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Posts tagged “horror

Twin Blood ( A Red Snow Fairy Tale)

After their music lessons ended the twins decided to play in the gardens. They were running around throwing snow at each other, laughing wildly when Cristof saw a little child peering out from behind the crooked tree. She was laughing and she waved at him.

“Did you see that?” Cristof asked his twin.

Petya looked up but the little girl was gone. “See what?” he asked.

“Never mind,” Cristof moaned, dismissing the sight as just being his imagination. They carried on playing and Cristof saw her again. This time she appeared to be angry with him.

“There she is again!” Cristof called pointing to the tree. Petya still saw nothing. “Wait here,” Cristof ordered and made his way to the tree.

Petya watched in silence as his brother neared the great dark trunk. He disappeared behind one side but didn’t emerge from the other.

“Cristof!” he called a couple of times before plucking up his own courage and following his brothers footsteps. He followed the small prints, much like his own, around the tree where they stopped suddenly right at the base. A boy with pale skin and ebony hair was seated in the snow with his head in his hands.

“Have you seen my brother? He looks just like me,” Petya asked sensing Cristof was playing a game with him.

“I haven’t seen anything,” said the boy. He raised his head, opened his eyes and showed empty sockets. “I am blind,” he explained.

“Who are you? Where do you come from?” Petya asked.

“My name is Baldasarre,” said the boy. “I am from a land far from here.”

“What happened to your eyes?”

Baldasarre told him, “They were taken from me. That is why I am here. I am going to retrieve them but I can’t get inside the castle. Will you help me?”

Petya hesitated, “I really need to find my brother.”

Baldasarre sighed, “If you help me get inside the castle I will help you find your brother.”

Petya, sweet, trusting, naïve soul, asked, “What do you need me to do?”

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As with all good fairy tales it all started with a curse. This particular one was brought on by the clash of egos between two powerful witches.

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Bully Posion (Part of the Myths and Tales collection)

“What is it?” he asked eagerly. “Tell me!” Charlie urged.

“I am a witch.” said Aunt Trudy softly and slowly.

Charlie’s eyes lit with joy. He had always known there was something unusual about his lovable aunt. “Does that mean I’m a witch too?” he asked excitedly.

“Don’t be stupid boy,” said Trudy. Charlie’s hopes were dashed in an instant. When Trudy saw his sad little face she continued, “Being a witch takes years of practice. I will show you but in the meantime … What to do about those bullies…” her voice trailed off as she heaved a heavy, dusty, green leather bound book, slammed it on the table and proceeded to unbuckle the golden clip that held the book closed. Dust flew from the pages as they were turned. Aunt Trudy ran her finger slowly over the hand written words. The writing was so scribbled and hurried it was difficult to read.

“Aha!” announced Aunt Trudy in triumph disturbing their quiet contemplation. “This ought to do the trick!”

Aunt Trudy’s first spell: Removing an enemies voice

With lizard tails,

And an old woman’s nails,

Take a frog and a pot of snails.

Mush them together in one big stew,

Add a drop of blood but it must be new,

Along with rat tails, not one but two.

Give to your enemy; they must drink it fast,

Every single drop or the effects won’t last,

Now they won’t say a word until you ask.

“Lucky we have all the ingredients right here,” said Aunt Trudy cheerfully pulling bottles from the shelf. Charlie picked up a jar labelled ‘pickled raven’s claw’. He opened the lid and brought the jar to his nose. Aunt Trudy snatched it back from him. “Don’t sniff that, not unless you want a pig snout,” she warned.

“I’m not sure about this,” the nephew said hesitantly.

Aunt Trudy began pouring the ingredients into a black ceramic bowl. The contents were bubbling, mixing together to form an orange paste. “Don’t be silly, that bully will learn.” There was a crazed look in Aunt Trudy’s eyes that Charlie didn’t like one bit.

Charlie asked “Will they get hurt?”

“Not unless you want them to.” Aunt Trudy took the bowl, held it high above her head and whispered the magic words. “Munchlum Doodledum Frooglepop.”

She took some to their garden, Charlie followed. The neighbours’ dog, Benny, had managed to climb onto their grass again ruining Aunt Trudy’s vegetable patch and leaving canine deposits everywhere. Benny was yapping uncontrollably.

“What are you doing?” the little boy asked when he noticed his aunt staring at the dog.

Aunt Trudy held the bowl out in front of her. “First rule of witchcraft Charlie, take out the neighbour’s pesky pet.” Benny was wagging his tail eagerly and still yapping. Trudy lowered the bowl to him and he took several large gulps not stopping to sniff. He started yapping again. Charlie folded his arms across his chest in disappointment. “Give it a moment,” Trudy said. They both watched the dog. Suddenly Benny’s voice was lost. His horrid screeching bark became silent. His jaws were open and his lungs were pushing but no sound came out. “I do that when I want to shut that thing up,” said the aunt. “Now you know how it works, give it to your bully.”

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Diaries of a Cursed Kingdom: A Red Snow Tale

Dearest Brother,

Since boyhood I have enjoyed taking the horses and hounds into Mendelov woods. The bounty of animals to hunt there is wide and varied. It is a tradition passed to me by my father that the meat and fur we find there be shared among the people as much as possible. The nights can be long and cold so the kingdom appreciates the warmth.

Today was different though. There were scarcely any animals to be found save one rabbit which the hounds slaughtered for their own supper. There was a fire in the distance. Some celebration of sorts seemed to be happening in the nearby village. Singing and chanting filled the air. I had just about given up hope of ever finding a deer or elk. The noise had most likely scared them off. I was preparing to turn away when I stumbled across a clearance. My bow was prepared. My straining arms had all but fired a shot. I was startled. Before me was the most beautiful woman my eyes had ever beheld. She was seated upon a white horse. Her long black locks were so dark they almost shone blue in the fading light. Her skin was as white as the freshly fallen snow.

“Aren’t you frightened?” she asked me. Why, in all my heart and soul, would I be frightened by an image so fair? That was when she did the strangest thing. She threw to me a trinket, a macabre symbol. I held the skull of a cat in my hands.

“It will help aid success in your hunts,” she explained. Her voice trailed from her lips like fine silk threads.

Her name was Francesca. She was from a village far from here but I would scour the known map to find her again. I know nothing of this woman and yet I know I will have no other as my queen. I can’t erase her presence from my mind, nor her voice from my ears. I can’t explain it. We have met only once and yet I will offer her everything I have.

King Roman


My Dearest,

It has been done. I have left it all behind. The last sight I had of my kin was of them burning, begging for the pain to be ended. Even after it all those who could still pleaded for me to stay with them.

The man with the black eyes still claimed be me to as his love until I removed his heart from his chest. The blood was still warm as I devoured it. Great was my fury that they tried to stop me and greater was my horror at what the love of Roman has made me see.

The eternal child, was the last to speak. A curse she warned me of. That was laughable. Her power could never match mine for I was Queen of our people and none of them could match me. She quipped about a plague that would follow me to my new land and infect all those who crossed my path. My husband would be driven insane as images of my deeds flooded his fragile mind. Any children produced from the marriage would suffer from cradle until they begged for death. The girl doesn’t frighten me.

The village was reduced to ashes in my wake. The evil of its people banished. Annabelle followed me. My first reaction was to kill her too. She stared at me with those pitiful green eyes of hers. I’m not one to hold sympathy but she had been loyal to me. She is the only one who could rival me and yet she is too dim to realise.

On our way to kingdom, I on horseback, she on foot beside me, we came across one of the strangest creatures known in my black circles. We were met by a Hangram. It was creeping to the water, gasping for whatever pity the world could spare it. They are fierce yet wretched creatures. It’s finger tips flamed with the heat of redemption.

Annabelle and I knew the Hangram immediately but a ‘dweller’ may have been alarmed. Not many are seen by the dweller folk and fewer leave the unfortunate alive to tell the tale. It looked up at us from its contemplation over life and death. It approached. It recognised the blackness within me. It had softened since meeting Roman but still burned in my chest. Hanram are drawn to malevolence like thirsty men to a pond.

“You are evil, quite unlike any I have known and yet you roam this land without hinderance. Today is the day you answer for your evil,” said the creature.

“I am sorry for all I have committed!” I said knowing the proper way to address a Hangram.

“I’m not,” Annabelle interjected.

The flames from the Hangram raged. It’s eyes began to glow. Annabelle showed no fear. Truthfully she had little patience for such creatures and I wished to be on my way.

“Francesca!” the Hangram raged. “There is a special place in Hell reserved for you.”

“If you are waiting on my repentance I will not give it to you,” I told it.

The Hangram closed in on us. “I don’t expect contrition from the likes of you.” It’s burned face contorted into an unsettling smile. “You will have to find comfort on a bed of blades if you do not appease your conscience.”

This particular Hangram was not to be fooled. It knew me, although in its form I couldn’t quite place the haggard frame. I had seen so many Hangram over the years. “The kingdom do well for you,” it said. “The King’s love will save you but only if you accept the punishment you deserve. End your life here and now, save the kingdom and the generations to follow. There is not a sin so great that a single act of selfless sacrifice can’t save you from,”

Before I could make my response Annabelle stepped forward. She threw dust at the Hangram’s feet. The Hangram emitted a high pitched, pained shriek. The form began change in a swirl of black and red energy. The colours cleared. The body of a little boy of nine years old lay where the Hangram had been. I remembered him. His name was Dale and he had come from a village, deep in the woods. My brother Julian loved to toy with Hangram. There were countless of them wandering the land because of him. The soul purpose of these creatures was to seek out sin and evil and vanquish it. My people would absorb the energy left behind, strengthening our own macarbe magic. This was our way. When the Hangram had fulfilled its duty it would be disposed of. Formidable to the ‘dwellers’ but a mere pet – a blood hound in many ways – to us. To create a Hangram required the body of an innocent, someone who had led a pure life. This was often difficult to find in an adult so most of the time children served the purpose. Julian sought them out like an avid hunter. With his handsome face and bright, kindly eyes they flocked to him. Dale had been one such trusting soul.

Annabelle removed a dagger from her boot. She meant to cut his throat while he lay asleep on the forest floor.

“No wait,” I stopped her. I had been thinking of what the Hangram had said. I left him. When he awoke from his slumber he would have enough provisions to keep him until he found a way back to his family. When I left Vorelia Julian had burned with all the others so Dale needn’t fear him any more.

So here I am in the arms of the King, in the beautiful kingdom. The curse and all the others have been left behind. I will defy them, to be happy, to live.

Francesca

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A Prisoner in The Old king’s Castle

Sonya couldn’t count the days she had been held behind bars. The sun had risen and fallen but since her prison allowed no light she couldn’t tell how many times. What had been her crime? The beloved King Roman had fallen ill. Since then, the Kingdom of Navaria had fallen into anarchy. Cries of witchcraft spread panic throughout the snow covered land like untamed fires blazing through a dry forest. General Drenisov of the Navarian Guard had taken a firm grasp of the people. He held them in fear. He allowed the rumours of the cursed kingdom to circulate unhindered because the more frightened the people were, the more they turned to him for leadership. The sick king had been falling further and further into madness. His second wife, Annabelle, had retired from public view without explanation.

Sonya had been expressing her views.

“We’re being treated like animals,” she said. At first she had only whispered this to a few friends in the marketplace but before long more and more had gathered to hear what she had to say. She stood on top of a box to voice her opinion further. She lifted her skirts as she climbed to the new height. The hem was muddied from the ground where the snow had been trodden into filthy slush.

“We are stronger than they and they know it. We have had no word from the castle because they don’t deem us important enough.”

A merchant cried, “Here, here!” from behind his stall. Some of the gathering nodded in agreement with a firm shade of anger across their brows. There were others who hunched their shoulders and cowed away for fear that they would be seen listening to such thoughts.

“We demand to know what ails our beloved king. There are no such things as witches in Navaria, merely a symbol of fear designed to keep us under the control of the Guard.”

As she said this, the crowd began to part. Through the ragged clothing of sombre peasant colours charged a group of tall, young guards wearing the vibrant red and gold that was their signature uniform. Word of her malcontent must have reached The General at the grey, brooding castle that sat high on the mountain looking down on its subjects below.

Two guards snatched Sonya by the ruffled collar of her dress. She fell onto her knees in the mud. No one moved to help her, not even the grey haired, doe eyed merchant who had been cheering her on moments before.

“Don’t let them silence you!” she shrieked. “We are stronger than they.”

Sonya was taken to the castle and locked away in the dungeon. Word reached her that King Roman had been murdered. She heard two guards discuss it as they brought in a new prisoner. She even heard it from The General himself.

“You have murdered the king and doomed this land with your witchcraft,” Drenisov barked. She heard heavy footsteps on the stone floor. She pressed herself against the small window to the outside corridor on the door of her prison. She could only see the red of The General’s coat. There was no reply from the prisoner. The guards departed and all fell silent.

“Stay strong, comrade,” she said, not sure if her fellow prisoner would hear her.

“Is someone there?” The voice that returned to her was that of an adolescent boy. Sonya guessed him young enough to be her son.

“They can’t keep us here forever,” she assured.

The boy’s voice was eerily calm for the horror that he had no doubt just endured. “The king is dead,” he stated. Although youthful, the voice carried the wisdom of age. It’s owner must have been well educated. The son of a nobleman.

A deep motherly instinct that Sonya possessed looked past the obvious maturity of the boy and sought to lay comfort at his young feet.

“It’s a terrible tragedy. I heard The General say you are the murderer but I don’t think that is so. When the eldest prince, James, is granted the throne Drenisov will have no choice but to release us.”

The boy gave a laugh, the kind that bordered on hysterical. It held no real humour.

“I salute your optimism, my dear woman, I truly do. I fear that here in this darkness is where we will live out our last days.”

Sonya was chilled by the youth’s acceptance of fate. “Prince James…” she began.

“The prince can do nothing to help,” the boy interjected.

Sonya could feel tears on her brittle eyelashes. “He will …” Now it was she who was needing comfort.

“Take solace in knowing that soon it will all be over,” said the boy softly.

“I will get word to the Prince,” Sonya offered. “He is much like his father. He will help us.”

“He already knows your plight. My lady, I am Prince James and any chance I ever had of helping my people died with the king.”

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Happy Birthday to the Snow that turned Red

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Four years ago today RED SNOW was published and Vivika Widow officially became … Well, Vivika Widow. Anyways, to celebrate the arrival of the first born we are taking a look at how Red Snow developed over the years.

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Which is your favourite cover? Comment below and let us know!

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The short story RED SNOW fairy tale DUST AND DEVOTION is available now!

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The Damned Doll (A Myths and Tales story)

Lot’s of people say that porcelain dolls are creepy. I always disagreed. I was given my first doll for Christmas back when I was eight and I loved it so much people kept flooding me with more and more. I’m now thirteen and I still love my dolls.

“Their horrid. How can you sleep at night with all of them staring at you like that,” my best friend Otto says. He’s not the free spirit I am. He thinks I don’t notice but he tends to turn them to face the wall if we happen to be watching TV at my house. I can see his eyes dart every now and again to them to check they haven’t moved on their own.

The bright pink walls of my room are lined with various porcelain faces. My favourite one is one that always sits in the middle. She wears a purple dress. Her eyes are beetle black and she has a thick head of spiral curls like my own. Dad brought her back from a trip to the lesser known country of Mergovia. He was on a photography assignment from his newspaper when he saw an old woman who easily looked like she had seen one hundred years. She was selling the dolls so he brought one home for me. He said that the woman had tried to usher him some kind of warning but he didn’t understand the language. He always did have a flair for the dramatic.

I named her ‘Hate’ because of all my dolls – their faces normally serene, shiny eyes vacant – she looked like she was scowling a little. Given her stern expression and crazy hair I always imagined her angry. I would tell Hate all of the things that were bothering me. She wouldn’t dismiss them or tell me that I was over reacting like most people did. She listened. She scowled on my behalf and I felt better. I had a good thing going with Hate. That was until the night I woke her up.

It had been a particularly bad day. I had failed a Spanish test, I dropped my lunch tray in view of everyone and I had been walking around all afternoon with toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Rather than telling me this the girls felt it better to giggle at my expense. It wasn’t until I met Otto after school and he told me was it finally removed. My name being Tally, it lead to the new nickname ‘Toilet Paper Tally’. I will now bear this new name until I can talk dad into letting me move school.

I was relaying all of this to Hate, spilling my inner nastiness. She stared down at me with her scowl like she felt the pain of each of my words.

I smiled, content that I had managed to shoulder my humiliation. I switched my lamp off and laid my head on my pillow. I gave one last look at Hate and could have sworn she was angled more towards me than she had been. Anyway, off to sleep I went.

In the middle of the night I heard a soft singing. It was a tune that seemed familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. It was a soft little voice that sounded younger than my own. There was someone else in my room! I looked up. This time Hate definitely had moved. She was staring straight at me.

“Well look who’s awake,” she said in a sharp, shrill shriek that wasn’t as soft as her singing voice.

I could only stare at her. How often does a doll come to life? Too often I’d say.

“Aren’t you going to lift me down from here or are you just going to keep staring at me like a dim witted moron.”

“You’re not real,” I gasped.

Hate shook her head. “You can bet your ass I’m real.”

“Dolls don’t come to life.” I tried rubbing my eyes. My brain told me I was dreaming.

Hate shook her head slowly. It a slow moment that required a lot of effort from her. “This one does. Now get me down from here. We have work to do…”

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A Kingdom Torn (A Red Snow Fairy Tale)

The land of Susiname lies the south. It takes a strong minded adventurer to wander along the silver coastlines. To delve further into the deep forests Is a quest not for the faint of heart.

It was a land of monsters. Giants, trolls and other monsters of the unspeakable variety roamed deep inland.

Susiname was also a kingdom of great division. King Desmond died. It is told that he faced the great Malwock Beast in protection of his kingdom but the beast had the better. With it’s poison the king was turned to stone. A monument was erected in his memory at the gate of the Genya Estate (home of the Susiname royalty). Some say it is merely a monument. Other’s believe that it is the petrified king himself who lies beneath.

The kingdom erupted into a civil war. A new king could not be chosen. Desmond’s daughter, Asana, was but a child of six. Blood was shed but before a full scale war was declared among the Dukes, King Roman of Navaria, a powerful neighbouring kingdom to the North and King Benjamin of Elgany, another powerful neighbour stepped in and brought peace to the troubled land.

Control of Susiname was given to those who owned the respective lands within the kingdom. It kept peace for a time. Beneath the glorious sun kissed surface, beneath the noses of the powerful benefactors, lay a horrific injustice. The Counts were unsatisfied with their gains. They wanted more. They needed labour to toil their lands and the labour was expensive. A trade began in human lives. Sold into slavery were those who had nowhere else to go, those deemed lower in caste and those who had no means of paying their debts.

Susiname had its monsters, but for each new child born into slavery there was a desire to escape into the unknown, no matter what they would be up against.

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