Flash Fairy Tales
Edited by Megan Larson
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.
by Sarah Trumpp
In an area that hadn't heard a single sound for centuries, the loud braying noise of a motorcycle ripped through the silence. The tires jarred and jittered on the rough cobblestone road beneath them, sending up plumes of acrid smoke as the cycle screeched to a stop. The rider climbed off of his bike and leaned it carefully against a low stone wall almost completely hidden by brambles.
He was properly known as Adrian Corley, a high-ranking member of a violent and dangerous motorcycle gang, the Kings of Pain. To those Kings in the inner circle, he was known as The Prince, claiming to be a direct descendent of ancient, possibly even more dangerous kings. He removed his black leather gloves and slapped them against his thigh, sending up plumes of dust collected from many miles of neglected and forgotten roads. He crossed his arms and glared at the almost impenetrable wall of thorny bushes that blocked the roadway ahead of him.
Turning to look back at the now-settled dusty road behind him, The Prince narrowed his eyes, thinking of the jeers from his fellow gang members if he stopped now. It was a challenge to ride this road, and no one had made it past this point before. But he was prepared to go on, to take it as far as he could, so he trudged back to his bike and dug in his saddle bags until he found the heavy blade he had packed just for this. He hefted it, testing its balance as he looked for a break in the tangled brambles before him. He hacked and sawed his way through the tangled vegetation, letting out a brief shout when he finally came through the other side. That shout froze on his lips, though, and the long knife fell to the ground from limp fingers as he gaped in surprise at the sight before him.
In the near distance hunched a castle, overgrown with the same vines he had just fought his way through. It was surrounded by low, moss- and vine-covered walls that were topped with curling iron. The whole place was hollow-looking without any sign of life. The Prince’s eyes narrowed and he grinned, thinking of the wealth that must be hidden within. He rushed in and found himself in a deserted foyer and stopped, surprised, at the sight of an old-fashioned spinning wheel and what looked like a person crumpled next to it. He kneeled on the floor and rolled the person over, grinning with malicious intent when he discovered that it was a woman, and a well-endowed, beautiful woman at that, wearing only a thin white nightgown. She looked like she was deep in sleep, dreaming with her lips slightly parted and her dark ebony hair tousled. He grinned again, running a finger down the side of her face.
He leaned in close to her ear and, in a low, husky whisper said, "Wake up." He lifted his head, watching her face. She didn't move a muscle, so he leaned in closer and whispered, "Hello? Anyone in there? Come on, sleeping beauty, wake up!" He ran his tongue up the side of her ear and taunted, "We can do this while you're sleeping, but it's far more fun if you scream a little," before biting her savagely on the earlobe.
Sleeping Beauty awoke with a shriek, and she wrapped her arms around The Prince as her eyes narrowed in anger. He stiffened for a minute, prepared to fight her if he needed to, but relaxed as he felt her arms tighten around him.
"I knew some day a prince would find me," she said softly, her voice low and cracked from years of disuse, "and release me and mine from this horrible curse." She stood up slowly, unsteadily, and pulled The Prince to her, kissing him lightly on the mouth. "I didn't think, though, that my rescuer would be," she paused, finally releasing the hold on her anger and growled, a deep, primal sound that sent chills up The Prince's spine, "a rapist."
"Whoa, down girl," he said lightly, hand slowly moving towards the gun tucked in his waistband. "I was just lookin' for a little fun, no harm done, right?" He grinned savagely, and his eyes glinted as he pulled out the gun and pointed it at her. "Now where were we?"
She smiled and ran her tongue over her teeth, which sharpened into tiny points as she slapped his arm, sending the gun flying across the room. He screamed as he felt the bones snap and break through the skin, and he fell to his knees in front of her. Her eyes washed out to a solid shade of red, and she grabbed his arm, squeezing the bones together until his breathy screams filled the air. She slowly licked the blood off of his skin and said, "Yes," through a mouth filled with too many teeth, "Where were we, indeed?" She threw her head back and howled, and the sound brought her family out of their slumber.
The Prince shook his head in panic as a dozen red-eyed men and women crept into the room. "No. NO! Please!" He screamed as they bore down on him, circling him in a wall of bodies scented with deep, earthy, animal smells. Sleeping Beauty watched him, amused at his discomfort and finally pushed him back onto the floor and straddled his chest.
"The pack thanks you, prince, for rescuing us and providing us with nourishment for the night of hunting to come," she said in a low growl as she lowered her face to his neck. "Your bones will hold a place of honor along with the bones of your forefathers who passed this way before." She laughed and bit deep, crushing his windpipe. Her family took this as a signal and moved as one, covering him in a mass of warm bodies.
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.
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