Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fairy Tales, Decadent-style

By DL Jackson

It’s a clear night in the Black Forest. Light dances across the darkening sky in ribbons of every color. Luminous and brilliant, it calls forth a feeling of magic and mystery. A full moon hangs in the distance like a paper lantern. The mist isn’t present tonight, but it will certainly creep in, come morning, and with it, terrors that lurk behind its hazy mask. No wise person is out when the fog encroaches, but that is hours away, and tonight is a good night for soothsayers.

No taller than four feet, or that of a six year old child, an older man parts the crowd as he walks toward a rickety stage that has been scabbed together with salvage from an old building. A makeshift performance area, which only adds to the foreboding ambience. In the distance, laughter and music fill the night from a transient gypsy camp, certainly the odd little man’s home. Wayfarer—traveler. His appearance speaks of decades of restlessness, moving from village to village, port to port, planet to planet, throughout the galaxy.

He is a collector of stories, and tonight he has a tale to tell. It’s written in his eyes and the wrinkles on his face, crisscrossing his skin in an aged roadmap as much a record as a history book. His gait rolls, as though he’s not traveled on land in decades, and he sports a long gray beard that twists and turns in every direction, like a bramble bush, dried and weathered from the elements. His woolen green britches and red shirt only add to a gnomish appearance, certainly a stage prop, for clothes of such antiquity would not be sported by any other.

In one hand he bears a steel pipe. Using it as a staff, he climbs to take his perch. His knees bend at the back, much like a birds, making one wonder if his deformity is real or costume. Hop, skip, he lands on the platform and turns toward the gathering crowd, with a bow and a spin, sweeping his hand from right to left in the grandest of gestures.

“Circle in, ye lads and lasses. My name is Nicodemus. I be a traveling bard. For a coin, I’ll share a tale.” He tosses his hat on the ground before him and members of the crowd drop their offerings in it.

Nicodemus folds as he sits and leans forward. His beard rustles and a large electric blue tarantula crawls from the nest of tangled hair and onto his shoulder, where it vibrates and purrs like a contented cat. He reaches up and strokes his hand over its back. It chirps, circles and then snuggles in for the story.

“Once upon a time....”

   The traditional Brothers Grimm fairy tales weren’t written for children, however there are a few, that through a tweak here and there have evolved to become popular tales for children. We all know Cinderella, Snow White and yes, Sleeping Beauty. We’ve heard of the Frog Prince and Hansel and Gretel. We even know about Little Red Riding Hood. But, have you heard of the Robber Bride Groom, or perhaps The Singing Bone? No? What about The Devil With Three Golden Hairs, or Boots of Buffalo Leather? Maybe you’ve heard of The Nix of Mill Pond?
   Many of the tales you might not have heard of, and here’s where the fun begins. Here at Decadent, we’re twisting most of the 209 Grimms’ tales into romance stories for big boys and girls. From science fiction to contemporary suspense, we promise to bring you stories inspired by masters, all with a happily ever after, or happy for now ending. Be prepared to dive into the dark and twisted world of the fairy tale, where good overcomes evil, and love trumps all.

   And when we’re done with Grimms, we’re moving on to other fairy tales, fables, legends and lore. Hold onto your hats, we’re going to take you for a ride.  

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