A Fairy-tale Ending

‘Don’t,’ he says.

I stop mid-reach.  One of my many lady’s maids instead retrieves the spool of ribbon which a careless sweep of my hand had sent tumbling to the floor to unravel like a satin snake.

He takes my hand and kisses it.  And I want to scream. I know he does not intend to hurt me, but that word has become a glass shard, piercing me each time it passes his lips.

‘Don’t,’ he says, when I reach with my napkin to soak up a spilled glass of wine on the table.

‘Don’t,’ he says, when I begin to straighten the blankets on the bed after rising in the morning.

‘Don’t,’ he says, when I do anything which betrays my shameful past.

I know he thinks such things are beneath me.  Perhaps he has forgotten where he found me; the poor girl who slept in the soot of the hearth.  Me, who waited on a step-family as a servant lest I be locked away without food. Me, who would be beaten for the slightest lapse or offense until I had learnt my lesson.  Me, who once saw a promise of freedom, but now find myself locked in an even tighter cage than I had been.

My life before, a never ending stream of ‘Do this,’ and ‘Do that’, now hemmed in on all sides by ‘Don’ts.’  I am more a prisoner in this life than I ever was locked in the little attic back home.

He follows me as I turn away, calling me ‘beloved’ and asking what is wrong.  He grasps my hand again, but I pull away.

‘Don’t’ I say then, and I wonder why I did not say it to him before he put the slipper on my foot.


So I’ve been very quiet here, but that’s not because I don’t have stuff to share.  Instead, it’s because I’ve started on a new project.  Or rather, finally started on an old project that has been bumping around in my brain for quite some time but I couldn’t quite manage to put it all together until just recently when the last piece of my creativity puzzle fell into place!

A big project.  Well, a big-for-me project.  I’ve been putting off saying anything because I didn’t want to jinx myself or something or make promises and not deliver.  But I am going to tease you mercilessly now.  I have begun writing a book in earnest.  Well, a book-sized collection of stories.  I have no date of completion yet, for now I’m just going to say it’ll be done when it gets done.  But I will give you a hint as to what lies inside:

Disguised gods, warrior maidens, magical items, kidnapped princes, lost children, tricksy gentlemen, binding vows, dark forests, enchanted creatures, powerful witches, cruelty, greed, bravery, love – and yes, even some happily ever afters, but mostly not in the way you expect them.

I am writing what I hope will be fairy tales with heroes and heroines for our modern age while maintaining the essence of classic tales.  Though I say ‘essence’ I don’t mean that I will simply be retelling existing stories in a new way, but rather I will be completely deconstructing the very building blocks of these tales and rebuilding them in a new way.  I want to create stories that feel familiar and yet are refreshingly new and different in how they play out.

I don’t have a title for the collection yet, though I’ve jotted down a number of ideas.  “Once and Ever After” is currently the best, but I’m still looking for something that just says “ah, yes, that’s it!  That’s the title!”  And I don’t have that quite yet.

I do have at least working titles for most of the individual stories, and you may think you will recognize a few of them, but I promise you won’t know the ending until you’ve turned that last page.

Some of the stories already in work include

Skin of Ash
The Snow Raven
The Two Kings
Xiao Dan
The Wise Queen
The Woodcutter’s Children
A House in the Woods
Seven of Hearts
A Bird May Love A Fish
The Empty Cradle

There are more that don’t yet have titles, also.  Some of these titles might change, and some of the stories might go in a way I didn’t expect and end up changing the title that way… but I have a pretty good start on most of these and a clear end in mind for most of them, too.

I’ll leave you to (hopefully?) be excited for this!  I know I am 😀