a loss. It had boasted to its colleagues that something big was in the works. It so wanted to do something big, just to show those who doubted its terrorist creds, even its dedication to the cause.

    It had spent its family’s entire fortune to procure… three blobs of dormant plants?


    “Be gone, if you mean to be unfaithful. But you will nevertheless be rewarded.”

    The terrorist left, crestfallen. It grudgingly planted the bulbs near the review stand.

    It had three very horrible days.

    But, then, things changed, and it lived happily ever after.

  11. Pete

    The elevators at Kemper Projects were death traps. They were always getting stuck, rattling and shuddering on the way up, free falling on the way down. They smelled only slightly better than the stairwells. And up until a few weeks ago, I never had much use for them. Before Beans wanted me to join his crew.

    Beans was a legend around Kemper. I’d heard that he once made twenty G’s rigging a charity basketball tournament. He drove a Benz that changed colors depending how the sun hit it and smiled at the cops because they had nothing on him.

    Mom always worried about what I was doing when I left our place. Scared I’d get sucked up by Beans and his crew. But I would’ve have never approached a guy like Beans. I mean, yeah, we were broke—everyone was broke around Kemper—but those dudes were savages.

    That fall, I got real sick and stayed out of school for a while, sleeping late and watching karate movies all day. When that got old, I decided to get some fresh air. I scrounged up two bucks from Mom’s purse and hit the bodega for a Gatorade. I was standing in line, still groggy from all the sleep when Beans walked in.

    He was tall and thin, wore jumpsuits and walked with a cane. “How you doing, Jack?”

    I swallowed, struggling for words. Sweating because Beans knew my name. Corey told me Beans had thrown a guy off the roof over a crap game. I didn’t know about that, dude was tall and thin, and his smile put me at ease.

    He said he had a job for me. And yeah, by job, I knew what he meant, but man, who was gonna say no to Beans? Next thing I knew I was riding up to his place, the elevator shaking at our feet, feeling…powerful.
    Beans’ place was bigger than ours. A view of the other project towers that made me dizzy. People all over the place inside, sprawled out on couches, a big screen television with the game on, the stereo thumped with speakers up to my shoulders. But the guy had plants, pictures of African tribes. Not something I would have expected.

    A lady with long fine hair and shining brown eyes introduced herself as Delia. She made me feel like a child and a man at the same time. Her smile brought me in, insulated me from the yells and teasing from the crew. She said she liked my dimples and I blushed. Beans talked with his associates, but I caught his eyes on us every once and a while, like ice on my neck.

    I left with two-hundred dollars in my pocket, wondering what I’d tell Mom. I wanted to help with bills but knew she’d never take money from Beans. I pushed it out of mind and focused on the package I had to deliver.

    Easy money. The next day I rode back up to Beans’ place. This time Delia handed me a bag. More bags to sell. Enough to make more than Mom did in a week. How could she argue with that?
    Delia in my dreams. I started coming up when Beans was napping. Took the stairs, climbing over the drunks, sucking wind with each flight. I looked around, thinking how Beans had risen to the top. Delia fed me, told me I was special, offered me money.

    Then I stole the jewelry. Big mistake.

    First, school called. Then Mom found a baggy and flushed the weed, seeds and stems and all. She took the jewelry, shook it in my face, her voice breaking as she threatened to call the cops.
    Cops. How could she call the cops? How could she not appreciate the money I was bringing in? Did she expect me to be like her, working all the time only to come home exhausted and angry? Right. I wasn’t going back to school, I went back to Beans’ place, where Delia’s skin smelled like vanilla, her breath a warm brush of cinnamon. Until she asked about the necklace.

    I knew I was dead. I still can’t say why I took it. But Delia’s eyes went dark, her mouth tight as Beans walked in from the other room, calm and cool but with a gun in his waist. He smiled when he saw me looking at it.

    Run. I ran down the steps, knowing Beans was too old. But he came. He and his crew. I leaped down flights of steps, stumbled over the trash and bodies. One, then two then ten flights down. And I could him calling after me the whole time.


    I hit our floor, hurling myself down the hallway, screaming for Mom to open the door as the other doors slammed shut, chains hitting locks. I stumbled just as our door flew open, a figure shooting past me with a kitchen knife at her side.


    The elevator doors wrenched open. Mom lunged, catching Beans right in the heart. He crumpled, a wilted stalk, eyes doused, dead before the blood hit his shoes.

    The cops stormed in, raising guns when they saw Beans’ crew. That’s about when I pissed my pants.

    Later, when it was all over, after Mom had dropped the bloody knife and the cops sat her down and bought her a coffee (I think they considered her a hero), they wrapped a blanket over her shoulders and walked her through a self-defense story.

    Big bad Beans was dead, his crew arrested. I’m not sure what happened to Delia, but for now Kemper projects was safe. Well, safer. Those elevators were still a death trap.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Excellent story Pete, fast paced and yet complete in description and detail
        Should be a sample story all writers should read to learn what tight prose is all about. Very satisfying ending also and brought a story to a dramatic end with not one wasted word. Excellent job here.

  12. Kerry Charlton


    This story may be true, at least a good friend of mine that hit it big as an A and R man for Chess Records, said it was. He had worked for us as a record promoter with Dallas radio stations. Bob Johnson is his name and the last time he came to town in his two hundred thousand dollar Rolls, he related this story to me. The Rolls came as a gift from Chubby Checker who with Bob’s help made a fortune from “The Twist.”

    The phone rang in Bob’s office and Frank Stein was talking,

    “I want to turn my son into a recording star and I hear you create miracles.”

    “Of course, Mr. Stein, what’s his name?”

    Junior of course, is Thursday at two in your schedule?”

    “Certainly, I look forward to seeing him.”

    Two days later at two in the afternoon, Bob’s phone rang desperately as he picked it up,

    “Mister J-J-Johnson, There is a Mr. Stein to see you [In a whisper] ,’ be careful sir!’”

    Bob was used to craziness but not human terror. The boy towered a foot taller than he, wore a dark grey suit too large for his frame with a year’s grime on it. His shoes were the size of small canoes and he stank from lack of a shower. Bob swallowed so as not to show his fear. Franklin‘s father was king pin mafia, so he asked him to sit. He handed the sheet music without question because if Franklin couldn’t read music, he’d be out of there.

    Six foot six of terror started to sing and an astonished A and R man listened to a crystal clear baritone voice sing a song he had never heard, right on key.

    “Franklin, where have you been hiding?”

    “Dad’s idea, call me Frank-M- Stein.”

    “Well, we’ll show him a thing or two.”

    For three weeks, Bob changed Franklin into a movie star look, proper haircut helped, tailored clothes, three hundred dollar shoes, used makeup on the scars on his face and built the young man’s new talent as well as confidence. There was nothing he could do to hide the bolt looking bumps on either side of his neck, so he had tailored shirts made with extremely tall collars to hide the sight.

    A week later,

    “Are you ready Frank? There’s a small supper club on Sunset Strip that allows me to try out new talent. Are you game for tomorrow night?”

    ‘Bring it on chief, I’m ready.”

    Well, he was awkward and nervous. They tried another club the next week, same response. In desperation, Bob suggested they go to a rap club and cut loose. After a few drinks, Frank walked to the stage, grabbed the mike and started on the same song with the same backup. Ten minutes later, the entire club was on its feet moving with the music if you can call it that. Frank recorded twelve songs in a week and the set hit billboard’s top 25 in the first week on the charts.

    Oh and one thing further, Frank put his old shabby clothes back on and went by Frank-M-Stein. The bolts are prominent now and have twinkling lights on each end.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Beebles, thank for a wonderful review
        I.had fun with this one and ended at.
        499 words
        Unusual for me. 22 years in the record business allowed me to.meet.every weird- O in the business
        Ones I didn’t meet didn’t bother me after I spent some time with Barbie Benton.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, great piece that sounded very authentic. Hmmm, from what you’ve shared before this might even be true. Oh, I had to hide the Miss Kitty story from our Warrior Princess. We can’t have her getting ideas.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well you never do know with me, happy you liked it. So you can rest a little, it is pure fiction except for the A and R man that did work for our company . The Rolls was definitely real.

  13. kristaselene

    Waking up inside the castle felt alarmingly claustrophobic. Sure, the palace contained 987 rooms, one more grand than the next, but there’s something restrictive about sleeping directly above a torture chamber. It was not uncommon to awake in the middle of the night from the screams of some poor, gypsy soul who had committed a crime against the wrong person in the village. Justice was a staple of the monarchy.

    Despite his penchant for violence, Prince Charming was everything I thought he would be; hell, he was even great in bed. But something was missing. That’s when I looked down at my freshly manicured hand and realized it was my wedding ring– gone. My beloved was surely the culprit. The commoners had no idea that the palace was crumbling. From the outside, everything appeared pristine but we were behind on all of our bills and on the brink of war with the next kindgom over. When royalty is pawning their own crown jewels, it is surely a doomed scenario.

  14. Beebles

    ‘Ow do all. Hope is well. Here’s something straight up for ye

    ‘Everyone out!’

    Before the stunned court could react, the king repeated the order more vehemently. Chamberlain, dukes, ladies and knights murmured their way from the audience hall, leaving the king alone with his wife, new born child and the dwarf with no name.

    The dwarf held the king’s furious gaze from under his wide brimmed hat. To add to his nonchalance he scratched the crotch of his burgundy stripped hose and shifted the ragged cloth bag on his back, its warmth and slight wriggling giving him courage and purpose.

    ‘Now what did you mean – I already know your name?’ his majesty hissed.

    The manikin shifted his gaze to the queen, ran a finger down his long bulbous nose and winked. ‘Not ya, sire. Her! Princess an’ I go way back, to when she was just a plain old village girl.’

    The king spun on buckskin shoes. His wife was clutching the child to her chest, the babe wrapped in cloth of gold. ‘Is this true?’ he snapped. The young queen was sobbing.

    ‘Ya’ve seen the child, sire, surely ya can guess?’ The dwarf amused himself by skipping on the spot and watching the king absorb his words. The crown laden fool cannot have missed it. He must know. The pressure built until the man exploded.

    ‘I could have you executed!’

    ‘No!’ The queen ran from the dais to clutch her husband’s arm.

    ‘So it is true!’ The king brushed her off and staggered up the steps to slump in his mahogany throne.

    The queen fell at the dwarf’s feet. ‘For pity’s sake Roo, you cannot take the child.’

    ‘I only want what’s mine, Princess. What we agreed.’

    ‘And if I refuse?’ said the king, head in his hand. ‘If we name you in public, you forfeit the child. What then?’

    The manikin skipped up the steps to stand before the throne. ‘I need do nought, sire. The seed will ‘ave been sown. People will see me, see ‘im, they will talk and the truth will out. It would be simpler to give me the child.’

    ‘But he’s my son, Roo. Please, I cannot give him up,’ the queen begged.

    ‘Oh y‘ave plenty enough, Princess,’ the dwarf said, his arm encompassing the splendour of the hall.
    Y‘ave more than a miller’s daughter could ever wish for. And besides, I wouldna’ leave ya empty handed.’

    He leaned behind him and brought the bag round. He walked to the king and showed him the contents. ‘Now do ya not agree, sire, this be much more fitting?’


    ‘What do you hear, Chamberlain?’

    ‘Nothing!’ hissed the Chamberlain, ear to the great doors. ‘Not with all of you breathing in my ears.’

    They all heard the crash. They all pressed forward and the doors burst inward sending every courtier spilling onto the floor.

    The dwarf stood before the royal couple in a boiling rage, one foot caught in the floor boards where he had stamped so hard in his frustration. He saw the throng, cursed and yanked his foot from the boards. The nobility flung themselves to either side as he loped through them, cradling his tatty bag.

    On the dais a baby cried.


    Once outside the castle gates Roo stopped and tenderly opened the bag. He gazed down at the tiny wizened creature with the long bulbous nose.

    ‘Welcome t’the family Bramble. I’ll teach ya to make brass from muck, t’spin gold from straw. Ya may never be tall nor ‘andsome, but ya’ll be rich. An’ with a nose like that, Bramble Stilstkin, those frisky peasant girls won’t get enough o’ya! Mark your old Da’s words!’

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Had to leave this one for a bit, then come back to reread, still not sure what the royals got. However, I loved the story, the image of the ears pressed to the door, and the promise in the final paragraph. Good to have you back.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Where you been lad? Are the pretty girls teasing with you again? You’re back with a bang of a colorful story. I don’t think I could handle royalty at alll;because the translation of Charlton, means a leader of serfs, not knights. I am broken heart ed to find this out. And our family castle is no more than a pile of rocks. We have no pomp here let alone circumstance. Woe is me. Great story Beebles.

  15. GrahamLewis


    Before an alleyway hunched a huddled grey figure surrounded by grey buildings, beside dirty piles of slush and blurred by an intermittent screen of fresh-falling snow. Parents and children, bundled against the cold, walked past, most paying her no mind, a few glancing at her and quickly away, all ignoring her soft cry of “matches for sale.”

    Shivering, she stepped into the alley to escape the bonechilling wind. She lit a match and cupped her hands about it, the brief warmth bringing a bit of life to her cold and stiff fingers beneath thin ragged gloves. The match died out and so did any last hope she may have harbored.

    She didn’t dare return home without enough money to buy a bit of bread for her father and herself, and him a bottle or two of beer. If she returned without the money, he would beat her and throw out to freeze. Better to freeze without the bruises, if “better” could be applied to any part of her life.

    She shook the matches into a small pile, struck one and tossed it onto the rest. It flared and she sat in its brief and paltry light, absorbing the little heat it gave. She remembered when her mother still lived, when they sat before their hearth and its roaring fire. Her mother would hold her and tell marvelous stories. Memory of her mother’s death struck like a blast of winter wind, and tears ran down her face. She lay back, the flames died down. Tears froze on a still face on a thin body huddled against a grimy wall.

    She woke to a burst of light and felt her limbs loosen from icy stiffness. Before her stood a man, tall and thin, eyes sparkling brighter than the flames that surrounded him. “No fear,” he said, “I’m your friend, your only friend.” She let him pull her to her feet. The cold world, her cold life, melted away. “Follow me,” he said, and she did, to the far end of the alley.

    He pointed to a heap of trash piled carelessly against a rickety wooden staircase. Fire burst from his finger, and crackling flames rose up. The building filled with orange light. The fire spread to neighboring buildings, then the entire block then blocks beyond. Screams rose all around, and soon she heard clanging firebells.

    The two stood in a ring of fire, but she felt only pleasant warmth. He turned to her. “It’s time.” She followed him into glowing red-and-black carriage pulled by six black horses with fiery eyes. The ground burst open and they dropped with what must have been unimaginable speed, except it felt right.

    A scream of repressed rage rose within her, and came out sharp and vicious. Hell was fine with her. She’d spent twelve years at the mercy of church-going people and got nothing but pain. Now she would give back as good as she had gotten, and more.

    1. Beebles

      Jeez, I’m going straight out to buy some matches from next door’s little girl whether she sells them or not, rather that than risk hell’s fury! Certainly left me chill. Felt the dirt and ice in that one GL.

  16. rlk67

    Jack leaped on the beanstalk, bag in hand.

    Gumbert was patient. A little man taking my eighth-pennies. How bullish. He gave the fellow a head start.

    Jack tried to scramble down, leaves in his mouth and hair. Oh, now it’s raining, of all things. Hey, what…wha…AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

    Gumbert sighed. Wow, it’s true. WD-40 works for everything.

    1. hillsworth

      Your post is Short and Slick!! I like it. After reading your reply to my post, I felt compelled to reply to yours. Please, don’t ever put yourself or your writing down. There’ll be more than enough people to do that. I used to write quite often on this site about six or seven years ago and then life intervened (my three daughters got old enough to start getting into art and sports and what-not). There seems to be a very different crew writing on here now. Back then, there was much more constructive criticism with other writers pointing out what was wrong with your writing, but don’t get me wrong, not all of it was negativity. The really good ones would not only point out the deficiency, but they would also offer suggestions on how to make it better. I’ll never claim to be a great writer, but I do think I do OK. So here’s my advice…keep at it, it’ll come!!!

  17. slsettje@gmail.com

    “Hey, Red! We gotta quit meeting like this.” BBW told the little waif standing in front of him.
    “But Wolfy, you know the only reason I can cut through the woods is because everyone is afraid of you.” Little Red looked up at the Big Bad Wolf with her blue eyes sparkling. “Ever since you saved me from that creepy woodsman my trip to Grandma’s house is so much easier.”
    “That dude was not nice. I feel bad that he ended up being lunch, but if anyone deserved to become forest food it was that guy.” BBW slid back into the shadows and paced a bit. “I’ll tell you what Red, I’ll make sure you have a clear path, but consider me like the popular kid in high school. I just can’t acknowledge your presence on the path.”
    “Wolfy, I think of you as the big brother I never had. I know the other kids won’t bully me because they know you will kick their butts.” Red stood swinging her basket.
    “You’re killin’ me Red. Get to Grandma’s and while you’re there check out the hen house. I noticed the Foxes have been hangin’ closer. If there’s a hole they’re gonna find it and I can’t keep ‘em from what comes natural.”
    “Thanks for the heads up, Grandma and I are baking today. I will make sure to drop a meat pie on my way home tonight. I guess I won’t see you next time, but thanks for being there.” Red waved at the shadow where she knew BBW was standing.
    “On your way girlie, keep that cape wrapped tight, it’s getting chilly out there.”
    Little Red Riding Hood headed down the path through the deep forest on her way to Grandma’s house. She could hear stirring in the distance and knew her friend, The Big Bad Wolf, was keeping watch.
    As she saw the light from Grandma’s front porch shining ahead of her she called out one last greeting, “Thanks for the escort my friend.” She heard one deep bark in reply.
    Grandma always told her, “Friends come in all shapes and sizes.”

  18. Not-Only But-Also Riley

    When the merchant had wished for a son, no matter what the circumstances, he had not in his wildest dreams thought that those circumstances might be that his son would be the unholy combination of hedgehog and human.

    He knew something was wrong when the midwife shouted and dropped the child on the ground with a thud so she could pull a quill from one of her fingers. As he glanced at his newborn child, he began to regret his wish. The child’s snout pointed up at his father curiously and his wide eyes glittered with hope. The merchant turned away and retched.

    Out of spite, he named his newborn Hans My Hedgehog, the sort of alliteration typically reserved for children’s books and poetry. This name also ensured the child would always be branded with his deformity as his defining feature. The merchant smirked at his cleverness.

    However, the merchant did have a heart, so, he let the child stay until it could be decided if any money could be made of this ridiculous situation.

    Over the years, Hans grew up to be precisely the same as what he was in his youth: a horrifying hedgehog man. There was little change, and he showed little promise. Not only was Hans not particularly good at anything, but most jobs he attempted simply ended with people being too scared to have anything to do with him.

    As soon as Hans turned eighteen the merchant decided he’d had enough.

    “Hans!” he called, never able to fully brace himself for his sons hideousness. Hans came to his father’s side immediately.

    “Yes pa?” he called, in an odd sort of squeaking voice that tore at the eardrums of any spoken to.

    “I think it may be time for you to leave.”

    “But…” Hans’ normally sparkly eyes grew slightly dull, “what will I do?”

    The merchant thought briefly about what sort of lie he might tell Hans, and suddenly noticed some bagpipes that his recently deceased grandfather had left that were gathering dust.

    “You will take these bagpipes,” the merchant stood and grabbed the bagpipes, then thrust them into Hans’ arms, “and you will become an expert with them,” the merchant once again couldn’t help but admire how clever and oh so dashingly handsome he was.

    “Wow! I will go to the market and play them…”

    “No!” the merchant interrupted. The market was far to close, he didn’t want to have to run into Hans, “you must practice somewhere far away from here. Umm… maybe out in the woods or something!”

    Hans eyes had regained their normal light, and this seemed fine with him. “Alright,” Hans smiled and began walking from the home.

    On his way to the door, he noticed his pet chicken that his father had been talking about cooking and eating.

    “Do you want to go with me Clucksworth?” Hans asked the chicken.

    The chicken screeched meaninglessly.

    “Excellent! You will be my steed!” Hans mounted the chicken, and together they ran toward the forest.

    Once in the woods, Hans and the chicken stood alone, as the bagpipe screeched even louder than the chicken. Hans had little experience in anything, let alone playing bagpipes, and the horrible call of the mistreated instrument drove a king to approach the woods.

    “Who is in there?” he called out. He was on his way back to the castle from his first, and only day at the market. He thought it may be a good idea to go to the market personally, so he could connect with the townsfolk, but it ended up that he was already too disconnected, and he had now gotten lost. “Do you know the way to the castle?” he called out to the mysterious, phantom screech of the bagpipes. “If you know the way to the castle I will give you my daughter,” he said, clearly the product of patriarchy.

    Hans eyes lit as the large man stepped into the clearing the hedgehog man and chicken had claimed as their own.
    “I know the way to the castle! My pa never wanted me in the house, so I’d just wander. I’ve memorized all paths in the entire kingdom!” Hans jumped with excitement. Hans’ excitement excited the chicken, who squawked and ran in circles.

    “What the fuck?!” the king shouted suddenly, stumbling backwards away from this odd, loud spectacle.

    “Would you like me to help you?” Hans asked, now standing still. Again, the chicken mimicked him, and sat.

    “Ummm…” the king mumbled, trying to regain his composure. He considered his options. He could die in the woods alone and cold, never to see his beloved castle again, and throw the kingdom into chaos due to his current lack of an heir. Or, he could follow this small hedgehog man home. It was a difficult choice, and the woods remained silent for some time.

    “Please,” Hans begged, baring his tiny fangs as he stretched the word.

    “Alright,” the king said, scared of what Hans might do to him if he were to say no. “Show me the way hedgeboy and chicken.”

    Sure enough, Hans knew the way to the castle, and as the odd trio arrived the princess ran out to greet her father.

    “Daughter! You are exactly who I need to speak to! I am afraid I have given your hand in marriage to this… thing,” the king decided it best to rip the bandage off quickly, so he spewed these words before the princess had even reached them.

    She stopped and looked down at Hans. He smiled, and his fangs glinted in the sun. The chicken cocked its head to one side curiously, as if awaiting what was sure to come.

    “Alright,” the princess shrugged.

    “Really?!” both the king and Hans yelled.

    “Yeah. Why not.”

    And so, that is how Hans, who began life as a poor, hideously deformed boy, became the prince of the kingdom. And while this would be a good place to say they lived happily ever after, that is not true, and there is more of the story. Because in no world would poor Hans ever live happily ever after.

    Nevertheless, in the days leading up to the wedding, he did live fairly happily. He was treated as part of the royal family, since he would be soon enough. And, while it took some time for them to get used to him, the princess made sure the servants treated him with nothing but respect and kindness. After all, the servants were lesser people, even more so than a hedgehog man.

    When the wedding day finally came, Hans could not have been happier. He felt that he had found his place, and knew that his father would be proud (in truth, the merchant had heard of Hans fate one day in the market, and had tried to write letters requesting his rightful place in the castle as the prince’s father, none of which had made their way to Hans). Hans smiled as his small, black lips touched those of the beautiful princess, his inability to curve them into a kiss now being depressingly realized by the princess.

    As they parted the princess opened her eyes. She looked angrily at Hans. Hans smiled at her.

    “I thought you were going to become a prince!” she shouted. Hans suddenly grew confused. He looked out at all of the townsfolk who’d come to the wedding.

    “N- no. Wh- wh- what do you mean?” Hans mumbled. The sparkle in his eyes had been dulled more than ever.

    “Like that frog the princess in our rival kingdom married. He’s super hot now! Didn’t a witch or something do this to you?”

    A voice from the crowd shouted. “No! He was born that way! And he stole my chicken!”

    Hans turned to see that it was the merchant. His own father. His eyes began to water. Their sparkle was gone entirely, now just the dull eyes of a hedgehog, with no human in them.

    It didn’t matter what they thought. It didn’t matter what the princess thought. Hans was the prince now, and there was nothing to be done about it. And soon enough he would be king. And once he was king, then he could show them how they’d wronged him, and what this hedgehog was capable of.

    Then he’d prove there was no such thing as happily ever after.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Fantastic take on the prompt with laugh inducing lines, like the reason for the name and Dad trying to get to the palace, throughout. The frog prince reference was just perfect.

  19. RtMcKinley

    This is an oldie.

    What the hell happened? One minute I was peacefully relaxing in front of the campfire. Listening to the cicadas and tree frogs singing, entranced by the embers of the fire, lazy flames licking the remains of the logs I’d laid hours ago.

    This little man meandered into view. Green shirt, yellow breeches, and the goofiest hat I’d ever seen. He introduce himself as Doc. He made himself comfortable, warming his chubby hands at my fire. Asked what I was doing out there all by myself.

    I told him I wasn’t by myself, my boyfriend would be back shortly. I may have lied. Even though I was pretty sure I could take him, I didn’t think it wise to let him know I was alone.

    He smiled knowingly. I felt a prick on my neck and poof, I woke up chained to a wall.

    I wondered how the little fella got me here all by himself, until I met the rest of the gang. His six cohorts were dressed just like him. Green and yellow, and goofy hats. They even looked alike, bulbous noses, squinty eyes, and greasy smiles.

    I didn’t meet them all at once. And it took me some time to tell them apart. They seemed to take turns checking up on me. Bringing food and water. Or emptying the chamber pot they provided. They even gave me a brush and brought a damp cloth to wash with daily.

    There was Happy, though Renfield might have been a better name, he giggled hysterically when I said anything, particularly if I asked him to let me go. So much for that.

    Then Grouchy, what an understatement. He looked like he was just waiting for an excuse to beat the crap outta me. I chose not to test that theory.

    The one that called himself Bashful was anything but. He had zero shyness with the hands. Constantly petting my hair, or touching my face. Made me shudder. Yuck.

    I think Sneezy was worse though. Continually snotting and dripping all over. I didn’t know what kind of plague he had, but I didn’t want it. If he brought the food, I wouldn’t eat it.

    And Dopey, yeah. No explanation needed.

    Sleepy, I couldn’t figure out. He’d shuffled in, check my restraints. Yawn. Ask if I was thirsty. Yawn. No, he wouldn’t let me go. Yawn. He head for the door, stretch and before he could muster up the energy to open it, drop to floor and catch a twenty minute nap. Not weird at all.

    Today they haven’t been here to bring food yet. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. The chains are still intact, and starving or dehydrating to death doesn’t appeal to me. Also the pot is starting to stink.

    Uh oh. I hear them, all of them. This cannot bode well.

    Doc is the first one in the door. He’s got a hypodermic. Not good. Not good at all. The rest are piling in behind him. Sleepy comes over and undoes the chains from the wall, Grouchy and Bashful grab my arms. Doc says if I cooperate he won’t need to dope me. Sure, no problem, I can behave.

    They’re walking me through the woods now. I don’t know where we’re going, but I bet letting me go is not the plan.

    What is that? The sunlight is glinting off something up ahead.

    As we get closer I can see a dozen or so glass boxes.

    Closer yet, I can see each box has a girl inside.

    Oh hell no!

    As I start to struggle, Happy starts his creepy high pitched giggling. Sleepy curls up snoring nearby as Dopey lights a joint. Sneezy has progressed to puking in the grass.

    Grouchy is ready to clock me, and Bashful starts to rub my back. Yuck.

    They drag me to the one empty box. Doc grins, and sticks the needle in my upper arm.

    I feel the drug working. As the lid comes down, I scream with the last of my energy.

    “Someday! You wait! Someday my prince will come!”

    1. Beebles

      Reminded me of the Spanish? film about the guy in the phone box – no? Oh well I won’t spoil the ending. I felt this was like an expert unicyclist riding along the edge of Creepy Cliff above Seedy Canyon. I loved the descriptions of those vertically challenged.

  20. rainiemills

    Long time since I posted here…but here goes…

    “What’s your name?” He stood mesmerized as she stared at him with those big blue eyes.

    “Pinnochio” he replied, and immediately felt the punch in his gut. Why did he tell her the truth? He knows the consequences. He tried to smile through the pain as the sting of the rising vomit singed. He turned away searching for a place to release the curds forming in his throat. A violent retch erupted from his insides. Why didn’t he just lie.

    A hand touched his shoulder. The sweet scent of her perfume surrounded him. “Are you okay?” The softness of her hand on his body sparked something in him he’d never experienced before. A stirring. A need. A primal urge he wasn’t sure how to handle.

    Dammit. All he had to do was lie. “Yeah, you should go, In case it’s catchy ya know.” The pain receded. Just lie. He wanted to tell her the truth, that no he wasn’t okay, but the truth came with a price and this little bout of pain was just a precursor to how bad it could be. His gut released the tension allowing his breathe to normalize.
    He watched as she scribbled a number on a scrap of paper. “I’m Grimhilde. Here’s my number, give me a call when you’re feeling better.” Here hand trailed down his body and slipped into his back pocket. His body reacted immediately. Her eyes trailed down his traitorous body. “I look forward to hearing from you ….Pinn…ohhh…chio… “ she whispered in his ear.

    He watched motionless as she walked away shaking her ass. Her scent faded as her footsteps receded into the distance.

    * * *
    “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the cleverest of them all?”

    “You are my Queen.”

    Grimhilde smiled as she thought about her encounter with Pinocchio. This was the perfect plan. He was like putty in her hands. A shiver ran through her body as she remembered how his body reacted to her. The way he responded to telling the truth. It looked extremely painful. Maybe it was wrong. “Dear mirror was it wrong of me to make him tell the truth?”

    “My Queen, you had to see did you not?”

    “I suppose you’re right.” He was the perfect partner. She knew it the first time she laid eyes on him. And when she learned his secret she knew he was the one for her. It was like fate talking. She thought of his body, solid. And then what it would feel like lying next to him, their bodies pressed together. Yes. This will be the perfect relationship. Her little secret.

  21. ReathaThomasOakley

    (My brain seems to be on vacation from creativity recently, so I’m stealing from a prompt from October 13, 2015.)

    What the hell?” The girl sputtered. “Glass? GLASS shoes…”

    “Um, those would be slippers, Ella, glass slippers.” The older woman said.

    “It’s CINDERella, how many times I gotta tell you, without cinder my story makes no sense, has no legs,” she threw the shoe box, slippers and all at the woman, who caught it as if used to such actions. “If I’m gonna pay a PR flack good money, then you gotta…”

    “Your father’s money,” the woman muttered as she placed the box on top of the rejected gown and tiara.

    “What did you say?” The girl moved toward the woman. “Daddy left me his entire portfolio. His mistake was naming you my guardian, my fairy godmother. I can’t believe you’re trying to ruin the most important night of my life, the night the prince will take one look and fall in love with poor, little abused me, who never had a chance…” Ella wailed, throwing herself on the fur covered bed.

    “Ella, uh, Cinderella, I’ll explain again. This prince is rumored to have a foot thing, has said he will only marry a girl with beautiful feet, perfect toes. Now, think. He can’t see your feet if they’re covered. You only have one chance to make a first impression,” God forgive me, the woman thought.

    Cinderella wiped her nose on the gold embroidered sheet and sat up.

    “What are your spies saying THEY are wearing?”

    The woman checked her Apple Watch.

    “Stepsister One, I really wish you’d learn their names, is wearing a Vera Wang, too close to a wedding dress, I think…”

    “No, no, you incompetent twit. Not dresses, shoes!”

    “Oh, yes. Seems they are walking the conservative path,” she looked to see if her pun was understood, she had few chances for fun. “Standard jewel encrusted, silk lined, everything covered.”

    “Okay, I’ll wear the stupid glass things. Now, how do I get there. No stretch limos. I want a coach, horses, footmen, the works.”

    The woman shook her head, but only said, “As you wish.”

    Later, as she was reclining on Ella’s chaise with a glass of Jack, the door burst open and a disheveled Cinder stormed through.

    “It’s your fault. You should’ve known. You set me up.”

    “I? Never! I more than anyone want you to find your prince, get married, etc., etc. What happened?”

    “Everyone but you knew the reporter for Kingdom Times has this problem, every time she sees a bare foot she starts laughing uncontrollably.”

    “Oh, no.”

    “Oh, yes, and when they heard her, my ugly stepsisters saw their chance, started pointing and hee hawing. Others joined in and when that stupid pig of a prince saw what was happening, even though just moments before he was drooling at my feet, he started laughing, too. I was so humiliated I ran out, stumbled down the stairs, lost a slipper, couldn’t find the stupid coach, ran all the way back, hopping on one foot.” Cinderella flung herself across the bed. “And, it’s all your fault!”

    “Well, look on the bright side, at least you still have one shoe,” the woman said as the glass slipper splintered against the wall behind her.

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      Oh, how I’ve missed your writing Reatha.
      I’m with John, the apple watch was a nice touch.
      I don’t feel bad for Ell – I mean, Cinderella – at all.
      I wish I get to meet the prince though, maybe my feet would be his type. You never know.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well, you get a triple A*** with three stars since there doesn’t seem to be a plus on my phone
        Your flair with comedy is mag mag . You should do more. It guess what I am trying to say the story and style is perfect. “Hats Off “

  22. jhowe

    The first little pig sipped his pomegranate daiquiri in the shade of a thatched umbrella at the seaside resort. He texted his brother (he called him stick man) and enclosed a screen shot of the Caribbean sunset from the night before. Stick man would hate this. His 401 K was tanking after borrowing heavily from it over the years. But whatever, you spend too much on a house and you pay the consequences.

    The first little pig winced when the call came in from his other brother. Brick man was in trouble again. Sure, the wolf was not a problem for him, but he’d lost the house in foreclosure and lived on the streets most of the time. Last he’d heard, his brother was hooked on crack cocaine and his teeth were rotting away. But at least the wolf wasn’t a constant threat for brick man.

    “Hello Bricky,” the first little pig said in a jovial voice.

    “You need to get out of there straw man. He’s on his way.”

    “How, may I ask, is he going to find me in Jamaica?”

    “You know that snout of his and his uncanny sense of smell.”

    “I’ll have you know, I had my sweat glands transplanted. I now have the scent of a young, female armadillo.”

    “It’s not enough, straw man. The wolf is relentless.”

    “I appreciate your concern, Bricky, but I’m fine. Now if you’ll excuse me, my lunch has arrived.”

    The first little pig hung up the phone and rubbed his greedy forepaws together in anticipation. The cloaked waiter set the tray down, his sharp teeth gleaming in the sun.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I.can’t believe how this inspires me to become a real.writer. I am in awe of a few little words that can carry so much thought. I raise my ice tea glass to you, too old to drink anymore.


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