Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Cinderella Runs Into Snow White After Therapy One Afternoon

by Luc Reid

To celebrate our first anniversary, each of us here at the Cabal has come up with a story beginning with a line kindly provided to us by the illustrious Jay Lake. Click the link at the bottom of the page to see how Alex, Dan, David, Edd, and Kat have handled the challenge, and tune in tomorrow to see what Rudi Dornemann comes up with…

Zoli liked to hang around psychiatrists’ waiting rooms to hit on the low self-esteem chicks. It had been a slow afternoon, but he heard Dr. Rumplestiltskin’s door open and readied an unsettling comment for the next one–a looker he’d just glimpsed on her way in, some kind of divorced royal.

“Man, up until now it was all pretty girls coming out of these appointments,” said Zoli. Cinderella, roiling with thoughts about Charming and his perfect little dwarfess girlfriend, kicked Zoli solidly in the nuts. Zoli keeled over with a squeaking noise.

“Get some therapy of your own already,” Cinderella said as she pushed open the door to the street.

The kick hadn’t improved her mood; actually, she felt guilty. In her head, she hadn’t been kicking Zoli: she’d been kicking Charming. She was inexpressibly angry at him, and yet she couldn’t even kick him vicariously in the nuts and get any satisfaction out of it. What was wrong with her?

“Ella! Hey, girl!” someone shouted, and Cinderella looked up to spot Snow White hiking up her skirts and hustling toward her. There were at least 50 yards of empty cobblestone on every side; escape was not an option.

Catching up, Snow White linked arms with Cinderella and bent over to whisper in her ear. “Come to the farmer’s market with me. There are a pair appleseller brothers there who’ll take your breath away.”

“You’ve got a perfectly good prince at home. Why are you ogling applesellers?” protested Cinderella.

“What, I’m supposed to close my eyes every time I buy an apple?” Snow White said, grinning. “So why do you look so down, anyway? Still moping about Charming? I don’t know what you have to mope about, having that woodcutter all to yourself.”

“I know,” Cinderella said. “Hansel’s wonderful. His family is wonderful.”

“Well, you weren’t satisfied with charming, and now you’re not satisfied with wonderful. What do you want, abusive?”

“I guess perfect men don’t make me happy,” said Cinderella. “They should, though, shouldn’t they?”

“Maybe you’re one of those people who has to do something.”

“I don’t do things,” said Cinderella. “I’m a princess, for God’s sake.”

“I’m just saying, maybe you have a greater purpose.”

“Like what? What purpose could there possibly be for an aging beauty whose only skills are housework and animal relations?”

“Well, I guess that’s the question,” Snow White dropped her voice to a whisper. “This is the apple cart! Act nonchalant.”

And as Snow White reached for an apple, Cinderella began to think that maybe she’d been angry about the wrong things.

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