Archive for August, 2013


Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on August 22nd, 2013 by Annabelle – 5 Comments

Ailea stared at the door.  She knew about his vanished wives when they married, but his smile had been so sweet.  She’d trusted him and been happy.  He’d asked her to leave that one room alone; she’d agreed.

But — there was a smell coming from it.  An acrid, organic smell drifting faintly into the hallway.  And there was something seeping under the door, a thick red-black substance she was afraid to touch.  She couldn’t help wondering — what had happened to them, anyway?

She put the key in the lock and turned.


When he found her, hours later, she was still flat on her back.  There was a heart-shaped bruise on her forehead like a brand where an ornamental paperweight had hit her on the way down.

“Your mother insisted I take it all.”  He was apologetic.  “I would have trashed it, except I think her best friend is a witch, and she had a manic look at the wedding.  I’m not sure it’s safe.”  He started pulling crocheted blankets and wobbly hand-thrown urns off the pile.  “It’s the jams that get me.  At least, I think they’re jams.”

Her ankle was sticky with the horrifying ooze that turned out to have come from an overturned jar.  “Let’s not find out,” she croaked.

He made a devoutly affirmative noise and dug.  The stench was terrible.  She recognized it, now — her mother’s attempt at making handbags from home-tanned leather.  She’d tried to forget that phase.

“I’m not sure this is enough room.  We could get rid of the stuff Lakshmi left when she ran off to Ishendi.  She seems to be enjoying being a belly-dancer too much to bother sending for it.”

She sat up, finally.  “It’s fine.  We’ll shove it all back in and brick it up.”

He gave her that sweet, unassuming smile.  “Whatever you like.”

She reached out one dusty hand to touch his cheek, caress the ridiculous beard.  “I love you.”

His face was like the sunrise.  “I love you too.”


This week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word BRAND (noun):

3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership 
     (2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron 

     (2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma <the brand of poverty>

So here’s another reimagined fairy tale for you.  (For the full list, click on the Fairy Tale category on the sidebar or check the Fiction page.)  Thanks for reading! 

The Pea

Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on August 14th, 2013 by Annabelle – 15 Comments

Evadne stood behind the hulking armoire and stared as the middle-aged queen thrust something under the lowest mattress and tiptoed triumphantly out.  Evadne sighed.  What the hell kind of place was this?  The house was beautiful, a vision of architectural details without and sumptuous within, but if it hadn’t been raining, she would have gone off to sleep in a haystack.

She probably should have known from the way they’d reacted to finding out she was a princess.  The prince, it transpired, was having trouble finding a wife.  Evadne had opinions on why that was, but her attempts to indicate that it was really none of her business had gone completely unnoticed.  Neither of them seemed to grasp the fact that Evadne wouldn’t have taken the man as a gift, much less competed for him.

Evadne dropped down next to the bed and shoved an arm in to fish for whatever the queen had left.  A hard, grainy lump rolled under her fingers, and she pulled it out.  A pea.  “Seriously?”  She dropped her forehead against the preposterous tower of mattresses, where it sank in with a squish.

God, she was glad she was going home.  The weirdness out here never ended.  But her father hadn’t been born a king; he was an old campaigner, and when he’d sent her on this trip, it wasn’t to end up with an heir incapable of dealing with a lumpy mattress.  Just a few more days.  Evadne reached up, yanked the covers off into a nest on the rug, and slept like a log.

“How did you sleep?”  The queen smirked.

“Beautifully!” Evadne said, cheerily shoveling down as much breakfast as she could manage.  “Thanks for the pea, by the way.  Such a practical gift; flowers and food all at once.” She stood up and walked to the door.  “I think I’ll take it with me, if you don’t mind.”

She waved, stepped out into the sun, and smiled.  Dad always did like a garden.


This week, a return to my fairy tale retellings as inspired by the gorgeous photos of The Breakers for the Write at the Merge prompt this week.  I also worked in this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge, which called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the work GRASP (verb):

Thanks for reading!  For more fairy tale retellings, click on Fairy Tales on the sidebar or check out the full list on the Fiction page.  

Let’s Lunch: Farmer’s Market Gazpacho

Posted in Manna on August 9th, 2013 by Annabelle – 6 Comments


Welcome to this month’s Let’s Lunch!  This month’s theme is vegetables, in honor of Let’s Lunch-er Joe Yonan‘s brand new cookbook, Eat Your Vegetables.  This is the perfect time of year for a cookbook celebrating produce, as farmer’s markets in this part of the country really hit their stride.  Joe’s cookbook focuses on recipes for those of us who frequently cook for one, and includes handy recommendations for reusing leftover ingredients.  Anyone who’s interested in making the most of their veggies as we head into fall should definitely check it out.

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