Daddy’s Little Girl (Part 1)

Like all fairytale princesses, little Charlotte’s birth was nothing short of a miracle; a beauty in an ugly place of ignorance and prejudice, not as far far away as some might expect. She was darling, silent, and obedient. But as she grew more curious, and more rambunctious, the King became wary. He sought advice from the Kingdom’s well respected doctor, who had a dreary conclusion to draw: Bestowed with cleverness, and a proclivity towards intellect, he was sure hysteria would soon be upon the Princess Charlotte.

So very closely she was watched, that after being found defiantly sneaking about the castle at the tender age of fifteen (thus proving the doctor’s theory), Charlotte was put to rest on a bed of roses that adorned the vicinity with thorns. There, in the deepest of induced sleeps, Charlotte would lie until a suitable prince might come along – one who might be trusted with the task of keeping her safe, and quiet.

“This will do. Remember to give her one dose each morning. We wouldn’t want the effects to ware off at an inopportune time,” the doctor chuckled as he was escorted out of the castle.

“Oh, of course.” The King returned the smile, anxious to be rid of his company.

As the doctor turned to leave, he paused and glanced back at the King. “I must ask, if it’s not an imposition – you said she was poking around, did she happen upon –”

“Dr. Kitz, I told you that in confidence. I expect the matter will not be brought up again.”

The doctor bowed his head apologetically, and stuttered a vow of silence. The King closed the heavy doors in the man’s face and grunted his disapproval. The doctor had been intrusive, but at least he had provided the King with a definite solution to his problem. Charlotte would no longer be an issue.

******

“There’s a storm coming, your highness. Shall I fix the fires?”

The Queen looked up from her daze and met the eyes of her maid, but seemed to look right through them. After a moment the maid backed away, unnerved by her Queen’s empty glare. It had been nearly two decades since she had seen that look in her eyes.

She shuddered to remember the first night it happened. She had only been at the castle for a few weeks. The King and Queen had been newlywed and the Kingdom’s celebratory festivities were just starting to wind down. It was the first quiet night since her arrival, and the maid was looking forward to it. She had been getting along quite well with the Queen, and had even made her giggle once or twice. It had set her completely at ease. That particular night, she had been doing her rounds of the castle, sure to open all of the shutters to let in the bright harvest moonlight. Then, humming a tune through the dissipating darkness, the maid had caught the sight of what she could only describe as a beast through the window. It stood on two sturdy hind legs in the distance; its fur white as snow, eyes red as blood, soul black as night.

Startled, the maid yelped and let her candle tumble to the floor. Despite the yards of space between them, the monster seemed to sense her fear, and turned so that its eyes met hers before it leapt into the shadows of the trees and disappeared. In her catatonia, the maid hardly noticed the candle had set her skirt ablaze. It was only when she turned to run, hyperventilating, that she came face to face with the Queen who had been silently watching the events unfold. The maid yelled out, frightened by both the realization that she was not alone, and by the fact that her highness was standing so very still. Suddenly, the maid could feel the heat sneaking up her legs, and smell her own flesh melting away. She jumped, breaking the Queen’s empty gaze. Snapping out of what seemed to be nothing short of a hypnotic state, the Queen poured her glass of water onto the small but painful flames below them. The maid had not even noticed the water, and wondered if she had been holding it the whole time. She might have asked if she were not overwhelmed by the strangeness of it all. Instead, she watched, mouth gaping and heart pounding, as the Queen wandered off down the hall.

Frightened and confused, the maid had told no one about the monster she had seen. Eventually, the memory became less tangible and more oneiric.

Tonight, the Queen had that same eerie look in her eyes. The recognition sent the memory of that night flooding back to the maid. It washed over her like a wave, so that she was woozy and unsteady on her feet. In her mind’s eye, images of the beast flashed incoherently until she felt her body succumb to the exhaustion. She collapsed to the floor and it was only then that the Queen rose, and came to her side (though with very little urgency). The world blackened and the maid soon awoke in her chambers, tucked into bed with a cool breeze grazing her face. She let her eyes flutter open and saw that the Queen was just leaving, closing the door behind her.

The window was wide open, sheer curtains blowing in the wind. Much like that night so many years ago, moonlight poured in splashing her in the face. Only now, it was not so welcomed. She turned her back to it, squeezed her eyes shut, and said a silent prayer. In the distance, she thought she heard a howl. So, she prayed again.

Down the hall, the princess slept, sound as death.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Read Part 2

Devoured

“Please don’t make me,” Alice murmured.

Her brother, Eric, shot her a look and pushed the plate of food nearer to her face. The salt-water fumes charged through her nasal cavity and landed in the pit of her empty stomach. It lurched forward, but came to a prompt stop when it realized it had nothing to give.

She hated fish; she hated seaweed; she hated not knowing where she would ever find a decent meal, again. She did not, however, hate Eric’s ambition. Since they’d been on their own he had provided well above her expectations.

“What is it?” she asked hesitantly.

“I’m sure you don’t want to know.”

That was true. Whatever it was it would sustain her, but for how long? How long were they meant to live this way?

Pushing the dreary thought from her mind, she closed her eyes; took a deep breath; and scooped the mystery flesh into her mouth – gills and all.

Four years later, the world was still broken, but Alice was fierce and strong. She and Eric had become quite the team, only occasionally having brief encounters with other survivors. Mostly they’d make some trades and move on. Groups were not their thing. Eric had become quite the fisherman – and Alice quite the fish eater. Something about the meat fueled her. She was sixteen now and despite the elemental exposure, hard labor, and lack of rest, she had grown into a stunning young woman. She was tall; lean yet muscular, with eyes of emerald and caramel skin that seemed to glow in the sunlight. She looked remarkably healthy, and it was not lost on her that the men they would come across could not help but gawk. She was never in danger though, and seemed to wield a certain power.

It was the mermaid meat. She knew that, now. She gobbled it up happily every night. It seemed there was enough to last a lifetime – or several. It would have to. Consuming the mermaid’s flesh had given Alice eternal life, and eternal wealth. In these times, that just meant she would never starve, again.

Alice was pleased with her vigor, but it panged her to see Eric suffering, so. The mermaid could only be consumed by one; could only offer its powers to one. Eric had given it to his weak younger sister that day on the beach, and was paying the price with each passing month.

Often, Alice thought about what capturing the mermaid must have been like. She envisioned her brother, mighty and heroic, slaying the creature. In her fantasies, it was like a fairytale. But she knew in actuality, it would not have been so magical. It would have been violent, bloody, and monstrous.

The first time she saw a mermaid was the day before the war. It had washed up on the shore near their house, and Alice had been the first to spot it. The creature had a fish tail below, and smooth creamy skin up top – her breasts bared shamelessly. Her eyes were red and dug into Alice’s soul as she writhed and hissed. She even had horns, just like Alice was told she would. She was an omen, just as Alice had read about.

And now that she had consumed her (or one of her kind), Alice herself was the Omen. It would only be a matter of time.

Just before her eighteenth birthday, Eric drifted off to the next world. She committed his body to the sea, whispered well-wishes to his soul, and thanked the heavens that he would not suffer through her transformation. She could already sense it beginning, and she was ashamed of how good it felt.

The air became thick and clogged her airwaves, filling Alice with a thirst that even six years of destitution had never brought on so strongly. Naked, she crawled towards the sea, carried by her throbbing desire to splash about in its coolness. She huffed and puffed until she finally got far enough out to sink into its abyss. Below the surface her legs stiffened and coalesced until she had only one. A stinging sensation over came them as scales fought their way out of the skin that was simultaneously greening in color. The mass that had become her lower body grew a fin and flailed about, thrashing her body with it. A school of fish tried to scoot by, but Alice caught their scent. She could feel her jaw rip open, tearing at the hinges until her mouth hung low and wide. Instinctively, her body lunged towards the fish and she scooped them into her maw, devouring every last one. Her teeth, small but sharp, shredding apart the contents of her meal quickly and effectively.

She looked around; her body and mind screaming for more. She swam deeper and deeper, following a new monstrous intuition deep inside of her. The scent was staggering, and made her tingle from nose to fin. At the bottom of the sea she found it – a man, strung down with rope and a rock in his lap. He looked familiar, but mostly; he looked nectarous.

The Call

Under the guise of the sheep

You call to me, across worlds

The scent of your deception reeks

But still, I rouse for a peek

 

How fallible we are, after all

No costume, nor mask, can hide

Our weaknesses; outside us they reside

Assisting the sting of broken pride

 

So I came, as you intended

And I am reluctant to regret

The way I squirmed and smiled

Wrapped in your lies; no fret

 

I ignored the easy yellow glow

Beaming from your once kind eyes

And let you hunt me, willingly

Until there was only darkness and desire

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

The Night of the Moonlit Curse (Midwinter Special)

A special thank you to Three Drops from a Cauldron for including my dark fairytale, The Night of the Moonlit Curse, in their seasonal special (page 31).

A mile later Poppy’s knees grew weak and the insatiable hunger she so feared began to creep up her throat.

Midwinter Special 2015 is currently available as a free e-issue, and a print anthology will be available soon.

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to click the link and have a read! There are some great fairytale shorts and poems collected here… some darker than others.

Bonded

Bonded Excerpt

I’ve never been a penitent person. Some call it mental derangement, some call it sociopathy, but I just call it love. Some say I’m a victim of that love, but I don’t see it that way. I have never been a victim.

Description

A young woman is called upon by a mysterious man to a mysterious manor… and she can’t resist.

Publication Link

Read the complete story for free in the Siren’s Call Ezine, Issue #23: Bat-Shit Crazy for You

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

Grace and the Varmin

Donnie had never been particularly perspicuous, so when he asked Grace to attend the concert with him she was taken slightly aback. Up until that moment, she had been unsure whether he had any real interest in her, or if he had just been making the best of the situation. She had been a gift after all; a compromise; a symbol of gratitude – though never treated as one. A concert, though, was a clear indicator of affection. Or, at the very least, fondness. It eased her mind, and even loosened the figurative cuffs around her wrists.

The rendition of Sonata no.14 was poor, but Grace tried to appreciate the effort behind it and clapped heartily with the crowd when it was expected of her. She snuck glances of Donnie every now and again, but he seemed indifferent to all of it. At the intermission, she hurried off to the ladies’ room – an excuse to gather her thoughts.

“I’m awful tonight, I know.”

The voice was soft but sent a jolt through Grace, who had not expected Donnie to enter the washroom. Her face flushed immediately, and she stuttered without eloquence. She had no idea what the appropriate words were, nor what reaction Donnie was trying to garner from her. That always made her nervous – not knowing what others wanted of her. He approached slowly, eyes locked into her own. She tried to look away, but found herself mesmerized by his forwardness. In all the time she had know him, he had barely said more than a few words directly to her. In fact, he rarely spoke at all.

Grace’s knees buckled as she backed into the counter, clawing the edge with her satin-gloved fingernails. Donnie came within a couple inches of her and stopped dead. The intensity in his eyes melted away, leaving behind those of a confused youth. He shook his head as though awakening from a trance and looked around. Grace cleared her throat, still absent of vocabulary. In the distance, the bell sounded to urge the audience back to their seats.

“We should,” Donnie started.

He did not finish. He simply wandered out.

Grace spun to face the mirror again. Her dress was a vibrant pink that shone under the pot lights. Disoriented, she tugged at the strapless number to raise it higher on her bust, tucked a few rebellious curls back into her diamond encrusted hair clip, and exited the washroom.

Donnie was nowhere in sight. Rattled, Grace walked back to her seat on the balcony. He was not there either. After the show, Grace stepped into the cold night air and used her cellular to dial her driver. It was supposed to be his night off, but he would have to make an exception. He brought her home, where she undressed and retired to the library; one of the few rooms Donnie had granted her access to (although it was not without a fight).

The next morning she attended to her usual chores. It was while she was dusting the entertainment set and watching the news that Grace heard of the gruesome murders of two concert goers. Both had been wearing stunning pink dresses, much like her own.

She turned away from the screen, resisting reaction. It was not her job to understand Donnie, or his motives. When he came home, she would not even ask the question.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

Ruby

Across the town line, parallel to the stream, and a quarter of an hour through the forest, in a small wooden house – that’s where her mother had been hiding. Ruby knew the route well, and had been secretly slinking through it for weeks. However, she had not once approached the door. Her grandmother had been quite stern on the matter. Ruby’s mother was gone, and Ruby was to leave it be.

The night it had happened – the night Ruby’s mother had disappeared – it had been just the two of them at home. Monsters had stormed their front door, but upstairs mother had hid her in the closet and told not to come out until grandma came for her. “No matter what you hear, no matter what you see, you stay right here and wait for grandma.” So she did. Even when she heard the riotous commotion, and was tempted to investigate. Even when mother crawled out the window, which Ruby could just barely see through the slits in the closet door.

The intruders hadn’t stayed for long, but it took grandma hours to come to her. Ruby explained that mother had gotten away. Days later, she heard grandma tell Uncle Joe that mother was hiding at the cottage until “it” blew over. Uncle Joe said she’d likely die first – and soon. That stirred Ruby. If her mother was dead, she’d like to see it with her own two eyes; but grandma had many rules. No crossing the town line, EVER. No playing near the stream. No entering the forest, especially at night. Ruby had to successively break each and every one to find mother. But finally, she did, and was very pleased with herself for it. See, Ruby had always been underestimated because of her small stature, young age, and sweet smile. But Ruby was a smart girl, with keen senses, and a precarious nature. Each night, while her keeper slept, Ruby would sneak out of the house, using the very same window as her mother had. Crouched behind a heavy tree trunk, Ruby would watch her mother inside of the cottage – preparing needles, injecting, drooling, and sleeping. Some nights, Ruby would be certain of her demise, but the next night she would find her very much alive, repeating the steps.

On this particular night, something was different. Ruby had been stomping through the forest as usual, when she heard a sound. It wasn’t any of the usual suspects: a cricket, a crow, or an owl. It was something heavier, angrier, and foul. Ruby tried to silence her trot, but no matter how she tried, she couldn’t avoid crunching twigs as she went. She stopped, and spun around, sure she had felt the shiver of someone’s breath down the back of her neck. But she could see no one. In fact, with the moon sinking behind the clouds, she could hardly see anything at all.

She breathed slowly, squeezed her eyes shut, and sprung them back open. Still, there was nothing. But in the distance came a howl that instantly spread goose bumps over her arms. Her chest heaved now, a result of her pounding heart. Of course, Ruby recognized the sensation not as fear, but as excitement. The same kind of excitement she’d experienced when she had been chased by a stray dog that she had to kick with all her might to slow down.

Ruby folded down to her knees and crawled cautiously across the dirt, grass, and rocks, until she found her special hiding tree. As she settled behind it, the noises became clearer, and closer. She heard feet pounding against the ground, stampeding towards her, and then they flew right by. The speed had blurred the culprits at first, but then Ruby saw exactly what they were. Wolves.

She watched intently as the three wolves approached the cottage. The biggest of them stood on its hind legs and crashed through her mother’s door. The wolves ploughed inside, and Ruby instinctively rose for a better view. She tried to keep her eyes on the rhythmic chaos inside of the house, but it was difficult from such distance. Capricious as she was, Ruby skipped her way up to the little house, knowing the wolves were preoccupied now, and squinted through the dirty windows. To her surprise, the beasts she had seen were men now. Well, two men and one woman. Ruby found it implausible that her eyes could have misled her so. But in that moment, they were definitely human; although more vicious than anyone she had known in her own seven years.

She watched the violence unfold, mesmerized by the ferocity before her. When the group had finished tearing Ruby’s mother apart, the woman turned her head slightly, as if catching a scent. Her eyes met Ruby’s, and she rose slowly from a crouched position over the bloody corpse, to a rueful standing posture. Ruby thought she should turn away – hide – but she couldn’t take her eyes off the woman. When the men whipped around to face what had stolen the attention of their companion, Ruby ducked beneath the window. Her mind was racing now. She wanted to feel sad for her mother, scared for herself; but she only felt that nagging pit of excitement deep inside of her.

What was left of the door creaked open softly, and the woman came gently towards Ruby. Ruby let her. Her eyes were soft, despite the blood smeared across her face. The men followed, just as gently. Ruby saw that the men had yellow eyes that were slowly giving way to waves of brown that seemed to liquescence their irises.

The woman knelt before her, smiling maternally, extending a hand. Ruby took it, and could suddenly feel inside of her a strong persuasion; a warmth that would never go away, as long as she stayed by her side.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

Also Published by Horror Addicts.