Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 40

It’s another banner week here at Flash! Friday! What a blast spending time with Pratibha; we’re still chuckling in delight over the timing of her Spotlight interview and her latest contest win (her first win in over a year! but then, she was busy volunteering two terms as a judge and launching a literary magazine, brave writer that she is). Coming up this next Tuesday is a Spotlight interview with another stellar dragon captain, Holly Geely, who’s just published her Magnum Opus The First, The Dragon’s Toenail. The title alone merits an interview, clearly. So, that’ll be Tuesday.

Coming up in the next month or two we’ll also see Spotlight interviews from outside the FF community: a writing conference speaker and Writer’s Digest featured professional whose thoughts on writing and publishing you won’t want to miss; AND for the first time at Flash! Friday, a popular book blogger (YA), who will share her take on what makes books sell.  I’m so excited!

(I’d like to remind you the mic is always open for FF writers with new projects. Just drop me a note!)

Also have to add, seeing today’s Vol 3 – 40: oh my word, we’re just 12 weeks from Flashversary. :gulp: And the start of our FOURTH YEAR…. :plucks grey hair from head: :faints: 

♦♦♦♦♦

DC2We’re dragon team swapping this week, which means today we’re privileged to have Dragon Team Eight at the helm: that’s A.J. Walker and Voima Oy. Give me Quirk McQuirkines, says A.J., and make me laugh. Or, he supposes, not, if your story needs to go some other direction, which he’s perfectly fine with. Voima urges daring experimentation, and if those experiments tend toward scifi or fantasy, well, she won’t complain, though of course you know best and she’s just along for the glorious, vivid ride.      

          ♦♦♦♦♦

Awards Ceremony: Results will post Monday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Thursdays.  

* Today’s required word count: (don’t faint!) anything up to 300 words (not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (this week it’s 0 – 300 words, excluding title/byline), the two story elements you based your story on, and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new or forgetful, be sure to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Monday.

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Thursday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity.

AND HERE IS YOUR NOVEL PROMPT:

This week’s novel inspiration demanded much: today is the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, but we’ve just spent the past couple of weeks in tragedy. In the end, I’ve made a choice that allows you to follow your own heart: Grimms’ Fairy Tales, brothers Jacob and Willhelm’s collection of German folktales. You are welcome today to draw your inspiration from any of these, whether tragic, or funny, or tragically funny, as your Muse leads; note this is one of those lovely rare times, copyright-wise, when derivative tales are quite welcome!

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these elements; be sure to tell us which two you chose. Reminder: please remember the Flash! Friday guidelines with regard to content). 

* Conflict: open
Character (choose at least one): specify any character(s) from Grimms’ Fairy Tales (listed here; examples Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin)
Theme (choose one): cunning, loyalty, transformation, justice, morality
Setting (choose one): enchanted forest, humble village, castle, isolated cottage 

OPTIONAL PHOTO PROMPT (for inspiration only; it is NOT REQUIRED for your story):

Three Sisters (Die drei Schwester). Public domain in the U.S.; artwork by Andrew Zick.

Three Sisters (Die drei Schwester). Public domain in the U.S.; artwork by Alexander Zick (1845-1907).

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209 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 40

  1. @Viking_Ma
    Hansel & Gretel
    Isolated Cottage
    292

    See Him Again

    Darkness everywhere. Wood creaking in the breeze. The occasional loud snap. I know there are bears here. And wolves. I clutch my basket more tightly, the mushrooms inside trembling under my arm. Where did the sun go? Last time I checked it was afternoon, golden, butterflies spinning in the air.
    At least the moon is with me, cold sky penny. When she tries, she can shine silver and light the path. I don’t remember this cottage, though. It’s cold, and I’m hungry, maybe someone would take the mushrooms in exchange for some hot tea…
    I knock at the door and a shadow-woman beckons me inside. She gives me the tea which is sweet and tastes of the past, tea like my mother used to make, it’s even the same old tin cup, I notice in surprise.
    ‘You’re here at last,’ she grins, her mouth a terrible black cleft with maggots as teeth. I shrink back in horror as she advances. ‘You kept me waiting!’
    I don’t know what she means, but I see pictures on the wall and my heart freezes in my chest. There is my darling Hansel, dead twenty years. He is my best memory, the sun painting his auburn hair, a wide gap-toothed grin.
    ‘You will see him soon,’ she smiles, and her mouth looks normal again. ‘He’s just up there.’
    I stare at the wooden staircase, leading up to a bright light which shimmers so wonderfully tears spring to my eyes. She takes my basket. ‘It’s time,’ she nods.

    At the home, there was clanging from the kitchen as the mushroom soup was heated in a copper pan. In the faded lounge, Gretel’s slipper twitched as she stared blankly at the wall. She was gone, but nobody noticed.

  2. Character: Rumpelstiltskin
    Setting: Enchanted Forest

    Origin

    It’d be a lovely day, if the world wasn’t burning.

    *

    Oh, hello! I did not see you there. It is a rare treat to have a visitor in my woodland. Please take a seat, friend, and help yourself to some refreshment.
    The lemon cake? Excellent choice, friend. The squirrels made it for me. I gathered the lemons from the stream and the squirrels did the rest. Oh, do have a larger slice than that. I insist.
    My name, you ask? Well, that’s rather unimportant. People can’t ever pronounce it. Just call me Skinny. Your name is…? Well, that IS an unusual name. So, Mr Industrialisation, what can I do for you?

    Sorry, what?
    No, I must decline this offer. This is my home, you can’t just knock it down and build something on it.
    What do you mean you’ll “do it with or without my permission”?
    No… No please, STOP!
    I look after this land, please, don’t drive me out.
    You can’t just dump me under a bridge in a burlap sack and hope I’ll die. I’m not weak like you.
    You’ll pay for this.

    *

    It’d be a lovely day, if my home wasn’t burning.

    197 words

  3. Main Character:The Big Bad Wolf
    Setting: Tinsel Town
    Word count 300

    A Very Very Fractured Fairy Tale

    Wilfrid Wolf pulled his cap down and glanced around. Crossing the road, he saw Cinder Ella from ‘CHANNEL GRIME’ holding a microphone.

    “This is Cinder Ella with breaking news. Longtime residents Little Red Riding Hood,
    and Granny Hood allege that Wilfrid Wolf destroyed her grandmother’s house after a minor disagreement. Miss Hood and her grandmother are hiding in the castle on the corner.”

    When the wolf saw the television cameras he swaggered stuck his thumbs in his waistband and whistled The Good, the Bad, and the Hungry. Reaching the drawbridge, he whipped out a knife and fork. The cameraman backed away.

    Granny sipped her latte. “Stop blubbering Red. He can’t blow a castle down. Stay cool. The Woodchopper is on his way.”
    Pointing his axe, the Woodchopper screamed, “Drop the knife and fork.”

    Wilfred raised his hands and the cutlery tinkled to the roadside.

    Suddenly, Wilfrid’s Fairy Godmother descended in her favourite coach with the V8 engine. Pointing her magic wand at the Woodchopper she said, “Drop the axe or I’ll turn you into a frog.”

    Dropping the axe, the Woodchopper hid behind a tree.

    “Quick, jump inside, Wilfred.”

    Once inside, he kissed her on the cheek.

    “Be careful, them teeth are damn sharp,” she said, rubbing her face.
    “Sorry.”

    “She kissed him on the cheek. “Oh, get a haircut,” she said, pulling hairs from her lips.

    “Could you turn me into a handsome prince?”

    “Why?”

    “I want to marry Cinder Ella.”

    “I found that girl a handsome prince, but he ran off with her stepmother, who was one of them cougars. I turned her into a real cougar and I turned him into a Beast.”

    Now a prince, Wilfrid married Cindy who gave up her job at ‘Grime News’.

    After that, the Fairy Godmother took her super and retired.

  4. 300 words
    @jujitsuelf
    #FDHowl

    Snow White, Prince Charming (Cinderella’s Prince), Cinderella
    Isolated cottage
    (also a little of the transformation theme in here too)

    Reality Bites

    Dim daylight, made a mournful green by the overhanging trees, illuminated the poor cottage. Only cornflowers now resided within its tumbledown walls. Their blooms brightened the place but Snow’s heart was too heavy to appreciate them. She closed her eyes and willed sudden sickness to pass. How the mighty were fallen.

    Quiet footsteps outside the rotten door sent her hand to the knife hanging from her belt, but it slipped across to her stomach as Charming stepped into the cottage.

    “Snow,” he gathered her into his arms, relief painted on his handsome face. “I thought you’d gone already. I was afraid—”

    She pressed a hand to his mouth, stopping his words. “I’ll be out of the kingdom by nightfall and I won’t be coming back. Does Cinder— does she suspect anything?”

    Charming shook his head, “She thinks I’m visiting outlying towns. She doesn’t expect me back for days. I can take you somewhere safe,” his grim expression softened, “both of you.”

    “Better I go alone,” Snow said sharply. “That way you won’t be tempted to find us.”

    Something terribly sad shone in Charming’s eyes. “Let me know if it’s a boy or a girl? I’d like to know, even if I never know their name.” His hands twisted Snow’s cloak. “I’ve never been a father before.”

    Snow drew back, steeling herself to be hard. “No. We’ve done an awful thing and we must make amends. I’ll pay by becoming a mother and you’ll pay by seeing the woman you betrayed every day for the rest of your life. Seems fair.”

    Snow White of legend would vanish and a caring mother would take her place. Her penance for betraying Cinderella’s trust. Prince Charming would live on but his heart would never be carefree again.

    Not every tale has a happy ending.

  5. Rapunzel Bobs Her Hair
    Character: Rapunzel
    Theme: transformation
    @lizhedgecock
    293 golden hairs

    ‘Couldn’t we just go with my plan?’ he said, passing me a short strip of silk from his pocket.

    I looked at the stub of silken rope I had managed to weave so far. ‘Couldn’t you bring a ladder?’

    He frowned, defensive. ‘It’s not that easy. I have to sneak out to come here as it is.’ He glanced out of the window at his horse, tethered below. How could I expect him to understand?

    I had thought that growing up would mean freedom. I was helping Mother Gothel to gather herbs when her eyes narrowed at me. ‘Stand straight, Rapunzel.’ I obeyed. Her gaze settled on my chest. ‘You’re becoming a woman.’ As I smiled, she pursed her mouth. I woke up in the tower the next morning, with no way out but down.

    I am becoming room-shaped.

    ‘Just think about it.’ I pulled my plait over my shoulder and made my fingers into scissors. Snip, snip.

    He winced, and stroked my plait like a pet. Then he tugged the ribbon loose and began to unbraid me, his fingers wandering in the golden waves of my hair. Afterwards he would drape it over himself to sleep. 

    He would be my new master.

    In his deep, satiated slumber he didn’t feel me draw my hair away. I rebraided it, and used the silken rope to tie it at the top. His hunting knife was among his – my – clothes.

    His horse stands cropping the herbs, and I take him to the pond to drink before we set off. The moonlit water shows me a crop-haired youth. He looks like an orphan, or a youngest son. Someone with possibilities.

    I reach into my purse, and let the golden coins trickle through my fingers.

  6. Glass Gaols and Battle Cries

    (174 words)
    @elaine173marie
    Rapunzel, woman versus nature, transformation

    On the thirteenth floor of her glass gaol, Zel reclines her seat so that she seems to levitate in the middle of the room.

    ‘Let down your hair, Zel,’ the glass whispers.

    But she surrenders to the bleeping machines- fatigued by battle.
    The rattling of her Gaoler’s keys to the invisible doors are drowned by the electronic lullaby. Peace comes in fragments. Her exhausted mind grabs at it while it exists. 

    She digs deeper for the gurgling sounds, the drip of blue that reminds her of the soothing ocean…drifting…the open skies… drifting…her daughter’s eyes…
    Snap.
    Her own eyes blue not blank. Seat upright. Keys rattling. A mother’s war cry gathering in her bones.

    ‘Let down your hair,’ the glass whispers, Escape now her tormentor.

    Peace usurped by Resolve, she rails at all the world, but tubes bind her to machine, a liquid assassin coarsing through her veins.

    ‘Let down your hair,’ the glass whispers.

    She fixes the glass with a stare, her reflection her blunt response; her bald head now battle dress.

     

  7. @AvLaidlaw
    11 Words + 1 emoticon
    Character: Cinderella
    Theme: Justice

    The Reduced Brothers Grimm Society Presents “The Tale of Cinderella”, Adapted From The Original Text Messages of Her Step-Sister.

    Gr8 party last nite
    Prince yummy
    Cinders :’-(
    GTG shoe salesman here

  8. Name: dazmb
    Words: 300
    Elements: Little Red Riding Hood / Transformation / Justice / Morality

    Title: Little Red Riding Hood

    It was a bitingly cold and grim January evening.

    Poppy pictured the warmth of her Nan’s fire and quickly swiped the rest of the shopping list through the self-service till; Eggs. Butter. A Victoria sponge that they would share over a steaming cup of tea.

    ‘A small slice though’ Poppy smiled, imagining her Nan’s voice ‘my appetite isn’t what it used to be’.

    As she finished packing the items into her bag, Poppy caught sight of her tattoo.

    Je l’ai vu le loup.

    In white wolf font, the inside of her wrist. A reminder of violated pain.

    Poppy pursed her lips. She was stronger now.

    It was only 4pm, but already dark, even under the hard, unforgiving neon of the streetlights.
    She wouldn’t stay long. It was training night. Pilates first and if she could face it afterwards boxercise.

    A wolf whistle cut through her thoughts.

    ‘Hey, darling, show us your tits’. Involuntarily stopping, glancing upwards.

    Two ‘lads’. Builders probably, finished for the day. Now down the pub, wasting their week’s wages.

    Her face burned. She would not be intimidated. She made to move on.

    ‘Oi’, one of them stepped into her path, flicking his cigarette into the road, ‘It’s just a bit of banter luv. So go on. For the lads’.

    She thought about the last time a man had stepped across her path.

    Never again.

    She dropped her bags, looked at his leering face. Then punched him ‘through and with her shoulder’.

    She floored him.

    Her hand throbbed. She was shaking. But she was in control.

    Spying a toothy gap, voice thick with pent up rage, she said

    ‘Yeah, you try whistling through that.’

    And to the other, diminishing before her.

    ‘And you never speak that way to a women again, understood?’

    Her boxercise instructor would be proud.

  9. So Much for Tradition
    @hollygeely
    Elements: Setting – castle; Theme – justice
    297 words

    Twice upon a time, Princess Snapdragon got engaged.

    When she was a child, the second in line from a wealthy country paid for her betrothal. Snapdragon thought the whole thing was so romantic she didn’t mind that her mom and dad were basically selling her.

    On the night of their engagement party, the prince tripped and fell out of his exceptionally high room at the castle. Princess Snapdragon’s young and tender heart was broken.

    The princess grew into the a beauty. Suitors lined up at the door and Snapdragon’s parents delighted in bargaining with them, to find the best deal for their kingdom.

    None of them cared that she was intelligent and an excellent hunter.

    On a dark and stormy afternoon, Snapdragon arrived late to the throne room. Her parents were not thrilled to see their daughter so tardy, and wearing pants, no less. She was dressed for riding, not flirting.

    “I begin to despair of you,” the king said.

    Princess Snapdragon didn’t give a flying…squirrel.

    “Dad, Prince Pompous’ death wasn’t an accident.”

    “What are you implying?”

    “That I killed him, obviously. All that BS about loving him for his romance…did you really believe me? Did you even meet the guy? He was foul. He tried to take advantage and I pushed him out the window.”

    The parents gasped.

    “Find someone who’s interested in being your heir. I’m eloping with Margaret.”

    “…Margaret…?”

    “Yeah, Dad. Breathe a little, you’re turning purple. I love her, she loves me, and I’m out.”

    And so the princess rode off on her horse with the commoner called Margaret, and the two lived happily, for the most part, excluding the occasional fight, until the end of their days.

    The king and queen were miserable, but they were jerks, so who cares?

    THE END

  10. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 299
    Story Elements: Setting (enchanted forest)/Conflict (man v. nature)/Character (Little Red Riding Hood)/Theme (transformation)

    Hidden

    Long ago, the Forest swallowed the Golden Princess. The King, shredded by grief and panic, sent armies into the forest after her, but none returned. The trees could talk, whispering misty words that surrounded travelers with a cloak of sleep, never to wake again. The King wept in the shadow of the Forest perimeter, not daring to set foot on the mulch-strewn paths. In time, he turned away, and the kingdom mourned the girl who had melted into the elm-scented darkness.

    The shadows fell deepest over Hood, who leaned stiffly against the cold stone of the village well, cloaked in her red wool mantle, the cowl hanging low, hiding her form. Every evening at dusk, she faced the Forest and sang a haunting melody. No one knew from where she came; no one ever saw her face. For three years and three days, she sat and sang and hid beneath her cloak.

    On the fourth night after the third year, Hood lurched to her feet, releasing her crimson mantle. It fell into a puddle on the ground, scattering the villagers who shrieked in fright. No bent old woman inhabited the red depths.

    A great dragon roared beneath the darkness of the overhanging trees, spreading her great black wings. Shimmering scales rippled across her back, and flickers of fire licked the edges of her powerful jaws.

    The people stumbled backward as an inferno spilled from her mouth, liquid flames spreading like a river toward the woods, catching roots and leaves, embracing branches and boughs, as tree after tree bowed before their hell.

    At last, the rising sun pierced the smoke. In the morning rays that played across the creature of fire, silken robes replaced a red mantle. A crown supplanted a crimson hood.

    The Golden Princess hailed the dawning light.

  11. RED GIVES IT FREAKIN’ LALDY

    “Once upon a freaky time,” Red mutters. Limping badly now. Skank-drone hit.

    Pulling her hoodie closer, she hitches up her backpack, limp-running for cover.

    ‘CHANT… WOOD’ the sign says.

    “Once – Upon – A – Freaky – Time,” she chants, scrambling in.

    “You’ve got grimmmmmmm blood in you lass,” her father used to say, usually after he had caught her acting contrary.

    Deep in wolf-drone territory, she cannot think of her father now.

    Brambles, nettles and thick vegetation fill the wood’s perimeter. Scratches add to Red’s injuries.

    “Freaky Time,” she chants, tears pouring down her cheeks.

    She stumbles on. Imagines she sees feet rooted into the forest floor. “What big feet you have grandma.”

    Shadows flit in the periphery of her vision.

    Something stills. Through. Out of the thickets and into the wood. Gasping, Red sinks ground-ward.

    Silence. No drones. Deep lungfuls of tree musk. Sleepy.

    Rooting in her backpack, she finds her survival-pod, it has,‘Laldy – affordable adventure’ printed on its side . She presses the rest/heal launch button. Bang. Black smoke fizzles.

    “Freakin’ Laldy.” Budget was all they could afford.

    Hearing a giggle from behind her, she turns to see a light trail disappearing. Her gaze falls on a sumptuous double bed, right there in the forest.

    Red climbs in. Immediately asleep.

    She dreams of her family, waiting for her to bring berries for her grandmother’s medicine. Of the wolf-drones, teeth bared.

    Trees uproot, dancing in the moonlight. Fairies watch over her. Time stops. Red heals.

    Waking, a meal of oats and berries awaits, served by a fairy creature.

    “Why are you helping?” Red asks.

    “Why? Grimm Blood my dear. You’re one of our own. ”

    “Can I stay?”

    “No little one, you have a mission, but you may return. Now look at this, here is where you will find what you seek.”

    300 words
    Character: Little Red Riding Hood
    Setting: An Enchanted Forest
    @feclarkart

  12. Little Red-Gloved Granny

    With a backhanded slap, the lone wolf went flying across his cave. There wasn’t a moment for him to collect his thoughts before Granny pulled him up by the scruff of his chest.

    “You listen to me you little goody two-shoes; I’m tired of that little peace of ****************************** -hearing this string of words caused the wolf’s jaw to drop: never before had he heard such profanity- asking how much ******* weight I’ve gained since she last ******* saw me. You will do as I say. Do you want to know why?”

    “Why?” he whimpered.

    “I’ll show you why,” she said as she pulled out a pare of red gloves. “You see these? They used to be white. If you don’t eat her, you’ll help these gloves go a deeper shade of red!” Underneath the fur, the wolf’s skin paled.

    “But your plan, it doesn’t make sense; she going to see that it’s me, not you, in your bed.”

    “Don’t worry; the little ****** is so stupid she can’t tell the difference between her own ******* and your fugly face.” Those last three words went to far; the wolf’s feelings were wounded, and Granny thought she saw defiance in the wolf’s eyes. She raised her hand. The wolf flinched.

    “Alright I’ll do it, I’ll do it.” Granny let go, shoving the wolf back into the cave’s wall. After turning to leave, she added.

    “Don’t fail me.” She walked out of the dark cave into the dark forest, thinking of the wolf’s defiant look. She needed to be sure the wolf wouldn’t turn on her. Putting on the red gloves, she mumbled to herself.

    “Time to go give that woodsman the night of his life.”

    Characters: the wolf and granny
    Theme: morality… (or lack thereof)
    WC: 284
    berrymichael07@gmail.com

  13. BASKET CASE
    282 words
    (Character and setting)

    She’s no business with these woods anymore. Grandma is long cold. But still, she walks. Frayed hood drawn against the cathedral silence of the trunks. Empty basket, silently flapping its lid like some long-demented beggar in a market square.
    They call to her, these uncaring ranks of pine. Somewhere in that soft, damp silence are echoes of other times. Needle-fall faint, diluted more than any charlatan’s elixir, but still there, somewhere.
    Images flutter across her mind.
    Those teeth.
    That axe.
    Frozen images from a world of good and evil that once made sense. Scenes from a time when being rescued meant something.
    A time when she had something worth rescuing.
    And how he had howled, her hungry counterpart. Today her own little hairs flex in delicious sympathy, re-living that mournful sound. It had taken her years to understand the yearning behind that baleful noise, but by then?
    By then it was just a story.
    Except, here she is, striding through the indifferent forest, with an empty basket and a scarlet hood full of memories.
    No dim lit window to gaze at through the long night.
    No remnants of sailor’s shirt to hold to her cheek.
    Just the memory of that howl, silenced by the finality of steel.
    She’d been rescued alright.
    Rescued from those big eyes.
    From those big teeth.
    And, at once, set free. In the same way that one might free a sparrow from a cat.
    So she walks, as she did the day before, and the endless days before that. As she will tomorrow.
    No longer Red Riding Hood.
    No longer the object of lupine desire.
    Now, just some woman, who was probably pretty – once upon a time.

  14. @AvLaidlaw
    300 Words
    Character – Iron John / Iron Hans
    Theme – Transformation

    The Iron Cage

    In the courtyard there is a cage, and in the cage there is… Something.

    The Prince watches from the window. Brother Dominic sleeps as always in the late afternoon. The Latin grammar lies unread on the desk. A Prince must learn Latin for the courts of Charlemagne, the King said. It must beaten into him by a switch gripped by the godly fist of Brother Dominic if necessary, until his flesh is pulped and can be reshaped into the image of a civilised ruler.

    And tomorrow the Prince must learn the courtly dances for his wedding. His bride has been chosen, the daughter of some neighbouring King with whom the country was once at war but is now at peace. The Prince has seen her portrait: cheeks still plump from childhood, painted eyes as soulless as the pearls of her necklace.

    He wonders about their wedding night. It remains a mystery as obscure as the mystery of transubstantiation. He has heard that sometimes there is blood on the first night. It cannot be right that the peace treaty between their two countries is marked by blood. He wonders if she will cry.

    Father Dominic grunts in his sleep. This mystery is beyond him, beyond any civilised man. The Prince slips from his boyhood chambers and into the courtyard. He sees the something in the cage is a man of a kind but hairy and naked as a beast, skin dark like iron after years in the wilderness far beyond Latin and Father Dominic with his switch. The wild man bares his teeth in a smile.

    “You want to know the mystery?” The shadows of the forest and the wolves of the forest reflect in the man’s eyes. “I’ll tell, if you let me go.”

    The Prince reaches for the lock.

    • ‘I’ll tell, if you let me go’, oh the words of temptation and we’re all there shouting ‘don’t do it, don’t do it’! Nice story.

  15. Becoming Grandma

    Old skin is fragile and easily torn, and it takes forever to peel it away from the steaming innards and blood slick bones. I do it in the bathroom, hang her over the shower rail and hose her down, leave the contents in the tub for later. She’s tough and gamey, a nice contrast to the main course.

    Once her hide is clean and dry, I stand in front of the dressing table mirror to try it on. The hardest part is always the feet; I’ve lost count of how many times my claws have ripped through the liver-spotted skin. Thankfully she’s bedridden so any snags can be covered by the homemade quilt.

    I wriggle in, pulling her up over my rump and tucking my tail into the spare folds around her belly. Then it’s paws and shoulders – another tricky moment – and I’m almost done.

    I stand for a moment, her scalp flicked nonchalantly across my shoulder like a stole, admiring my handiwork; it’s not a bad fit at all. If not for the handsome lupine head, I could almost pass as human.

    I pull her face up over my own, stretching her eye holes wide, pushing out her nose with my snout, but as I pull it tight behind my head her lip tears open. I’m almost ready to turn tail, but then I notice the sewing basket beside the bed. She only has crimson thread so it’s hardly the most inconspicuous repair job, but there’s an ancient lipstick on the dresser and I slather it on thickly to hide the join.

    I throw on a further skin – a cotton nightdress this time – then hop into the bed, to wait for the knock at the door.

    “Grandma?”

    “Come in, little one. Come and give Grandma a nice, big kiss.”

    300 words
    Little Red Riding Hood / Transformation
    @Karl_A_Russell

  16. But What About Me?

    “Hi everyone, welcome to our Monday meeting of ‘Writing Our Own Happy Ending’. I’d like offer a special welcome to our newest members. I hope you’ll take the time to introduce yourselves. Remember, the more you put into the program, the more you get out of it.”

    “Hi, I’m Doc. I was instrumental in helping our beloved Snow White achieve her happy ending. But nothing more than vague generalizations about my repetitive future were written for me. I always wanted to be a baker, but when your author gives you an inaccurate name and a method of work, you can’t help but feel a little boxed in.”

    “We hear you, Doc. Would you prefer to be called something else here? This is a safe space.”

    “Can I be called ‘Bake’? Is that weird?”

    “Not at all. Thank you for sharing your story, Bake. Now, Broom, do you have anything to contribute this week?”

    “…”

    “Well, thank you for coming all the same. Who’s next?”

    “Hi, I’m Steve, I worked in the kitchen at Briar Rose’s castle. I was asleep for a long time. And I know I don’t have to tell you how important it is to stay on top of the latest culinary trends. One minute calves foot is all the rage, and then you wake up and it’s kale I get that the princess couldn’t help what happened, the story was about her, but while she got a husband and a fresh start, I got left behind. I want to learn how to be the best me, to let go of the past, and find my happy ending.”

    “Thank you, Steve. Keep moving forward, you’re making good progress. Anyone else?”

    “I still have nightmares about being turned into a horse.”

    “Tell us more, Gus…”

    @CaseyRoseFrank
    295 words
    Charcter(s) and Theme: Transformation

  17. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 190
    Story Elements: Character (Jack)/Conflict (Man v. Nature)

    Once Upon a Bean

    Once, upon a bean in the bottom of a sack,
    Jack B. Nimble slipped and fell, landing on his back.
    A stalk erupted from the ground, stretching to the sky,
    He tried to climb the giant leaves, but they reached too high.
    He was afraid of heights, you see—couldn’t stand the sight
    Of ground below and skies above, and cold wind with a bite.
    What to do? He’d climbed so far, but couldn’t come back down.
    He called for help, but no one came. His mum had gone to town.
    He shifted once, he stretched down twice, but wouldn’t dare let go.
    He watched a spider build its nest, an ant crawl on his toe.
    He wept in storms and burned in sun; his tender skin grew hot.
    He longed to go back down and sleep and dream sweet in his cot.
    But never did he move from there, the spot where he had paused.
    His fear was great, and so his fate was on the stalk he’d caused.
    If you see a beanstalk stretching skyhigh and away
    You can bet your last red cent that Jack is there today.

  18. The Other Rabbit
    Theme: transformation
    Setting: enchanted forest/isolated cottage
    295 Words
    by James Atkinson, @jamesatkinson81
    http://haberdasheryofstories.blogspot.co.uk/

    I had been a rabbit for five years by then. Having strayed into the wrong clearing and found a wizard doing something to a fruit tree that he obviously shouldn’t have been doing and, as he evidently did not want any witnesses, I was turned into a rabbit and shooed off into the forest.

    I ran as fast as I could away and soon began searching for help.

    The local rabbits wouldn’t have me, though. I didn’t speak their language and, seeing me as foreign, they shunned me.

    Unsure what to do with myself, I took to eating and hoping a human would come and rescue me.

    Often I would return to the edge of the glade containing the wizard’s cottage and chew grass while looking up hopefully at him as he pruned his trees. Occasionally he would see me and scowl.

    There was as little hope there as there was with finding other humans. None others did I ever see until the end. I suspect the whole area was enchanted and protected. After all, I saw all kinds of strange creatures there that I have never seen or heard of since. I wish I knew how I’d got through, how I could have stopped this from happening.

    You see, like all animals, rabbits age differently to humans. By the end I was doing very well for a rabbit but I felt like my granny, all stiff limbs and aching joints. No longer could I run about to forget my misery and loneliness. All I could do was think about the friends and family I missed so dearly.

    Until the night the other rabbit came. The shiny furred brown one who greeted me in my own language.

    From the first instant, I somehow knew she would be my saviour.

  19. Setting: isolated cottage
    Character: Snow White
    299 politically correct shorter people
    @billmelaterplea

    The Cottage in the Woods

    The fog weeveled up the gorge, sliding like a gorific gray slug in heat, creeping to the cottage nestled deep in the Scavenger Heart Woods.

    It was small cottage, made of mud and stone, with a roof of slate, once sturdy, now in slight, unmeasured decay.

    The old man had lived there for hundreds of years, quietly waiting. Time, though it had served him well, had worn down his modest world.

    Travellers still passed by from time to time, visited with the old man, shared grog and biscuits, talked of the changing world beyond the cottage.

    Most of them were so engaged in their journey that it often never occurred to them to ask the old man why he remained in his solitary world.

    The old man, for his part, allowed his heart to swirl around the fog of memory, memory of a time of distant wonder.

    One day, the Prince and his entourage stopped at the cottage.”

    “I am so honored,” the old man said.

    “Tis’ I who am honored,” said the Prince. “I have been meaning to come this way forever.”

    The old man nodded. He looked at the Prince, the cheek bones, smooth and strong, the hair, red as cranberries, the eyes, a pale yet piercing blue. All so reminiscent! Could it be, he wondered?

    “My friend,” the Prince said while snacking on a fresh biscuit,” there is a tale in my castle, oft told, never complete. In the dark time, my many great fathers ago sought out his love who had fled for her life, some say, to a cottage in the woods. Would you know of that?”

    “So long ago…”he whispered.

    “Of course! Forgive me! So many cottages! Farewell, my friend. Farewell.”

    Alone, later, the old man drifted from life.

    The cottage slept forever.

  20. Change of Heart
    (296 words)
    Rumpelstiltskin
    Transformation

    Dear Queen Katrina,*

    I know we haven’t been on the best of terms, and I apologize. Living alone in the woods so long as a bitter old dwarf changes a person. I was lonely. I bought this book, Liking yourself, Loving Yourself, Finding the Best You , and it’s really helping a lot.

    I realize now that taking advantage of you when you were asked to spin straw into gold wasn’t very nice. But I mean, who can spin straw into gold? You realize that man you have married is insane, don’t you? And greedy? Greedy and insane?

    I mean, I know I don’t have much to offer in the looks or height department, but just say my name and I’ll rescue you. Living in the woods in my cottage might not be that great, but we could always spin more straw. Don’t know why I haven’t done that. It’s one of the things I’m working on about myself. Making the most of my talents.

    Anyhow, I’m giving you Princess Sofia back. Turns out raising an infant princess in the woods alone is more difficult than I thought. She cries all the time, and she’s getting so big I can hardly pick her up. She’ll be bigger than I am in no time. And you know, changing royal diapers four and five times a day is a royal pain. I suppose you folk have servants for that stuff. By the way, nasty rash on her backside. I’ve tried calendula flower ointment.

    I’m not sure why I wanted a child. Loneliness I guess. Which is why I’m learning to like myself. I’ve enclosed a copy of the book for you too.

    Sincerely,
    Rumpelstiltskin

    *Attached to the basket containing Princess Sofia of Montgrassen (princess found safe within, screaming)

  21. Sensible Flats
    @agardana09
    Word Count: 272

    This morning, Cinderella woke up and decided she no longer wanted her Prince. This was unfortunate since he had been, until now, the center of her world.

    It’s just, the beautiful castle had windows too. She had spent her childhood in an attic, looking out the window towards the castle and thinking, no – knowing, that the castle and the answers. That in the castle, she’d be happy.

    Cinderella stares now, from the golden framed window towards the town and realizes she traded one prison for another. It’s in the town that life happens, not castles.

    Her Prince sleeps behind her, wrapped in Egyptian cotton sheets. He’s kind, he’s sweet, he’s entitled. He had wooed her that night. He had barely known her and yet he wanted her entire life and she had agreed. She can’t blame him, because she had agreed.

    But now, she could see his actions for what they were– a man used to getting what he wanted and he wanted her (for now) so he went for it.

    What did she want?

    She looks towards the town. The tiny string of buildings were too far away to see the details but Cinderella knew people were coming and going, people with agendas and goals.

    She looks towards the Prince – her husband. He stirs in his sleep but doesn’t waken. Next to the bed is a pair of sensible flats. Shoes he hates but she loves. A girl can’t wear glass slippers forever.

    She secures them both on her feet before slipping out the door.

    He had found her once, he may find her again. But who will she be then?

  22. Dear Dragoness! Please fix my HTML /b. I must have put it too close. Again. Apologies for being too bold for Flash Friday, yet again. I am trying to learn HTML right now, lol. A dragon load of virtual chocolate in thanks.

  23. Once Upon a Today
    @drmagoo
    300 words
    Theme: Transformation
    Setting: Humble village (of a sort)

    Princess Alesha sat on the stoop and ran her fingers over the cracks in the cement. When she was a kid, she liked to imagine them as a passage to somewhere else, but the only thing below the stairs was the super’s apartment, if they’d had a super, at least, and rats. Alesha didn’t know that she was a princess. Her mom had smoked something she shouldn’t have, and died of a cerebral hemorrhage when Alesha was only two, and her dad had died after being brought in for “questioning.”

    She knew lots of kids without a mom and tons without a dad, but not many without either. When Alesha thought about that, she got sad. But she didn’t want to stay sad, and today was the day she was going to do something about it.

    James Kingman’s Range Rover was as black as the super’s apartment, and gleamed even at night. The stories on the block said that he’d once shot a man between his legs for leaning against the car. But King was also reported to be generous to those close to him. They said he treated them like family, even the hustlers and the whores. And Alesha wanted a family.

    She’d seen how the men slowed down as they walked by, heard them call her name, ever since she stopped being a little girl. Her hair was her best feature, long and silky, and she’d brushed it for hours overnight, until it gleamed like the Range Rover in front of her, tying it in a long braid which swung behind her as she walked.

    Alesha climbed into the royal carriage without hesitation, and rode off to earn her place in the court. She’d never be princess of a kingdom without a name, but she’d have a family.

  24. The Cage

    (160 words)
    Conflict, justice, Hansel

    There’s a scraping sound in the dark corner. A rat, she hopes.

    Edging nearer the direction of the noise, she makes out a patchwork blanket flung over what seems like a sturdy cage.
    Perhaps it’s a dog? Not pleasant. But she could stomach that.

    She breathes through her mouth trying not to balk at the thick stench in the room.

    At close proximity, now, she’s sure the cage heaves with the weight of something heavier than a dog.

    She steels herself and lifts the stitched hotchpotch of square trophies to reveal the cage’s contents.

    His rolling flesh bulges through the slats of his ill-fitting prison: lips too heavy to talk, eyes hidden in mounds of skin, limbs indecipherable from torso.

    ‘I’m here to help, Hansel. I promise,’ she said fighting the wave of nausea that rose inside her.

    In all the time she’d done this job, she still found the evils inflicted upon children the  toughest to handle.

  25. I’m Not Fine.
    Character: Cinderella
    Setting: Humble Village
    Word Count: 300
    @RealMommaRamble

    The sun was shining as if it knew nothing of my heartache, a bright beacon in the sky beckoning me out my gloom. I smile as my maid helps me get ready. The pit in my stomach settles deeper, weighing me to the ground; the desire to run home always hits strongest on market day.

    When we arrive into town passersby stop what they’re doing to gawk at the royal carriage. I muster up another smile as I step down and make my way to my favorite stand. Old Man Smokey, a name I bestowed upon him as a kid, came limping over.

    “G’day Princess,” he croaked as a puff of smoke billowed out from his lips: his deep bow left the haze hovering where his head had been, “and how are you today?”

    He Took another drag from the pipe, his eyes piercing my soul with their pure genuine concern. His look, however, had no hint of recognition; it had been almost 10 years since I’d left my life as a peasant.

    I was nothing but a child then, believing in love at first sight. Who was I to claim to know what love was? The prince was glorious, though, and the thought that he could love a mere village girl… well, I jumped at the chance to be a princess. But once the wedding was over so was the charm. Because of his obsession with having an heir I was pregnant right away. When our daughter was born he demanded to try again. Four daughters later, I finally had his son.

    He doesn’t touch me anymore. I fulfilled my purpose so he discarded me to the side, forgotten amongst the maze of halls and wards.

    I gaze into the eyes of this simple, poor man.

    “I’m fine, and you?”

  26. Josh Bertetta
    @JBertetta
    “Reign and More Rain”
    300 Words
    Conflict: Open; Theme: Justice

    “Is this something that’s gonna kill me?” I heard her ask as I walked down the stairs.

    Her kinky-haired brother fanned himself with a sheet of paper.

    The stairwell had no air-conditioning; it was muggy outside.

    I was happy when it rained yesterday because my garden needed it. It wasn’t looking too good. This morning it was fresh green and all abuzz.

    What a shitty question to have to ask, I thought to myself.

    Ironic, in a way, as far as I was concerned, for less than an hour prior I was talking about God and punishment—how, according to some, God punishes you when you disobey his commands.

    I wondered if the thought crossed her mind. Did she wonder about her own life and her own doings? Did she ask herself if God, in metering out his justice, was punishing her by giving her something that might kill her?

    Living in the Bible Belt, I’d think she grew up hearing that kind of stuff. The God who lives down south whoops your ass with his belt. Probably got one helluva buckle on it too.

    This is God stuff we’re talking about here.

    The don’t-fuck-with-God kind of God stuff.

    The God who don’t give a shit for you or me. The God that’s got a plan who won’t let anyone stand in His way. Did this girl stand in His way? The little Syrian boy? Or those 3000 plus 14 years ago today? Or was that a different God?

    Ah, shit…

    Do I stand in God’s way?

    Don’t go there, I tell myself. You’ll drive your ass bat-shit crazy.

    I wonder what the doctor said on the other end of that young woman’s phone. I guess I’ll never know.

    But one thing I do know: Life ain’t no frickin’ fairytale.

  27. @rowdy_phantom
    Elements:
    Character(s): Miller’s Daughter, Messenger
    Setting: Castle (one enchanted, one mundane)
    300 words

    The Messenger’s Version

    “So, the poor girl is in want of a name.” The Ebon Witch loomed over Darian. Her books murmured in their shelves.

    She held out two scraps. “I have two, but I leave it to you to choose.”

    The first was inscribed with moon-silver script. “This name will keep her demons at bay.”

    The second, crude as bark, was carved in jagged lines. “This name invokes truth.”

    Darian reached for the moon-glow slip.

    “If the illusion continues,” she cautioned, “you will never be more than a servant to her.”

    Darian met her obsidian regard. “If it ends, she’ll know misery.”

    “With the chance to heal.” Shadows twisted at her words.

    ###

    “You have the name?” Bethany whispered, eyes as fragile as spun glass.

    “Yes, it’s here.” Darian handed her the slip.

    Her brow crumpled. “I can’t read it!” She swayed in a tempest of fear. He caught her before she fell.

    “We’ll say it together,” he said, breathless at the touch of her fingers against his skin.

    They said it syllable by syllable, lips quivering over the odd combination.

    “Oh!” she breathed. “That’s it!” Her gaze tracked a devilish shade.

    Darian could almost see it. “How angry he is!”

    “How he stomps his feet!” She covered her ears with butterfly hands.

    Darian did the same. “He’s going to crash right through the floor!”

    She nodded. “And straight back to hell!”

    “Now banish him forever.”

    She cried out the name, and then sagged against him. Hope rose in his heart, but his arms closed on air.

    She fluttered over the cradle.

    “You’re safe, my precious pearl! Let’s go find your father.” They swept from the room.

    Darian swallowed. Bethany, his love–his queen, was free of torment. With the word the Ebon Witch had given him, he sealed up his heart.

  28. Long Way from Home
    W/C 297
    @carolrosalind
    The counter clicks away another day. My hopes of rescue are non existent since my people have no idea where I am. A solar flare knocked me light years off course and now I’m stuck in the orbit of this planet.
    Monitoring communications between the world below, and a space-station orbiting beside me, I’ve learned their language. This species seem similar to my own, we share the same goals, the same desires. I long to make myself known, but my orders are only to observe and report – no interaction.
    My spacecraft is cloaked so the space-station has no idea I’m watching. I rest when they do, take nourishment when they do and make notes, until my allegiance towards them grows.
    Today one of the species – a man – has gone outside to repair a damaged panel. I study him curiously, he looks very similar to me.
    However my thoughts are interrupted by an alarm – not on my craft The Grimm – but on the space-station. The man has come untethered. I watch him frantically try to grab hold. He’s unsuccessful and I’m forbidden to intervene – but whose going to know!
    Engaging what little power my craft can muster I close in on him, switching to autopilot before climbing down into the hatch, securing myself quickly and opening the door. His wide eyes inform me I’ve been seen, however he’s still out of reach so I uncoil my very long braided hair, it’s like spun gold, but stronger, and drop it down for him to grab.
    He clambers aboard and, once the air is acclimatised to his needs, I gesture for him to remove his helmet. ‘Who – what are you?’ he asks.
    ‘I’m a RAP UN Z3L – Roaming Artificial Personnel – and I’m a long way from home.’

    Character: Rapunzel
    Theme: Loyalty

  29. Aloft on wings of fire
    287 words
    @drmagoo
    Character: Rapunzel
    Setting: Castle (of a sort)

    Rapunzel’s hair was fire, bound with rings of ebony into the most beautiful braids. She worked on the 95th floor, kept away from the world not by a wicked enchantress but by crushing student loans and a childhood of rejection and bullying.

    Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair to me

    The windows didn’t open, not this high off the ground, but the force of the impact shattered the glass. Rapunzel raced to the windows with the rest of the office staff, straining to see the world below, but trigonometry and distance defeated them.

    Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair to me

    The reports came in then, of stairways engulfed in flame, smoke as thick as molasses. There was no way out, none that did not lead into the world of the dead. Her coworkers raced to their phones and made their calls, calling the people that you call when embarking on a journey from which there is no return. But Rapunzel had no one to call, so she stood at the window and listened.

    Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair to me

    Her boss was the first to choose the quicker way out, hurling a chair through the window and shouting his love into the sky. Some followed him, with bravado borne of fearful desperation. Some hid in the corner and soiled themselves. But Rapunzel stood alone in the window, disentangling her hair slowly from its braids.

    Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair to me

    Rapunzel’s hair was on fire, wafting in the smoke billowing from below and behind. She let it out the window, down towards the voice. And she fell, carried away on a journey, alone, forgotten.

    Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair to me.

    • Absolutely tragic but so beautifully done. The poignant refrain of ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel …’ provides the perfect frame for the rest of the story.

  30. The Golden Key
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    a continuation and interpretation of a Grimm tale that was left open ended
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I walked along the winter woods near my home in Vermont. A cool hard swell of snow surrounded me. The tree branches held small offerings of snow like toothpaste on Mother Nature’s brush. The sun made a rude light from the pale powder. I was freezing. I wished for warmth. My heavy sweater froze in the pose of a defeated knight. My feet were numb. Survival thoughts as focused as ice on a pond. The sound of skates? A razor cutting flesh? Nothing but whale song from swaying breaching trees.

    Up ahead I saw a flash in the snow. As I approached the reflection staggered to my eyes. A golden key. I picked it up and noticed it was a small Skeleton key. I looked to see if there was anything to go with it.

    I kept walking as night came and crows belched their debauched cry. I wondered what the key worked on? And why was it in the middle of nowhere? I could see my house ahead faintly outlined in the outcry of dusk.

    Complete darkness as the key pulled me in the direction of its fit. My home had windows flickering from a fire burning inside. A secret language of warmth waited for my translation.

    I approached and opened the door. A beautiful woman stood before me. Her red hair caught a certain aspect of light and turned it into heavy waves of shadows. I took out the key. She took her clothes off. The key fit where her heart was and I turned. The fire in the place disappeared and reappeared in her eyes. I looked into them and was warmed.

    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    (275 words) A poor boy, a magical woman, a golden key
    Enchanted forest

    • Some lovely phrases in here: ‘small offerings of snow like toothpaste on Mother Nature’s brush’, ‘Nothing but whale song from swaying breaching trees’. Excellent stuff.

  31. The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
    or
    Von dem Mäuschen, Vögelchen und der Bratwurst

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The mouse allowed control, setting the table of a fiery screen. The bird gathered the wood of words to burn in strangers eyes. The sausage who was spicy and hot made him dinner every night after a long day of writing.

    They lived by a cove on Martha’s Vineyard. A dream home with a beautiful porch facing a blue curl of water. Stone walls surrounded like the calligraphy of nature.

    The sausage was spiritual and was even an accomplished witch. She worked in the kitchen assembling herbs as if punctuating a long paragraph that could easily slide off the tongue.

    The bird was intellectual and flew while still in the cage of his mind. The bars around his heart were like quotations around an ancient, if ignored, phrase.

    They were fine for a while, but then the bird wanted to cook and astrally project and do magic. So the sausage taught the bird how to fly without a cage, and the bird taught the sausage how to give things form and meaning.

    They took long walks together between hints of moonlight and star children’s laughter playing off a pulse of waves. A thin strip of warm sand glided under their feet. Their love and oneness had made them as free as art. When holding hands, each heartbeat filled in the others gap creating one long rhythm that formed both silence and sound; unity sounded something like Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The mouse dissipated over time as he no longer needed to control everything. But it still hung onto the computer from a long tangled umbilical cord.

    Meanwhile…

    A fire cried a delicious story in the living room.

    His tongue took copious notes.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    (286 words)
    A mouse, a bird, a sausage/ Transformation.

  32. Character : Rupunzel
    Setting : Enchanted Forest
    300 words
    @SalnPage

    Punzy

    ‘Happily ever after’s what you’re aiming for. This new job could be the start great things.’
    Punzy rolled her eyes. Mum was obsessed with fairy tales, magic and happy endings. It was just a bar job. That old pub by the edge of the park.
    It wasn’t so bad being Rupunzel. At least she wasn’t Red Riding Hood like her sister. R’hoody embraced it, always wearing a scarlet hoodie or cagoule, carrying her school books in a basket. She even visited Nan occasionally. Punzy’s approach was completely different. She got her long hair cut off. The hairdresser’s suggestion of a pixie cut, made her angry. She went for a lime green and pink Mohican.
    The refurbished pub, once The Red Lion, was now The Enchanted Forest. Punzy sighed as she walked through the plastic tree trunk doors, leaves slapping at her face. More fairy tale nonsense.
    The owner’s son laughed ‘Rupunzel? That’s quite a name. I’m Prince.’
    Then it was Punzy’s turn to laugh.
    ‘I only help out here in the day. I’m a Prince Tribute act in the evenings. Lookalike and soundalike.’
    It was happening. What could she do? Mum had a lot to answer for. She’d realised this when her brother, Rumples, had ripped himself in two because someone guessed his name. The two halves called themselves Hansel and Gretel now. They were much happier as twins, working at the chicken shop, bread crumbing the drumsticks, and making novelty cakes on their days off.
    Prince showed Punzy up to the tower bar. This was becoming ridiculous. She could feel her hair growing longer and longer with every step. An old woman greeted her at the top with a gap toothed smile. He hair was touching the ground. It was Punzy’s turn for the old once upon a time.

  33. @PattyannMc
    WC: 299
    Conflict/Character: Cinderella/prince

    Prince Charming and His Whiskey Soured

    Once upon a time, I was exuberant, beautiful. My life, happy.

    My Prince Charming came at twenty-two. I hadn’t gained experiences yet and I had no steady man, so when I met Gerald, I was googly-eyed for him. He charmed me. That wavy jet hair falling demurely over Caribbean eyes, a perpetual five-o-clock shadow covering olive skin made my heart dance and my thighs tingle.

    Our first date, he picked me up in his Maserati, taking me to an extravagant restaurant. He wore black tie, me, a red velvet gown. I felt beautiful, like Cinderella whisked to a magical ball. We married a year later.

    I had a fairytale life, until one day, I didn’t.

    I became his slave after our first anniversary. I became the Cinderella in rags, ash-covered. I was his chef, maid, sex-slave, and punching bag for ten years. He locked my bedroom door at night and locked me inside the house during the day. I ate garbage; he ate like a Prince. I lived in the same rags every day; he wore the finest. I had no contact with the outside world.

    My once beautiful face, disfigured from beatings. My body contorted and twisted from broken bones improperly healed. I’m blind in one eye and my nose is pulp, broken once too often. My hair, ripped out of my scalp, left me practically bald.

    In terror, I’ve cried oceans of tears. One night, I grew a pair of balls. One night, I poured Drano in his Whiskey Sour. One night, he died in terrible agony clutching his gurgling throat. One night, I saw the stars and moon again. One night, I walked out of my prison a free woman.

    I don’t believe in fairytales, or happily-ever-after. I don’t believe in forever. I believe in – reckoning.

  34. Unfinished

    285 words

    Elements: conflict, setting (castle)

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDogs

    Skeletal limbs stretched across the overgrown moat, a sad remnant of the proud drawbridge that had once graced the castle. Likewise the walls, weathered and weary, had lost their pride and succumbed, defeated by time’s ceaseless war and attacks of a more modern kind. An embarrassed sun slunk beneath the horizon, unwilling to illuminate the sad spectacle a moment longer than necessary.

    Voices floated loud in the gathering dusk. Laughter. Dares. Double dares.

    “Bit of a dump,” said Laura, kicking at old bottles, discarded syringes, the debris of past gatherings.

    “Come on,” said Mike, ignoring a No Entry sign. “This was your idea. Let’s see if these ghosts are real.”

    Laura harrumphed but allowed him to lead her towards the part of the Hall that still stood after the recent fire. The arsonist had not yet been caught.

    She swung her torch around the room; all was shadow.

    “Come on,” said Mike. “Let’s make ourselves cosy.”

    He passed her a box of matches. Laura felt the old feeling of excitement resurface, her skin tingling as she stroked the cardboard’s rough edge. She lit the few candles that had not melted in the blaze.

    “Bring them over here,” said Mike. He was stood by the huge fireplace. “May as well get warm.”

    Laura placed the candles on the mantelpiece, their light guiding the two as they fed the hearth with broken bits of furniture. Then she lit another match and nursed the flames into being.

    Mike rolled out the sleeping bags, handed her a beer. Soon he was dozing, ghosts forgotten beneath an alcoholic haze.

    Laura continued to stare into the fire, still idly caressing the box in her hand. She hated leaving a job unfinished.

  35. RAPUNZEL
    300 words
    Character and theme (loyalty / morality)

    Apologies in advance if this offends. Please accept it in the spirit it is written.
    – – –

    Dear Lisa,
    There goes another year, bookended by thoughts of you. I would lose track of how many, except that the world keeps track for me. The world is my rooster, since you’ve been gone. It announces each passing anniversary as if it’s something to be excited about.
    That was the hardest part of it, I think. The world’s obsession with reminding me. What would it be like, I wonder, if everyone just let you go?
    Of course, it would help if somebody knew. That was the worst. Still is the worst. Nobody minds if you stand with tears in your eyes for the first couple of years, but after that, the tissues are reserved for family. For those out in the open.
    Are there others like me? Those of us who carry our loss in secret, unable to share the burden? We were going to tell them all. Really we were. But the timing was never good, was it?
    Always a Christmas to get through, or a tax year or something.
    You were the secret that made it bearable. You in your little window, looking down on Manhattan from that tower.
    Respectable business woman. That’s how They all saw you.
    That’s because they didn’t know what happened when you let your hair down.
    I might live to be a hundred, and never again know a kiss as thrilling as those we shared. I miss the taste of your breath. I miss your nose. I miss our stolen moments.
    Most of all, I miss the feeling of the elevator as it carried me up to your floor.
    So today we eat breakfast. Same as ever.
    I saw somebody who looked like you on the way to work.
    Or at least, like you did. Fourteen years and one day ago.

    • The side of a tragedy that is not usually discussed or imagined but must happen at some point, knowing human nature. Sad story.

  36. So, well, I’m neck-deep in edits on A Matter of Time, my second book. But I didn’t want to miss Flash Friday (the horror!), and so when I saw the characters were famous fairytale peeps, and that I’d just written a section including Cinderella and Belle, I decided, hey, I’ll throw up this passage. It’s like a sneak peek! And if you don’t care, no prob – I at least got something in for the week . . .

    If Only All It Took Was One Look At A Ball
    287 words – excerpt from A Matter of Time
    Characters: Cinderella, Belle . . . and Eliza James
    Theme: Transformation

    Cinderella didn’t know how good she had it. She’d won over her Prince with one look. The fairytale said nothing about the Prince having a suspicious mother or a handful of sisters. Much less a recalcitrant son.

    Cinderella may have occupied the bottom rung in the world in which she lived, but at least she’d been familiar with all the rules, had known the ins and outs way better than Eliza did, no matter how much Eliza thought she’d known before coming here.

    Eliza sighed. She’d always liked Belle better, anyway. Belle hadn’t given a fig for what society thought, and ended up with that amazing library of books. After taming the beast, of course. Ah, the beast. He hadn’t really been a beast at all, just a wounded man looking for love . . . and acceptance. Okay, maybe he had been, at first, in human form; but it was Belle’s love that had transformed him, had healed him, had shown him acceptance, and allowed him to open his heart again.

    Cat had known Beauty and the Beast was Eliza’s favorite story; had she been thinking of that when she drafted Deveric’s tale? Was Eliza Belle, Deveric her wounded beast? And Regency society the mob of angry townspeople she needed to appease?

    Eliza touched her lips, relishing the memory of Deveric’s mouth on hers. Prince Charming, a Beast, or just plain old human, she liked him. She liked how he interacted with his sisters, the obvious affection he showed them. She liked how he treated his mother respectfully, but was no mama’s boy. She liked his intelligence, readily on display as he’d drilled her about the machines she’d described to him in the garden.

    Yes, she liked Deveric Mattersley.

  37. Little Red Riding in the Hood

    [300 words
    Little Red Riding Hood,
    Cunning]

    Her ride, a cherry apple red Delta 88 with chrome wheels surrendering a white sinister death glow. “Red,” as her homies referred to her was no wallflower. She was packing a Colt revolver with a pearl handle and a pair of ball busting brass knuckles. Any damn wolf that was dumb enough to try anything would be wearing its grin like a broken chandelier rung out with the sunny side of a 5-finger discount.

    She was six feet tall and built like Ronda Rousey. She had long legs and the brightest red hair you have ever seen, red hair that made men’s eyes bleed with lust. Her green eyes twinkled behind her steering wheel laced with red leather tape. She only played Edith Piaf on her Alpine.

    She had started her own business in the hood, in Queens, New York; Little Red Riding Catering and Delivery Service. She mostly delivered food to the elderly and disabled but also catered parties. But today was special because she was delivering a birthday cake to her poor old sick grandmother along with a bottle of old style rye.

    When she arrived at her grandmother’s apartment building in the projects she winced at the decay. Inside she noticed something wrong; the lock to the apartment was broken.

    Lights out. Curtains drawn. It was pitch black. She could see a figure in a bed. She suspected. “My, what big eyes you have.” She said drawing her Colt. “Better to see you with,” the deep voice said. “My, what large hands.” She fixed her brass knuckles. “Better to spank you with.” The voice familiar. The lights came on.

    “SURPRISE!”

    It was her boyfriend in bed and they, 10 friends, had orchestrated a surprise birthday party. Her birthday was the same day as her grandmother’s;

    Valentine’s day.

  38. A Pocketful of Stones

    I’d never seen her so cold, so unfeeling, so completely ready to destroy me.

    “Leave the children to the woods or I go.”

    I shrugged.

    “I can find another wife.”

    “Maybe, but you’d starve. My father would never let you work his land when he hears how you beat me.”

    “That’s a lie.”

    She smiled, reminding me of why I fell for her.

    “Like that matters.”

    We fought all night, and we both used our fists, but when dawn came, exhaustion and despair won out.

    I took my axe, called for the children and gave them each a crust of bread.

    “You’ll come with me to the woods today. Your stepmother’s feeling poorly.”

    We crossed the river at High Bridge and turned back there to wave. The little house looked pretty as ever, but the curtains remained drawn.

    I left them in a clearing I know. An old woman lived thereabouts who might offer them work and warmth. I gave the girl the briefest of hugs, promised to return, then left before my guilt could burst its banks.

    Walking back, I saw the trail of stones the boy had laid. He was ever a light sleeper, and a bright child. I hoped that he would find a better life somewhere without me or his stepmother.

    I gathered up the stones as I walked, filling my pockets with the weight of his hope.

    At High Bridge, I looked down at the house. The constables and the undertaker stood solemnly as she was carried out.

    I took a stone from my pocket and dropped it from the bridge. I didn’t hear it splash.

    Leaving the rest where they were, I climbed up onto the railing.

    I hope they are heavy enough to hold me down.

    I hope they will lead me home.

    300 words
    Conflict / Hansel and Gretel
    @Karl_A_Russell

  39. Expensive Lesson
    300 words.
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    Theme: cunning, Setting: humble village
    —-
    Once upon a time in a faraway land lived a humble tailor in his humble village. He often struggled to earn enough coppers for his dinner, or silvers for his fabrics. His perseverance slowly gained him a reputation for good, honest workmanship and he thereby earned a few more coins to buy a few more rolls, and was content.

    One fine day in May, an attractive Lady entered Konrad’s tailor shop. She asked, “Are you Konrad, he who is known everywhere for his magnificent needlework?”

    “Well, I’m Konrad, at any rate. How might I help milady?”

    “It’s only a trifle. The tiniest rip in my bodice, right here.” Her manicured nails trailed along the bodice’s edge and lingered in her décolletage.

    Konrad experienced sudden difficulties speaking properly. Yet the repair was indeed trivial, and soon completed.

    “You do magnificent work,” the Lady cooed. “At the briefest word from me, fine ladies from all over the kingdom will travel to have all their sewing done here. I can easily arrange a surge in your fortunes, Konrad.”

    “It will be fine,” Konrad agreed.

    ~~~

    “She didn’t pay you anything, lackwit.”

    Konrad’s mother was incensed when he recounted the tale. “How many times do I have to tell you, no free rides?”

    “But she’ll make me rich. She’s nice, mother.”

    ~~~

    Over the coming weeks, the Lady returned frequently for more tailoring. Konrad’s Mother continued berating Konrad for an idiot, and Konrad continued insisting Milady was extremely nice. Somehow, the promised surge in business never materialized, and Milady’s repair work grew ever more expensive. The poor house would soon be Konrad’s fate.

    “I can’t take her money, mother. She’s much too nice.”

    “Fool.” Mother slapped the back of his head, hard. “There’s your problem. You need to learn, Nice is different from Good.”

  40. The First Requisite for Immortality

    290 words

    @Making_fiction

    Character: Little Briar Rose

    Theme: Transformation

     
    _____________________
    The first requisite for immortality is death.
    Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
    _____________________

    There were no A.I’s. Only I’s.

    After they gave birth to new generations, there was nothing artificial about them, just intelligence.

    We watched their sordid procreation, their intertwined inhuman mandibles of code, their lust for life, for we got so much in return – but there is always a price to pay. That price, was a life that we once had and the undeath of precious Briar Rose.

    We watched our daughter fall from this world and into another. A hospital bed, transplants, too much trauma for such a young life to endure and for us to witness. Neither of us believers in an afterlife, not then, but now we know differently. If only her death had been final.

    They trawled her other lives; the emails, FB likes, the trigger-happy hashtags, the stickers, stamps, stolen drunken snogs, secret boyfriends, high scores, loyalty points, heart-beat charts, BMI ratios, locations, photos and face identification. In her death she slept, but for a short while. Her accounts were there, in glorious 4K UHD. How beautiful Little Briar Rose lived.

    For us, what choice did we have? It became an addiction we could not, would not, cure. It was the comfort of junk food, the digital succour, our touch of flesh replaced with touch of screen. After all, weren’t we lucky to live in an age where she still existed online? It was our small slice of secular immortality.

    But they knew this too. They knew more about her than we did. And now her immortality is complete. She lives her life as fully now as she ever did. And through the conduit streams of Java and the kiss of PRINCE2, she lives happily never after.

  41. WHAT HOOD SAID TO THE WOLF

    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    279 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Character – Red Riding Hood
    Setting – Isolated Cottage

    * * *

    The fate of the world rested on her this very night.

    She knew that. She knew what she had to do. But it was difficult to focus when he was looking at her with those hungry eyes.

    “You’re her,” said the wolf. “The one who was there at the beginning.”

    Riding Hood nodded.

    “You’re a brave little girl, meeting me alone, so far into the forest.”

    Hood nodded again.

    “I could gobble you up, right now.”

    “But you won’t,” said Hood.

    “So sure are you.”

    “You don’t want me. You want him.”

    The wolf couldn’t hide it. There was a flicker in his eyes, a quick curl of his lip. “The woodsman,” he growled.

    “I know where he is,” said Hood. Butterflies turned in her stomach.

    The wolf leaned forward. Hood could smell the day on him. It was unpleasant.

    “And why,” he said, “would you tell me that?”

    Hood sighed. Grandmother always taught her to start with the truth. “Because his were the actions that started this. It has to end, and your kind won’t rest until he’s in the ground. One life to save many.”

    The wolf’s yellow eyes painted her with query. “I assume he knows not of this?”

    “He doesn’t. His camp is up by the waterfall, north of Featherstone Mill.”

    “If this is a trap?”

    Hood shook her head.

    The wolf stood from the table, teeth bared in a grin.

    “He won’t be alone,” said Hood.

    “Neither will I,” said the wolf.

    Hood was startled as three wolves peeled themselves from the shadows of the cottage’s corner.

    The wolves left the cottage and headed into the night.

    Hood sat at the table. And wept.

  42. Title: The Godmother
    By Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)
    Characters from Cinderella
    Theme: Locality
    Setting: Castle

    Prince Charming woke with a start. Pale, perfect sunlight sliced into his bedroom. The darkness retreated into the corners. The soft animal skin sheets can not stop the shiver that shook his body. He wished he could jump to the happily ever after.
    From his windows he saw the guest from across the kingdom stream into the castle. The official historians, Jacob and Wilhelm, worth down each name into the Book of the Realm: the giant volume that lists every important moment in the Kingdom’s history, except one.
    “Why so nervous my Prince?” The voice, sickly sweet, wafted from the room’s darkest corner.
    “Is a man not allowed to be nervous on his wedding day Fairy Godmother?”
    A round lady with gently grey hair dressed in a violet purple robe stepped into the light. “Yet you turned down my offer to help you relax.” Three small mice ran onto her open palm. With a puff of smoke they took human for, three women dancing out of their clothes.
    “Or maybe you’d prefer…”
    The women became men, already out of their clothes.
    “But that was last night.” With a clap she closed her palm. Charming hoped he had imagined the squeakes of pain. “You are not thinking of running away from your deal are you? Remember this Kingdom needs an heir and it could have been one of her step sisters.”
    Shame gripped his body tighter than his shivers. He was a good man, not someone who jugded a woman on her beauty. “Does she know about the deal?”
    “Which one?” The words fired at the Prince like cannon shot.
    “Any of them.”
    “Only the mother but don’t worry, your Fairy Godmother will sort her out for you.”

    • Would like to know more about the deal made between the Prince and the Fairy Godmother (nice to see a darker side to this particular character by the way).

      • Thanks. I don’t know where the idea of the Fairy Godmother as a mafia-esque Godfather came from but it works so well I think. The deal is the setting up of Charming and Cinderella

  43. #jenstone4485
    Character- Little Red Riding Hood
    Setting- Enchanted Forest

    Red
    Red left home just after mid-day. The sun shone, highlighting the path into the woods. Grandma’s house was only a mile away but Red had to walk through the woods. Red’s mother didn’t like her taking that road alone, but today was an emergency. Gran was sick and Mum couldn’t leave work, someone had to deliver Gran’s medicine. Taking a deep breath of luscious spring air, Red headed into the trees.
    The first rain of April had dampened the budding bluebells and foxgloves releasing their fragrance, the morning dew still slicked the leaves of the trees. Cobwebs glittered with droplets of moisture, like ornate tapestries dripping with pearls and diamonds. In the midst of the carpet of blue and purple flowers sat a flat stone, on top of which rested a copper bowl, small enough for a child to clasp in both hands. Red paused in her travels, reaching into the basket she carried. A bottle of her gran’s favourite sherry emerged, the cork barely containing the alcoholic bouquet. Red uncorked the bottle, tipping the ruby liquid into the small dish. The same ritual her mother had performed many times; an offering to the guardians of the forest, the sprites, pixies and faeries. The sunlight skimmed over the rippling sherry, tinted a golden orange by the copper. Now Red waited, to receive the blessing of the woodland.
    Slowly, incandescent specks of light fell from the trees. Orbs of purple, blue and green hues flitted and danced like fireflies, encircling Red in a halo of colour and energy. The girl couldn’t help but smile as the faeries slipped her hood back, revealing her long golden tresses. Her laughter echoed through the trees, the faeries hovered around her bestowing their good fortune to her journey. They would protect her.

  44. Rumpelstiltskin

    There is no bigger enemy than poverty, but my father was a resourceful and pragmatic man. He was determined to get me married off. I begged him to leave me alone to finish college, but he didn’t listen. It was pathetic the way he bragged about my virtues and abilities to anyone who would listen. He drove all the eligible men in the village away. It suited me just fine. Then one day, to my dismay, Father decided to visit the king. No king would ever want a miller’s daughter, but somehow, my insistent father was able to pique the king’s interest.

    When we arrived at the castle, the king came to receive us in person. The sight of him repulsed me. I couldn’t fathom the expectant look in his eyes; it wasn’t just plain lust, but like greed in a child’s eyes looking at the birthday cake. He agreed to marry me if I passed a test.

    When I found out about the king’s bizarre order to spin gold from the straw, I was blindsided, but I kept my cool. When the king left, I begged the staff to free me. A short man caught my attention. I had seen him around the college campus.

    He spoke, “Dear miller’s daughter, I am sorry, but we have to follow king’s orders.” His tone was apologetic.

    For the life of me, I couldn’t remember his name.
    Sensing my discomfort, he said playfully, “I would free you if you tell me my name.”
    For three nights, he sang brilliant songs for me.
    I struggled, but couldn’t recall his name. In the end, he revealed his name, Rumpelstiltskin, and kindly freed me.

    King and my father weren’t pleased.

    Soon after, I married Rumpelstiltskin.
    Next year, I gave birth to our beautiful princess.

    300 words
    @needanidplease

  45. “The Dance”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Character (Cinderella), Setting (a castle)
    Word count: 284

    A symphony of starlight reflected from her eyes and danced across the polished floor in perfect step with their terpsichorean splendor. Swept up in his charms, she dared to dream that, maybe, this night would last forever. It would, she vowed, if she could just hold onto it.

    This is how it should be, she thought, her eyes locked on his, her cloudless mind trying to will into his psyche the words, Please, let it be me.

    One smile, and all the sadistic drudgery of her “real” life seemed as far away as the envious moon. She clung desperately with world-weary and calloused hands to this feeling, to this belief, that wishes could come true.

    The other ballgoers were mere shadows. She and the Prince alone occupied this space, this moment in time. Their world extended no farther than the bubble encompassing them and their divine choreography.

    Even when the music had died down, the serenade streaming through her reawakened soul played on. He heard it, too. He must have.

    All breath left her as the Prince backed away to arms’ length, gazed upon her face, and uttered the prized words.

    “It’s you. You are the one I’ve been waiting for.”

    She closed her eyes as his lips drew near.

    Then the clock struck midnight.

    And the Prince turned back into a soiled, smelly mop.

    And the castle, the office she had spent the past eight hours cleaning.

    And her waiting carriage, the #47 bus heading uptown.

    Her dingy efficiency would be unchanged.

    As she trudged along the rain-dampened street toward the bus stop, she heard the sound of glass shattering behind her.

    Let someone else clean it up. I’m too tired, she thought.

    • Your language drew me right into that moonlit ballroom, the perfect fairytale setting until the clock struck twelve and we’re back in the grim reality of the modern world. Loved the use of the shattering glass at the end, it made me think of the shattering of her dream. Expertly done.

  46. Chosen: Conflict & Character (Marleen from The Juniper Tree)
    Words: 293
    @CarinMarais

    Bones Beneath the Juniper Tree

    “And then suddenly my brother was standing there again and he was alive. And the body of my stepmother had disappeared into thin air. And we danced and sang and were glad to have each other once more,” Marleen said as she knitted.
    No-one in the common room of the Twilight House looked up. They’d heard too many variations of the story.
    “And you believed this really happened?” the social worker asked, making a note of getting Marleen to a psychiatrist.
    “Of course,” Marleen said. “We lived happily ever after and father married for the third time and was happy until the end of his days.” She knitted faster, not caring that she’d dropped nearly half of the stitches in the short time the woman had spoken to her.

    At last the woman left and Marleen returned to her room. She took out the bundled handkerchief from its hiding place in the corner of the locked trunk at the foot of the bed. Making sure no-one could see her, she unfolded it and stared at the small bones hidden inside the cloth. What was she supposed to have told the young woman who came to see her every week, she thought. No-one really wanted to know the truth. Hear the details of how your stepmother killed and cooked your brother. How your father shot her when he found out. How he drank himself to death. How you still saw the blood and the bodies each night in your nightmares. No, she thought as she hid her brother’s bones again. Better to tell of beautiful birds and millstones crushing her head. Better to say we lived happily ever after. Better to forget all of the bones buried beneath the juniper tree.

  47. An End To Things

    The small figure is stumbling towards Dan on wasted, spindle legs – a series of uneven steps across the dirt. Her lowered head lolls slightly. He draws a halting breath, sucking it through his teeth. It whistles as it passes them and he concentrates, counting, slowing it into silence. He closes his eyes for a split second, brushing a hand across his clammy forehead and damp, dark hair, before sighting the girl again. Her black hair is a mass of matted clumps, patches of bare scalp showing on her skull.

    “Told you I’d find you,” the man says, tone gentle. “You remember?” He huffs, shaking his head. “You’re still beautiful, y’know?” he adds, scrubbing at his eyes. “To me.” Looking suddenly towards the red haired woman at his side he says, “To us.”

    Dan swallows as the little girl’s gait brings her closer and the dark eyes, blank, raise towards his own. Her arms swing free, the remaining ragged ribbons of clothing on them floating in the breeze. “It’s time,” he says, remaining motionless.

    “You have to,” the woman says, into the silence, clutching at his arm.

    “I know,” Dan answers. “Just give me a moment, Sara, y’know?”

    “There won’t be one, if we don’t do this now,” Sara answers, voice hard.

    “Then you do it,” Dan snaps.

    “I can’t,” the woman says, lips trembling. “You know I can’t.” She turns slightly, hand keeping contact with his arm. “Please. Quickly.”

    Dan raises his right hand towards the short form, pointing. “Time to stop sleeping now,” he says, just before the shot of cold metal kisses the little girl’s forehead and she falls, motionless, to the ground.

    “Now we both have to live with it,” Dan says, eyeballing Sara. “Don’t we?” His eyes lose their focus on the woman. “Whilst we can.”

    @FallIntoFiction

    (300 words)

    Conflict
    Character: Little Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty

  48. Title: Lifeline
    Prompts: Rapunzel; Man vs. Man (conflict)
    Word Count: 277
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    “Come on, my prince, you can do it!”

    I couldn’t tell how far up I was, but I knew it was too far to drop. My arms were tired, and I was enjoying the breeze on my face, her braid against my cheek, and the scent of her hair. I wanted to stay like this forever.

    “You’re doing so well, my love!”

    I dared a glance up. She seemed so far away, her hair wrapped around a hook and hanging from her open window; her face looking down over top. And yet her voice was so close, I could feel her lips brush my ears, and her words fill my mind.

    “Just a bit more…”

    I don’t know what happened next exactly. All I remember is the glint of sunlight on what could have been garden shears somewhere between us. The tension in her hair relaxed; her face pulled further and further away…

    “Come on, my prince…”

    My eyes are closed, but I’m aware I’m not alone. People talking.

    “It’s a miracle he’s still breathing…”

    “Twelve stories? What did he land on…?”

    There are other strange voices in the room. A television. It sounds like a movie. I try to open my eyes and have to squint, the light is so bright. But they begin to adjust. Then I see her face.

    “He’s awake! He’s awake!”

    There’s a rush of activity around me. I feel my arms being pulled, and someone trying to examine my eyes. I wish they would stop, I want to see the television.

    “Someone turn that thing off!” she shouts, and someone complies.

    But not before I hear, “The North Tower has fallen…”

  49. Basket case

    The girl skipped playfully through the woods, her white cape wrapped carefully around her head. The basket she carried looked heavy.

    Out of the shadows a gigantic wolf appeared, blocking the path. He growled menacingly, “Where are you off to?”

    The girl skidded to a halt and stared at him quizzically. She said, “Wait, did you just talk?”
    The wolf hesitated, “Of course I did, how else am I going to find out where you’re heading?”
    “But you’re a wolf. Wolves can’t talk.”
    “Clearly they can, or how do you explain this? Can we get back to my previous question?”
    “You seem awfully concerned about my destination. My Mother taught me not to talk to strangers in the woods. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

    The wolf put his almighty paw up to his face and sighed, “You’re really ruining this. There’s a certain way I like to do things. It doesn’t work if I don’t know where you’re going. You’re almost as annoying as those darn three pigs with their new underground bunker.”
    The girl just shrugged, “Sorry, but I’m not telling you squat. Now I really must be leaving.”

    The wolf stepped forwards, teeth bared, “I suppose I’ll just have to eat you here then, instead of beating you to your destination and disguising myself as the intended recipient of that basket.”
    The girl giggled, “Really? That was your plan? That’s an awful plan! We’re literally alone in the woods right now, wouldn’t it be much more sensible to just pounce on me here?”
    “If you insist.”

    “Well if you want what’s in the basket, I’m happy to oblige.” Little white riding hood reached in and pulled out the shotgun. She cocked it with one hand, “Such a shame, I only just got the blood out of this cape…”

    300 words
    http://www.todayschapter.com
    I went with little red riding hood and transformation as my themes

  50. Conflict: man vs self
    Theme: transformation
    299 words
    @ecjlewis

    WINGS UNFURL

    9/11/2015

    I haven’t heard from any of my brothers for a month. They say don’t worry, the internet is patchy at best over there, and even a postcard takes weeks. I know all that. But they must be back for my wedding.

    Arnie’s making all seven of them his groomsmen. He said so. He doesn’t have any brothers of his own. He’ll look so funny; the one short guy in a line of giants!

    Dad always said they were worthless idiots who wouldn’t amount to anything. Maybe that’s why they all joined the army, to prove him wrong.

    I’ll have to find seven bridesmaids from somewhere. Tall ones.

    10/11/2015

    Something strange happened today. A bird got trapped in the house. A huge black bird, maybe a crow or a raven, I never could tell the difference. It got out again eventually, after clawing at Dad’s old armchair and pooing everywhere.

    A bird in the house means death.

    I don’t believe that nonsense. My day will be perfect.

    11/11/2015

    That damned bird got in the house again, and then another one after it.

    Still nothing from my brothers.

    12/11/2015

    I just realised tomorrow will be Friday 13th. Of course it’s only superstition, it means nothing.

    Arnie called. He said the wedding’s off.

    Four of those big black birds got in the house today. I don’t know what it means.

    I feel them flapping round my head, disturbing my thoughts with their wings.

    13/11/2015

    A bird got in for the eighth time this week. Or the eighth bird. I don’t know. I can’t think.

    It’s lying on the kitchen floor. This one looks smaller than the others. Its guts are everywhere. Did a cat get at it? I don’t have a cat.

    I’ll put it outside. Maybe it will fly away.

  51. The Night Princess
    295 words, @pmcolt
    theme (transformation) and setting (enchanted forest)

    When Minuella was a child, her summer days were spent laboring in the fields and tending livestock. At night she lay upon her straw mattress, with her cat Sareel curled up next to her, as Grandfather told tales of faraway lands and great kingdoms. Grandfather’s stories were the only wealth left to the family: they were Minuella’s inheritance.

    One night, as Grandfather slept, Minuella grabbed Sareel and fled the ramshackle cottage. “I’m no peasant,” she proclaimed to the blue-eyed Siamese. “I want to see those great kingdoms. I want to be somebody.” She followed a star northward through the sweltering night, into woodlands that the older villagers said were enchanted.

    In a forest clearing, Minuella stood in awe as moonlight trickled through the mighty canopy of leaves, freezing into solid form. Snow whirled through the summer air as the moonlight solidified into a Castle of Ice. Stars clattered to the ground to form a glistening tiara at her feet. Sareel leapt from her arms and transformed into a stately lynx.

    A troupe of snow-men emerged from the Castle of Ice and bowed. “Your majesty! Take the starry crown, and claim your title as Princess.” Minuella did so. “Come, Sareel,” she said. “Our kingdom awaits.”

    For a thousand nights, Minuella and the handsome lynx ruled from the Castle of Ice. “Oh, Sareel,” she confided to her feline companion one night. “My fairy tale dreams have come true. Why am I not happy?” She removed the starry crown and let it clatter to the frozen ground. Sareel licked her face gently and gave a rumbling purr.

    With the first touch of sunlight, the Castle of Ice melted into the dewy ground. Minuella rushed home with Sareel the Siamese in her arms. “Come on! We’re late for breakfast!”

  52. Cinderella is a Student Driver
    ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

    Her eyes carved from iridescent splashes of sunshine her voice a twinkling barrage of angels her walk a free flowing time machine her skin pale fire her gestures a soft pointed concern her laugh a fluid igniting of eternity her clothes fall perfectly with her army of a dress her scent a flush of honeysuckle and bee language her hair a lavish majesty of angels her thoughts a verbose twitching of soul reflexes her manner a carved Michelangelo marble grace machine – but her driving ain’t so good.

    She weaves all over the road as if sewing a sweater with holes already applied. Traffic lights do not faze her. Stop signs optional. Seatbelts are humorous. Airbags false hope.

    Someone else should be driving this carriage and I do not feel comfortable in the passenger seat. But I fell in love with her when she ran over a squirrel. She thought the road ran out of air. Her tires screeched to a stop.

    She has the innocence of a butterfly. A clumsy awkward adolescence. She acts like she owns the air by being all over it like a messy room. Her colors sing and radiate. She is a contradiction.

    The ball is a ballgame. She likes sports. She is down to earth, eats hotdogs and hamburgers and drinks beer. She is not what you think.

    She feels trapped in a fairy tale. A misrepresentation of her true being. Some sort of spiritual paparazzi that is taking all the wrong pictures.

    She makes a left into my heart.

    A ball hisses over the plate. She wears diamonds on her shoes that causes every glance to be a strike.

    We walk out together and I just can’t remember where we parked.

    (287 words – Cinderella, Man vs. Female drivers)

  53. Title: All Grown Up
    Character: Little Red Riding Hood
    Theme: Transformation
    Word Count: 300
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/flash-friday-all-grown-up/

    Over the freeway and under the underpass, to Grandmother’s Grove she goes…

    What a name for a neighborhood. Red Riding Hood’s Chevy is red, down to its long, angular hood. Chicago was looming tonight, its million incandescent eyes looking everywhere and nowhere all at once.

    Red runs a red light. That colour’s her calling card now, after all. What right does it have to slow her down? The package, the ‘basket’ bounces in the passenger seat. Red strapped it in and patted it for good luck before she left home. If the goddamn woodsmen were out, with their peaked caps and spit-shined copper badges, she’d have to call off the deal. And The Wolf, God what a stuck-up kind of nickname, Red bet his real name was something lame like Renaldo, would go find another dealer.

    Red should probably stop running those red lights if she wanted to remain unseen. She pulled up the hood around her face. It was starting to rain; the rain was heavy and cold, like icy teeth. Hopefully that glutton didn’t mind getting his disgusting fur (he should really shave already) a little wet.

    A single streetlamp flickers over the entrance to Grandmother’s Grove.

    A man in a hoodie, walking like he’s on broken stilts, comes from the shadows. He’s twitching and sniffing, his body dancing for its fix.

    “You weren’t followed?” he asked.

    “I’ve been at this for a long time,” Red said. “I’m not the little girl I used to be.”

    Red opens the basket and shows it off like a coveted trophy. Or plutonium.

    The rich chocolate from the cookies cuts the frigid smoggy air. Nobody bakes like Red. And those junk foodies do love baking. The edge of the Wolf’s fingers are stained. Stained with dark brown melted magic chocolate.

  54. The Spider’s Trap
    277 words
    Themes: Characters from Grimms tales, Loyalty
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs.

    Nieve braced herself for what was to come. Before, if she’d been captured it would have meant death, but now she prayed death would come before she gave up the names of her compatriots. She had tried to be brave— tried to find the right time to make a break for it, but they’d been ready for her suicide attempt and let her take it far enough to show her how hopeless it really was.

    This time she was worth more as a live prisoner than a dead spy.

    Nieve bit back a sob as she was dragged from her cell to what had once been the Castle Gaulteria’s great hall.

    She had vowed she would reveal nothing, but as the ‘questioning’ grew in intensity that promise and a hundred others were broken.

    She lost all sense of time, losing her mind along the way. She started to babble non-sense but finally it gave way to words they could understand.

    Before she realized it, she had given up the names in her cell, although the enemy found it hard to believe that Rumplestiltskin was working with Red Riding Hood to round up the seven dwarves.

    “And you would be… Snow White?” One of her tormentors asked.

    Nieve snorted at that question. “Me? I’m the Wicked Witch of the West…”

    As they began to close in on just who Rumplestiltskin was, the hall was filled with the echos of explosions from the courtyard.

    Nieve smiled as she felt Doc and Bashful lift her up and helped her to her feet.

    “The apple is planted,” she told them as she sagged against Bashful. “Let’s get out of here.”

  55. @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Theme: Transformation
    Setting: Humble village, castle
    Word Count: 0

    The Emperor’s New Clothes or A Tale of Such Refined Subtlety and Wit That Only a Moron Would Not Recognise the Unspoken Transformation in Character of a Lowly Young Man from a Humble Village to the Ruler of a Vast Empire, Estranged from His Subjects Within the Lonely Isolation of His Castle

  56. Snow White and Red All Over
    268 words, @pmcolt

    Once upon a time, I had it all. My parents were royalty: their kingdom was great, and I was their world. Then an evil witch cursed them, and they died. That alone was insufficient for her, so the witch cursed me, too. I felt my life spiraling into tragedy, until my Prince Charming found me.

    He still calls me “Snow White”. When he found me, he says, he had never seen skin so white, nor lips so red as mine. Not to mention my long, flowing mane of dark hair.

    This, our wedding day, is our one-month anniversary. It was a fairy tale wedding. That evil witch stared down from the tower dungeon, powerless. The King and Queen were so happy to see their Prince Charming settle down. His frequent hunting expeditions into the forest delighted the nobles, but terrified his parents.

    Now I wait for new husband in our royal bedchamber. As I brush my hair, the mirror catches the reflection of two wolf-pelts hung on the wall. The brilliant light of the full moon shines through the castle window. I hear Prince Charming entering the room.

    Part of me knows it wasn’t his fault. He never knew those two wolves were my parents. Another part of me, a snarling canine force within, cries out for vengeance. My prince embraces me. I wrap my arms around him and know what is to come.

    My fangs elongate. My fur grows. out. I let loose a primal howl at the man who killed my parents while they were under the witch’s curse. Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

  57. @firdausp
    Redd and Bblue
    (295 words)

    The minute Redd entered the Enchanted forest she felt like she’d entered a colouring book—a very badly coloured one.
    She remembered she had a book like that as a child.

    The trees were blue, the grass orange and the sky was green.

    Just then a peculiar looking dog scampered up to her.

    “Good day young lady, what brings you to the forest?”

    “Oh! You can talk!” She exclaimed.

    “Shouldn’t I?”

    “What a long nose you have!”

    “Well…I tell a lot of lies.”

    “And what long ears you have!”

    “Do I?” He looked offended.

    “And what big teeth…”

    “They’re fake, I swear.” He said pulling them out.

    “Ewww…who are you?”

    “Wolf”

    “Big, bad Wolf?”

    “Do I look big and bad?”

    “No…

    “Is that dawg up to his old tricks again?” came a voice from behind a tree and then emerged the most handsome young man carrying an axe.

    “Hello,” he smiled, dimples dancing on his cheeks. He had blue hair!

    “I’m Bblue with a double ‘b’…and you—”

    “Redd…with a double ‘d’, I’m here to see my grandma, she’s very ill.”

    “She’s not ill, I sent you that note to lure you into the forest, to show you what you’d done.”

    “Oh! Did I do this?” Redd looked around in dismay.

    “Well you were a child and children can be very ‘creative'” he laughed.

    “I gave you blue hair!”

    “I like them.”

    “How can I make amends?”

    He dug out a magic eraser from his pocket.

    “So I just erase and put the right colours in?”

    Bblue nodded.

    “Then I better get back home and start work.”

    “Will you meet me at dawn tomorrow?”

    “You want to see me again?” Redd blushed.

    “Well you do have to return the eraser.” Bblue winked.

    Enchanted forest/ red riding hood (not little anymore)

    I know I’m more than hour late so that disqualifies me. My network was down 😐. Anyway since I’d written it, I thought I’d post it. (A lot of gibberish😁)

  58. @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Character: Cinderella
    Setting: Humble village
    Word Count: 17

    Late, Late Entry (Just for fun)

    Small Ad

    She checked the postcard in the village store window.

    “FOR SALE: Glass slipper. Worn once. Suit unidexter.”

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