This was another challenge, from Flash Fiction Friday.
Write a fairy tale with this starter: “Once upon a time” and these words: Widow, Woodcutter, Witch, Willow, and Wander. Due Wednesday, 9pm 1300 wds max
So here it is ...
Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a woodcutter, a witch, and a wolf. Once upon a time, they lived in an enchanted forest, with stately oaks, winsome willows, whispering pines, sunny meadows, babbling brooks, birds, butterflies, and bunnies. Once upon a time, they and other characters spun tales of heroes and villains, princes and fair maidens, love and horror.
Now they lived in a condo by the beach. Tuesday they played bridge, Saturday was movie night, most other days found them around the pool.
"Anyone seen Red" asked the wolf.
"She went into town with Snow and some of the others," said the witch. "She said they were just going to wander around for the day. Do some shopping, then out for Mexican, and then the karaoke bar."
"Oh god," said the wolf. "Have you heard her sing? She screams like a --"
"A witch?" said the witch. "I've heard her, yes, she does. Nice girl, pretty enough, but that's it. Always struck me as a little --"
"Flighty?" said the woodcutter.
"Totally," she said.
"No real talent there," he said. "Now your scream, just beautifully projected. Love how you blend in that cackle, that evil grin, that feeling of impending doom, all in a body that turns the eye away."
"You're sweet, thanks," she said. "My husband the ogre used to flatter me terribly - too bad he went off to fight and left me a war widow." She turned her arm in the sun. "This is doing me no good at all, you know. I used to be such a deathly white, and look - the boils have almost disappeared too. You, my dear, played the strong silent hero so well. Those smoldering glances, sweaty biceps swinging that ax, always dashing in at the last minute."
"Thanks," he said. "Was trying for a very minimalist approach, simplifying down to the essence of the character." He sipped his beer and patted his stomach. "Need to simplify this down a bit too - losing my trim form. I do miss those days in the forest, cutting down trees, chasing after our friend the wolf here."
"And cutting me down," said the wolf. "I always enjoyed how we all built on those sequences - a helpless naive damsel, evil charms her, then shows it's true wicked side, she screams, you rush in, the chase, the battle, me cowering while you swing for that final chop. And always a clean chop - I appreciated that."
"Least I could do for another professional," said the woodcutter.
"And a friend," said the wolf. "Ah, it's an easier life now, but I must admit this rich food gives me gas."
"We've noticed," said the woodcutter.
"So what happened to it all?" said the witch. "We did it so well, all of us. Why did it stop?"
"People lost their imaginations somehow," said the wolf. "They just retold the same few stories, rather than add to them, or make their own. Consumers, not creators. If anything, they sanitized the few that were left, made them politically correct, no more violence or horror."
"Or sex," said the witch. "Disney with his sweet little stories, all chirpy birds and fluttering eyelashes. Gag me with a spoon."
"It happened gradually," said the woodcutter. "And then suddenly, here we were on the beach, along with everyone else from the forest. Never did expect retirement to be forced on me, and I'll tell you - I don't like it. It's annoying."
"It's boring," said the witch.
"It's depressing," said the wolf.
They sat and sipped their drinks.
The wolf sat up suddenly. "What's that?" he said. "Is that yours? No, it's mine." He fumbled in his beach bag. "I hate these things."
"Let me guess, Red's calling to say she forgot her wallet again," said the witch.
"No, it's a text from the Grimms," he said. "It's about some stories."
"What, the old ones?" she asked.
"No, some new stories," said the wolf. "Little short ones for now - some kind of internet thing - but they're getting all the gang back together."
He sprang to his feet, flexed his claws, bared his fangs, growled, coughed, growled again.
"Come on, guys," he said. "Drink up. We've got some kids to scare."