Who doesn’t love a good Fairy Tale? The princess is locked in a tower. The prince has been turned into a frog. And the Giant has stolen the golden harp. We all grew up with these stories, whether they were directly from the brothers Grimm, or retold by Walt Disney. The April issue of Splickety’s Havok magazine took these well-known stories and encouraged writers to give them a twist.
Fairytales: Unfettered is really a fantastic issue! My story didn’t make the cut, but from what the lead editor told me, this issue brought in many amazing submissions. One of my good friends, Jason Joyner, made his Splickety debut this issue. You should grab a copy based on that alone.
Fairytales typically go one of two ways: bright, green meadows and shimmering fairies, or dark, spooky forests and witches. The stories in this issue do a fantastic job of breaking the mold and igniting the imagination.
I took some time to edit my story and would like to share it with you today. Give it a read, and leave me a comment with your thoughts, then click the link at the bottom to grab your copy of the April issue of Havok.
Here is my Fairytale: Unfettered – The Toe Troll.
“I saw you this time, you ankle-bitin’ whelps,” the old man screamed from his rickety shack. “You’d best change your ways, or the Toe Troll’s gonna visit you while you sleep! ‘Those who thieve, your toes he’ll cleave!’ If I catch you stealing from my garden again, I’ll give him ‘yer names myself! Don’t you come back again!”
Old man Hoeffer’s tantrum faded among the sounds of the forest as Eleanor and Lictor clambered over bushes and charged through bushy undergrowth, giggling as they ran. The twins dropped the occasional vegetable as they scampered with their spoils, back to the edge of the forest.
“Did you see his face?” Lictor laughed as he climbed over a fallen log. A patch in his breeches tore as they caught on the bark.
“It was redder than this ‘mato!” Eleanor returned. She held up a large, red tomato and took a bite. Juices dribbled down her pudgy cheeks. Tattered sacks in hand, the two children skipped along the forest trail.
Bursting from the woodland, their joyous snickering ceased. Ten feet from the edge of the forest stood their mother, wooden spoon in hand. The twins received their just punishment for stealing from the old man, and were sent to bed with no supper.
“I can’t believe Ma’ tossed the veggies, Lictor,” Eleanor sniffed. “She tossed ‘em right back into the woods. I’ll never get another ‘mato as juicy as old man Hoeffer’s. Never again.” Tears welled in her eyes.
“Bah,” Lictor snorted. “Ma’ tossed ‘em still in the bags, El. We’ll sneak out once she’s asleep and fill our bellies with those ripe, juicy ‘matos. The whole bag of ‘em!” Lictor boasted.
“But, Lictor,” Eleanor protested, blinking the tears from her eyes. “Old man Hoeffer said the Toe Troll would get us. I don’t want my toes eaten.” She tucked her feet under the blanket.
“You can’t believe those baby stories, El. We’re almost seven.” Lictor thumped his chest as he’d seen the woodcutter’s boy do. After all, that boy was almost thirteen. “Ma’s gotta be asleep by now. Get your shoes on. We’re going to get those ‘matos.”
The twins crept out of their shabby cottage and stepped into the moonlit night. The star-filled sky broke against what looked like an enormous dark wall, as the forest loomed ahead of them. Clutching hands, Eleanor and Lictor made their way to the tree line.
Eleanor stifled her cries, and held her brother close as they approached the discarded vegetables. Lictor puffed out his chest looking very brave, even as his eyes darted at every noise and shadow. Arriving at the first tree, Lictor pointed out the bags. Eleanor gripped his arm tight as he moved to retrieve them.
“Don’t go, Lictor. I’m scared,” she pleaded. “I don’t want the ‘matos. Not anymore. I wanna go inside. I don’t wanna steal from old man Hoeffer again. What if the Toe Troll comes for us?” Lictor shrugged off his sister’s pleading grip and Eleanor sank to the dirt, overcome with fear.
Sniffling, Eleanor cleared her eyes a moment later, and realized that she was alone in the clearing. Lictor had gone into the forest to get the vegetables, and hadn’t come back out. She peered past the tree trunk to see that the bags were gone, and there was no sign of Lictor. Eleanor’s lip began to quiver.
“Lictor?” She whispered into the night. “Lictor, where are you?” A crow responded from deep within the forest. Eleanor crept toward the safety of her house. Her eyes stayed locked onto the shadowy trees. She stifled a cry, as something squished under her foot.
Tearing her eyes from the forest, Eleanor looked down at her feet. Half covered under her foot was an odd-colored tomato. Eleanor bent down to pick it up, and realized that it was a tattered piece of leather. Her heart pounded. It was Lictor’s shoe. The end was bitten off. She dropped her brother’s shoe piercing the night with her scream. The ragged shoe thudded to the ground, and five bloody toes tumbled out.
A faint laugh echoed from deep in the forest. “‘Those who thieve, your toes he’ll cleave!’”