March 19, 2019

FAIRY TALE FLASH - The Heart Baker by Fanni Sütő

I followed the witch,
melting into the shadows,
hoping the night would hide me...
He thinks he knows what he is doing. Of course, he doesn’t. How could he when he only sees until the edge of Rosaline’s skirt. What worries me is that I don’t know what he is doing either. That’s the real tragedy. I know the inside of his head more than he does, but now he is slipping away.

I don’t understand. That girl, woman, witch, whatever, is ugly! Exotic beauty and rare looks, the knobby kneecap of my great-aunt! And yet that’s what Albert and all the other bewitched boys say. Nice marketing, that’s what I say.

That wicked woman put something in their food, poisoned them into loving her. The way to a man’s heart leads through his stomach, after all.

Albert was supposed to marry me not her. He even gave me a ring! Now he’s asking it back. It was a mistake, he says, a midsummer madness. No-no, I won’t give up so easily.

Yesterday the moon was full and I knew that she, the thief of my happiness, was going out to collect herbs on the hill. I followed her, melting into the shadows, praying to the spirits of the night to hide me.

Rosaline had a long gown, the color of winter skies and a white basket that glowed with a silver light under the soft touch of moonshine.

She filled the basket with herbs and leaves smelling of mint, the sunshine of the first spring day and the notes of a lullaby. A spell of drowsiness weighed down on me, but I resisted. My determination was stronger than any magic that witch could master. I had to discover how she was doing it, leading the village men by their noses, making them dance as she whistles.

I followed her to her house at the edge of the dark forest and peered in through the window. Rosaline stood there heating a furnace; her flame-blonde hair flowing around her face. She threw leaves into the fire upon which the flames turned a deep violet. I could almost hear the cracking and feel their heat. She took a box from the corner and threw its contents into the fire. I could only catch a glimpse of the clay-colored objects, big as my fist. She cleaned her tools and kitchenware, then she returned to the flames and took out one of the finished products.

I could see clearly now; it was a heart made of some strange, living material. The witch produced a hammer and slammed down, murmuring under her breath. A mist emerged from the heart, slowly taking the shape of a girl with gloom-black hair and olive skin. The apparition looked me in the eye and blood froze in my veins. It was me.

Albert’s last memory of me disintegrated with a sad smile, and I understood that I'd irrevocably lost him.

Fanni Sütő writes poetry, short stories and a growing number of novels-in-progress. She publishes in English and Hungarian and finds inspiration in reading, paintings and music. She writes about everything which comes in her way or goes bump in the night. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants. Previous publications include:The Casket of Fictional Delights, Tincture Journal, Enchanted Conversation. Fundead Publications.
Follow her on Twitter @Fanni_Pumpkin

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

March 15, 2019

FAIRY TALE FLASH - Seamus by E.K. Lekman

The memories plagued him,
vivid and insistent...
Fat raindrops slapped against the broad-leafed alders above Seamus. The smell of the impending storm grew potent, petrichor and condensation. Earth and water. The elements of the natural world, which dominated him. The inescapable duty that the rainbow brought.

More than a decade had passed, but the regret still haunted him. Digging his feet into the mud and listening to the cacophony of greenfinches above, Seamus did his best to distract himself. Despite his best efforts, though, the memories plagued him, vivid and insistent.    

The two of them had been right here all those years ago, beneath this very canopy of leaves. The other man had been panting from the exertion of smuggling the gold away when Seamus found him. The look in his eyes when they finally saw one another had been impossible to place. At the time, Seamus clocked it as anger, perhaps greed. In hindsight, he realized it was pity.

The man had pleaded with Seamus not to take it, to leave him alone, to forget this had ever happened. “Trust me,” he had pleaded, “save yourself.”

But Seamus had only smirked as he had shoved the old man out of the way.

The burden, the sorrow, and the inexplicable weight of the treasure descended upon Seamus the moment his fingers gripped the wrought iron.

The sight of the rainbow shook Seamus out of his reveries. It settled at his feet now, as it always did. He sighed and leaned into the familiar vessel to haul it away, barely glancing at the shimmering riches that weighed it down.

And the evening passed much as it always did, Seamus at the mercy of the elements, bearing the burden he had coveted so badly, once upon a time.

E.K. Lekman lives in Celebration, Florida with her two young daughters. When she isn’t busy pondering the fantastic or the improbable, she can be found enjoying Bob Ross reruns or re-reading Nikola Tesla biographies.

Painting by: Boris Kustodiev, 1925
Layout: Amanda Bergloff

March 6, 2019

FAIRY TALE FLASH - Atonement by Charlotte O’Farrell

"Don't use fairy powers to
settle personal grudges..."
“Good news, Janet. An opening’s come up and I think it would be the perfect way for you to repay your debt to society.”

Janet faked a smile to her Community Service Coordinator. 

“Yippee,” she said, trying to keep the sarcasm in her voice to a minimum. 

The CSC frowned and carefully placed her pen down on her desk. 

“Now come on, Janet,” she said, voice turning stern, “you know you were lucky to get off with 
just community service for what you did. Abuse of fairy powers to settle personal grudges is 
a serious business.”

Janet rolled her eyes. 

“I only made his crops fail!”

“Yes, and burned ‘CHEATING LIAR’ into his forehead. Do you know how many powerful 
spells it took to reverse that?”

This old argument again. Janet took a deep breath and decided to change the subject. 

“So what’s the opening?”

The CSC’s demeanour brightened. 

“It’s in the Fairy Godmother programme for fairies on probation. A chance to do some good! You just have to check in on a young orphan girl now and again and make sure her stepmother and stepsisters don’t mess with her too much.”

She handed her a form with all of the details filled in. As she read it, a smile crept across her 

“So I just have to do this until the girl’s married off, and I’m free?”

The CSC nodded. 

“Great! What an easy ride. When do I start?”
Charlotte O’Farrell writes horror, fantasy, sci-fi and all manner of the weird and wonderful. You can find her on Twitter @ChaOFarrell 

Cover: Amanda Bergloff