Posts Tagged ‘fairy tales’

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on February 19th, 2014 by Annabelle – 5 Comments

The fire popped, showering sparks unheeded against the stone.  Cloth of gold burned surprisingly quickly, it turned out.  Burned – melted?  Mira stared at the remains at the edge of the hearth.  A little of both?  There did seem to be some gold left.

“This is not happening.”

That did not, strictly speaking, seem to be true.  She tried to come up with something to say.  “Why did you leave it so close to the fire?”

Var’s head whipped up, stung.  They’d had other things on their minds when he’d taken them off.  “You said you were cold!”

“I meant for you to keep me warm, idiot!”

“It wasn’t in the fire until you kicked it.”

“I can’t help being ticklish.”  He probably hadn’t meant to tickle her, but…  So they were a little awkward still.  They were figuring it out.

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Bluebeard

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.  

The Woods and the Wolf

Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on February 25th, 2013 by Annabelle – 13 Comments

Her feet carried her slowly, unwillingly, down the forest path.  A hush had fallen, and the gentle clatter of branches and the quiet squeak of the fresh snow under her boots were the only sounds she could hear.  The wolf was pacing her out at the edges of sight, no more than a grey whisper among the grey trees.  It wouldn’t come any closer, not yet, but she could feel it waiting.

She pulled the crimson cloak closer around her against a cold she barely felt.  It had been a gift from her grandmother, a token of an affection that now made her skin crawl.  Under the sun, the cloak flamed, impossible to miss.  Here, under the trees at the last tail of dusk, it faded to the color of old blood, melting into the dark as if it belonged there.  The obscurity was strangely comforting.

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The Twelve Dancers

Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on February 18th, 2013 by Annabelle – 35 Comments

Worn-out shoes.  That’s what it came down to.  He was risking his life for worn-out shoes.  He shifted back on his heels in the mud, and raised his fingers to the place where a thorn had torn a sticky gash in his neck.  He’d had far worse, but it was all of a piece with this whole night.

The thing had stank from the beginning.  Find the secret in three nights or be put to death?  What sort of offer was that?  But the king was a father and fathers got desperate.  He hadn’t been far from desperate himself — out of a job, out of money, about to exhaust his options.  No one seemed to want his nicked and battered sword or equally battered self.

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The Apple

Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on February 12th, 2013 by Annabelle – 11 Comments

The stillroom was a wreck.  Elanne pressed a frustrated hand to her face, and surveyed the damage from between her fingers.  The floor glittered with shards of glass, here the remains of a green bottle, there what was left of a clear one, and all of it glistening with the spirits she’d been storing here.  A sweet, herbal tang filled the air so thickly she could almost taste it.  She didn’t need to wonder what had happened.  Her stepdaughter.  Of course.

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Trifecta: The Frog Prince

Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on January 16th, 2013 by Annabelle – 15 Comments

The frog contemplated the golden ball.  It glittered through the murky water, half-buried in the black silt of the pond’s bottom.  He could hear the princess crying above, her voice weirdly distorted by the water but still distinguishable.  The wavering image on the surface showed him a green dress and dark red hair.  Red.  Never his favorite.

He swam over and prodded the ball with one sticky toe.  It was his way out of this mess, he supposed.  Back to the old life of flavored ices and servant girls, assuming he could avoid marrying the weeper.  He slowly blinked the nictitating membrane across his eye, the best he could do for a nostalgic sigh in this clammy body.  It had been a good life, if not useful.  He’d been an idle prince at best, years from responsibility in a peaceful kingdom that did just fine with no help from him.  Lovely.

His parents had put it about that it had been a spiteful fairy, he’d heard.  It probably sounded better than admitting that he’d insulted a witch on his way out of her rumpled cottage bed the second night, and that she had decided sliminess suited him.  True love.  He would have rolled his eyes if he could have.  But it only had to be true love for her, didn’t it?  That might not be so hard.

Red-headed, though.  He peered up through the water, trying to discern what sort of figure was attached to all that red hair.  Hm.  He pushed off of the golden ball with a back foot, and swished back into the depths of the pond.  Princesses were so much work, after all.  And perhaps a blonde would come by later.

Welcome to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge!  This week called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word IDLE (adj.):IDLE

3: a : shiftless, lazy
b : having no evident lawful means of support

Thanks for reading!