Monday, 8 April 2013

Abandoned Beauty



(a writing prompt from Write on Edge)

“He’s on his way, I’ve seen him through the eyes of owls.  Young and full of vigour,” Her voice was self-satisfied, with just a hint of lewd appreciation.


“So romantic,” came the reply in gentle delicate tones of wistful contentment

“Romance be damned,” the third voice was a menacing rumble, “it’s the story that draws him.  Always the story.”

The three of them waited in an upper room, looking out of the window into the wooded valley below.   The house was glorious once, but that was before it had been abandoned to the elements and to time, before moss and vines grew over its surface and the burrowing creatures dug into its rocky foundations, before the rain and wind of countless years wore away the paint and etched age into the face of the building.    

The three of them wore the shapes, more or less, of women.

“We should try to stop him of course,” said the first of them, “Should I…?”

“No,” sighed the second, “let me.  Poor boy.”   She relaxed out of her vanishing body and the valley forest pulsed in response.

“She’ll botch it,” growled the third.       They watched as the canopy of trees quivered far below and a few moments later the one who had vanished returned.   She was ragged and glaring now, her green clothing tattered and torn.

“Clever boy,” she said, and she’d lost the wistfulness,  “My vines and stinging plants engulfed him.  He sprayed me with chemicals and withered me.”  She spat on the floor.  It steamed.

“My wolves will end him,” said the first of them.  Her eyes gleamed orange and she was gone.   Below there was howling and shouting and chasing and…

She was back suddenly, clutching herself and leaking blood.

“Revolvers,” she growled, “and he’s a bloody good shot.”

“Useless,” boomed the third of them and the sky darkened as she vanished.   “Leave.  Him.  To.  Me.”    The last four words were thunder crashes, and lightning stabbed the valley shattering trees and stone where they struck.

The other two looked at each other and waited.

“He’s good,” said the one in tattered green.

“He’s the one,” said the wolf-eyed woman.

Suddenly the third of them was back, pale and furious.

“He’s a pain in the backside,” she said, “And he’s tough.  Made it to the steps.”

They all peered out of the window and looked down.  Far below a young hero staggered up the long flight of stairs leading to the house.   He was injured and soaked and a little scorched, but undaunted.

They sighed and moved further in, resting on a balcony overlooking the grand hall below.  In the centre of the hall was a bed and on the bed a maiden lay, pale and golden haired and untouched by time.

The young man thrust open the mossy doors and staggered into the room.   He paused as he took in the beauty of the maiden sleeping in the mansion lost to time, but he only paused for a second.   And then, his strength renewed he strode forward and bent over her to kiss her flawless skin.

“They always get the story wrong,” the first grumbled as the maiden’s eyes flickered open.

“Such a shame,” agreed the second.   The maiden wrapped her arms around his shoulders and opened her mouth wide, revealing twin rows of pearl white fangs.  The young man screamed as she bit down.

“The sacrifice of the heroic king,” said the third, nodding, “has to be the strongest, the cleverest, the finest.   And they’re the only ones that make it through, who make it past the flora, and the fauna and my merry weather.”     

In the chamber below the maiden sat up and stretched, her gown soaked scarlet, her lips dripping gore.     She waved at the three faerie who had guarded her, and they waved back grinning.

Job done.

26 comments:

  1. Wonderful twist! I love the hero struggling through the challenges of the fairies to claim his prize. Only to find the prize was him.

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    1. Thanks Renee, glad you liked the twist - poor fellow fulfilling a classic story just not the one he thought it was.

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  2. This is one of the best twists on sleeping beauty that I've ever seen. It was absolutely divine.

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    1. That's really kind of you, thanks! Glad you liked it.

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  3. A bit of a wicked twist .... I don't know that I want my Flora, Fauna & MerryWeather to be evil! :) I rather like them twittering about and bumbling around. Very fun and creative. And vivid. Eek.

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    1. Evil? Surely not, poor creatures. They were very caring and protective :D

      Glad you liked it.

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  4. Beautifully crafted, as always. LM xxx

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    1. Thanks Lyssa, glad you appreciated it.

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  5. You had me thinking of the three Fates at first. Nice twist on the Sleeping Beauty tale. Not every maiden needs rescue!

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    1. Indeed they do not - certainly not this one! And the three Fates were busy that weekend, alas, attending an immortal triplets convention with the Norns, Macbeth's Witches, the Wiccan moon goddess/es, the Holy Trinity, and Groucho/Chico/Harpo. Fun weekend, but the hotel only did double rooms which frankly was bad planning.

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  6. All the while I was reading this, I was admiring your wonderfully worded prose, and then-like the icing on the cake-it turns out that you've crafted an incredibly clever tale as well! (I'm on my feet now, giving this the standing ovation it richly deserves!)

    Well done!!

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    1. Oh thank you :D I'm glad you liked it, and you've put a smile on my face too.

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  7. I am going to put you in my reader, this is very good, I agree with TMW, a great twist on an old tale.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

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    1. Thanks Katie, glad you liked it and thanks for following.

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  8. Oooo. This is great! I loved it. The interaction between the faeries was priceless, both humourous and time weary. And the vampire princess was awesome. Quite a clever set up if what you need is fresh and special blood.

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    1. Exactly - only the best will do for her.

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  9. This was fantastic! I loved the twist, of course, but the dialogue between the fairies was absolutely perfect showing us three distinct personalities in just a few exchanges. Loved it.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad they came across that way.

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  10. Wonderfully done! The cadence of the piece is perfect for a fairy tale. This is such a delicious clue that things will not end well for the rescue-determined prince:

    The three of them wore the shapes, more or less, of women.

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    1. I appreciate the feedback - especially since the cadence of the piece is one I hoped was indeed evocative of "fairy tale" - it's a 'voice' that I enjoy and I'm glad you liked it

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  11. Job well done! Nicely paced .The dialogue between the fairies was 'spot on.' Mandyland sums it up for me. Thanks.

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    1. Much appreciated- thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback. I'm glad you liked the dialogue, I was pleased with how it worked.

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  12. Marvelous nasty turn on a classic, Thomas. But I love your faeries best, very Macbeth-ish, shapeless crones with raunchy wit.

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    1. Glad you liked it - and them. Happy birthday for yesterday, by the way!

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