This week’s Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig is appropriately bizarre. (I like it!) I rolled a seventeen, so I get to write a “Lovecraftian” version of my fairy tale of choice. Challenge accepted!
I went through the listing of Grimm’s fairy tales and found one which is upbeat and chipper (here — you might want to read it first so you can compare the original with my version), and thus suitable for being twisted and manipulated in a most vile and horrendous way .
As always, comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated.
Once upon a time I was a young girl born to wealth and luxury. My fortunes turned dark and monstrous when my father and mother died horribly.
The trustees of my family’s holdings betrayed the trust my parents had placed in them. They stole all of the wealth that had been my just inheritance. Soon I found myself so poor that I no longer had a roof over my head or a place to lay my head at night.
At last I was reduced to begging in the fetid gutters with the scurrying rats, nothing more than the ragged and dirty clothes on my back. A charitable passer-by took a small measure of pity on me, handing me a paltry crust of bread.
I was faithful and pious, however, my belief in a kind and beneficent God strong in my heart. As I had been forsaken by all men in the world of my birth, I took it upon myself to venture forth into the wilderness, trusting in the protection and strength of my God.
Walking through a festering swamp, I met a poor man with supporating sores covering his body. “Please, you must give me something to eat or I will die,” he said. “I am so hungry, I will not survive the night without your aid.” I gave him the piece of bread I had been given. “May God bless you,” I said, before moving onwards.
On a windblown, freezing moor I came upon a shivering youth lying beside the road. He howled as a dire wolf in mortal agony would and said, “My head is on fire with the bitter cold! Please give me something warm to cover it or I will die in agony!” Seeing that he would be soon be carried off by the Lord’s angels, I took off my torn and patched hood and placed it on his head.
When I had walked until the stroke of midnight, I met another child, this one a cripple who had made her home in an overgrown and abandoned graveyard. She had no coat and the night’s cold, black rain had frozen her to near death. Fearing that she was close to her end, I gave her my own jacket that she might pass into the afterlife with a small measure of comfort.
The next morning, at the door of a small country church, I saw the door slammed in the face of another child in mortal peril, a mere infant. She was nearly naked and begged me for a frock or scrap of clothing, so I gave away that precious belonging as well.
At the next sunset I came to the edge of a dark and twisted forest. There were the sounds of unknown and unseen animals all about, but I had no fear, for my God was with me. From out of the brambles and thickets at the forest edge there came yet another child. He was dark-skinned and naked, nearly an invisible specter in the moonless night. He asked if I would give him my shirt and I saw that I could not be seen by anyone on a night this dark. Without my shirt I would be naked myself, but there would be naught to bear witness to my immodesty. I took off the torn and filthy shirt, and gave away that final possession.
There I so stood, naked and powerless, with not one single possession left to me in the world save for the soul God had given me.
The wind suddenly ceased, as did all sounds of the animals. The dark-skinned boy began to call down stars from the sky, placing them into a pentalpha on the ground around me. As he forced them to his dark will with a high, shrill chant, the stellar gems began to glow and pulse with a rubicund hue. When the shape was completed, a rent in the earth opened up with a cloud of reeking, foul steam escaping upward.
Before my eyes the steam formed into a nebulous configuration, a hideous and writhing caricature of a homunculus, crowned with a tortured visage bearing glowing, orange eyes. Those eyes locked on me, never blinking or wavering, as the air all about trembled with a thunderous voice.
“Your God has abandoned you, child. Your mother and father tried to compel me, at the cost of their wretched lives. You have much more power than they and great Powers lie within your grasp if you but choose to take them.”
From the shadows came the beggar with her bread, the youth with her hood, the cripple with her jacket, and the infant with her smock. They joined the dark-skinned boy with her shirt and stood at the five points of the star surrounding her. In their hands she could see long, jagged daggers, dripping with fresh blood.
“You have only one thing left,” the demon said. It picked up one of the crimson stars and offered it to me as a coin. “Sell it to me and abandon your puny God as He has abandoned you! In return, all of these creatures will be your servants to command until the End of Days. Yours will be Revenge upon those who have betrayed the trust of your family. You shall reign over this land as my proctor for a thousand years. Choose!”
So it was that I waited for my God to deliver me from this Evil manifest, and so it was that I saw that I truly had been cast aside by Him. With no Light left but that of the Pit, I took the demon’s coin in return for my soul. In its place in my breast I found an undying desire for revenge and at my right hand was the unholy means for attaining it.
Thus it is that I and my iniquitous servants now stand before the city gates, demanding the delivery of the thieves and liars who are the first to earn my wrath. The city fathers will give them up tonight. In doing so their own souls will be forfeit to me and my reign will begin.
In the end, I will be rich all the days of my life.