Plugs

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

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

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Archive for the ‘Cinderella on the Rebound’ Category

Prince Charming Comes By After the Divorce to Pick Up Some Things

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

He’d brought his new girlfriend, the servants told Cinderella, but he came into the Great Hall alone, wearing the robin’s egg-blue tunic. His own two servants came with him, the only ones he was allowed to keep after the settlement, Dregsworthy and Pullengroin. Charming stopped short when he saw where Cinderella had put his things. She had decided to throw them all in a pile, the remaining flasks of his rosemary mead and his second-best suit of armor, the hounds from his childhood he’d had stuffed after death, his dead uncle’s magical nail clippers that did nothing (“Maybe they’re for clipping magical nails,” Charming had once quipped) … all of it. She had decided to toss it together without regard for denting or chipping or breaking, without regard for mead gushing out onto his favorite hunting cape or gardening tools gouging out chunks of the dead hounds’ hair.

Charming stared at his possessions for a moment before he looked up, gazed into her eyes with his own robin’s-egg blue ones, and said, “You’re looking lovely, Cindy.”

“Don’t be charming,” she snapped.

“Rude it is, then,” he said gently. “But why did you–”

He broke off when a small woman entered. A very small woman. A dwarf woman, in fact. She took Charming’s hand and kissed it unselfconsciously, her red-gold hair cascading over his wrist. She was very elegant, for a dwarf.

Charming bent down and kissed her on the head as Cinderella looked on, speechless.

“Durin’s shade, you’re even prettier than he told me!” said the dwarf women.

“I thought dwarf women had beards,” Cinderella blurted, and the dwarf woman flushed.

“It’s more convenient this way,” Charming said. “They can tell them better from the men!” And he laughed easily, but the dwarf woman was still flushing, and Cinderella realized that she depilated and didn’t tell Charming. In all fairness, though, who would bring that up to a new boyfriend?

“So, Cindy,” said Charming, “I’d like you to meet Gloina.”

Cinderella shook her head. She did not have to be social with him. “Just take your things and go,” she said, and stalked out of the room, wishing she had thrown everything down after all.

Charming helped the servants take the carefully-packed crates out to his carriage. Each one was tied with a satin ribbon the color of a robin’s egg.

Cinderella Begins Dating Again After a Bitter Divorce

Monday, July 9th, 2007

“You look beautiful.”

“Don’t be charming,” she snapped.

Cinderella’s date took a swig of chianti to cover his confusion. A peasant’s idea of a nice wine; Cinderella ignored hers. Though Charming probably wasn’t drinking much better stuff these days, after the settlement. He was lucky he’d got to keep the cobwebby old chalet where he now had to live. Hell, he was lucky he got anything at all after his fling with Sleeping Beauty.

Her date smiled at her. What was his name again? Hans or Jan or something like that. He was handsome in a chunky, woodcuttery way. He smelled like ginger. That wasn’t bad, ginger. It made Cinderella think of pumpkin pie.

“So, Cinderella,” he said. “What do you do?”

“Do? Nothing. I used to scrub floors and have forest animals at my beck and call, but they’re not welcome in the palace. Or I guess they weren’t. Now they will be. If they still have any idea who I am.”

“You like animals? I like animals,” he said in a rush. Then his face grew red. “Sorry, that sounds desperate.”

“Better than charming,” she said. There was a long silence, and she tapped one foot impatiently. She grimaced. “When’s the waiter going to be here with our salads?”

Hans or Jan or something sighed and stood up, dropping a few coins on the table. “Let’s try again another time,” he said.

Cinderella stared, uncomprehending, as Hans or Jan or something bowed awkwardly and walked to the door. What was he doing? Cinderella was beautiful, obviously rich, she had a lovely singing voice … he was leaving, just like that?

Apparently he was: she waited for a long moment, and he didn’t come back. Cinderella ran out to the parking lot, not losing her shoe because she had long since taken to wearing ones with straps.

There was nothing out there but the surrounding forest.

Cinderella looked all around her, the anger draining away. He wasn’t Charming. Why had she been taking it out on him?

An ancient bluebird flapped arthritically to the ground and trilled at her, and she saw something beside it: a white stone, gleaming in the moonlight. And there was another, and another: a trail! She picked a breadcrumb off her blouse and threw it to the bird, then followed the rocks into the dark forest.
Hansel, that was his name. Hansel.

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