Flash Fairy Tales
Edited by Brandie Minchew & Kassandra Siegel
This column combines two literary traditions, the fairy tale, which all of you should know about, and flash fiction. Flash fiction is an unusually short story form, usually at least under 1,000 words, and often under 500; this column runs at 800 words or less. Flash fiction can be a demanding format to work in, but its size makes it wonderfully useful for publishing. These flash stories will all be fairy tale or children story retellings, and would probably be best appreciated if you knew the original tales behind them--and not, mind you, the Disney version.
You can submit a story for consideration too, if you'd like--just look at the submissions guidelines below. Our first story comes from Georgette Tan, a name which should be familiar to anyone who regular reads this eZine.
The Price of Hair
by Georgette Tan
I expected them to come after I heard the news. They did not disappoint me.
Five mermaid princesses Ė all sisters Ė pleading for the life of their youngest, despite the fact that she turned her back on her family and sacrificed so much for a chance to win the love of a mortal man.
Their baby sister failed. She will die at sunrise unless they intervene.
Hair does not amount to very much in my line of work. You cannot use it as ingredients, but it does make a great conversation piece. No, I took their hair solely to humiliate them upon their return to the palace. Long hair is the pride of all mermaids. The longer the better. How could a bitter old sea witch turn down the opportunity to make a bunch of royal brats give up theirs?
I cut it all off with my sharpest knife. Three of them took it without so much as batting an eyelash, their pretty little jaws set in determination. How noble.
The fourth refused to meet my eyes as I relieved her of her pride and joy. The fifth, to my contained delight, burst into tears. She had been lurking in the back and quivering with terror ever since she and her sisters arrived.
I gave them the knife I used on their hair and gave them a message to relay to their little mortal sister. If she kills her Prince, she will resume her original form and return to the ocean. A detail that I found too irrelevant to mention was the matter of her voice. I canít reattach her tongue and make her sing again.
A payment is a payment. Her voice was an exchange for the potion that made her mortal and gave her human legs. If all her womanly wiles didnít win the manís love, it wasnít my problem.
My visitors left with great haste. Time was running out. At sunrise, I will know whether the child did my bidding or not.
Know who I am yet?
The denizens of the underwater kingdom call me the Sea Witch. I once had a name, but no one remembers it. I am regarded with fear, but I fill a necessary role in the kingdom. There has always been a Sea Witch. Our questionable services are in demand whether respectable merfolk will admit it or not. When it is time for me to go, there will be another to take my place.
Merfolk are not immortal; they live much longer than humans but they will die eventually. Iíve lived longer than most of them, long enough for them not to remember the mermaid I once was.
I was the one who killed the Queen for the love of the King.
You see, he promised to leave her for me but like all men above and below the sea, he broke his promise. So I poisoned the Queen with the venom I bought for the price of my hair. There was no need for them to punish me; I sealed my own fate with that deed.
They say that evil never sleeps. I will continue to exist until one other lovelorn female murders for love.
Kill the Prince, my little mermaid. Kill the mortal Prince. The sun is rising.
|Kassandra Siegel is very good at starting things, and not nearly as good at finishing them. A college student in the United States, she's recently decided to attempt a career in writing, and spends most of her time either trying to find her head or pursuing whatever her latest addiction is.
||Brandie Minchew is a starry-eyed believer in fairy tales, world peace, and justice for all.
Flash Fairy Tales are retellings of classic fairy tales or beloved children's stories.
There are a few guidelines to remember for submissions:
* 800 words or less
* Fairy Tale Retellings or Reimaginings
* Stories should be proofread and edited before they are submited. Stories with lots of errors simply will be rejected.
* Woodworks retains first publication rights. This means your story should not appear on your shelf, on your website, or anywhere else until we've either accepted and published it or rejected it, or four months have gone by from your original submission without a reply.
* If your story is accepted and published, we'd like you to have the courtesy of at least waiting until next month's publication before having the story appear somewhere else.
* Stories can be sent in at any time. However, only stories received before the first of the month will be considered for publication in that month's issue.
Send submissions to
, and please, put [Flash Fairytale] in the subject. Questions can be directed to our contact form.