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Horror/Fantasy/Fairy Tale Anthology
Date Published: December 15, 2016
The happily ever after is never the end. The curtain doesn’t fall once love is recognized or evil is vanquished. Credits don’t roll once the giant is slain or the big bad wolf is boiled alive. Wicked stepsisters, malevolent rulers, and hideous creatures still have lives after their sinister roles play out; heroes, lovers, and dreamers often find their victories lead to more troubles.
Within these pages are more than seventy continuations, retellings, and eldritch stories that explore the dark forests, magical castles, and hideous creatures After the Happily Ever After.
“Sweet Revenge” by Charlotte Bond:
The laughter had died and the rumours had grown when they’d found the third dead dog in two weeks; each one had been torn to pieces, the heart gone and the ribcage showing teeth marks.
Outside the cottage, in the dark night, a dog howled.
“Little Red Hunting Hood” by Mary DeSantis:
I halt halfway to getting my red cape off and hung on a hook by the door.
Budding beanstalks, grandma has a visitor. Grandma never has visitors, except for me, Mom, and that guy she met at the Elder Cottage Living group two months ago.
I strain to hear. Whoever’s back there is quiet, which means it isn’t the Elder Cottages guy, and of course, this is the one time Grandma keeps her voice low.
I hang my cape and go back to the basket.
Two sets of footsteps approach. Grandma enters the kitchen. Her white hair is in its signature bun, and she’s wearing her white dress with the red-check pattern.
“Hello, sweetie.” Her face wrinkles with a smile and stays wrinkled as she directs her a glare over her shoulder. “Oh, for giant’s sake, get in here. She doesn’t bite.”
“A Sleeve of Feathers” by Claudia Quint:
It all came crashing down when he found Geileis in bed, nestled between Dylan and Ailill, Oisin cuddling on the left and Ruari at her feet, with Emmet and Cian resorting to floor space when they ran out of room on the bed. Stephen dragged the brothers out one by one, pushing and pulling so they awoke with starts and cries, until she roused, confused and sleepy, to ask him what in the world he was doing.
“Like it’s the most normal thing in the world.” Stephen contented himself by folding his hands to stop fiddling with the cuffs. “To sleep with your brothers and shut out your husband.”
“Step-Mother” by Deanna Smith:
My name is Cindy Charming. I’m not, just so you know. Husband is, but that’s his gig, and if it makes me squeal and giggle and blush when he’s pouring it on, that ain’t nobody’s business but our own. I sure as hell didn’t spawn these three hooligans without some learned interjection from him.
We tied the knot ten years ago. A fabulous fairy tale wedding, of course. A little creepy when the in-laws asked how much torture I’d like to lay on my step-mother and step-sisters, but you’ve really got to hand it to them, they went all out to make sure I felt welcome to the fam.
“Raven, Rose, and Apple Pie” by Jaap Boekestein:
The wind pulls at my hair; my braids are all undone. I can see such a distance from the highest tower of the castle: yellow fields and darks woods, silver rivers and hazy gray mountains with white peaks. It is beautiful. Will this be the last thing I see before I throw myself from the window? What will I think during the fall? Will I feel regret, or fear, or freedom? Will it… will it hurt? God in Heaven, forgive me.
His song saves me. The sound of the lute reaches even the highest tower. His voice…
A minstrel is at the gate, asking to be let in with a demonstration of his skills. He is young; he is handsome, wearing bright colors.
I step back from the edge.
“WITCH v. HANSEL, GRETEL, et. al.” by Daniel M. Kimmel:
So the question before us is one of balancing these two compelling but competing claims: Appellant Witch’s insistence that any attempt to curtail or punish her actions would be an infringement of her religious freedoms under the First Amendment versus the desire of the Respondent class not to be baked and eaten.
While there is no precedent that is precisely on point, there are a number of cases that indicate a clear pattern. One such case is Goldilocks v. Papa Bear, Mama Bear, et. al. 516 Goose 749 (1852). In this instance, Goldilocks was in the same position as the Respondents in this case, trespassing on private property while asserting a need that, as was so claimed, overrode any competing rights. In her tort action against the Bear family, Goldilocks asserted numerous injuries, such as from eating porridge that was “too hot” or attempting to sleep in a bed that was “too small.” Nonetheless, the court found for the Bears, upholding the ursine precept that “a bear’s home is his castle” and that being a “cute child” did preempt the rights of the Bear family to the quiet enjoyment of their abode. Indeed, the defense raised by Goldilocks against charges of criminal trespass and unauthorized digestion are precisely those that are asserted by the Respondent class in the present action.
Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s the author of BLOOD PHOENIX: REBIRTH, BLOOD PHOENIX: CLAIMED, and LOVING RED, and is co-editor of DISTORTED and UNDERWATER. IMPRINTED, her new novel, is undergoing serious edits for its 2017 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.
Having relocated from Northwest Florida’s lonesome roads and haunted swamps, Anthony S. Buoni now prowls the gas lamp lit streets of New Orleans, playing moonlight hide and seek in the Crescent City’s above ground cemeteries. Anthony is the author of Conversation Party, Bad Apple Bolero, as well as the editor to the Between There anthologies. His stories and articles have been featured in North Florida Noir and Waterfront Living. When not prowling, Anthony keeps it scary, writing dark fiction, editing, and watching horror movies. In his spare time, he DJs, plays music, and conjures other worldly creatures with tarot cards and dreams.
The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass is not responsible for prize fulfillment.