Story For The Week 4/6/2021

The Author        

Author sat at his deck, rubbing his forehead. It seemed he’d been rubbing it for days, waiting for inspiration to come. Maybe, just maybe, he exhausted all the fairy tales available. Maybe there wasn’t anything more to write about.

                “You could have written a nicer story about me,” Little Red Riding Hood said from behind his left shoulder. “I could have gone to the mall or something, like really.  Going to Grandma’s House with a wolf dressed as Grandma!”

                “That’s the story,” he said, somewhat impatiently. She’d been whining about her story since it had been written.

                “Do you see what I’m wearing?” she asked, holding out the sides of her dress in each hand, looking down at her checkered frock.

                “It’s how you dress,” he said. “It’s how girls dressed in your time.”

                “But you didn’t write me in my time,” she protested.  “You wrote me in your time but you still put me in this stinking dress. Like why?”

                “At least you aren’t perpetually in a nightgown,” the wolf growled, slinking in from the living room. “And a night hat.”

                “It’s called a ‘kirchief,” he said, more impatiently. “You know that.”

                “Still doesn’t mean I like it. You could have written me eating Little Red here,” he continued. “That is the moral of the story, you know.”

                “We know the moral,” Red said with a roll of her eyes. “Really!”

                “And you couldn’t have made me a nice wolf, you know. Sophisticated. Well-liked.”

                “Nobody likes wolves,” Little Pig # 2 piped up.

                “I ought to eat you,” snapped the wolf, “and I would have if you hadn’t run into Little Pig #3 house.”

                “Speaking of that,” Little Pig #2 said, “Why did my house have to be of sticks. Why couldn’t I have had the house of bricks?”

                Author slid around in his chair. “I wrote you all in your own stories. And that’s final.” He looked at Red. “No mall for you.” At the Big Bad Wolf, “No sophistication for you. You’re a big bad wolf, for crying out loud. And you, Little Pig, have the house you build. You aren’t smart enough to build the house of bricks.”

                Little Piglet #3 snickered. “Like I always told you, Millard,” addressing Little Pig #2. “Author has the story right. I’m the one smart enough to build from bricks.”

                Big Bad Wolf growled. “I’ll blow your house down eventually,” he said, lowering his head to stare right into Little Pig #3’s eyes.

                “All right, you all,” Author said, waving his hands. “No wonder I can’t write. All of you arguing all the time.”

                Snow White stalked in. “While we’re griping,” she said, “why put me with 7 short, dour, grumpy men. How about 7 Princes, huh? Did you think of that?”

                “Seven?” Prince Charming shot back. “How about me. Aren’t I enough? I have a hard enough time with you running off into the forest to sing to all the animals as it is,” he continued. “Just think what I’d have to worry about if you had six more of me around. I’d never get anything done!”

                Snow White rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, if you weren’t so insecure…”

                “Insecure! You’d make anybody insecure,” Charming shot back and would have continued on if The Big Bad Wolf hadn’t sidled up to him at that exact moment.

                “I’ll eat her for you,” he said smoothly, “no charge and all your problems gone!”

                Prince Charming thought for a moment.

                Snow erupted. “You have to think about it? Really, Charming? You’d throw me to the Wolf?”

                “No, no, of course not,” Prince said, pulling his sword. “I’ll cut his head off for you, my dear.”

                Big Bad Wolf howled. “My head? How dare you!” He leapt at Charming and the two went down, tussling across the floor.

                Author sighed and turned back to his blank page, head in hands, as behind him the argument spread among the Fairy Tales until all of them were screaming and fighting.

                “I told you the troubles you would have,” Hans Christian said, seating himself on the edge of the desk.

                “I know, but you really didn’t make it clear how horrible they all are.”

                “Fairy Tales were horrible,” Hans pointed out. “A product of their time.”

                “Then why aren’t they bitching to you?”

                “Oh, back then they were content with their roles. It was all they had, after all. What else was a Little Pig or a Big Bad Wolf going to do?”

                They were silent for a moment, watching the fights. Prince Charming had pinned down the Big Bad Wolf and was trying to saw his head off with a dulled sword.

                “Good thinking, making his sword dull,” Hans commented.

                Author shrugged, pleased.

                “So what do I do?”

                “You’re just going to have to rewrite their stories again,” Hans told him, “to fit this new world.”

“I did that with Red and she’s still not happy.”

                “Oh for crying out loud, just let her go to this thing she calls the mall. Let the Big Bad Wolf eat somebody. That is all he wants you know, just to win once.”

                “But I can’t let him eat Red or the Little Pigs,” Author protested. “What would happen to their Tales?”

                “They would disappear, of course,” Hans replied thoughtfully. “An interesting idea. I wonder how many tales you could make disappear?”

                Author looked at the battling Fairy Tales again and then said, “I bet I can make them all disappear.”

                The Little Pigs were punching and kicking each other.

                Hans nodded. “There you go. They have become so sickly sweet in your age that I’m ashamed to have written them.”

                “Have no fear,” Author said, eager to get back to his writing. For the first time in ages, he felt the words stirring in his mind, eager to spill out onto the paper. Turning back to his empty page, he picked up his pen and started to write.

                “Once upon a time, there was a Big Bad Wolf who had never eaten anybody…”

Response – JSW 3-15-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“What’s this?” he asked, peering beyond the board which had broken under the weight of his painting. Not that he believed the board had broken due to painting – he wasn’t that heavy a hand – but he wasn’t sure what else to attribute the breakage to.

“Looks like a hole we now have to patch,” replied Julie angrily. She’d agreed to this fix-her-up project only because Josh had promised it wouldn’t entail more than fixing a little plumbing and painting. So far he’d been wrong on all accounts.

“No, look,” he said, pulling at the board. It came off in his hands. “There is something behind there.”

“It better be a million dollars,” she huffed, tossing down her paint brush. She stormed out.

He almost called after her, but didn’t. If this was just a bigger hole she’d only be angrier.

Instead, he grabbed a flashlight and squeezed himself through the wall and into the narrow opening beyond. Once inside, he saw the space wasn’t a small opening like he’d thought, but the start of a corridor heading off into the darkness. Curious, he followed, stepping over refuse and shining his flashlight all around. The corridor was narrow, just wide enough for his lanky frame, just tall enough for his to walk upright.

What could be at the end? Had this house been used in the Underground Railway? Just then a spider’s web hit him in the face and he sneezed.

A long way away, somewhere in the distance, he heard a returning sneeze.

He froze. Had it been an echo? Or had he just been hearing things? Forcing himself to move, he continued on, trying to be quiet, The corridor started to descend, gradually at first, then steeper as he went along, until he was clinging to the wall studs to keep his feet.

Should he turn around? He’d always thought of himself as brave but if he turned around now…..

He kept going, slipping and sliding over the floor as it changed from wooden planks to dirt and then to stone. Just then the floor ended and he fell down about five feet, landing awkwardly in front of a barred door. Hands shaking, he unbarred the door and pushed it over a crack.

Beyond lay a huge cave. In the distance, he heard a thunder-sneeze and had to grab onto the door to keep from behind blow backwards. Heard sound like rocks thudding onto the floor. As the sounds got louder, he managed to peek out the door again, realizing what had looked like a wooden pillar was actually the leg of a table looming high over his head. He caught a whiff of tobacco.

“Fi Fi FO Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.” Boomed so loud above him, he could barely make out the words.

Slamming the door, he fumbled at the bar and scrambled back up out of the hole, scrambling and climbing back up the corridor as fast as possible. As he reached where the floor slanted upwards at a gentler slope, the voice behind him had faded away even as the words echoed in his brain.

Reaching the narrow opening behind the room, he slid through, grabbed the board and shoved it into the hole, nailing it firmly into the wall.

“Honey! Honey!” he shouted, stumbling out of the room. “Honey….. you’re right…..”

Sunday Photo Fiction 4-4-2016

The idea of Sunday Photo Fiction is to create a story / poem or something using around about 200 words with the photo as a guide.

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He stood, frowning down at his shadow on the ground. When had this happened? This dowdy, pear-shaped echo of himself? At least Shadow still had his sword but…. those thighs! He never realized growing up meant growing old. Older, at least. And older meant this shadow staring sadly up at him.

“What happened, Shadow?”

“You stopped running round,” Shadow shot back, “and ate and ate and ate.  Growing up ain’t for sissies.”

“I never realized I was growing up, Shadow,” he complained. There would certainly be no flying now.

“Shoulda listened.”

“I don’t want to be grown-up.” But it was too late. Once you grew up, it was impossible to go back. Not when one had a house and a job, bills to pay, children to raise, food to buy, lawn to mow. All grown-up things in a grown-up world.

At least he’d never forgotten… well, he’d remembered eventually. He looked up at the sky, sparkles like golden rain falling down all around him.

“Peter! Time for dinner!”

“Yes, Darling,” he replied, giving Shadow one last look.

Tomorrow, he’d head for the gym.

 

Quote For The Day 8-19-2015

“Fear isn’t so difficult to understand. After all, weren’t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It’s just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.”

Quote For The Day 8-3-2015

“Making our art, we make artful lives.”
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Quote For The Day 7-26-2015

“The terms we use for what is considered supernatural are woefully inadequate. Beyond such terms as ghost, specter, poltergeist, angel, devil, or spirit, might there not be something more our purposeful blindness has prevented us from understanding? We accept the fact that there may be other worlds out in space, but might there not be other worlds here? Other worlds, in other dimensions, coexistent with this? If there are other worlds parallel to ours, are all the doors closed? Or does one, here or there, stand ajar?”
Louis L’Amour, The Haunted Mesa

JSW Prompt 7-23-2015

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Come on!  Tell me a story!

JSW Prompt June-22-2015 Response

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It all started the day the cat ran away.  That’s when the house started shrinking.  Don’t ask me how; I don’t know.  But each hour the rooms seemed to get a tiny bit smaller; walls closing in; ceiling encroaching on head-space. My girlfriend told me I was going crazy.

Going?  I thought I was already there.

The day grew darker.  The house got smaller.  I walked in circles, thinking as long as I walked I could keep the walls from crushing me.  My feet wore a path along the carpet.  And then my knees.  Hands and knees.  Belly crawl. Slithering like a snake.

Now I lay here, stretched between kitchen, hall and living room, wood from the door frames pressing into my shoulders, back and legs.  Trapped.  Out the window of what used to be my living room, I watched the sloping meadow beyond. The sky looked grey and angry.  Was it angry at me?  The cat?

I dozed.  Woke.  Dozed again.

When I woke this time, I realized the door frames no longer ground into my body, threatening to cut me into a multitude of sausage-like pieces. In fact, the constrictions around me felt, if anything, looser.  A surge of joy washed through me.

The cat must have come back.  The house was expanding!

No, not expanding.  I was shrinking.  Shrinking like the house, smaller and smaller and smaller.

A huge grey paw reached in through the broken living room window, claws like saber blades.

 Searching.