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Sunday, 29 August 2010  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Emily White over at Stepping into Fantasy is hosting a Fairy Tale Blogfest check it out here and go read all the other participants’ entries: http://steppingintofantasy.blogspot.com/2010/08/fairy-tale-blogfestcontest.html

So when searching for a tale to use for the Fairy Tale Blogfest nothing was inspiring me. I almost decided to give up. I searched and searched and came across this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Goose_TalesΒ 
It says that Bluebeard is a fairy tale so I decided to go with it.

Bluebeard is a tale about a terrible husband who’s wives keep disappearing. He marries a neighbor girl and forbids her from going into his secret room. While he’s out of the country she finds his magical key that opens the secret room. When her sister, Anne, visits she convinces her to go into the room. When she opens it she finds blood, gore, and his missing wives bodies. She locks the room up but blood remains on the key and Bluebeard finds out she went into his room. Before he kills her, she tricks him into delaying and her brothers come and rescue her. They kill Bluebeard. End of story.

So here’s my modern tale of Bluebeard. Since I only decided to join the blogfest today, I fear it might not be that good because I rushed it. Plus, since this is for fun, I decided to play with a tense I’m not use to. I can’t wait to read the rest of the entries. Thanks for stopping by!
“I can’t believe you’re finally here,” Anne says, grabbing a stuffed mushroom off the plate.

“Jet lag is an understatement,” I go. “I had to stay up all night to get that stupid report done before I left.”

“Girl, I don’t care how tired you are. We are so going to shut this town down tonight.”

Her friends bore me. They’re all small town and back woodsy. I watch and wonder as Anne chatters to her new friends. This little town stuff really suits her. I smile. She’s happy in her life with Brian.

“So who’s the eye candy over there,” I say, raising the martini glass to my lips and taking a long sip.

“That’s Jack Bluebeard,” Anne goes. “You should avoid him. He’s been married several. . .”Β 

I’m already up from my seat before she finishes that last bit. My approach to his table is total vixen-like and his eyes follow me until I bridge the distance between us.

“Hi, I’m Fatima. May I join you?”

The intensity in his dark eyes captivates me, and I slide into the chair beside him. That slow, sexy grin ensnarls me and before long, I’m lost in conversation with him. He’s cute, and according to Anne, he’s the richest man in town. What’s not to love?

That was the night I met Bluebeard–as his friends like to call him. It was a whirlwind romance. Less than three months and we were married. A day after the honeymoon my nightmare began.

I went from a career girl to his slave, quitting my job and friends. Let’s see, his dinner must be ready precisely at six, his under shorts and bed sheets ironed before used, and his insatiable desires satisfied each night, or he’s a beast to live with. Oh, and I’m forbidden from entering his secret room. No wonder one wife went off with a man she met on twitter, another wife went home to her mother, and his third wife joined the Peace Corps.

I glance at the clock and exhale. Bluebeard’s meeting with his accountant just started. My husband works from home so I’m never alone. The moment’s freedom feels good.

Anne knocks at the side door. I let her in.

“Hey,” she goes, looking me up and down. “You look awful.”

“That’s why you’re here. We only have an hour.”

She grabs the suitcase in the middle of the kitchen. “Well, let’s hurry then.”

I follow her to the door and stop. “Shit, I forgot my purse up stairs. I’ll be right back.”

“Just hurry, already.”

I’m about to take the first step on the stairs and there’s Bluebeards office keys on the carpet. I pick them up and rush up the staircase. I know it’s not the greatest idea, but I’m curious about what the jerk keeps in that damn room. I slide the key into the lock, and it clicks open. My shaky hand pushes the heavy door wider. Air rushes out in a gust. A moldy stench punches my face and I gag. There’s barely any light coming from the heavily draped windows.

The sight of them makes me scream. I hear Anne scramble up the stairs. The bodies are like white ghosts hanging from hooks on the wall, dust floating around them like smoke. Rusty stains streak their naked paleness. They all resemble me, long and slender with large breast. Heads tilted to one side, their frozen eyes watch me.

Anne gasps from behind me. “They’re Jack Bluebeard’s wives.”

I stand there unable to move.

Anne grabs my arm. “Let’s get out of here. The dude is seriously unstable.”

The front door opens and slams below us.

I pull from her and walk across the floor leaving a trail in the plaster dust.

She follows.

“They’re so beautiful,” I say and run my finger down the cold cheek of one.

His footfalls announce his arrival before he actually stops in the door frame.

“What are you doing in here?” his angry voice reaches out to me.

I spin to face him. “What is all this?”

His shoulders sag. “It’s my art.”

“Why is there blood all over them?” I turn back, my eyes finding the statues once again.

“It’s not blood. It’s from the roof damage a few years back.”

“I don’t understand. Why?”

He moves into the room. Anne scurries over to the window.

“When they left me I was devastated. Capturing their imagines in sculpture was therapeutic for me. Fatima, I know I’m controlling and possessive but I want to change. I don’t have a meeting with my accountant. I have one with a therapist. I forgot my medical card, so I came back for it. Please don’t leave me. Give me another chance. I promise–”

“Maybe since you have more money than God,” Anne begins. “You could get a damn maid to iron your underwear.”

“Stay out of this, Anne.”

“I’ll do anything,” he pleads.

In this dim light, the shadows touch all the beautiful sharp edges of his face. His blue eyes hold me, begging me to love him. I glance at the victims of his love. Their lips are all the same, corners up, bottom lip plump. They’re perfect except for the rust that stains them. His love ruined them. He’s locked them away for no one to see. Kept for only his greed. Do people really change? Bluebeard’s eyes are watching me but he never truly sees me.

“I’m sorry it’s just too late,” I say and push past him. “Come on, Anne.”

The clicks of Anne’s heels follow me through the hallway and down the stairs. I grab the handle of my suitcase and drag it after me.


Filed: Misc

21 Comments
  • Donna Hole says:

    Excellent! You’ve captured the essence of domestic violence in a modern fairy tale.

    You go (goes) girl!

    You know, blogfest isn’t just about showing off your appropriate scenes; they’re about experimenting with your creativity. If it doesn’t entirely fit, tweak it until you’re satisfied. If you can’t use it in your original WIP, well, you’ve had some fun or learned something about your writing, or both.

    I experiment all the time with blogfests. Sometimes it fixes difficult sequences I didn’t know needed tweaked, other times it serves no value other than practice writing.

    Above all Brenda, allow the prompt to let you write something – anything – that pleases YOU. And like this fabulous excerpt, it will also entertain the larger writing community because of its passion.

    This was fun, entertaining, and I got to read about a fairy tale I’d heard about, but wasn’t too familiar. I loved your take on the old thing.

    ……….dhole

  • Jen says:

    I loved this Brenda! Gripping and powerful! I saw your name on the blogfest entries and knew you wouldn’t disappoint!!

    I love these sort of blogfests, they allow you to reach for the sky, work on something you’ve never done before and allow others to see what you are able to whip up in a short amount of time… and you are able to whip things up quickly!!

  • Kate Haggard says:

    For a minute there I thought you might take it deeper into horror where Fatima (one of my favorite names!) joins old Bluebeard in his murder spree. So the sculptures were a pleasant surprise.

    Great!

  • Love the twist here, really clever! You did a great job on this, thanks for a good read!

  • oooh nice. Love the twist on it. Great job!

  • Wow, creepy! I love this take on the story. There was a version of this tale I liked as a kid called Fitcher’s Bird. It’s the same as Bluebeard but with an evil wizard named Fitcher. The last wife hides after she gets caught by dressing as one of the giant birds in his menagerie.

    This was fun and creative. Nice job!

  • Cool twist at the end! Domestic abuse captured in a fairytale–excellent job! I also loved how you made it a contemporary story.

  • Nice imagery and cool twist. So creepy. I like how it ends.

  • Clara says:

    Wow that was pretty great! I liked the surprise with the sculptures, and the whole voice of Fatima! I liked how it ended!

  • Michelle says:

    I gasped like nine times! Love this! The twist at the end was perfect.

    I think :The bodies are like white ghosts hanging from hooks on the wall, dust floating around them like smoke. Rusty stains streak their naked paleness: was my favorite part!

    So much fun!

  • Emily White says:

    Update: I’m posting finalists tomorrow. Not Wednesday. See you there! πŸ˜€

  • Mia says:

    Wow, I loved how you modernised this. Fatima isn’t saved by her brothers, she’s saves herself with a friend’s help.

    πŸ™‚

  • Francine says:

    Hi,

    Power to the women!

    Loved this unusual take on Bluebeard, the descriptions bringing domestic abuse to the fore.

    Blogfests are about participating in fun with other writers, and to be honest I knocked mine out in about twenty minutes right at the last minute, as well! Have no idea what led me along a sexy path!

    best
    F

  • Damyanti says:

    I like how you modernised this tale.

    I myself have never done something of horror/ sci-fi before, but just went ahead to experiment πŸ™‚

    I think your post turned out really fine!

  • drea moore says:

    I really liked this adaptation πŸ˜€ The use of the phrase “I go,” takes some getting used to (I use that phrase colloquially, but seeing it on the “page” was unexpected, is all). And BTW…I used Wikipedia in my hunt for the perfect fairy tale too πŸ˜€ Nice job!

  • aspiring_x says:

    oh my goodness! there for a moment i was totally freaking!! but they were sculptures! oh!!!
    too bad- no happy ending! πŸ™

  • Nice take – I was fooled too, I thought they were dead bodies, but making them sculptures was a nice twist. Good job!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments. This was such a fun blogfest and I’m happy to say I was able to read and comment on every entry. I’d hate to pick the top five because they all rocked!

  • AchingHope says:

    I love how the one wife ran away with someone they met on Twitter… Very nice πŸ™‚

  • Rebecca T. says:

    Nice twist about the sculptures. well done. I enjoyed reading it!

  • I loved your different slant to a tale most think they know and don’t. Telling a tale in present tense is hard for me. you pulled it off great.

    Thanks for the compliment on my entry. It came at a time when I was down, and it helped immensely. My job as a blood courier takes so much of my time, I have little free time — so I apologize for the length of time it has taken me to come and comment here.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. It means a lot.

    Donna’s right — blogfests are for fun and to experiment, trying out new angles. Your selection read as if polished and re-polished. Roland

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