A Laughing Matter – Edward Ahern
3100 word Fairytale
An older couple accommodates the presence of death.
Alan watched the drool sliding from the right side of her mouth. The side of her face whose creases had been gently smoothed out by the stroke. Judith’s right profile was two decades younger than her left. Alan remembered making love to her right profile. He had pulled a metal and plastic chair next to the bed so he could read to her and wipe away the drool. Alan made a ritual of waiting until the drool had slid down to the corner of her jaw and beaded into an almost drip before blotting up the saliva from the droplet to the corner of her mouth.
After Taste – Edward Ahern
2800 words Fantasy Fiction
Frustrating love sometimes survives death.
It began with the toilet seat. It was down. Roger never left the toilet seat down- it had been one of the sore points with Joyce before she divorced him. He squinted early morning eyes and propped the seat back up. His cell phone beeped as he slid a razor down his cheeks. Roger glanced at the heading -a message from Joyce’s sister. He finished shaving, wiped his face, and looked at the text, a broadcast to about twenty people. Joyce was dead. He called the sister without putting the phone back down. “Sarah, Roger. What happened?”
Blood Will Out – Edward Ahern
2500 words Fairytale
A royal Elizabeth is compelled to use her skills as a witch to ensure that her son becomes king.
Elizabeth stared down at him. Prince Hendrick was no shorter than the average noble of the time, but his eyes leveled at her décolletage. He was the latest in a series of suitors who had met Elizabeth and left her unwed. Hendrick’s rehearsed speech abandoned him. “Ah, Princess Elizabeth, it is my great honor to stare into your- eyes. The reports of your-beauty have preceded our meeting. We, er, I hope that we may become good friends and share many things, uhm activities, together.” The rest of his speech was lost in tongue tangle and he abruptly concluded. “I thank you again for welcoming me.”
Happily Ever After – Edward Ahern
2100 words Fairytale
A dark humor piece about what the fairy tale prince and princess are really like.
He stared past the observant servants until he caught her eye, then winked. ‘Blanche, let’s do something different today.’ ‘Like what, Fürstie? We thirst for nothing.’ He scratched his silk leggings. ‘No really, this rut of ours, even our royal rutting, is excruciatingly pleasant but so predictable. Let’s do something different.’ He waved at the satin draperies. ‘Everything is sumptuous, but it’s like eating only desserts. Don’t you ever get an urge for a bologna sandwich?’ Blanche tossed her hair. It was perhaps even more golden than Fürst’s, and somewhat longer. ‘No, first off, we have all our needs splendidly attended to, and then we have each other, all day, every day, forever.’
Listen to the Deaf Man Sing – Edward Ahern
3100 words Fantasy
“Listen to the Deaf Man Sing” tells of a man whose unconscious words play like music in listeners’ minds, bringing many to ecstasy and a few to suicide.
One hundred thirty faces canted upward, staring at Stephen. Such smugness, he thought, such presumed entitlement while waiting for this odd little man to speak. An old woman topped with an obvious wig sat in the front row and stared raptly up at him. How much she looks like my mother, who never really listened to me. “There’s no point in taping this, my recorded voice won’t convey what you’ll hear. I speak without a microphone to small groups because electronic amplification strips out the psychic flesh and leaves a shell of words.
Make a Wish – Edward Ahern
2100 words Children 7+ / Feel Good Fiction / Fairytale / Ghost story
This is a ghostly tale of George and Anaea,two schoolchildren who encounter the spirit of a dead woman teacher. They discover that her spirit is trapped in the schoolhouse because of her love for a still living teacher, and cleverly reunite the spirit with the man who still loves her.
Once, not long ago at all, a fourth grade boy and girl were kept after school. George, named for his father and grandfather, and Anaea, named for a butterfly, fidgeted at their desks. Anaea’s nickname was Nea. George had no nickname except for the secret one that Nea called him. Mr. Kuhne, their teacher, was usually kind to them. But they had helped each other during a quiz, and he really had no choice. He was sitting in front of them, typing on his lap top computer, when the principal’s office paged him and he stepped out of the classroom.
The Boy Beneath the Beech Tree – Edward Ahern
1500 words Children’s Fairytale
This modern fairy tale is designed to be read aloud to small children, but camouflages enough double entendres that the adult reader will also enjoy it.
Once, not so long ago, a young boy lived with his grandmother in the woods outside a small town. His mother and father were gone, and his grandma was his only family. His grandma was old, confused and forgetful, so David helped her to buy food, cook meals, and clean up their small house. David was still small, but loved his grandma and worked hard to make her comfortable. Now, just outside the house and overshadowing it was a large, old beech tree with gnarly branches and roots. The beech tree was already old when Grandma’s house was built, and living under the tree, in its roots, was an old, gnarly troll, even older than the tree.
The Feathered Cloak – Edward Ahern
2900 words Children 7 – 11 years Fairytale
This tells the story of Rhys, a boy who finds his grandfather’s magical feathered cloak. He discovers the cloaks ability to use colors for good and selfish purposes, and, after some awkward mistakes, uses the cloak to defeat an evil man who wants to steal the cloak and cause harm.
The trouble began when Rhys found the oak wardrobe. He stood barely four feet tall, but the free standing closet was twice that high. Its hinges were beaten brass, turned brown with age. The carved wood was riddled with little worm holes. Rhys had never seen a piece of furniture so big and heavy, and he knew that if it fell on him he’d be squashed. The wardrobe rested in a corner of a large, open attic. The attic was a jumble clutter of his grandfather’s collection of magic equipment. His grandfather had been a professional magician who had starred in New York and Paris and even Moscow.
The Filigreed Lamp – Edward Ahern
2200 words Children 7 – 11 years / Fairytale
This story relates how Kestrel, an almost teenaged girl, discovers a peculiar genii in a lamp. The wishes the genii grants come with painful side effects, but Kestrel figures out how to use the lamp for its best purpose.
Once, not so long ago, a young girl named Kestrel lived on a farm. Kestrel’s hair was the same gold-brown color as her namesake hawk, and she darted about with the agility of a kestrel in flight. One day a construction company came to the farm and began to dig a long trench for a gas pipeline. The trench cut right through an overgrown, gnarly gully, good for nothing and left alone by everyone. After they had laid the pipe and filled in the hole, Kestrel walked down the packed earth as if it were a path made just for her. When she reached the gully she looked down from her path and saw that the diggers had sheared off part of the gully’s bank, exposing a little brick wall where none should be.
The Fortune Teller – Edward Ahern
2500 words Fantasy
“The Fortune Teller” is a monk ordered by the Catholic church to discover what its future heresies and sins will be so they can be prevented. But torment begins when he’s able to foretell these events.
The Crusader’s Latin was crudely scribed, with many misspellings, but Brother Willman read along quickly, absorbing the narrator’s pride in the pillage and destruction of Constantinople. Christians off handedly killing Christians. The writer had felt no need for apology. Brother Willman sighed. The victors always wrote from moral superiority. He turned off the light above the vellum book and took a step over to an adjacent table, where loose parchment sheets were arranged. These sheets, also written in Latin, were an account of the same events by a Byzantine priest. He claimed moral superiority as well, but in defeat, and cited the atrocities of the Crusaders as evidence of their demonic nature.
The Girl Who Couldn’t Lie – Edward Ahern
2200 words Children 7 – 11 years Fairytale
This story features Laurel, an inquisitive girl who asked one question too many and was cursed to be able to only tell the truth in a blunt and hurtful way. After suffering for some while she is visited by a fairy who tells her how to make the witch Hesperata lift the curse, and Laurel is once again able to tell the little white lies we all need to live together.
Once, not so long ago, there lived a girl named Laurel. Until she was four Laurel grew up like every other girl, learning to walk and learning to talk. Once she could talk Laurel loved to ask questions, and her mother and father and sister and brother and uncles and aunts and grandparents all smiled fondly at Laurel and answered her questions, even when she asked them over and over again. But one relative was not friendly to Laurel. Actually no one really knew whose relative Hesperata was. Hesperata scared the whole family but she was always invited to birthdays and holidays and sometimes even for Sunday dinner so that she wouldn’t get mad at them.
The Good Fairy – Edward Ahern
680 words Fairytale
This story relates the dire consequences for the fairy when she grants the three wishes.
This story is included in the collection Thrice Upon a Time
Bartholomew didn’t like to drink, which is why ordering took a while. He’d found a bar with long lost pretensions and marginal cleanliness, then found a stool in what he hoped was an unpopular section next to the bathrooms. Bartholomew wanted to wallow in depression and loneliness, and understood that bars were good places to foster both qualities.
Thrice Upon a Time – Fairytale Collection
4 5* Reviews on Amazon
47,000 words Fairytale
Thrice Upon a Time is a collection of 18 modern fairy tales for adults. Some retell stories written long ago from a different perspective, while others are completely new. Read what happens when a late night walk leads to a game of poker with the farm animals and learn the Queen’s side of the story in what it is really like to live with Snow White. Who is the cobbler who turns up in the village? And exactly how many frogs does one princess have to kiss?
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