Fiction Friday & Project Fairytale: The Thrilling Conclusion…Assistant

Project Fairy Tale

Another day in February—Another Project Fairytale Post. Thanks to The Cheap Reader, I’ve been writing about Rumpelstiltskin throughout the month. Beginning with my discussion of the original Rumpelstiltskin tale and moving along to my review of the less-than-stellar book, The Crimson Thread, and topped off with a little retelling of my own…I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve this month, so get excited.

Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales

Another Friday—Another Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales Post. Next week, we’ll be returning to the stories of Jack, Claire, and Mel, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief trip into fairytale theater…I’ve got a few more of these in the works…you’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

I know that you’ve all been chomping at the bit for the conclusion to Assistant, which I posted last week.

The Assistant

Janine blinked. When she opened her eyes, there was no one at the window. Impossible. Absolutely impossible, she thought to herself. She looked over at Mark, who was snoring loudly, and then she looked down at her pregnant belly. Her heart started racing. A feeling of panic washed over her entire body. Her stomach turned into a million tiny knots. No. It was just a joke. She tried to change her thoughts, listing all of the positive things that this baby would bring them…but something wiggling inside of her kept sending Janine into panic mode. After an hour of thinking, crying, and attempting to sleep, Janine finally got out of bed. The panic feeling had gone, and she made her way to the kitchen.

The panic hit her again. The same feeling of no control, heart racing, stomach churning, full-fledged panic. If I believe that I am indebted to Mr. S in any way, why would he want my child? Seriously, Janine! Get a hold of yourself! You’re freaking out and you don’t even know why. Yelling at herself ebbed the panic, and Janine made breakfast. As she sat down, the panic set in again. The same feeling over. And over. And over again. A storm of emotions shot tears down her face. She quickly pushed her plate away. She raced to the bathroom and retched until there was nothing left inside her.

For a moment, Janine felt calmer. She walked back to the kitchen, picked up her full plate, and dumped the contents into the garbage. Soon after, Mark sauntered into the kitchen, took one look at her pale green face, and immediately blamed the child inside of her. She had mentioned her feelings about Mr. S once, before she was dismissed for being “crazy” and “female.” Mr. S had made them a lot of money. Mr. S had made himself a lot of money. Well, Janine and Mark had played an integral role in his financial plan, even though he was still incredibly secretive about the business.

Janine and Mark were offered information on a need-to-know basis…If they didn’t need to know, Mr. S held it locked tighter than a bank vault. Janine often found herself questioning his methods and motives, but Mark repeatedly brushed her suggestions off. He was driven by the desire to possess expensive things and live a life of luxury. Janine believed that there was more to life than stuff, but she loved Mark… It was just one of those niggling feelings that Mr. S was making money appear out of…thin air. Spinning gold from straw, as the saying goes.

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Soon, Mark and Janine became parents to a beautiful baby girl, Rebecca, with rosy cheeks and golden flecks in her green eyes. She was everything they could have hoped for. Sure, she cried at night, keeping both Janine and Mark awake until the early hours of the morning, but she was theirs and they loved her. Rebecca sparked something in Mark that changed him, just a little. He was more gentle, more cautious than he ever used to be, and Janine loved the baby even more for that.

Janine still panicked, though not as often. Frazzled by a new baby, she didn’t have much time to worry about silly nightmares. After waking up to the hungry cries of her 2 month old baby one morning, she found herself thinking about her dreams…and she couldn’t remember any recent dreams… Come to think of it, I haven’t had the nightmare since she was born. This thought sent Janine into a whole new realm of panic. She hadn’t thought about the nightmare or Mr. S in months. She had been so busy with the child and of course, was on maternity leave from the company, so she hadn’t given him a second thought. Mr. S had sent a gift for the child, a snowy white blanket with the name Rebecca in gold embroidery, but he had not come to visit her.

There were times when Janine was feeding the baby that she felt like she was being watched, but there was no balcony outside her child’s room.  There was no one at the window, and there certainly was no one else in the house. Mark was truly wonderful during the first few months of Rebecca’s life. He worked hard at the company, and came home at night, spending all of his free time with the two ladies of his life.

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One afternoon, late in the summer, when Rebecca was just 6 months old, Mr. S paid Rebecca and Janine a visit. He arrived early, greeting Janine with a warm, “Darling girl! It has been far too long!” His formality combined with warmth never ceased to surprise her, and immediately, her heart started pounding. Her mind began to race, her stomach overturned itself several times, and Janine imagined herself curling up into a little ball in the corner. Doing her very best to push through it, Janine faked a smile and welcomed Mr. S to her home.

Think positive thoughts. Janine! Get your shit together! Right. Now. Think positive thoughts. Stop worrying. This is just a response to your dream. This is just a response to your dream.

She repeated it to herself many times before the feeling calmed, all the while, Mr. S patiently observed Janine’s demeanor. “Are you alright, darling girl? You look like you might cry…”

Taking a deep breath, Janine responded, “I’m fine, Mr. S. It’s so good to see you. How is everything with the company?”

“Oh wonderful, wonderful.” He seemed…distracted, as well. “I’d love to meet young Miss Rebecca this afternoon, if it wouldn’t be any trouble.” He looked at her anticipating her answer.

“Oh, yes! Of course.” Janine felt slightly uncomfortable, but couldn’t think of a reason not to introduce a man she’s known her entire life to her child. She truly doubted that anything unusual would happen. After just 10 minutes the panic had completely subsided.

pink baby room

Source: TopRooms

She led the way to Rebecca’s room, and Mr. S complimented Janine on the child’s room. The pink and white room, with gold accents was classic and stunning. Janine had worked incredibly hard to ensure that it was exactly what she had envisioned without being over-the-top. She took the compliment kindly.

Mr. S noted the embroidered blanket that he had sent, and said it looked lovely in the room.

“It was really amazing, we received it and it just felt like it belonged in this room all along. Thank you so much for the beautiful gift.”

“Oh, anytime, darling girl, anytime…” he paused, before coming up to the child asleep in her crib. “So this is the beautiful Miss Rebecca.” A crooked smile spread across his face, making Janine cringe just a little. “May I hold her.”

“Well, she’s sleeping…” she drifted off as the look on his face showed her that it wasn’t a question. She shifted her stance to a more defensive pose as she added,”But we can wake her, of course. Let me pick her up for you.” Janine rushed to the child’s crib and reached in gently. She lifted her and handed Rebecca to Mr. S, as he carefully accepted her in his arms. He was a natural at holding the babe, who didn’t even wake. Janine looked at him closely, and saw faint hints of something…love? Tenderness? Longing?

After a half hour of small talk and holding the baby, Janine could not think of anything else to say to Mr. S. The awkward silence fell between them like a gate closing quickly and unexpectedly. He handed the baby back to her haphazardly, stating that he needed to return to the office to handle some paperwork. “I’ll see myself out, darling girl.” He looked once more at the baby. “Oh! One more thing…I’ve got to go away for a while…Mark will be receiving full  ownership of the company this week. Thank you, darling girl,” He looked back at the baby, “For everything.”

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The next morning, Janine woke up to the sound of her own screams. She had dreamed the nightmare again. She looked to the window, but there was no one there. She jumped out of bed, and ran to Rebecca’s room, expecting to pick up and snuggle her child. But Rebecca was gone!

Mark woke to a bloodcurdling scream and raced into the room. “She’s…gone…” Rebecca whispered from the curled up ball next to the crib. “He took her.”

Janine was hyperventilating and Mark almost didn’t know what to do. He finally grabbed a phone to call 911 and explained that their child was missing. Then he dropped to Janine and folded around her, “We’ll find her. We will find our daughter.”

The police immediately assumed that the child would be put up for ransom, and set up a small headquarters in the large home. Half of the team was out searching for the kidnapper, while the other half waited.

For Janine, the whole thing was a blur of interrogation, doubt, and accusations.

“Who is this Mr. S? What is HIS NAME?”

“Was he even real?”

“Who could have wanted to hurt you?”

“Were there any regular staff members with keys?”

“You entered into a business arrangement with a man whose name you didn’t even know?”

“What makes you think that your child was kidnapped by someone who has done nothing but help you?”

“A nightmare? It’s all based on a dream?”

“Are you crazy?”

“Maybe we should have you talk to a specialist.”

**********************************************************************************

A few days later, with a team of police detectives standing watch on the house, waiting for a ransom call, a certified letter was delivered to say that Mark had always been the sole owner of the company. There was no record of Mr. S ever existing at the company.

Janine, who was alone in a hospital bed while her husband stood watch with the police, kept replaying Mark’s words in her head, We’ll find her…

But they never did.

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What do you think? I’m considering writing a series of fairy tale re-tellings, much like this. Would you be interested in reading more?

So now, it’s time for you to go check out The Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales (whether or not they wrote fiction for today!):

The Fiction Writing Prompt

FIciton prompt belief + art = sanity

A photo prompt instead of a written prompt. This art is the inspiration for today’s fiction.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Crimson Thread or How Rumpelstiltskin Became the Good Guy

Project Fairy Tale

As a part of Project Fairytale, hosted by The Cheap Reader, I’m supposed to do some book reviews of Rumpelstiltskin re-tellings. I picked up this young adult novel for my Nook. The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn. In a premature excitement, I may or may not have collected several of the tales from this “Once Upon a Time” series. Not to be confused by the ABC TV show of the same name.

The Crimson Thread

Maybe I got a little ahead of myself, because I was not inspired to read the rest of the books in the series. It’s not that it was a bad novel. It just wasn’t delicious enough to warrant another serving.

The Crimson Thread takes us back to 1880, where an Irish princess is introduced to us by some royal fairies or something. It wasn’t very clear. But apparently she always thought she was a princess, and it turns out that she was, but it never really did anything for her. It was a side plot that didn’t add, rather detracted from the tale.

Back to the Irish princess, Bridget, who upon coming to America changes her name to Bertie Miller (Bertrille Miller, from Wales, like the fire red hair and Irish accent wouldn’t give her away…) She is helped by Ray Stalls, who turns out to be Rudy Stilchen from Germany or something-it’s never really clarified. He used gold packing material and this stunning thread to embroider dresses and help her get the young millionaire’s son. Of course, he does it because he loves her and not because he ACTUALLY wants her first born child.

********************************SPOILER ALERT*********************************

Eventually the millionaire’s son turns out to be a douche, leaves her stranded and broke…then Ray shows up somehow and “kidnaps” her little sister while she passes out from starvation. But he was only trying to help. They fall in love and live happily ever after, running a clothing business with their business partner with the last name Rumpole. Get it? Rumpole Stilchen. Ugh.

******************************** END SPOILER **********************************

So it had an okay plot, but with so many holes and weird transitions, I found myself mostly annoyed. I get that it was written for young adults. The language was too trite. While Weyn has an excellent vocabulary, or uses a whole lot of shift+F7, the conversational tone of the book was far too formal, and I didn’t find myself relating to the characters at all.

Additionally, it seemed that the historical fiction aspect of this novel was way the F off. It’s like she just threw a bunch of ideas out there and didn’t really think about the details fitting in. Katie at Words for Worms recently spoke about accuracy in the research before publishing, and it really feels like Ms. Weyn left that part out. It didn’t feel real.

So I’m off to attempt another re-telling and hopefully the next gets me a little more hyped, because so far, I’m a little disappointed. But it only makes me want to write more fairy tales.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Power of a Name

Project Fairy Tale

Remember way back when, a few months ago, when I was having a complete jealousy complex toward Katie at Words for Worms and I signed up to read some fairy tales and write about them as if I were a book blogger or something? No? Here, you can go back and read about why I chose Rumpelstiltskin…then come right back.

So obviously, my chosen fairytale was based on my obsession with Once Upon a Time (Stop judging me. Stop it.) Brian and I *almost* went as Rumpel and Belle for Halloween which would have been fucking fantastic. I would have even dyed my hair brown for the occasion. As you know, we ended up going as Jack and Sally so that I could keep my ginger color and have a bad ass costume to boot…

Do you want to know WHHYYYY Brian vetoed this plan? I’ll bet you can guess after checking out this picture:

Rumpelstiltskin

Yep, sparkles. shimmers. shine. Brian didn’t want a sparkle face. He has no problem with makeup, but sparkles are a disease. Infectious. It’s sad really…Because I miss my sparkle lip gloss.

That being said, I don’t have awesome pictures of my boyfriend as Rumpelstiltskin, but you know what? After reading the original fairytale, I’m not as impressed with Rumpel.

Granted, I know…He wasn’t all that great in Faerie Tale Theatre (and really, to be quite honest, neither was Shelley DuVall [If you are unsure of who or what I’m talking about, you definitely missed out on an excellent childhood experience: The joy of Faerie Tale Theater.]

When I was growing up, I was obsessed with Faerie Tale Theater. OB-SESSED. Whenever I was sick, Mom would go to Blockbuster [blah-k-bus-ter: proper noun: a place where one borrows movies for a set time at a nominal fee] and rent several episodes of Faerie Tale Theater. I would watch them over and over and over again. We had to get our money’s worth of viewing from Blockbuster.

My favorites–the ones Mom would rent repeatedly–were The Snow Queen, Rapunzel, and Rumpelstiltskin. My grandpa had Sleeping Beauty on Laserdisc for me, and I had Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella [Oh, God Matthew Broderick/Prince Charming I love you!] so I didn’t worry about renting those. Yes I know I’m still in parentheses)…but I was hoping for a little something more…

Rumpelstiltskin: A Fairytale Book Review

OK, it’s not a book, so much as a short (operative word here) story. You can read it easily enough by clicking the heading above. Fairy-tales are fables. They’re stories to teach. To entertain. And at one time they were verbal. SO…they’re short. Which is totally okay.

But you know what is not okay? Turning into a whiny little bitch because someone knows your name. OK OK it’s more than that. The miller’s daughter is SUCH a victim, it’s not even funny. Her dad pawns her off to the king for riches. The king demands riches before he will love her. The little man promises her riches in exchange for everything she owns including her unborn child. But she’s clever. And sneaky. And manages to survive her father, the king, AND the little man. So shit, girl…get the hell away from these crazy men and go find some elf in the woods or something…

Legolas

Like him, perhaps?

In all seriousness, though, I think that there is something to be said about the power of a name. How often do you speak the name of your children, your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend? Your friends? How often do you hear your own name? If you really think about it, it isn’t always that often. You hear your name more when you’re being talked about than spoken to.

Take a minute. Think back to the last time someone said your name. Was it gossip? Was it directed at you? Was it sweet or harsh? A name is a powerful thing to know. Google your name. See what pops up. What does the world know about your name? Do you want the world to know or do you hide behind a pseudonym? When you write about your family, your friends, your children…do you share their names?

Rumpelstiltskin may be just a short fairytale in the world of literature, but it certainly speaks volumes about power. And names.

Blog Friends, I want to know your thoughts…what is the power of a name?

Also…click the Fence to vote for me!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!