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Write Now! 3 – Grimm Art of Fairy Tales

  • Posted on June 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Kate Bernheimer’s article on The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales  intrigues me in ways I can’t describe. Since I was a little girl, fairy tales have always been a big part of my life. I found comfort in the idea that, like Vassilissa the Fair, my mother would never leave me wanting, and like Snow White, my kindness and general likability would gain me safety. These small morals were the cornerstone to my personality. So of course, I’m obsessed with them now! However, after getting in touch with my love of horror and suspense, I find that the sweet, normal fairy tales of my childhood don’t quite… do it for me anymore.

And after reading Miss Bernheimer’s article, I figured out why. All of them lack something. They lack the original source. They lack the social commentary, the deep, terrifying moral of all fairy tales. Baba Yaga was a warning against disobeying your elders’ wisdom and, at the same time, a celebration of how that wisdom can, at times, be dangerous. Sleeping Beauty was a warning about how sometimes, not inviting the right people can ruin your entire life. The little mermaid did what Romeo and Juliet could not, and warned me away from stupid, single-minded love.

Intuitive logic, Flatness, and Happy endings, the article describes, are the three fundamentals of a fairy tale. to quote:

Intuitive Logic. The fairy tale world does not conform to the rules of this world, outside of a book, but it does have rules. They will not be explained with insistence. A teapot will sing. A path will appear just when children need to escape terrible danger. A girl will outsmart a witch. Your chopped off hands will turn into silver and save your life later. In my early fiction, my characters often argued with those around them that they were misunderstood; when I removed all efforts to justify logic (try removing transitions like “Therefore” and “Because”), my readers stopped arguing the stories were illogical.

Flatness. In many old fairy tales, characters are not very deep, psychologically speaking. Snow White, the target of murderous impulses by relatives (sisters or mother) does not suffer depression as a result. She does have responses however: fear, sadness, etc. They are logical and not lingered on deeply. There is nothing wrong with stories that explore ideas about psychological depth; I like many of these stories. Yet flat characters leave room for the reader. In the space left behind, one can think in new ways – Imagine new planes of existence. By flattening characters out, fairy tales exceed limitations of individuality, uniqueness, and self.

Happy Endings. Happy endings are underrated and misunderstood. In lots of old fairy tales, terrible things precede the beautiful images that begin and end most fairy tales; besides what’s wrong with a little consolation in a world teeming with senseless violence, poverty, grief? J.R.R Tolkien once defended happy endings as a vital technique in literature – reflecting, “Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” If I want to end a story about death with an image of a white horse running down a beach, as men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns wander drunkenly into the sea, leaving a pretty girl on the beach, counting pennies in the moonlight – if I can create poetic joy in the words – this is okay. […]

Fairy tales are storybook worlds. You can cast the spell.

The Grimm Art of Fairy Tales,  Kate Bernheimer

Her exercise then is to find a very short, very old fairytale, and break it down into these three instances. I chose Vassilissa the Fair, as it’s my favorite tale. It’s the story of a girl who’s mother, on her deathbed, gives her a doll and tells her if she runs into any trouble, to feed the doll and ask it’s advice. Since this is a fairy tale, Vassilissa of course runs into trouble.

Now, the intuitive logic here, is that the doll will in fact come alive. No one asks how. Or why. Just that the doll, when fed, comes alive and helps the one that fed it. And this help, invariably, always, helps her. When Baba Yaga tells her to clean her house, the doll has it done by the time Vassilissa wakes from a short nap. When Vassilissa runs from the witch, the doll tells her not to speak to the three riders on the white, red and black horses (morning, noon and night respectively.). And when Vassilissa at the first is sent out of her home to get a flower in the middle of winter, the doll is the one that tells her about the clearing in which she finds the 12 men (the months in order.).

Flatness is easy to find, since all we know about Vassilissa is that she is ‘fair’, meaning most likely blonde and pale.  We know she loved her mother very much. But we don’t hear Vassilissa’s thoughts. We don’t find out if she feels responsible for her mother’s death, or if she hates her stepmother and sister for sending her out into the forest each day. We never find out her feelings on Baba Yaga at all. And she’s wholly unaffected by the world around her. Vassilissa is little but a vessel for us to pour our own thoughts and feelings into.

The Happy Ending changes, based on who’s telling the story, of course, but my favorite is the one where the wicked sister goes out to get a blessing from Baba Yaga the way Vassilissa did, and never comes back, and the mother goes out to demand the men in the clearing give her flowers too, and never comes back. Vassilissa is left alone in her family home, to live her life. It’s not as surreal, perhaps as Miss Bernheimer would ask for, but it suited the story.

You can use this technique on any story really, and every story can benefit from these three instances of fairy tale progression. Remove attempts to describe the logic of your world. Let the readers just accept the premise of your story, and if they have questions? Well, that’s what Tumblr is for. Simplify or eliminate Character depth. It can always be added back in later. But for now, see how you can make room for the reader too. Don’t erase the tragedy, but afterwards, give the reader some odd bit of hope, like a pearl found lodged between an old man’s gums, which can then be used to buy passage onto a boat headed for a better life.

Now Write! Excersise One

  • Posted on June 13, 2016 at 5:42 pm

I’ll be starting a new series, for however long I can keep this bookNow write! Science fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, edited by Laurie Lamson is a collection of short essays by quite a number of fellow writers, including Piers Anthony, Ramsey Campbell and writers for The Twilight Zone and Star Trek: the Next Generation. These essays are then followed by exercises, in which one stretches their writing muscles and learns from the best!

Today’s excersise was derived from Steven Saus, and we’ll be following it to the letter here. Feel free to read along.

Halloween Blog Hop

  • Posted on October 31, 2014 at 10:54 am

For my Halloween post, I invite you to enjoy this post. I found it tucked away in a corner of my high-school binder. I don’t recognize the writing as any of my friend’s, and it certainly isn’t mine, so I thought perhaps I could share it. If you remember writing something like this, please, send me a message. I’d love to give you credit.

*~*~*~*~*~*

It started with a smell. A noxious, poignant stench that you could almost taste on the edge of your tongue. Whenever one walked by the old oaken door to the basement, the bog-like odor would rise up and greet you anew like an old friend. I hated that smell. Always had, since we first bought the house when I was five. I remember whining to my mother about how it would stick to my clothes. She didn’t even turn from her computer when she told me not to go near the door then.

I’ve lived with the stench for years, so much so that I almost forgot it even existed. The only one I’ve seen go down there is Dad in his old coveralls splattered with paint the same color as the garage walls. The sounds of hammers and breaking rock come up after him, and I never had the courage to ask him how he could stand the smell. It followed him out of the basement sometimes, as obnoxious as the tan-orange of the paint.

I never was home alone, not really. When my mother and father went out of town, they always had my uncle or my aunts babysit me, even into my early teens. The aunts never complained about the smell. My uncle did, though. All the time, he bellyached about it, and would often take me out to dinner because he said he couldn’t stand the stench a second longer. My aunts hovered around the basement door, whispering to each other. But whenever I would come in, they would hush and ask if my homework was done, in that creepy way twins do.

Around when I turned fifteen, the smell seemed to get worse. Nauseating to the point that I developed a habit of opening windows every time I passed through a room. When asked about staying with my uncle and his wife, my mother, again not looking up from her swagbucks and online wordpuzzles, told me to bear with it for just a bit longer. Before I knew it, Dad had torn her away from her computer, and bundled her into the car, and with a note to me on the counter when I got home, they went on a ‘vacation’.

I was home alone for the first time. They’d even left me a key on the counter, next to the fifty dollars for food over the weekend. The first thing I did was open all of the windows, which only relieved the smell a little. However, it made for odd sounds. The curtains rustling in rooms I wasn’t in. The soft hush of breezes through the leaves outside, almost like someone whispering things. I started to note things a little more. Windows that I opened would sometimes slide down to half closed just as I left the room. It was odd, but I could only assume they were loose in their moorings. Maybe Dad could fix them when he got home and I let him know.

The second day of their trip, I went down into the kitchen to get some milk. The old greyish wood of the basement door was misplaced. The basement door, which was closed constantly, unless my father’s hand was on the handle, was open. Just an inch. Just barely enough to see the black behind it, the yawning space which lead to what I assumed were stairs. The stench was warmer now, thicker, like something had rolled in it, and was now heaving itself under my nose. I covered my mouth, abandoning the idea of milk, and shoved the door closed, with a heavy thud.

I tried not to think about it. I watched movies. I played videogames. I played mmos with my friends from school. I avoided going down to the kitchen by ordering pizza, and having it delivered up the stairs. Pizza deliverers are surprisingly tacit when offered a large tip. It was nice not having to get out of bed for food. The day slowly turned into night, and I only paused my game to go to the bathroom.

One such unpausing revealed more of the strange sussurus that I had thought was the wind in the leaves. But I could clearly see the old maple tree outside, and the leaves were still in the night air. The sound ebbed and flowed like the ocean that I had once had the fortune of feeling on my skin, cold and salty and fresh.  It was such an odd thing that I didn’t notice the scent from the kitchen had wafted up into my bedroom.

I followed the sound, oddly curious, temptation rising in me. The soft whisper of it touched my ears and made my skin prickle with goosebumps. I shivered, rubbing at the skin on my arms, as my chucks maneuvred the carpet-covered stairs. I followed it, as it got louder, and louder, into the kitchen. The door the basement was open again, the bright red of the pizza-warmer laying just in front of it. Wider this time, a large yawning foot of black so deep and dark that it looked like it was moving. An illusion, my eyes screamed, and I rubbed at them, to try and clear it. But closing my eyes only made the sound that much louder.

Whispers, yes, but not of something against something, or of wind through leaves, oh no. These were words. Words in a language I didn’t understand, couldn’t understand. It sounded almost as if whoever was speaking had three voices, no, twelve, no, one. I couldn’t make it out. I knew if I went closer to the stairs, just a touch, just a step, I could make out what it was saying.

Before I knew it, that one step had turned into two, five, twelve. The darkness rose up around me, and I couldn’t see. It moved, not illusion not smoke, but real and heavy and black and dark. Whispy tendrils of blackness felt like the touch of ice across my cheeks, my hands, the backs of my calves. Come, it said, come down, and see us, and know us, and when had I begun to learn the language that this spoke?

I stumbled, the end of the stairs a surprise. I didn’t feel cement beneath my feet. It was unsteady, crumbling like some kind of sand, or maybe dirt. My chucks shifted and something hissed. I stopped, stock still. Something different was down here. There was no smell, there was no sight, there was nothing but darkness and the whispers. Whispers asking me to stay, to love, to be loved, whispers that wanted me to just say I would stay, oh please.

My breath echoed in this place. My heart raced. I tried to think. I tried to answer. My lips seemed frozen. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed. Time felt like a twisted ribbon. Something was wrong. I could see something, something moving. It didn’t make sense. Nothing made sense. Weightless. Broken. Put back together. Dashed on rocks so sharp they were knives now. I screamed and rocks flew from my lips like spittle.

Time passed.

Time.

I.

I woke up.

The smell… The smell was gone. I couldn’t smell anything. There was dirt under me. Dirt with small chunks of rubble like cement. The smell of dirt was unwelcome and heavy. I didn’t understand. Where had the scent gone? The marker coming from the basement, where had it gone? I opened my eyes.

A hole before me, filled with mannequins. No. Not mannequins. People. Hands, and arms, and heads, and feet. People, chopped up and decomposing, and some looked as if they had been for years decomposing. But what caught me… was the smell.

The scent… It smelled so good.

Like nothing I could name. Warm, and thick, and heady, and absolutely amazing. It reminded of me of the darkness like broken rocks on a shoreline where no stars shone. When my dad came home, I asked him if he could smell it. He nodded, and asked if I’d like to help him. The smell, the scent of that death, that decay, so sweet and warm and welcome, prompted me to agree.

Nightmares Waking

  • Posted on September 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm

My world is full of monsters. Everyone I pass is monstrous in one way or another. Some with single eyes, some with mouths too large for their faces. Some are different all together, put together like china dolls strung out too large over bones that don’t fit right. Some aren’t even remotely close to human-shaped, but instead are massive creatures with scales and teeth that hiss when I come too close. My world is full of creatures that look like nightmares, except my nightmares are only ever filled with pink-and-brown-and-yellow-skinned people like me, who have two eyes, and one nose, and one mouth.

The monster people are nice, most of the time. One helps me pick up the worksheets I’ve dropped, the claws scratching some of the answers out for my students. Later, one opens the door to my apartment building for me, with writhing tentacles covered in vein-y thorns. However, I shudder when the principal walks by, smiling at me with his thin lips, those normal straight teeth, the brown glasses over his wrinkled eyes. Something about him sits wrong with me.

In the mirror, I see only myself, my plain dark hair twisted into a bun, my shirt and skirt over my too-thick-body. My face is set in a frown, as always, lips plump if glossed, too serious. My eyes have dark bags under them, but not the way the monster down the hall has, with heavy lids hanging down. No, my eyes are normal, and dull, and human. Perhaps that’s why I hate them so. When everyone else is monstrous and hard to look at, why are my eyes alone human?

The bunny rabbit on my bed, a childhood treasure, tells me that I’m beautiful, and that I would look very nice in a coffin. He reminds me that there are sixty two pills in my pill-bottle, and that I should use the refill my doctor gave me, so that I have even more, just in case. I sigh, heavily, because going to the market is like trekking through the jungle. If someone talks to me, I’ll get that tight, taught feeling in my chest again, like someone has reached in, and is squeezing my heart with their ragged claws.

I leave for the supermarket. Every step is a painful reminder of how much my body doesn’t want me to go. I’m desperate and hungry, so I continue to push myself toward the market. I wait, nervous, as the woman with no eyes, and a mouth too large for her cheeks, filled with needle-sharp teeth, fills my prescription There is a frond dangling from her head, blinking in the light, like some subterranean fish. Her nails are lacquered pink and white with flowers when she hands the bag to me.  I pay with a debit card that I can’t remember the code to, until I think about the rabbit sitting on my bed, and then I remember.

Going home, I sit at the table, counting the pills once more. My rabbit sits next to me, it’s stitched eyes black and beady. I do not place any of the pills on my tongue. I count them, slow. I put the lid on the bottle, and pull up a notepad on my computer. Typing comes second nature to me now. I’ve been a teacher far too long, not to know how to type without looking at the keyboard. Who knows what my little monsters are up to, if I don’t keep an eye on them. Notes, and the like.

I type out an agenda. Tomorrow night is the night I do it. The night I end this all, before I can ruin the world anymore with my rosey cheeks, and my two hands, and two eyes, and two ears. I have decided. After work, I shall go, and find a new dress, and get my hair done, as if I am going to a wonderful dinner. Then, when I get home, I shall cook myself something nice to eat, and have a glass of wine. I type these all down with little bullet points next to it, and then print it out.

In class the next day, the Dulsey twins refuse to use seperate desks. And why shouldn’t they? Bound together from the waist down, their bottom half a spiderly amalgamation of doll’s limbs, their upper halves naked of clothing and doll-jointed. The brother’s face is cracked, one eye hanging from it’s socket plaintively, by some kind of ribbon. The sister is the one whom looks at me, her face pale as ice, and her eyes dull as mine when I look in the mirrors. Her long hair is limp and tangled, reminding me of a doll I had seen in a window as a child.

For once, I let them sit however they wish. The bird child, the one with the razor sharp beak, and a head too large for his shoulders, caws out how unfair it is, but I pay no mind. He’s always chirping about one thing or another. One of the monsters is odd, a swirling whirlpool of water, with little ballons floating tethered to it. Her face is on the balloons, and when she’s upset, she makes an odd squeaking noise. Today, she makes that noise, and I have to stop class, and ask her to come outside with me. She refuses to tell me what is wrong, and why she is squeaking. Her balloon face looks at me oddly, as if I’ve said something strange. She asks if I am alright. I tell her to go sit back down. I shall have to call Mr. Snyder, her father, later, and ask if anything is going wrong at home.

Ah, no… No, I won’t. I smile when I remember that, and sit back at my desk. The jack-in-the-box boy punches the back of the seat of the teddybear wearing chains, and I have to tell him to move back. I wish I had the strength to deal with the boy’s father again. An overbearing monster with tusks and a pig’s snout, wearing a uniform like a military officer, and I hate speaking with him. Never again, I think to myself, and smile again.

The Heller girl, an odd thing made of rusty metal curled into beautiful shapes, like a peacock, who’s heart is a cage, fidgets. Inside, a little girl sobs and cries, and I can never reach that little girl and get her to speak, only ever does the peacock’s beak splutter and shout. I ask if she needs to use the bathroom. She does, and I let her go. When she comes back, she elbows the bird boy in the head,  and I have to send her out into the hall. I make her leave her cell phone, so that she isn’t texting. That way, it’s actually a punishment.

Having decided to end it all, I decide to skip my normal lesson. I feel light, for once, the ball of worry in my stomach gone, and I invite my little monsters to give me ideas for games we can play. Someone says Heads Up, Thumbs Down, which was a delight from my childhood. I agree, and allow the children to play, heads down, or what passes for them, anyway, and watch Nathan White, the mass of black flesh, tied up in chicken wire, with no head but a cloud of dark dreadlocks falling to the floor, go around, tapping the bird child’s thumb. Victoria Kingston taps the finger of Brie Snyder, which causes her balloon head to wobble oddly. At the end, when everyone has guessed, I call for the next round.

The school bell rings, and for once, the little monsters are sneering and laughing, sharp teeth on display for who knows what reason. I still feel light, and take out my to-do-list. I read off my first stop. A dress. Walking to the shopping mall in town takes twenty minutes. I find a beautiful dress there. Red, like I would never wear to work, with long sleeves made of lace, and a beautiful bow in back. The hips and skirt of the dress are tight, which does wonders for my figure, so I get it. I see Skip, the birdchild, with his grandmother. His grandmother seems determined to put him in a dress small and frilly. I’ve never understood why. I pass them by, without a word from either.

Next is my hair done. In the salon, while the girl is curling and tying my hair back, I see the mother of the bear-in-chains who sits in the third row of my class. Mrs. Tinderfoot is in uniform again, a police officer, sharp and steady. She’s chatting with the woman who owns the salon. I wonder if she knows how much her son shakes when he’s in my classroom? I think, for second, about asking her if she knows. And decide against it. I’d rather not have a black spot on my otherwise perfect day.

Once done, I smile into the mirror. The woman looking back at me is beautiful and dangerous. Not a monster at all, and for that, she is terrifying. I slide a five dollar bill into the maw of the creature who was just cutting my hair, and thank her. She chitters at me with a beak that doesn’t fit her face. Monsters everywhere, and I walk right past them on my very last day. I will no longer have to suffer this place. Never again, and it makes my heart sing. But as I walk back through the park, a sort of sadness sings through me as well.

I will never again get to see the sun set through the trees the way it is now. I stop, and enjoy it, and the fresh smell of sunshine fading away. I enjoy the soft touch of the wind, and revel in the slow crawl of the storm clouds headed my way. The wind is rising, now, and so, I pass through, heading instead for my room. Locking the door, I pull off my shoes. The bunny rabbit greets me, and I smile for it. It tells me my hair will look beautiful surrounded by funeral flowers. I agree.

I set the food to cooking, and when I have a moment, I change into the red dress. It fits just as it did in the store, and I wrap myself in it like armor. I feel invincible in this dress, and that guides my hand to take the bottle and set it next to my glass of red wine. Taking a second thought, I pick up the wine, and sip it. It tastes like something died in the bottle, or like it might have been fruit once. I put the wine glass down. The timer dings, and lets me know that food is ready. I serve myself, arranging the food as prettily as I can. I take a picture, and upload it. It’s the first post I’ve made in months, and within two minutes it has three likes.

It tastes like heaven, in my mouth. Warm and thoroughly cooked, and for once, I don’t feel the gnawing emptiness of hunger in my throat, and I don’t want to. I love this feeling, of being warm, and eating, and chewing. Something about the slow sensation of growing full… Ah, there’s nothing like it. I think about the last sunset I would ever see, and realize that this is the last meal I would ever eat. I have seconds. And then thirds. Without thinking, I put the food away in tupperware, so that some lucky officer  will get to finish it off when they find my body.

Then, I sit on my bed. The bunny rabbit is next to me, and I can see the rain pattering against the window in the dark now. I halt, as the streetlights make the water shimmer on the dark asphalt as it falls. This was the reason I moved into this apartment, years ago. I’d seen a view like this no where else, and I’d wanted to keep it. The beauty of rain in the dimness of night, made into cold sparkling stars falling to the earth all thanks to the lamplights the city keeps on for weary travellers. It makes the world into a whole different place, and I watch for a moment, before the bunny’s voice calls me back.

I count out pills. Five, for a breakup that happened two years ago, after he said that he couldn’t stand my negativity. The bunny pushes my glass closer, as I swallow them down. I count out three. Three for my mother who went on a trip to Cancun on my birthday. She’d been planning it for years, so I couldn’t be angry with her. She had quite the time. The pills go down like sorrow.

Four, for the day that my skirt ripped just before getting to work, and when I called in, my boss told me that I might as well not come in that day.

Two, for the weekend that I just couldn’t get out of bed. Not for food, not for drink. I’d slept all weekend. It had been the best vacation I’d had in years.

Seven for the cat I’d run over the last time I drove the car. I don’t own the car anymore. Driving makes my breath choke, and my heart clench painfully.

I’ve lost count now, and the world is slowly turning fuzzy. The clock ticks so loudly that I think it sounds like someone knocking. But I have no friends. And my mother lives two towns over. Who would bother visiting me? Ah, that’s another three. I can’t count anylonger, so the bunny counts for me.

It hurts. I’m dizzy and hot, and cold, all at the same time. My head aches, so I lay it down, my pillows not soft enough. The agony inside my body is nothing compared to the swirling nausea biting my throat. I press a hand tight to my chest, right where my heart is beating, and tell myself to sleep. I close my eyes, darkness thumping behind them,  and obey.

Nightmares2

 

– This particular story was written a long time ago, as the opening for a videogame I had planned on making. I still have the entirety of the videogame’s story in mind, and am thinking of making it a series of short stories.  Don’t worry, the next section has her revival, and her new purpose. Please, look forward to it!

In the meantime, do tell me what you think in the comments! If there’s a way I’ve misrepresented something, let me know. If you find this cathartic, or in any way something that you relate to, let me know that too!

Mermaid dreams

  • Posted on June 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

This one isn’t fading away very fast. I think because it’s influenced by the massive amounts of horror movies I watched yesterday. Some of them were really good, like The Returned.  Others not so much.

But I started out as a creature, which in my dream was called a troll, like in Homestuck. I was capable of breathing underwater, and making other people breath under it too. I was training for a job in reconnaissance, and that meant wading through tons of small rivers and lakes and waterfalls. It was amazing, going in and under the water, over and over again in my dream. I had people with me, two above landers, one of my kind. The one of my kind was lazy, and I knew he was going to get killed.

Then, it switches. The town that I was swimming through suddenly becomes someplace I am living, and I’m still a mermaid, of sorts, but now, I’m on land, and I’m sort of respected, but mostly hated, and I’m taking someone important to me’s daughter out shopping. He’d given me fourty dollars to spend on her, and I was trying to help her decide if she wanted her hair cut. She seemed worried it would make him mad, and all I could tell her was that he’d be happy if she was happy.

But the town… it was so run down, but still beautiful. My mind comes up with some really good architecture. It’s amazing. Also, I think that I’d like to incorporate the shopping trip into another story… Maybe the Fae world one, that I’ve barely started figuring out.

Snow White

  • Posted on April 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm

((based off a nightmare I had last night. This is gonna be fun!))

The entire world has gone mental. No one seems to realise that killing and eating each other isn’t something that should be done. They just don’t care. It’s terrifying. And as Snow huddles in with the other survivors, she can’t help but wonder if it’s her fault. Her Step-Mother had laughed and laughed when her father attacked them both. Now her Step-Mother sat across the way, talking with the leader of their little caravan.

Snow looked next to her, to the various members of their community they’d saved. Two old men, who seemed to do nothing but bicker back and forth, one of them sneezing every other minute. A young doctor, and his brother, who happened to be a bit touched in the head. The narcoleptic and his friend who seemed to be halfway to a nervous breakdown simply by the way he was smiling. The other member brought from their household seemed to be lost in himself, refusing to talk to anyone. She wondered if he was going to be alright.

They’d hidden out in the mayors old house. A two-winged thing, she’d checked and double checked all the doors, absolutely determined to make sure every. single. one. was locked. They couldn’t turn on the lights, not after what she’d seen happen tot he neighbors. They’d been torn apart after several people crawled in their windows. All because the wife had turned the light on in the kitchen. Not even candles were safe. She shivvered, cold in her tshirt and jeans, and her boyfriend, Reggie leaned over, wrapping an arm around her.  She leaned into him, and listened to the sounds of chaos outside.

The group didn’t talk, not really, because if they did, it would attract attention. Outside, a dog that had miraculously survived barked, wildly. The two trucks and the van they’d managed to steal were sitting out front, plain as day, but none of the aggressors seemed interested in driving, so they didn’t worry too much.

Her belly rumbled, and Reggie pulled her closer. She shivvered again, wanting to cry. There was nothing she could do, nothing to be done around the house, nothing to be done about the fact that her father had tried to rip her face off. Reggie’s father, judge King was dead. torn apart by several members of the local gun club. She could still remember how she’d had to drag Reggie away from the carnage. So many people dead.

Their hope was that they could make it until morning, and then just… drive. For as long as possible. No one knew if this had gone beyond their little town. God, she hoped not. She prayed for it. She never prayed for anything, not since her mother died, and she prayed for it.

Snow got up, shivvering still, and did her rounds, checking the doors. Touching each lock to make sure it was in the right position, checking to make sure none of the windows were open or un-curtained.

The front door was unlocked.

It was swinging open.

She heard a shriek, it sounded like the Doc. She turned, and darted towards the sound, stupid, stupid, should have run away. The door swung closed and locked. She didn’t look. She should have. She would have seen her step mother’s cruel red smile.

Her last sight was of all of her friends being torn apart. Her Reggie died, beaten to death with his own arm by one of them. Snow White died screaming.

Kraken in the Deep (or monsters just out of sight)

  • Posted on April 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm

There is a Kraken in the Deep. Monsters that dwell just out of sight, out of mind, and reaching out across nightmares with tendrils so pervasive that it seems almost as if they interlace the entirety of those dreaming worlds. They range the backdrop seeking, moving, while unnamed, unthanked actors fill your mind with dreary, drowning, dizzy thoughts, and you are paralyzed. These actors are the dead, recently disposed, none of which could move on before being trapped here between your thoughts and those horrid creatures, in the Deep. In the Dark.

Few set foot there, fewer still survive it when they do. Certain people thorughout the history of time have managed, but always they come back… twisted, not quite right. Not just in the head, either. Some come back with twisted bodies. One limb out of proportion, one limb rended too high or too low. The whole thing is beyond human comprehension, but perhaps that’s why the Kraken seek us out. Their minds need ours. Need that tantalizing transcendent thought process that allows us to ignore the lacing of their tentacles wrapped around our lives. Perhaps they crave what we have, life, love, adoration, notice, notariety. If this is the case, then why do they not speak in tongues other than whispered threats veiled beneath the sweet candy seduction of the world?

Or perhaps they are simply feeding. Like a frenzy of sharks, tearing us mind from mind, limb from limb, perhaps that is why they gather at the edges of our periphery, of our notice. Like Alice flailing down a dark hole, perhaps we too, are children lost in a garden far too dangerous for our comprehension. These creatures in the dark, these beings that dwell in the Deep places of the world. Perhaps they like us. Perhaps they wish us peace. In death, in dreaming, in desire. But that may not be the case. Long have their appendages scoured our minds, reaching in and finding new places to poke and prod.

These places, they fill up with seabrine and deep anguish. These places they deposit their stories next to Poe’s raven and Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s dream. Places impossible to reach with a normal hand. Places that one cannot possibly experience alone, ever, never. These places, they fill up with sorrow and world-ending-heartbreak, or perhaps hunger. These places, are where dreams are made, dreams that taunt, tantalize, torture. These are the Deep places, in our mind, and in the world, and in the bits just out of sight, we are broken across them like waves on rocks, algae clinging, seaweed choking us in these newer, deeper places. We drift, along these currents, and perhaps that is where creation comes from.

Perhaps, we are simply the Eve to a new Adam. Perhaps these creatures need us more than we know.

Or perhaps they just want a good show with their dinner.

Is He or Isn’t He (Human)?

  • Posted on April 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Today we discuss that ever famous trope, the one thing that makes every horror movie ever awesome, the one thing that turns fairytales from fairy to Faery tales, and the one thing that I absolutely adore when done right. When in doubt, use this particular cliche, because honestly, it never gets old! On Tvtropes.org they call it the Tomato in the Mirror. Personally, I like the fact that it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Including yourself!

Is he human, or isn’t he? This goes for women too, but too often, we forget that men exist in fairy tales as anything other than the prince, or the rescuer. Or sometimes both. As one-dimensional as this is, some of the best  scares in the world, come from the idea that the person you are with is not who he says he is. So here’s a quick guide to whether or not your beau is in fact, human!

1) Salt! It is your best friend!

In most societies, Salt is considered a purifying presence. (maybe because of what it does to slugs, who knows.) People consider it pure and useful. In the old days, there was a saying “Worth his salt”. This was because back in those days, people were actually PAID in… You guessed it. Salt. It preserves meat, adds flavor, keeps rot away, and best of all, salt lining a doorstep or a window keeps the evil from entering a home. Supposedly.

The Pearl Princess
A Fairy Tale of the Value of Salt
Once upon a time, there lived a woman on the top of a mountain that lived in a cottage and had geese. In the
large nearby forest, she would pick grass for the geese and fruit to carry home. One morning, a handsome
young count came into her presence. He asked if she had no one to help her carry her things. She told him
that she was poor and had no one to help her and asked if he would be so kind since he was strong and tall.
He agreed but soon he was groaning under the weight. “These are so heavy, can we rest,” he asked? “No.
Go on a bit more,” she coaxed. ” He tried and tried to take the bundle from his back and found he could not.
He began to think she was a witch. As if she could read his thoughts, she tried to console him by saying:
“Don’t get angry. I will give you a present when we get to my home.”
Soon they arrived at her little cottage. It was a bit run down though neat and tidy. There was another women
there who asked: “Kind mother, you have stayed away for so long. You were missed.” “I met with this kind
gentleman, who carried my burden,” replied the old woman as she took the bundles from the Count. “Sir, you
may rest upon the bench. And you, little one, go inside the house lest he fall in love with you.” The Count
was somewhat surprised at the old woman’s comment. The girl was homely and old looking and he thought
love was an impossibility unless she was considerably younger.
The Count fell asleep. When he awakened the old woman was there ready to give him his reward for his
kindness of carrying her bundles. She placed an emerald green box in his hand and admonished him to take
good care of it. He put the unopened box into his pocket and left. He was unable to find his way out of the
forest even though he had been able to before. Finally, after three days, he came to a large town. He was
greeted by a guard that was instructed to take all strangers to the King and Queen.
He respectfully explained his situation: “Your Majesties, I am a Count. I have lost my way.” The King asked,
“How can you prove what you say?” The Count began to search his pockets and found the emerald box and
presented it to the Queen. Upon opening it she gasped in surprise and fainted. The guards seized the Count
and the King helped the Queen. As the Count was being taken away she awoke and asked that he be
released for she wished to talk to him…. alone.
Once alone the Queen began her sad tale. “I have three daughters. The youngest was rare and wonderful.
When she cried, pearls fell from her eyes instead of tears. One day, their Father, the King, decided to divide
his kingdom so he called our daughters before us. ” He said: “All of you love me. But she who loves me best
will receive the greatest part of the kingdom.” The Queen continued. “Each child giggled and said that she
loved her father best but was asked to tell how much. “The first daughter said that she loved her father as
much as the sweetest sugar. The second daughter said that she loved him as much as her prettiest dress.
Our youngest was quiet. The King asked her….”How much do you love me.” She replied, “I know not what to
compare my love to, Father.” He encouraged her and asked her to think again. “I do not like even the best
food without salt. Therefore, I love my father like salt.” He became angry not understanding the compliment
she had given him for salt is worth more than gold sometimes. “Like common salt,” he raged! He had the
kingdom divided between the two oldest daughters and placed a sack of salt upon her back and she was
lead into the forest by two guards. I begged him not to but he wouldn’t change his mind. I wept. She also
wept and the road to the forest was strewn with the pearls from her eyes. After a few days, the King regretted
his behavior and the soldiers were sent into the woods to find her. They could not. We have wept since.” And
so ended the Queen’s sad tale.”When I opened the emerald box, I saw the pearl that my daughter used to cry. Where did you get it” the Queen implored?

“In the forest, I met an old woman and carried some bundles to her home. I didn’t see a
beautiful princess.” When the King was told of this, the three of them returned to the forest to look for the old
woman.
She was in her cottage spinning with the homely child beside her. An owl came to the window and the old
woman said, “It’s time to go to the well.” Off she went deeper and deeper in to the forest. She brought up a
bucket of well water and began to wash her face. As she did so, the homely mask soon came off and in the
moonlight you could see she was the beautiful princess.
Meanwhile, the Count had strayed from the King and Queen and climbed a tree to find them. But what he did
see was the girl, a beautiful girl. He edged out further on the branch to secure a better look but the tree limb
creaked. The girl heard the noise and placed on her mask as she ran from the well. He recognized her as the
goose girl from the old woman’s cottage. He climbed down the tree as quickly as possible but the fair maiden
had disappeared.
He found the King and Queen and said, “I think I have just seen your daughter. She probably went down this
path.” The three went hurriedly down the path and came upon the old woman’s house. They peered in the
window and saw the old woman alone at her spinning wheel. They knocked softly and heard her response:
“Enter. I was expecting you.” They asked the old woman if she knew of her daughter, the Princess. The old
woman rose from her stool and pointed a finger to the King and said, “Three years ago, you unjustly drove
her away. She who was good, kind and pure as salt! She put out her hand, which was filled with salt and
asked, “do you know the value of salt and therefore the love your child has for you?”
The King expressed his sorrow and beseeched the old woman to show him his daughter. A door opened and
the Princess appeared. Everyone wept tears of joy but only the princess wept pearls. The King asked her
forgiveness and said that he had no kingdom left to divide and that he had nothing of worth to give to her.
The old woman said: “This child needs nothing. She is as the salt of the earth, pure, life giving and watched
over. Her pearls are finer than those of the sea and she shall always have them.”
Upon this comment, the old woman put up her hands and said that for the years the Princess spent tending
her geese, the cottage was hers to keep. The kindly woman disappeared and the cottage changed into a
beautiful palace.
In all of the commotion, the Count was overlooked and he began to go. The Queen stopped him and asked if
there was any way that they could repay him for finding their daughter. The King offered his gold, the Queen
offered the pearls. He looked at the Princess and asked if she would marry him. The Princess agreed…..
And they all lived happily ever after.

The Salt Institute

2) Sage. See Salt, because it’s the same situation. Purification properties, protection from those who might harm you. Wear it as perfume, and if he flinches away, he is evil! Or maybe just in possession of a nose, because honestly, Sage has a really pungent odor. But it can be used to purify a home of spirits. Especially useful when one wants to avoid the situation poor Violet’s situation on American Horror Story. Just light a bundle of sage and let it’s fragrance touch every corner of your house, and put a small + symbol over each door and window with the ashes, and you’ve got yourself a safe home.

3) Tiger’s Eye. This stone has often been touted as protective. Just Google It and you’ll find a plethora of options. You see, it resonates with your own protective barriers, if you’re the type of person to believe that all people have these psychic protections, and strengthens them. Wear a tigers eye on the subway, or when dealing with people you don’t particularly care for. Wear it at work to avoid being noticed by the boss when s/he is on a rampage! Hey, there ya go!

So go forward, forewarned and forearmed, and meet your beau with a tiger’s eye around your throat, and some salt in your fist! Make sure that lover isn’t there just for your lovely insides!

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