“No,” the dragon said, “it’s inadvisable. The rabble tends to get disturbed when I eat women.”
His face fell. “Are you sure? Not even a little nibble? I mean, I’m sure she’d be juicy and tender…”
The dragon licked his lips, then shook his head.
“Don’t tempt me. Also, she would probably be too sweet; not good for my blood sugar. My doctor has expressly forbidden middle-aged Mary Kay Consultants.”
“You have doctors?” he said with surprise.
“Of course,” the dragon replied.
“Sweetie!” trilled Marcia’s voice from outside the cave. “Where are you?”
Dragon and man both let out a sigh.
“I do not believe it,” the rabbit said, twitching his nose.
“Suit yourself then,” his wife replied, smacked her back legs against the ground and vanished into the burrow with a white flash of her tail.
“Do not believe what?” the prince asked politely.
“That there is a fo – fo-fo-fo-fo-fox!” the rabbit screeched, and after turning around in a few frantic circles, he too vanished down the burrow.
“Ah well,” the prince said, philosophically stroking his long whiskers with a forepaw. “There goes another lunch. One of these days, my manners are going to be the death of me.”
The snow kept falling thicker and thicker. Whirling, blowing, biting, cutting. Clinging to his whiskers, to his eyelashes, to the hair on the side of his face. His nose and cheeks had grown numb, his fingers so cold he could no longer bend them. When he tried to raise them to his face to brush the snow out of his beard, they felt like hard claws on the end of big, clumsy, fur-covered paws; claws that had no feeling in them and could not move to his will.
He tried to climb up the side of the ravine, reached for a snow-covered branch. Could not close his hands on it—where were his thumbs? He staggered on his clumsy legs, then dropped down onto all fours.
Like an animal.
Keep reading this story on Enchanted Conversation Magazine
I wrote this last November during NaNoWriMo, when I was doing a retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red“. It was sort of a prologue to the story, the moment when the “prince” turns into a “bear” – except in my adaptation, he’s not a real bear, just a very hairy guy (and he’s not a prince either, being an ordinary 21st century Canadian). But then it occurred to me that this could work as a standalone Flash Fiction, a regular adaptation of the regular fairy tale, so I sent it to Amanda at Enchanted Conversation. And here it is.
You can decide for yourself if you want to take the transformation as an actual guy-turned-into-bear thing, or keep it metaphorical. I’m not entirely sure yet which one I prefer.
“Never,” she said. She drummed her long, lacquered fingernails on the counter. “Never.”
He leaned his hands on the table and gave her a look.
“You’re being unreasonable.”
“Reason has nothing to do with it.”
“Reason has everything to do with it.” He picked up the bottle and thrust it at her.
She stubbornly shook her head.
“No,” she repeated emphatically. “I will not use artificial vanilla extract.”
It spun silently in a circle, glittering with reflected sunlight, gently swaying in the wind. The tree branches rustled softly above it.
Samara stretched out her hand carefully.
“It’s so beautiful!” she whispered. Her finger reached; moved closer and closer to the sparkling crystal dropping from the main orb; made contact.
A glassy tinkling sound, sweet and sharp, filled the air, and the orb flashed up with a myriad pinpricks of rainbow hues.
Samara snatched back her finger.
“I’d be careful with that if I were you,” her brother said drily.
“Yes, well, you aren’t me, are you!” Samara snapped. Her disappointment sat like a bruise in her chest.
A short fiction fragment that happened on a Friday:
The ring felt heavy, smooth, and cold. It lay on her palm like a dead weight, gleaming up at her dully. How could she have borne this lump of metal on her finger all these years?
“So, you gonna trade it, or what?” the pawn broker’s voice cawed into her thoughts.
She looked up.
“That’s what I came here for, didn’t I.” The ring clicked on the marble surface of the counter.
“Three silver,” cawed the broker.
“No,” she said, all business now. “I’ll take – that.“