Tuesday, February 4, 2014


If you can read the title of that post, you are a very talented person. :^)

So a while back, I was at my friend Sidney's house and we were sitting up in her room. She was showing me some of her drawings while I was reading through the stack of old letters I've written to her over the years.

There were a few sheets of loose-leaf notepaper lying by her typewriter, filled out in her neat handwriting.

"Oh, that's a story I wrote in Mrs. Propst's class," she said when I asked about it. She let me read it. I considered her story, and then the teacher's corrections on the side in red ink. There was some good material here!

"Would you mind if I rewrote it?" I asked. "Just for practice, I mean."

"Sure, I don't care."

So I did. Here is what I wrote. The plot and character names are entirely Sidney's, though. Sorry if it's a bit choppy in places-- I cut it down to three-thousand words during my practice, so I took out all the unnecessary words. ("unnecessary words" included some of the sarcastic humor, which I love writing! I was very sad to cut that out.)

    Most parents don’t believe in fairy tales. They just tell them to their children as part of a bedtime ritual. But little do they know the faith in magic they are instilling in their child’s mind.
    For every child who believes, there is a portal waiting for him or her to discover. A magical portal, that will take the child to her own realm where her imagination rules. Some never find their portals in their lifetime; some find it and, when they have returned, are known as poets, writers, and artists.
    But one day, by accident, it was not Alexee who discovered a portal. It was her parents.

    On a typical day, Ryan and Amanda Silver would wake up in their big house and have a nice family breakfast together. They would drop off their daughter at elementary school, and then go to the busy jobs that they had to work to pay off their big house and fancy car and swimming pool. They would come home and watch TV, and play with their daughter and golden retriever in the backyard. Then Amanda and Ryan would have dinner and tuck their little girl into bed.
They were typical Americans, enslaved in their own greed and all the while thinking they were their own masters.
    But on this night, November the fifth, something was different. Alexee had just heard a new fairy tale and her imagination was surged with power. Sensing this power, her portal decided to show itself.
    Unfortunately, she used her imagination so much that she became exhausted and fell asleep soon after dinner. Her parents accounted this as “sugar-shock,” as she had just had seven bowls of ice cream. (You may be asking yourself, “What kind of parent would let their kid eat seven bowls of ice cream?” but that’s not the point of this story. Amanda and Ryan just did, and you need to accept that. Now forget about the ice cream and read on.)
    So Ryan carried the unconscious child up the stairs with Amanda following close behind. As they laid Alexee tenderly on her little bed, Alexee’s mind wandered into dreamworld and her portal was given the cue to open. As Amanda and Ryan stood over their daughter, thinking what a perfect family they had, a glow burst from the closet, kicking the door open and blinding the love-struck parents.
    As the magical power of belief lit up Ryan’s green eyes, he reached for Amanda and they stepped, hand in hand, into their daughter’s dream world.
    There was a path paved with golden bricks (Alexee had been reading “The Wizard of Oz). A pumpkin carriage drawn by two huge mice barreled past (She’d been thinking of Cinderella before she fell asleep). A lollipop forest was to the left (Alexee had played Candyland at school that day). And a prince who looked remarkably like one of Alexee’s schoolmates galloped across the turf on a white steed. Ryan watched him pass in wonder.
    “Our little girl’s in love,” he murmured. He turned to his wife. “Do you remember when we were--”
    “Hey!” a grumpy voice interrupted. “Can’t you read?”  The couple looked down to see a dwarf stomping his pointy-toed boot. When Ryan and Amanda simply stared, he took the same boot and drove it into Ryan’s ankle. The tall man grabbed his leg and started hopping around in pain.
    “Ooh, ooh, wha--- huh? WHY would you do that?!” The dwarf pointed at a sign. It read, in fancy letters,

        Childhood Home of Her Majesty Snow White
            Please Respect Their Privacy
Stay off the grass. Today this rule will be enforced by:

    “Stay off the grass. And no loitering! Be gone, or I’ll bring out the dog!”
    “What!” Ryan shouted. “Ha! And I suppose your dog is five inches high and has a tiny little hat to match yours and--” The dwarf put two fingers between his teeth and whistled. A huge creature with three heads that could vaguely be recognized as dogs hurled itself from behind the cottage.
    “Cerberus, attack!” Huge, black, snarling, and foaming at the mouth, the beast lunged. Ryan and Amanda made a mad dash for it. Their feet pounded the ground, but Cerberus’s pounded faster. Their hearts were in their mouths as they felt the hot breath of one of the dogs on the back of their necks.
    “Halt!” A girl appeared in front of them, brandishing a sword of flashing fire. Flames licked her hands, but she did not burn. Ryan and Amanda stopped dead in their tracks. So did Cerberus.
    “Grumpy!” she thundered. “How many times have I warned you about your pet? He’s not a puppy anymore, you know!” Grumpy dug his pointed toe into the ground.
    “Aw, but I was just havin’ a little fun, Crystal.” He jutted his chin out. “And them two was on the grass! You know, that’s punishable by--”
    “I know, Grump,” said Crystal. “Now call off your dog. And for Pete’s sake, buy a shock collar! Or three,” She eyed Cerberus’s several heads, all staring wide-eyed at her.
    “But they was on the Queen’s grass!”
    “Perhaps they didn’t see the sign, Grumpy,” she said coolly. She turned to the dazed couple. “Did you?” They shook their heads. “See there, Grumpy. Now go pester someone else.” The dwarf muttered something about soft-hearted law-keepers and trudged away, whistling for Cerberus.
    “I’m sorry for that,” said the girl. She looked to be about college-age. “How did you come into my world? Only children can awaken the portals.” Something about the girl’s eyes made Ryan feel as though he ought to be ashamed of himself.
“The portal-thingy was in our daughter’s closet, and we just--”
    “Alexee? Your daughter is Alexee? Yes, I see it now. She has your chin.”
    “Yes,” said Ryan. “Anyway, we walked through, and we ended up standing on that grass and that thing chased us-- and what’s so special about that grass, anyway?”
    “Nothing,” said Crystal wryly. “It’s just, my mother, Snow White, grew up there. And her being a celebrity and all now-- well, the dwarves got all puffed up about it and had Mum gave them permission to rent it out for about a fortune a night. Now they’ve got it into their heads that the grass has some healing power because their Queen walked on it, and they’re growing it out to make healing potions. They sell it for a fortune. It’s all Grumpy’s idea.”
    Amanda took a good look at Crystal. She had a pretty face with good, sharp features. She had the most beautiful, otherworldly blue eyes with long lashes. Her hair was a cloud of blonde silk around her head, underneath a halo. Could she be an angel? But two red horns held up the halo. She wore a white robe of satin tied with a golden rope.
    “Come, children,” she said, turning to walk on the yellow brick road.
    “Children?” asked Ryan.
    “Yes, children. I am one hundred and eight years old.” Amanda looked at her in astonishment.
    “What kind of anti-aging cream do you use?”
    “Magic,” said Crystal drily. “Now, come on. If you’d like to see the rest of my world, follow me. Otherwise you can go back to your wasteland.”
    “America is not a wasteland!” objected Ryan. Crystal shrugged, and started walking. Ryan looked at his wife, and they followed her. (You may be thinking, now why would two perfectly sensible adults follow a crazy girl who carries a stick of fire and claims to be ancient? But again, this is a fairy tale, so just go with it.)
    “We’ll stop here for the night,” declared Crystal. They were deep in a forest-- not the one made of candy, but a real forest. Shadows flickered around them on the mossy trees. Vines with lace-like leaves dangled from the canopy above, holding tantalizing fruits. Ryan eyed one and saliva filled his mouth. It was a lovely round peach-like  fruit, with dew-drops clinging to its orange skin. It gleamed in the dusky shadows like a star.
    “Don’t eat that,” said Crystal. Ryan snapped his head back.
    “What? Why not?”
    “Poison,” said the girl simply. Ryan stepped back quickly, as though the plant had slapped him.
    While Ryan had been drooling over the fruit, Amanda and Crystal had made a pile of ferns by the side of the path.
    “Sleep now,” Crystal commanded. Ryan lay down next to his wife. The feathery soft ferns brushed his face as he curled into the warmth of her body.
    “G’night,” he muttered, closing his eyes.
    “Good night,” whispered Crystal, sitting on a boulder nearby. She watched the couple sleep for a while, then she continued on the golden road.

    “I’m going to look for food,” said Amanda the next morning, nudging her husband’s shoulder. “Maybe there’s a Sheetz around here that sells lattes or something.”
“Mmffkay,” muttered Ryan. She got up and was gone.
    Ryan lay there for a bit, groping at fleeting sleep. But the buzzing of cicadas and rhythm of different birds squawking kept him awake. He was suddenly aware of Crystal standing over him.
    “Good morning,”
    “Good morning.” Crystal sat down on a boulder. Ryan followed and settled down beside her.
    “Where is your wife?”
    “She went to look for food.” he said. “Did you pass her on your way back here?”
    “No, but as long as she stays on the yellow brick road, she’ll be safe. The creatures aren’t allowed to cross onto it.” Ryan wasn’t listening. He was gazing into Crystal’s eyes. Now, being a magical being, Crystal’s eyes were really something. They were as beautiful as a crystalline pool, but wild and untamed and dangerous at the same time. And they seemed so innocent, but also gave the impression that their owner knew everything.
    “What are you doing?” she asked bluntly.
    “You have the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen,” he said quietly, softly, almost in a whisper. He heard her breath catch as he said this, and if Amanda had not returned at that moment, who knew what would have happened?
    “A nice old lady gave me these,” she said pleasantly, swinging a basket of gleaming red apples. Crystal rolled her eyes.
    “Did the old lady have a mole on her cheek, only one eyebrow, a roman nose, and a long navy robe of velvet?” Amanda looked surprised.
    “Well, yes.” she said.
    “When will she ever give up!?” Crystal got up, snatched the basket from Amanda, and threw it down.
    Impetus ignis!” She shot her fist up into the air, then brought it down. The basket caught fire and burned down to ash in seconds.
    “Why did you do that?” Amanda asked innocently.
    “That was my step-grandmother. She’s got a tree in her backyard full of poisonous apples. Just one bite can be fatal. Ever since my mother became queen, she’s been walking around and handing out poisonous apples to people. It’s her way of getting revenge for the fact that Mum was always more beautiful.”
    “Oh,” said Amanda. “What happened to her missing eyebrow?”
    “Mum and Dad put a spell on her to permanently remove it so we could tell her from ordinary peddlers,” Crystal explained. “Everyone in the kingdom knows to stay from Granny-One-Brow, so only tourists get poisoned for the most part. So no more taking gifts from strangers, okay?”
    The three ate warm, buttered rolls that Crystal provided, then continued their walk.
    “Exactly where are we going?” asked Ryan.
    “To my castle,” And that was all she would say. They arrived at a huge palace, completely carved of marble. Veins of rose, salmon, violet, blue, and green swirled through the white stone. A huge garden spread out from its base, with the yellow brick road running right through it to the huge double doors. Carriages and horses were parked everywhere in sight, a huge sea of transportation.
    “What’s going on here?” asked Ryan.
    “My nincompoop brother is throwing a ball to find a bride. He likes some girl, but she left him high and dry with nothing but her shoe. The idiot doesn’t even know her name. So he swore to find her and every ‘eligible maiden’ is supposed to come tonight to see if the shoe fits.”
    “Oh,” said Amanda. “That story seems vaguely familiar,” She and Ryan shared an amused smile.
    Crystal found them formal attire in a wardrobe in a tower room of the castle. Amanda stepped inside and searched for a match to the silver shoe she held in her hand.
    “Careful,” said Crystal. “If you go past the fur coats in the back, you might end up in a snowy forest with a faun and a lamppost.”
    “I’ll be careful,” said Amanda, and found her other shoe.
    At the ball, there were women and girls of every age hoping to charm the prince. Huge skirts dripping lace and jewels twirled around Ryan and Amanda as they enjoyed a slow dance.
    “Look!” breathed Amanda. They watched as a young girl approached the prince. She wore a flowing gown of scarlet trimmed with gold. Her hair was long and loose, and on her foot was one glass slipper, a deep crimson color set with rubies. The prince held a matching one.
    It was Alexee! Their little daughter went up to the throne where a prince of about eight stood, holding the other slipper. His deep brown eyes lit up with gold sparks when he saw Alexee.
    “My princess!” He knelt down and slid the slipper onto her foot. He laughed with pleasure when it fit. “Let all the kingdom know, the new queen has been found!” He turned to the girl. “And what is your name, love?”
    “Alexee,” she said excitedly, her words a rush.
    “Princess Alexee, may I have this dance?” He offered a hand.
    “Yes!” she yelped. “I mean, yes, Prince Zachary.” she finished coolly. Ryan and Amanda watched their daughter dance with the prince.
    “She’s growing up, Ryan,” murmured Amanda.
    “She has her mother’s eyes to charm the prince with,” said Ryan. Amanda giggled. But Ryan’s words echoed in his own mind.
“Her mother’s eyes.” Amanda’s doe-brown eyes were nothing like Crystal’s. Where was she, anyway? He searched the crowd for her-- there! Up on the balcony, watching the ball with an amused smile. When she noticed Ryan, she waved politely, then turned her attention back to the ball. Ryan dropped Amanda’s hands mid-twirl. He started to the staircase, then noticed an elevator and went to it. (Don’t even think about saying, “Now what is an elevator doing in a fairy tale?”!)
    “Ryan!” she called after him. “Ryan, come back!” Disappointment in her voice quickly turned to anger. She rushed to the elevator door, but it closed.
    “Crystal!” he exclaimed, running up to her. She stood looking over the balcony, the shot-silk dress she was wearing rippling as she turned her head. A wreath of silvery flowers rested on her head, hiding the red horns. “Crystal!” he said again.
    “Yes? Is something wrong?”
    “No,” answered Ryan. “Everything’s just perfect.” He took hold of her wrists and pulled her toward him, kissing her perfect pink lips. Crystal pushed him away, sputtering.
    “Why would you do that?” she gasped. (Now Amanda had watched all this from the ballroom floor, and a fire of rage was kindled inside her. Snatching a sword from a suit of armor, she charged up the stairs toward her husband.)
    “Because you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And your eyes--”
    “Never mind my eyes!”
    “But I love you,” he said sincerely.
    “But you’re married!” snapped Crystal. “What would Amanda think?” She was utterly confused. She knew that Ryan and Amanda loved each other deeply. What was making Ryan do this?
    “I could easily get a divorce,” protested Ryan. Crystal drew in a breath sharply.
    “You just don’t do that in my world,” she said. “If I wanted my kingdom to become like your world, I would allow husbands to cheat on their wives and let criminals and rebels do whatever they want!”
    “But--” Amanda pounded up the last few stairs. She brandished the sword above her head dangerously.
    “Ryan Silver, how dare you?” She shrieked. “You’re going to pay.” With an unearthly sound, she lunged at her husband.
    Ryan dodged, the blade barely missing his shoulder.
    “Amanda, calm down!” beseeched Crystal. “Put the sword down before someone gets hurt!”
    “I want people to get hurt!” yelled Amanda. She charged towards Ryan again. She kicked Crystal in the shin, causing her to fall. “Bet you didn’t see that one coming, your majesty!” Crystal thought hard, trying to figure out how to get her sword and protect Ryan from his wife at the same time. Without her blade, she was powerless.
    “You think you can cheat on me?” Amanda demanded of Ryan. He couldn’t answer. She wheeled around to face Crystal. “You think you can steal my husband?”
    “No! That’s not it at all!” A lightbulb went off somewhere. “Wait-- that’s right! I was trying to steal your husband. He’s so cute, I just had to have him.” Amanda roared in anger and charged after Crystal, who started running towards her room. Crystal got there three seconds before Amanda did, and in that time she opened a portal. Amanda fell through first, her sword clattering to the floor beside Crystal, and Ryan followed close behind.
    “I’m sorry, but you don’t belong in my world,” said Crystal sadly. “Goodbye,” That was the last Ryan ever saw of those beautiful blue eyes.
    The Silvers found themselves sprawled on the floor of their daughter’s bedroom. They eyed each other for a moment, then ran to the closet door and threw it open.
    “What just happened?”
    “I have no idea,”
    “Well, I’ve got to head in early tomorrow, Amanda. Let’s go to bed.” And, hand in hand, they entered their bedroom together, all offenses forgiven.
    And from then on, when they told Alexee fairy tales, they believed them, too.



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Rebecca :)