I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Here’s the story so far.
Enjoy the latest fairy tale:
The Trials of Prince Charming the Fifth
(Containing the frightening events that had taken place while King John the Cute was doing other things.)
Once upon a time, during the reign of King John the Cute, Shadowy Secret walked the land. Born in the Deepest Crevice, born out of fury and secrets and frustration, born out of the mouth of Kate the Tigress, Shadowy Secret was a dark cloud of shadows and secrets.
Shadowy Secret walked the land with purpose. Aside from the king’s mother, he was the only one who knew the terrible things that would happen to King John the Cute after his death, and he knew that King John the Cute would be killed by Prince Charming the Fifth.
Shadowy Secret walked the land with a purpose: to find Prince Charming the Fifth.
Upon the seventh day of his search, Shadowy Secret found Prince Charming the Fifth at a bar, getting drunk.
Shadowy Secret introduced himself to the prince, then said, “What are you doing? Have you not promised revenge upon King John the Cute?”
“Revenge is too hard,” whined the prince. “Leave me alone.”
Without saying another word, Shadowy Secret grabbed Prince Charming the Fifth by the collar, and dragged him out of the bar. Shadowy Secret dragged the prince to the Mountains of Lava, the hottest place in the Land of All Legends. There, lava flowed freely and in a circle, heating up everything inside the circle. No person could stand close to the lava without catching fire. Shadowy Secret, however, was not a person. He could not die and he could not burn. He put Prince Charming the Fifth within the circle, near a well of water, surrounded by lava. There he released the prince from his hold.
Prince Charming the Fifth caught on fire. Shadowy Secret quickly pulled a bucket of water from the well, and poured it on the prince, dousing the fire.
“I will leave you in this place for forty days and forty nights,” said Shadowy Secret. “If you ever stop pouring water on yourself, you will catch fire and die.”
“No!” cried the prince.
“I must do this for your own good. You must not sleep. You must not rest. You must not stop for any reason. Or you will catch fire and die.”
“I will return within forty days and forty nights,” said Shadowy Secret, walked through the lava, and vanished from sight.
Prince Charming the Fifth immediately caught on fire. He poured a bucket of water on himself and doused the fire. Then he quickly filled the bucket and poured it on himself again.
For forty days and forty nights, Prince Charming the Fifth did not rest, did not sleep, did not eat, and did not drink. For forty days and forty nights, Prince Charming the Fifth poured water on himself to stay alive.
At the end of forty days and forty nights, Shadowy Secret returned, grabbed the prince by the collar, and dragged him out of the Lava Mountains.
Prince Charming the Fifth looked at him with fire in his eyes. “Why did you do this to me?” he screamed.
“Answer a question,” said Shadowy Secret. “Does revenge now seem as too hard?”
Prince Charming the Fifth considered this. “Nothing is harder than what I had just done. Revenge is easy.”
“Is amassing an army to attack King John the Cute’s army too much work in your eyes?”
“No. It is easy next to what I have just done.”
“Then you have learned your lesson well,” said Shadowy Secret. “Now answer another question: What do you want to do now?”
Prince Charming the Fifth answered immediately, “I will not sleep, I will not eat, I will not drink, until I have amassed and trained an army and killed King John the Ugly. He has taken my throne from me, and I will have it back!”
“Excellent. Shall we be partners?”
“Partners we are!” And the two shook hands.
This has been the terrifying story of how a pact was formed to slay King John the Cute, and how Prince Charming the Fifth learned an important lesson in responsibility.
(To be continued on Sunday…)