QSFer Aidee Ladnier has a story in a new flash fiction fairy tale anthology:
You’ve heard about the prince who rescues a princess locked in a tower and guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. The little girl with the red hooded cloak or black dogs who prowl the forest and moors. Just beyond the hedge is another world full of magic, mystery, and wonder. The talented authors found within these pages challenge the traditional norms and accepted stereotypes through poetry and prose that will stay with you beyond the last page. Step through the door and leave this world behind.
Note: this anthology contains stories and poems with both heterosexual and LGBTQIA protagonists.
In The Tower
by Aidee Ladnier
They dragged me here in chains. No sleeping body placed on soft goose-down mattress. No enchanted caretakers to raise me from infancy to adolescence, to mold me into a subservient broodmare, a smiling mannequin, a blind and forgotten bedmate. They gave me a harsher punishment for bringing the fairy’s curse upon our kingdom.
I was the thirteenth of the princesses, all of us fair and lovely. All but one willing to be the treaty of peace between our tiny sovereignty and our larger neighbors.
I took a lover. She of the tinkling bells and golden apples. My sisters glimpsed me once as I stole away to her. Giggling they followed me but when she discovered them, I said nothing as she meted out her punishments. She gave them nights of dancing and song, delicacies and sweet meats. It was not my fault that my sisters pined for the undying lands and then died in despair without their hearts. My heart lived there too, but I did not despair. I knew the recipe of the fae. My lover had whispered to me how a mortal could become the other.
My father saw the blood on my hands and lips, but had me restrained and so kept his heart. He had me paraded through the streets, offal splashed upon me, spittle drying on my cheeks, the word whore and murderer and cannibal written out for the illiterate on the side of my pumpkin carriage cum turnip cart.
But he didn’t kill me.
He locked me in the tower three days journey in the dark forest, in no man’s land. The hope was that I’d quietly die, decay into a children’s tale, a moral warning. But I found a means of escape. The fairy, she came to me. She came to me in moonlight and in the silver dew of morning. She came to me in the snared birds that flew in the window and the tasty mice I ate raw. And I bided my time and wove a ladder of shining gold, flaxen in the sun, attached to my scalp. One day I would climb down it to the ground, to where she waited for me. And then all the fairy tales would come true.
Aidee Ladnier, an award-winning author of speculative fiction, began writing at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, fold origami, and send ping pong balls into space. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.