The time has come… for you to wow us with your fairy tale creepiness.
So what is a costumed curse, you ask? A poisoned apple, a cursed spinning wheel, a dress that forces you to dance until you’re sweating blood. A kiss that kills instead of saving, a smiling face that lures you to your death. An assassin’s blow that feels like a caress, a whispered word that deafens. A granted wish that turns to dust, a maestro’s work that rots the brain…
The choice is yours: hide the evil and make us bite. We want dark fairy tales, stories that make our hair stand up and keep us awake at night, wishes, dreams, and hopes gone wrong.
BUT our wish (that will be granted, lest we punish you) is that you follow the rules. And what are those, you ask? Well…
When: 15 October at 0900 EDT (THAT’S TODAY!) until 27 October at 2359
Genre: Fantasy and all sub-genres. Dark fantasy, urban fantasy, horror fantasy, epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, fairy tale fantasy, dystopian fantasy, whatever. (No sci-fi this time, sorry!)
Theme: Curses masquerading as blessings, granted wishes, deepest desires, secret yearnings. Take a gift and twist it. Take a wish and make it rot. Grant a deep desire and watch it burn.
Length: 500 words.
How to Enter: Post your entry in the COMMENTS TO THIS POST, and be sure to include the following information:
- Your NAME
- Your TWITTER HANDLE or EMAIL ADDRESS*
- Your WORD COUNT
If these things are not included, you will have to drink from the Cup of the Blind, which will erode your entry into nothingness. Meaning, you will be disqualified and will have to wear the Cone of Shame.
*No, we won’t use your email address for anything other than notifying winners, distributing prizes. No, we won’t give it to evil cyber stalkers. No, we are not evil cyber stalkers. Does anyone use the word “cyber” anymore?
Prizes: Super snazzy prizes will include an Amazon gift card, manuscript critiques, goody bags (when was the last time you got goodies in the POST?! Alas, these will have to be limited to US residents only because we’re broke), and mucho de bragging rights. And some sweet badges which will be revealed later. Muahahaha! Winners will be crowned as follows:
- 1st Place — HERO
- 2nd Place — WARRIOR
- 3rd Place — MINION
Your Judges: Me, of course, and Emmie Mears. We will be judging the posts on originality, use of the theme, quality of writing, and general badassery. R-rated stories are fine, but we’re not looking for erotica. Some sex is okay, but remember the theme and ask if it’s necessary. Don’t shoot for shock value. Wow us with your story and how you weave in the prompt.
Now, go! Be free! Write to make us shiver! And look forward to some featured stories, some curdled wishes to burn your mind.
Best of luck from,
I can still hear them. Oh, God.
I know they’re not there, there’s nobody there. Nobody is talking to me. Nobody is talking. Nobody.
Did I see something move? Every now and then, I fall for that one. I should have learned by now, but I– There it is again! Nothing.
I can hear them. Always.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
I live here, in the forest. Nobody comes around here. Nobody comes, except for them.
I’m getting off topic already, aren’t I?
I used to live with my wife–
I lived with my wife and daughter, until just recently. Margaret was her name. My father trapped and sold pelts, while my mother taught at the school. She taught me writing. My father traded with a man with a daughter, Margaret. She was shy. It was her father’s idea to write to each other.
The letters arrived. At first, they were very short. Maybe a page. After a time, though, she grew comfortable telling me things she’d tell nobody. I’m lying if I said I didn’t feel the same way.
Who’s there? Never-mind.
After years, I finally met her and we were in love. I assumed, at least.
Years passed, and we married. She moved to our little town.
There was a bad accident. My father didn’t make it. I took over. She didn’t like that, but she smiled anyway. And then we had our beautiful daughter.
And then I met him.
Checking my lines at the river, I looked up and there he was. Tall man, thin. Dark eyes. That smile.
Is someone at the door? No, it can’t be. No, no, I’ll check.
Ah… I knew better.
Him. Right. Sorry.
He told me things. Horrible things. “Your Margaret doesn’t love you. She doesn’t need you.”
I told him to shut up.
“The whole town thinks you’re a fool. But I can help. I can give you three wishes! Just ask!”
I asked why? He shrugged. I agreed to get him to leave. He left.
I went home early, spooked. Went home to my family.
She was there, with someone else.
“No!” I remember screaming.
We fought later. She said she was leaving with my daughter. That she didn’t need me.
And then I said it.
“I wish you needed me more than anyone ever!”
“Granted,” his voice whispered. Margaret fell, sick. She dropped our daughter to the floor. She bled, while Margaret turned white. It was–
I can’t describe it. Not thinking, I said out loud, “I didn’t want this! Make it stop! Make it stop for both of them!”
“Granted!” The voice spoke louder. His voice.
I buried them the next day, and moved away from the town. I drank. I got scared. And I said “I wish I wasn’t alone anymore.”
And there it was. Loud. Yelling. Piercing.
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Lilia Lluc buried her husband’s fingers, careful to scoop up the blood soaked soil and turn it under along with the severed digits. She wouldn’t want her children investigating the dark stain.
She frowned, thinking she would never be free of her strange children, then immediately chastised herself for such a blasphemous thought.
“What are you doing?”
She glanced up with a start. Her heart felt as if it would leap out of her chest.
A strange man stood above her, his face shadowed by his wide brimmed hat. The sun hung low in the western, clear sky, throwing long pillars of shadow through her almond orchard.
Standing, she swung her bloodied hand behind her back. In her other hand, she held tight to the ceramic succioro.
She gave him an innocent smile. “Hello and welcome. Are you lost?”
The man squinted at the sun. He snorted a laugh then said, “Actually, yes, I think I am. I was just passing by on the road…and, well, here I am. I’m not sure how I got here.”
Lilia kept the smile on her face though she did not feel it. Whether the stranger or she would enjoy the coupling, it mattered not, but she soon learned she might as well be pleasant enough with them. After all, she would be the last thing they ever saw.
Slipping the succioro into the pocket of her apron, she trailed her fingers across the top hem of her shirt, straining the fabric over her bosom.
“Do you want me?” she said.
The man took a step back, hands up in defense, but then he removed his hat, his eyes scanning her body before settling on her breasts.
“Yes,” he said, his voice already husky.
She sighed, the repetitive manner of the ritual boring her. Pointing to a nearby tree, she directed him to lay down and remove his trousers. Lifting her skirt, she straddled him and began a rhythmic rocking, waiting for him to plant his seed.
When she and her husband had failed to conceive within the first two years of their marriage, they had tried everything, until finally they consorted with a witch. Her potion had required her husband’s blood, flesh, and bone, a price that many would have thought too high. But not her husband. He said he was willing to sacrifice a bit of himself for his children.
And it worked. Oh, yes, each time it worked.
But the witch had not said anything about whose seed would take root.
(Doesn’t make much sense, but there it is!)
Ah, shoot, do I get the cone of shame?
N. E. White
460 words or so
then all of the above 😮
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