Unhappily Ever After: Fairy Tales With a Twist, page 1
Unhappily Ever After;
Fairy Tales with a Twist
An Anthology Compiled by
Anchor Group Publishing
All rights reserved. Published by Anchor Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher.
Published by Anchor Group Publishing
Edited by Melissa Ringsted
Cover by KC Designs
Illustration by Crystal Ord
First of all, a huge thank you to all of the authors who submitted their stories for this anthology. The anthology is a labor of love for me, from reading all of the stories to lovingly editing each short so that it shines.
I also want to give a big I love you to my children, Kendric and Amelia, to my friends and family, who are always so supportive, and to all of the Anchor Group authors who make Anchor Group a true family.
This is Anchor Group’s second anthology. Be sure to check out Paranormal Days Gone Awry if you enjoy this one!
-Melissa Ringsted, VP of Anchor Group Publishing
Table of Contents
1. A Wolf’s Tale by Eric White
2. Beauty and the Beast by Jodi Stone
3. Flutterby the Spider Fairy and the Incident of the Fragile Web by Susan Burdorf
4. Jack by Sarah D. Myers
5. Jorinda by Nickie Anderson
6. Not So Perfect by Crystal Clifton
7. Rumpelstiltskin’s Ghost by Jennifer Bull
8. Shattered Glass by Emily Fogle
9. The Devil’s Belt by Leah D.W.
10. The Eighth Dwarf by Marissa Hartman
11. The Huntsman and I by Alicia Michaels
A Wolf’s Tale
by Eric White
I am a wolf. I am more commonly known as “The Big Bad Wolf”, although that moniker is not true at all. I am actually quite small compared to other wolves my age. My brothers and sisters call me “Scrawny”. And as far as being bad, I swear that for as long as I have lived and breathed in this forest I have never so much as harmed a hair on a person's head or the fur on any woodland creature’s coat! I do not eat meat as most of my wolven brethren do. You see, I am a strict vegetarian. No one will believe that now though. Everyone in this forest has been brain-washed by that little brat in the red hood.
Yes, I am a wolf, but I am not a free one. No, I am currently tied to a skinny little cherry tree that grows in Little Red Riding Hood's front yard. I spend every day of my miserable existence underneath the paltry shade it provides. And every night I lay awake listening to the little green shutters on her cute little white house bang incessantly! Open ... shut ... open ... shut ... open ... shut! It is maddening!
I am so sorry. Please forgive me. I don't mean to be so bitter, but I have been wrongly accused and unduly punished for a heinous crime that I did not commit! Please, if you have the time, sit down for a while and listen to my side of the story. I would be most grateful! No one from around here will listen to me anymore.
It all started out innocently enough, one lovely spring day last year. It was gorgeous, filled with warm sunshine and the bluest of skies! I had risen early to spend the morning hours harvesting the crops from the modest garden behind my den. Row by row I gathered my harvest, and by mid-morning I had a wheelbarrow full of fresh vegetables.
There were ripe red tomatoes, crispy green lettuce, and crunchy orange carrots. I put the choicest of my harvest in a large wicker basket to take to market to barter for some aged cheeses, a bottle of red wine, and perhaps a nice pumpernickel loaf and some butter. With my basket on my arm, I headed off down the narrow path through the woods towards town.
I was enjoying my little stroll through the woods very much! It was cool underneath the outstretched bows of the trees above. A fresh breeze brought to my nostrils the sweet aroma of spring lilies. Ah, what a lovely morning this was! That is, until I rounded a turn of the path and ran straight into a little ball of fire known throughout the forest as Little Red Riding Hood!
Now, I know what you are thinking, I can see it already on your face. “What in the world is so bad about Little Red Riding Hood?” I am here to tell you that the precious picture you undoubtedly have of her is a gross exaggeration to say the very least! Let me tell you what she is really like!
Little Red Riding Hood is the only daughter of a woodsman who had the good fortune of marrying well. He wedded a townswoman who, although not filthy rich, was pretty well off. Needless to say, Little Red Riding Hood (Rosalyn Cecilia Desiree Hood is her real name, if you are interested) has always gotten anything and everything she has ever wanted. She is spoiled rotten to the core!
Not only has she always gotten her way, she also is adept at knowing how to go about getting it. If it ever looked as if she were going to get into trouble, or that things were not going to turn out as she would like them to, she would holler and scream, jump up and down, and carry on in the most awful manner! I am not gossiping. It is common knowledge throughout the entire forest, but rarely spoken of by locals for fear they would become her next target. She is a wild, unruly child! The fact that she hasn't taken that hood off since the day it was given to her by her grandmother proves that her parents have absolutely no control over her behavior whatsoever! No, she is not the little angel you may have heard about once upon a time.
Anyway, as I was saying, I turned the corner and ran straight into the little darling. In fact, I knocked her down, falling over her and nearly spilling the contents of my basket on the ground.
“Hey! Watch where you're goin', Wolfie!” Little Red Riding Hood snarled as she picked herself off the ground and brushed the dirt off her white dress. “Do ya think you own this path or somethin'?”
“Uh, no. Of course not,” I stammered out. “I am terribly sorry. Are you all right, my dear?” I asked with genuine concern.
“No, I'm not. It's not every day that a wolf comes barging around the corner when I'm walkin' to Grammy’s house and bulls me over,” she whined.
Little Red riding Hood was standing with her grimy hands on her hips, glaring at me. Her mouth was crooked down in a frown. Her chubby cheeks were smeared with the chocolate she had been eating. And she was wearing that hood! It had tears in it. It had stains on it. It was faded to near nothingness in several places. She looked rather frightful to be quite honest, and all I really wanted at that moment was to go on about my business and leave this mischievous child to someone else's care.
Once again I said, “I am truly sorry for running into you, (even though I thought things happened the other way around) but if you will excuse me, I really must be on my way.” I gathered my basket and had begun to walk away when she stepped in front of my path.
“Where ya goin', Wolfie?” she asked with a sprite’s grin. “And whatcha got in that basket, hmm?” She giggled then and reached out to lift the lid off my basket and take a look for herself.
I pulled the basket away from her and said, “If you really must know, I am taking this basket of vegetables from my garden to see what I can trade them for. Now, if you will please excuse me ...” I was truly flustered now. She had ruined the good humor that I had been in, and I was beginning to fear that if she detained me much longer, I would lose my chance at getting the choicest of the items I wished to barter for.
I started to push by her, but before I could get away she grabbed the handle of my basket and began trying to yank it from m
I couldn't believe this! How rude could a person be? We struggled back and forth for possession of the basket. My grasp slipped and we both fell to the ground with the contents of my basket spilling out over the forest floor.
“Well, I never!” I huffed. I was furious now! All of my vegetables were strewn out all over the place and dusty from the trail! I was thinking how I would have to take them back to the stream to wash them because no one is going to buy dirty produce when smack! A tomato hit me square in the face, stinging red juice ran into my eyes! My vision blurred. Splat! Another one exploded on my chest, leaving sticky residue matted to my nicely combed fur. I could hear her impish laughter as I wiped my eyes with my paws.
Little Red Riding Hood stood with a devilish smile on her lips, poised to strike with another tomato in one hand and a huge carrot gripped in the other like the sword of some medieval rabbit knight! “Food fight!” she bellowed as she began to bombard me with a barrage of my own vegetables!
I dodged the onslaught as best I could, but it was a losing battle I was fighting. I was being pelted from all directions! She seemed to be everywhere at once. Little Red Riding Hood was screaming with mad glee every time she connected a throw. I had no choice except to run away.
I ran as fast as I could down the path towards town. This girl was crazy! I hoped she might give up the chase and leave me alone after a while, but I was wrong. Not only was she still behind me, but she was also gaining! I could hear the pitter-patter of her dirty, fat feet getting closer and closer. Soon she would be right on my tail.
“I’m gonna getcha, Wolfie!” she shrieked and hurled another carrot by my snout like a deadly organic arrow. “I'm gonna getcha good!”
I was terrified! I wasn't dealing with a normal child, this was pure evil. But what could I do? I looked frantically for a way to escape. Suddenly, up ahead I saw my salvation. There was a small farmer's home on the right of the path. I thought if only I could get to it, maybe I could hide there until she went away.
I rushed up the front walk and banged on the door. No one answered! I yelled for someone to let me in. Still no one answered. I was running out of time. Soon that little hellion would be upon me and who knew what she would do to me then! So I did something that I would normally never do; I broke into a perfect stranger's home.
I leaned against the door and tried to calm down. Surely that little demon wouldn't dare follow me in here, would she? As if in answer to my question, I soon heard her coming up the walk towards the house. “Gramsy! I’m hee-eer! I've come to seeee youuuu!” Little Red Riding Hood sang out merrily as if she hadn't just been on a rampage through the forest.
How unlucky could I be? I had taken refuge from the little brat in her grandmother's home. She was knocking at the door. I had to find a hiding place and find it fast! I ran into the first room I came to and pushed the door closed behind me.
I had taken refuge in her grandmother's bedroom. Everything was neat, tidy, and very expensive looking. But I didn't have time to look around because I could hear Little Red Riding Hood coming down the hall. She was heading this way!
I grabbed a housecoat and nightcap that was neatly laid out on the foot of the bed and whisked them on. I jerked back the hand sewn quilt and climbed into the bed, pulling the quilt up over my snout. I laid as still as I could and waited for the worst.
“Oh, there you are, Gramsy,” Little Red Riding Hood cooed as she entered the bedroom. “Why are you in bed?” she asked as she moved towards the head of the bed where I trembled. She pulled down the quilt.
The initial look of shock on her face was replaced by cool and cunning recognition in an instant. The malicious grin I had seen far too often that day spread across her face as her eyes narrowed into steel slits. She knew it was me, but I could do nothing except lay there and wait to see what she would do with me.
“Ohhh, Gramsy!” Little Red Riding Hood cried with false surprise. “Your eyes are so big and round ... like a wolf’s might be!” she said as she inched closer to the bed.
I was shaking in her grandmother's bedclothes, but somehow managed to squeak out, “That's so I can see you better, my dear,” in the best elderly voice I could muster under the circumstances. And I thought, I wish I would have seen you coming sooner!
Little Red Riding Hood stroked the fur on the side of my face and said, “Oh, Gramsy, your nose is so long, just like a wolf’s might be!” She stepped closer to the bed still. Her grin widened.
Somehow I summoned the strength to reply, “That's so I can smell the lovely treats your mother sends with you, my dear.” I thought, If I could smell trouble, I would have smelled you a mile away!
Little Red Riding Hood was now hovering right on top of me. I could see the crazed look in her eyes as she stared down at me, grinning from ear to ear. Then she said, “Oh, Gramsy, your mouth is so huge, just like a wolf's might be! In fact, you look just like the wolf I met in the woods today. But that couldn't be, could it, Wolfie?”
The ruse was up! I leapt from the bed and ran for the door. For a brief second, I thought I had escaped, but the instant I reached the doorway, she grabbed me by the tail and yanked me back into the bedroom. I couldn't get away, her grip was like steel! I clawed for purchase on the wooden floor to no avail.
“Weee! I gotcha now, Wolfie!” she wailed as I dragged her around the room like a deranged sled dog. My yelps of fear and pain joined her screams of mad delight. I pulled her into the hallway, but she held on to my tail like a vice. We smashed into a small table. That devil child would not let loose no matter what I did!
We tore through the house, smashing everything in her mad wake. Vases were shattered, lamps were obliterated, and her grandmother's fine china hutch toppled to the floor in a tremendous crash that shook the entire house! All the while, Little Red Riding Hood squealed and laughed like a crazed skier slaloming down a mountain side.
Well, with all of that commotion, it wasn't long before a crowd of neighbors had formed around the house. Little Red Riding Hood's parents were the first to arrive, followed by her grandmother, who had been at the market I had been trying to go to the entire time. They were furious ... at me! Would you believe they had the audacity to claim that I had snuck into the house, disguised myself as the elderly woman, and tried to capture and eat their precious little girl? No matter how hard I tried to tell them the truth, they would not listen to me!
Everyone wanted to kill me right then and there, and at the time that didn't seem like a bad idea at all. At least I would be free from their little hellion. But Little Red Riding Hood had other plans for me. She screamed and hollered that she really liked me and wanted to keep me ... as a pet! I could not believe my pointed ears.
Well, of course everyone was against this at first. But after a few hours of screaming, whining, and feet kicking at anything that was left unbroken in Grammy's house, they conceded defeat! The woodsman tied me up and carried me back to their house. Then he tied me to this tree you see before you. I have been here for that brat's amusement and torture ever since.
So now you know the awful truth about Little Red Riding Hood. It isn't a very nice story at all. But maybe, if you believe me, you could ...
Oh no! I hear her coming outside to torture me again. Run away, before she tries to make a pet out of you, too!
About the Author:
Eric White has spent his entire life make-believing. Forever a daydreamer, his imagination has always spilled over into his world. As a child, he spent more time with imaginary friends than real ones, and his doodles and squibbles found their way out onto every blank piece of paper to be found, including the borders and edges of his school work!
Childhood shyness gave way to strong friendships of adolescence, where entire worlds were created and dreams of becoming a Disney animator and writing graphic novels with his best friend consumed his days. He was voted most artistic by his graduati
His creativity found life in poetry and songs after meeting his now wife of fifteen years, his Kelley Ann, in true love-at-first-sight fashion. (Aren't all dreamers hopeless romantics?) Together they have two wonderful boys! Zachary, the teenager, already towers above them! There little boy, Joshua, is Eric's imagination reincarnated, and their pretending is always echoing in their home in Southern Illinois. His children's book "I Love You Each, All, and Every Way" is about their strong bond as father and son.
Eric is quite the "Peter Pan", and in his desire to never grow up, he fulfills his daylight responsibilities as a teacher's aide for children with special needs. This assures him of recess and art every day and summer vacation each year! When not creating, he enjoys staying physically fit, reading, getting lost on purpose (not on accident), walking in the woods and climbing trees, cloud watching and star gazing, swimming (part mer-man), singing, pretending , and playing! All is play in Eric's Land of Make Believe!
Mind like an octopus, Eric is never at loss for words to write, but often struggles with which story to plunge into first! He is currently researching the best avenues to publish his works, whether it is his children's stories, songs that are poems and poems that are songs, or his growing collection of paranormal/fantasy short stories. He is currently working on the first of his series of paranormal fantasy "Walking the Quay" novels, "One Running".
If you enjoyed A Wolf’s Tale, please be sure to check out Eric White’s short story Birth Pains, in Xchyler Publishing’s Steampunk/Fantasy Dragon Anthology Forged In Flame, or his children’s story, I Love You Each, All, and Every Way, which can be found in the collection Cookies and Milk Volume 1 from A Cuppa and An Armchair from Twin Wicks Publishing.
Beauty and the Beast
by Jodi Stone
It's a tale as old as time, or so they say. For some, this story might seem obvious where the princess wins the heart of the prince and they live happily ever after, but Princess Bella was unlike any other. Her heart did not belong to that of a prince. Her heart belonged within stories of fictional loves and a library she'd created within her own home. Living with her dad should have been a clue as to why the princess did not have a love in her heart, yet Bella did not seem to let living without a true love bother her. She had read too many books, some would say, but for Bella, finding a love was not in her list of priorities.