Thursday, 12 April 2012

Sleeping Beauty Undone: an Unexpected Fairy Tale

I'm a big fan of the fabulous Anna Meade over at Yearning for Wonderland.  This April she has teamed up with the equally fabulous SJI Holliday to create a fabulous new flash fiction contest with truly awesome prizes

Our challenge: to write an unexpected fairy tale.

Our word limit: 350 words. 

Twitter hashtag: #ouatwriting 

And here I go.... *plunges in*

True Love's Kiss the Spell Shall Break

The rusty sign swung outside, creaking.  An obscure picture, some sort of wheel.  

“Spinning,” Emmie’s pa muttered.  “Wool on your fingers... a real craft.”  The room stank of cider and self pity, crushed cans leaning crazily against his broken chair. He was nostalgic now; within an hour he’d be violent. 

Time to get out.

Dragging her cloak around her shoulders, she left.

It was just like every other home in Thorn, the shanty town that had sprung up in the shadow of the grief-stricken palace. 

Fairies.  Emmie hated fairies.  Trouble causing, princess stealing, lumps of vile magic.  Witches were at least human.  You knew where you were with a witch. Trapped in an oven, probably.

Her Pa had been a big man, red faced and loud.  Singing, always singing as the wheel spun. A master spinner.  Top of his game.  Larger than life. 

Before Maleficent and the curse.  Before every spinning wheel burned.

Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t see the horse until it was nearly too late.

“Watch out!” The rider sprang down, face white with anger. Or fear. Hard to tell.  “Damn you, do you have a death wish?”

God, he was beautiful.  Rich too, with a silk tunic and skin like only royalty have.  Clear and fine, not sun bronzed, not rough.

“Yes,” she said.  “Yes I do.”

That shut him up.  He stared at her.  “You don’t mean that.”

Emmie laughed.  “Don’t I?”

Looping the reins over his arm, he held out his hand.  “Walk with me?”

“Is that a royal command your highness?”  Acid in her voice, bitterness.

He threw her an odd glance.  “If you like.”

They walked for hours.  Walked through Thorn and into the forest, past streams, through glades.

Past a golden haired girl, singing. 

The Prince didn’t even glance at her.

The next day they found Emmie’s pa dead, choked on his own vomit.  But when they looked for Emmie she was gone. Last seen on the back of a white charger, smiling.

That night sleep settled across Thorn, across the Palace.  Eternal sleep, never disturbed. 

Not even by a kiss. 

Source: via Meg on Pinterest

Enough about me - check out the other contestants! The standard in this contest is insanely cry - there are stories which will make you cry, laugh, be struck with horror and feel all warm and glowy inside.  Don't stop here... read on!


Unknown said...

I read this not once, twice but three times. Well done.

Meg McNulty said...

I hope that wasn't because it didn't make sense! LOL. Liked yours a lot too :-)

Stacy Bennett said...

Great job, Meg! That is one of my favorite fairy tales but you're twist just makes it all the better. I loved it.

Meg McNulty said...

@Rowanwolf - thank you so much kind lady! I'm clearly on a kitchen sink drama meets Disney spree at the moment.

SJIHolliday said...

Oooooh! Lovely :) Thanks for entering, Meg!

Unknown said...

Hmm, more than just a little bit disturbing - the way a fairy tale should be. Bravo!

Meg McNulty said...

If I have disturbed you, that pleases me (is that wrong?) ;-)

Becky Fyfe said...

Great story! I always thought the prince fell in love with the princess in the Disney version way too quickly anyway. :)

Meg McNulty said...

He is clearly easy pickings for an enterprising lady ;-)

Evermore Evil said...

Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic! Brilliantly descriptive, and vividly real despite the fairy tale setting. Thank You!

L.S. Taylor said...

That's definitely unexpected. Oh, I feel like I could sink into this story and I'd like to know what happens after this to bring Malificent down. :)

Meg McNulty said...

@Evermore Evil and @LS Taylor - thank you kindly! Malificent would get bored wandering around an asleep kingdom don't you think? I'd imagine she's wake everyone up just to bully them again!

Angela said...

Beautifully worked piece! Loved the dark twist. I envy anyone who can take an idea from beginning to end in under 350 words - I can't!!!

So jealous. :D

Daniel R. Davis said...

Nice! My wife and I both got a kick outta this one. Guess the princess will just have to wait for another prince. :)

Meg McNulty said...

@Angela! Thank you - sometimes I think it better to do a snapshot than a whole story (more words to play with). There are some truly evocative pieces in this contest doing just that!

@Daniel - great! I'm thinking she will have a GREAT dream life. I hope so anyway, given the time and space to devote to it. *thinks of another story idea - damn*

Daniel R. Davis said...

"*thinks of another story idea - damn* "

Isn't that always the way. ;)

Jo-Anne (jtvancouver) said...

I'm embarrassed that it's taken me this long to read your story. It's beautiful, Meg. The language, the atmosphere and yes of course the story are just so RIGHT! In particular, I adore this particularly: "You knew where you were with a witch. Trapped in an oven, probably."

I enjoyed this! Beautifully written!

Laura Huntley said...

Dreamy yet vivid at the same time. Beautiful writing.

Meg McNulty said...

@Daniel - YES! Always!

@Jo-Anne - thanks so much for reading it! That was kind of my favorite line too - it captured what I thought Emmie's voice/mind thought like. A bit cynical and jaded.

@Laura - thank you!

Miranda Kate said...

I loved the reference to so many known fairy tales, and then the ending that 'should have been' being scuppered! Brilliant & funny! Well done.

Sara Leggeri said...

This was beautifully unexpected! Nicely done!!!

Angela Lynn said...

I agree with those before me, this stories got an awesome creepy twist and I thought you did a fantastic job of giving a new spin to an old classic. Great work.

McKenzie said...

This was so unexpectedly awesome! Beautifully done. :) :)

Cameron said...

Well of course I loved it - you know my views on Barbie Princess Heroines ... yours is sassy and switched on - Princey had better watch out!

sarahjasmon said...

I do love a fairy story coming from an unexpected point of view. And this one is so elegantly written! Lovely :-)

Meg McNulty said...

@Miranda, Sara, Ang, McKenzie, Cameron and Sarah - thank you all for your comments. Much appreciated!

Lisa Shambrook said...

I too, loved the 'witch and oven' line, brilliant! Love the way the Prince was sidetracked, I wonder how many other fairy tale Princesses never got their fairy tale ending because the Prince was seduced before he got there!

Meg McNulty said...

@Lisa - I liked writing that line, it popped out and I thought it captured Emmie's snarkiness and cynicism quite well.

Natalie Bowers said...

I love this! Great narrative voice. Nice work. :)

J. Whitworth Hazzard said...

Poor Sleeping Beauty. :( Some sassy girl stealing her Prince is a great idea. Love the Fairies line. LOL.

Great work Meg!