Flash Fairy Tales
Edited by Brandie Minchew
This column combines two literary traditions, the fairy tale and flash fiction. Flash fiction is an unusually short story form, usually at least under 1,000 words, and often under 500. 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 readers are familiar with the original tales behind the retelling. Of course, with so many cultural traditions among the members of Elfwood, this is not always possible, and so is not a requirement.
We'd love to see your stories -- be sure to take a look at the submissions guidelines below before sending anything in.
Apple of her Eye
by Karen L. Crumley
On a cold autumn night, she heard something stir outside. Her diminutive friends had been working late in the mines, and she was left in the cottage all alone. Sighing, Snow cleaned up the pots and pans that she had used to cook them dinner tonight. She felt safe here in the cottage with her new friends—her new family.
The disturbing presence lurking outside drew nearer. Something was threatening her peaceful, new existence. The wind whispered, beating against the shudders on the windows. A cool chill filled the house.
Snow was not only blessed with skin as white as her namesake, but with sable hair and ruby lips...as well as an extraordinary sense of smell. She sniffed the air that ominously blew around the cabin. “Bella Donna” she whispered, with a smirk. She knew that fragrance all too well, as well as the person she associated with it.
Finally came the rap on the door. “Oh, what the hell. I’m game”, Snow mumbled to herself.
She smiled at the little old lady in a dark cloak holding a basket standing on her front door. “You again?” she said with a feigned grin.
“Yes, deeeear, how did your corsets fit you?” The hag asked.
“A little too snug.” Snow replied, “I am afraid they didn’t do much good at all.”
“Pity”, the hag smirked. “Oh well, dear. No worries. I brought you a special treat today.”
Yeah, I bet you did, Snow thought. She was already suspicious of what the witch had in store for her, this time. Again, she smiled. This time she was prepared. She would not be caught off-guard, like she was yesterday. She was ready to beat her at her own game. “What have you brought for me today, dear lady?”
The hag held out the basket she was holding, “Delicious apples, my sweet. Ripened to perfection, as red as your ruby lips.” One of the apples stood out a little further; its skin was red as blood, flawless, and shiny. The hag’s gnarled hand grabbed that apple, and held it to Snow’s lips. “OOH, try this one my sweet, have a bite.
Snow sniffed. The apple’s scent gave away the witch’s “secret ingredient.”
“I’ll bite.” She said, as the crone pressed the apple against her lips. Its strong scent nearly knocking her out, Snow took a bite.... Then looked straight at the lady, and spat!
The piece of apple hit the witch right in the eye.
“You miserable brat!” the crone shrieked as she dropped the apple and ran for Snow. “I should cut your heart out, myself!” She staggered around, obviously blind in the left eye.
Snow outsmarted her and hid under the table watching the hag stumble, feeling about with outstretched hands. “You were the thorn in my side, child! Your father always bragged about you. Everyone was always adoring you, when they should have been adoring MEEEE!” the stepmother shrieked. “I should be the fairest of them all. Not you. You’re nothing but a spoiled wench!”
Snow grabbed a broom from leaning against the wall, and held it out in front of the table at ankle height. The witch staggered past...
...And tripped over the broom. “Aaargh,” she said, “you foul little imp, when I get my hands around your pretty little neck, you’ll be begging me for a swift, painless death!”
Snow leaped out from under the table. Grabbing some rope, she tied up the woman—who by now had returned to her natural form. Her complexion like peaches and cream, her hair fell in long blonde waves to her shoulders. Her eyes...well they never did return to normal. They still looked glassy and laced with crow’s feet like that of the hag. The Queen had always had lovely, expressive blue eyes. Now, they bore an ominous vacant stare.
Snow propped her stepmother up in the chair, and waited. She sniffed the air, smelling a warm familiar scent as the dwarves came home. The eldest dwarf flung open the door; all 7 of them stared at Snow and the Queen with a gasp. “What happened, Snow?” The eldest said, “Are you all right?”
“Why yes, Barnabus, I am just fine.” She smiled, “My stepmother on the other hand was foiled by her own spell. In fact, now she’s as blind as a bat. Never to look into the mirror and gaze at her own beauty again.”
||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:
* 1000 words or less
* Fairy Tale Retellings or Reimaginings
*In the email that you submit, please include the name of the original fairy tale on which your story is based.
* 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 to ask that you wait 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
. Questions can be directed to our contact form.