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I think what makes my book so great is that even though its fantasy, the characters are relatable. Everyone wants to be loved and to find their place they call home- even people who are a little different. What better way to tell a story about self-discovery than to use the fairy tale characters we all know and love.

Chapter 1 & 2

Chapter 1 & 2

Chapter 1

April 21st…

For sinners, there is no such thing as happily ever after, just moments of relief found in between the sheets. What you wouldn’t give to change how things are- to be able to find your prince charming and get him to stay. But you’ve discovered much like happily ever after he doesn’t exist. The castle he promised you, nothing more than ruins. The horse he was supposed to ride in on- poisoned. Him, being your knight in shining armor- ha, never! Everything would almost be laughable, if you hadn’t believed it to be true, once upon a time.
Sometimes you tell people he’s gay and that’s why he never came to rescue you. Of course, everyone knew that to be a lie but they don’t say anything. And sometimes, you find yourself giving into the big bad wolf even though you know he’s no good for you. The way you justify it is because you know his game and what he wants. He wants your body, your passion, your lust. It’s all just so convenient for him and that is why he comes around when you’re at your weakest. He knows you can’t resist him.
A smart girl would run away and hide at I don’t know- grandma’s house or maybe even go as far as Oz just to escape his wolfish charm, and vivacious appetite. In your defense, you never claimed to be a smart girl. How many times have you fallen for repeat lies? Had your heart broken?
Sure the wolf’s intentions may be wicked; he doesn’t even have to talk for you to know that, but he does something for you that no one else does; for a couple hours, late at night he helps you pretend that fairy tales exist for people like you. In exchange for easing your pain even temporarily, you give him exactly what he wants and not a thing more ‘cause you damn well know better than not to fall in love with the big, bad wolf.
Haven: “What do you think?”
Pinocchio: “Let me put it to you this way- I’m made of wood and this makes me want to drink.”
Haven: “That bad?”
Pinocchio: “No, just depressing as fuck and whatever, happen to flying under the radar? This is going to offend a lot of people.”
Haven: “How? It’s just a start to a story.”
Pinocchio: “Yeah, and at the end of it-the heroine kills herself and the wolf he’s off to the next girl.”
Haven: “So? Think of it as the anti-fairy tale… or a good scare.”
Pinocchio: “This isn’t scary. Scary is a woodpecker, lit matches, or the fact that I might be trapped in the body of a boy puppet for the rest of my life. I’m over two years old and I might be stuck like this, another… two hundred years!”
Haven: “Pinoc, stop. You’ll get your chance to be made out of flesh. It just isn’t today so please, don’t hyperventilate. You know, I never know what to when you do that.”
Pinocchio: “I’m not going…to… bag. I need a bag.”
Haven: “Paper bag, I’m on it.”
Immediately, I got a paper bag from the front room and handed it to Pinocchio.
Haven: “Breathe! Just remember to breathe.”
It only took a few minutes for Pinocchio to calm down and when he did, he went right back to talking about my story. Truthfully, I would have been fine if he had wanted to talk about something else being that earlier, the topic at hand caused him to have a panic attack. Keeping my dear friends stress level low currently, was a priority so getting a critique ranked didn’t matter so much at the moment; Pinocchio, being such a great guy though, continued to give me his honest opinion about my writing.
Pinocchio: “Sorry. Where was I?”
Haven: “You were saying that my story wasn’t scary.”
Pinocchio: “Oh yes, it isn’t scary. It’s just going to cause a lot of negative publicity. Most people already look at you as an outsider and this only going to alienate the masses more if it gets out.”
Haven: “Maybe, getting people outside their comfort zones is a good thing.”
Pinocchio: “Haven, one day they will love you again. I promise you that, but this is not the way to win them back.”
Haven: “Why, not? Things have stayed the same for so long here that I can’t remember a time when the rules have been any different. Much of the oligarchy has become corrupt, self-serving, and basically pricks, who guarantee that only they get their storybook ending even if it means stepping on everyone else. If things were truly fair you’d be made of flesh; Hansel and Gretel wouldn’t have been eaten by the witch, and my mermaid friend wouldn’t have taken her life.”
Pinocchio: “Hansel and Gretel weren’t-”
Haven: “Some stories are given a happy ending because the truth is too unsettling. Who would know in this case? Two poor kids with no friends would likely not be missed. The evil witch was eventually slain and the bones of the children recovered but the story was spun that the kids escaped and that it was them who killed the villainess.”
Pinocchio: “If that is true, then who are those kids that make appearances at many events throughout various kingdoms?”
Haven: “Imposters that were promised the life of luxury if they assumed the identities of the murdered children. It’s all about publicity. You can do bad things. You can lie, cheat, and even steal but if the masses love you than you stay power. After all, if people knew the real Snow White or Rapunzel…”
Pinocchio: “Or Alice.”
Haven: “Yeah, well, people wouldn’t follow any of them, if they knew the real them and what they were capable of.”
Pinocchio: “Damn, but I still don’t think you should publish your story.”
Haven: “Ugh, why not?”
Pinocchio: “You’re an ex-princess with a grudge that’s what people are going to say. Worse case, as I said, this story will only alienate you more from society and may even have economical consequences on your business.”
Haven: “All right, you win. I won’t publish the story.”
Pinocchio: “Good girl and just in case, you’re tempted to change your mind, I’m going hold onto this for a bit.”
Haven: “You really don’t-”
Pinocchio: “I’m your friend, Haven and I don’t want to give Queen Alice any excuse to put you where your mom is. Or worse yet, I don’t want to see you end up like your father.”
Haven: “I won’t end up like either of them.”
Pinocchio: “Just don’t give her or anyone a reason, okay?”
Haven: “Fine.”
Pinocchio and I sat for the next few minutes in silence. I was slightly aggravated at him because he had killed my good mood. I knew he didn’t mean too, but why does everyone in this place always have to fake being happy? Forbid, if anyone ever admits to having feelings outside the norm or their station. If a person does even one thing wrong, they are automatically cast the villain. Just ‘cause you don’t whistle or hum a merry tune while you working a crappy job you don’t like doesn’t mean you are a rotten apple. It just means you have expectations, dreams, and you want more than your life has allotted you.
Cody: “Miss Heart, I don’t mean to bother you but I was wondering if you could review these plans for tomorrow? I don’t want to mess it up and ruin Snow White’s baby shower. You know how she is.”
Haven: “I’m sure you did well. I wouldn’t have let you do it, if I didn’t think you were capable. You already know that someday when I decide to step down I’m going to put you in charge of running this place so you have to start getting ready for that day.”
Cody: “I know and I want to thank you for all your kindness; I really do. It’s just… my friend who works in the castle says she’s very…”
Haven: “Anal? Vindictive? I know… I used to be friends with her. She’s not all sunshine and light. I don’t know why people think she is as she made her Stepmother dance in red hot iron shoes at her wedding until she died. I’m not saying the ‘old, wicked Queen didn’t deserve jail time for trying to kill Snow but that had to be a horrible death. I just remember hearing her screams, the blood, and the body. People thought it was funny. I’m sorry but a wedding and a funeral combined is not my thing.”
Cody: “So the stories are true?”
Haven: “Aren’t they always? Just don’t worry. You are not even on her radar, which is a good thing. You do your job and I’m sure everything will go off with a hitch and we’ll make our money.”
Cody: “I feel much better. Thank you. Oh, one more thing. This letter was left on my desk up front and it was addressed to you.”
Cody exited after handing me the letter.
Pinocchio: “See Haven, that’s the type of stuff I’m talking about. You’re not keeping a low profile. You are gossiping.”
Haven: “It’s not gossip when it’s truth. You of all people should relish the truth. Doesn’t your nose, Pinoc, grow, when you tell a lie?”
Pinocchio: “I’m not saying lie just don’t go out of your way to tell the truth. If people ask you a question, give them a truthful answer; but if they don’t ask, say nothing.”
Haven: “I see where you are coming from but I’m just angry and I feel powerless and by talking about it, it frees me.”
I decide to finally open the letter that Cody had handed me.
Pinocchio: “Then tell me or tell the twins.”
Haven: “Dee and Dum? I don’t even know where they are. Puss convinced them that they needed to grow up and they left to go do that. Truthfully, I’m a bit worried as there has been someone there on some level to take care of them.”
Pinocchio: “Fucking cat.”
Haven: “Why do you hate him so much?”
Pinocchio: “He threatened to use me as a scratching post the last time you paid me to babysit him.”
Haven: “He wouldn’t have done that if you didn’t take his damn boots. He can’t do half of the shit he does, without them.”
Pinocchio: “I don’t need a pissed off, super cat who I think possibly has a vendetta against me to have even more skills and intelligence. Yeah, I like that idea as much as I like picturing him murdering me and making it look like a suicide.”
Haven: “I don’t think he’d do that.”
Pinocchio: “Reassuring.”
While laughing at Pinocchio’s paranoia, I finally glanced down at the letter to read it; much to my disappointment, it really shouldn’t have been classified as a letter. It only had one word written on it, Midnight. Midnight, I knew what that meant and I wasn’t impressed. For weeks there was nothing but silence and now this. He wasn’t getting off that easy.
Pinocchio: “What did the letter say?”
Haven: “Nothing.”
Pinocchio: “You’re frown says otherwise.”
Haven: “You know, I think you’ve been spending too much time with that cricket. And I hate to cut this short, but I think I’m going to start closing down for the night. Tomorrow is going to be crazy and I just want to get a good night’s rest.”
Pinocchio: “All right, I’ll take off then but handover the story first. It’s for your own good.”
I had secretly hoped that he had forgotten about my short story but apparently, he did not. I couldn’t understand how a story about a girl meeting a boy, (a wolf), and him ending up with another was such a bad story. Heartbreak is a normal occurrence and for some damnable reason no one ever wants to talk about it because it’s an ugly thought. Maybe people wouldn’t feel so alone if they realized unhappily ever after is normal sometimes.
Alternatively, I suspect my story wouldn’t be received as negatively as Pinocchio thinks. Knowing my past history with my ex and the status of my current entanglement with a certain individual, I truly believe that Pinocchio mostly doesn’t like my story is because it’s how I feel about my life. I can’t help that it upsets him when I say I don’t think I will get my happy ending. I’m not going to lie and say I believe everything will work out when I don’t feel it will.
I just wish that his nose would grow even when he leaves some of the facts out because that to the point is a lie; however, Pinocchio would beg to differ. In Pinocchio’s mind, he didn’t lie. He told me how others felt and never once how he really felt therefore, it was not. Maybe, it wasn’t a lie because his nose didn’t grow but as a friend, I’d prefer his opinion over what he thought the masses would feel.
Haven: “Fine, take it.”
I threw the story at Pinocchio and it landed just at his feet. Grinning, he picked it up before walking away. Damn that puppet…

April 22nd, 12:47am…

I bet he actually thought I was going to show. I wonder if he was disappointed that, I didn’t. Who am I kidding? He probably didn’t even notice. Instead of having a night without thought or care or giving a shit, I just sat right here and started reading this damn book; sure, it’s a fucking boring book but it’s a fucking book that won’t disappoint. Who was I kidding, the book sucked royally. I need- no, I can’t go to him. It’s not right that I covet what I shouldn’t desire.
There was suddenly a knock on the door. Somehow I knew it was him. Had I willed him to come? I wasn’t sure but he was here now and the question is do I let him in? If I was smart girl, I would keep the door locked and not let the big bad wolf in.
Haven: “Who is it?”
Channing: “You know, damn well, who it is.”
Haven: “The voice does sound familiar but I don’t know- I think it belongs to some strange man I don’t know.”
Channing: “Haven, I’m only going to say this once.”
I knew what he was going to say but I decided to bust his chops a bit.
Haven: “Say, what?”
Channing: “I’m going to huff and I’m going to puff-”
I opened the door to see Channing standing there and I could tell that he was exasperated with me.
Haven: “Do you want me to blow you now?”
The look on his face went from angry too aroused in like five seconds flat. He didn’t bother saying anything else as he came inside, kicking the door shut behind us. Seconds after the door was closed, he backed me up against it. I wanted him so much and I was scared that if he didn’t kiss me soon that I would beg him for release. I was afraid that if he heard me begged, he’d realize exactly how much power he had over me and use it against me. No, I wouldn’t beg; instead, I would just continue the role of the Ice Princess when it came to Channing except in between the sheets. I could never even for one second let on to the fact that he affected me even a little because I knew one day, he’d get tired of me and leave.
Channing: “Are you going to make good on what you just said?”
Haven: “Only if you make good on the promises that you made two weeks ago.”
Channing: “I can do that.”
Haven: “Then let the games begin.”
I yanked off his shirt and he yanked off mine. I knew exactly what he had in mind and it didn’t take long for us to end up on the floor. As I straddled his hips, I began to wonder, just how much longer this arrangement could last. After all, passion only last for so long before it eventually burns out. What we have isn’t love so when he gets tired of me (and he will get tired of me), he’ll eventually leave so where would that leave me? Alone; I’d be alone without him but not tonight. Tonight, his hands, his mouth, his cock would make me scream and forget the life I was exiled too.
Channing: “Do you like that, baby?”
Haven: “You know I do. Don’t stop. Fuck, don’t stop. Take me too…”
Channing: “Where?”
Haven: “Wonderland.”

Chapter 2

April 22nd, 8:30am…

Haven: “We have to stop doing this?”
Channing: “Why?”
Haven: “You know why?”
Channing: “Just because I turn into a wolf a couple days out of the month-”
Haven: “I don’t care about that. It’s just… you’re not right for me.”
Channing gave me a boyish grin.
Channing: “Just because we aren’t right for each other, doesn’t mean this is wrong.”
I didn’t feel like arguing with him so I rolled out of bed and retrieved my clothing from the floor. As I dressed I couldn’t help but think about all the different ways he touched me and how he made me feel things that I wish I didn’t. I had to quickly remind myself that I could never, ever fall in love with him. Sure, I could like him a lot but loving him… that would only break my heart. Maybe, it was a good thing that lately he’s been staying away for extended periods of time, only to return when the needs of the flesh arise.
Haven: “You’re right. It can’t hurt killing time with you until Mr. Right decides to shows up.”
Channing: “It definitely can’t hurt.”
Haven: “Can you just promise if we make plans, show up. I hate being stood up and then have you disappear for days on end.”
Channing: “Isn’t that like a relationship?”
Haven: “No, it’s a courtesy. A relationship requires certain feelings and affections that we don’t share but we are friends so it would be nice if you kept your word.”
Channing sighed.
Channing: “Tell you what, I’ll think about it. But right now, I’m going to shower and then take off. I assume you’ll be gone to work by the time I get done bathing.”
Haven: “Yep.”
Channing: “Haven, if you really want to find Prince Charming here’s a tip, stop spending your life working and hanging out with toys.”
Haven: “Pinocchio isn’t a toy. He’s a real person just stuck in a puppet’s body.”
Channing: “Right and I didn’t eat all those little piggies when they pissed me off.”
Haven: “You’re incorrigible.”
I kissed Channing on the check and left him standing there in my bedroom. Sometimes I wish we were more than just friends and that what we had was real but that was just wishful thinking. I know he says that he’ll think about altering his ways but I know he won’t. I’d even bet that I probably won’t hear from him again probably for a couple days. Ever since we started sleeping together, he’s been keeping a certain amount of distance. When I first got to Foreversville, we did a lot of everything together. We were best friends but I guess, when we decided to sleep together I went from best friend to just one of his many women.
Speaking of his many women, I wouldn’t be surprised that he had many of them to sedate his desires and like an idiot, I just have him. I couldn’t be positive he was sleeping with others but that would make sense why he rarely came around as of late. Briefly I pondered, if maybe the way Channing was living his life was more fulfilling than mine. I could see myself sleeping with multiple men as my notoriety would easily allow for that to happen. Nah, that wasn’t for me it’s about quality not quantity.
If the me of five years ago, saw me today, she wouldn’t recognize who I’ve become. Back when I was younger, all I wanted was one guy to love me. I thought I had found it but he broke my heart. Ever since then, I’ve chosen guys who could never love me or wouldn’t love me for whatever reason; I think I do so, to protect myself. Channing Wolf was no exception to the rule because he would never let himself love me.
April 22nd, 2pm…
Rose Red: “Just look at her. Those tired eyes and hair what was she thinking?”
Rapunzel: “I don’t know but those clothes- ugh, don’t get me started on them.”
Snow White: “Where did she go shopping at a thrift store?”
The three young women started laughing.
Snow White: “Thrift store, that’s funny. Why aren’t you laughing Beauty?”
Beauty: “I don’t know. She use to be our friend so-”
Snow White: “Use to be is the keyword. She’s now just one of the help.”
Beauty: “She’s still-”
Rose Red: “You know we could have any of the twelve dancing princesses take your place if you aren’t willing to side with us. You know what would happen if we throw you out of the club. You will die a social death. It would kind of be poetic justice as you took the place of what was her name?”
Rapunzel: “Jewel.”
Rose Red: “Yes, Jewel, I remember her. It was a shame that she had to kill herself. She was such a pretty girl. I’m not saying we would do anything to physically hurt you but a social death is worse than an actual death because you are still alive. Also, I don’t want to lose you from our group so maybe you should lighten up and play along.”
Beauty: “I get it.”
Snow White: “Do you?”
Beauty: “Did you hear she’s sleeping with murderer.”
Rose Red: “Do tell.”
Beauty: “He’s a wolf. They are all blood thirsty murderers; need I say more?”
Rose Red: “How the mighty have fallen.”
Snow White: “Oh.”
Beauty: “What wrong Snow?”
Snow White: “Baby, just kicked. Does anyone want to feel?”
All the women instantly forgot about trashing me and started talking about the baby; this was a magnificent thing as I couldn’t listen to them talk anymore. I thought it was satirical how these people use to call themselves my friend. It was one thing when they abandoned me when I needed them most but to treat me like I was the villain that was downright wrong. If people only knew their beloved princesses, were truly wicked and not pure of heart would these girls still be famous and beloved? Or would people become disillusioned and revolt against the various monarchs? No, they wouldn’t revolt. They only revolt when the monarchy starts loping off people’s heads and over taxing them.
I went outside just to get some air and clear my head. I was glad no one was out there. I sat down on the steps and just closed my eyes to think. I couldn’t help but remember back to another time that now seems almost like another life. I was Princess Heart and no matter what my family did, I could do no wrong.
Six years earlier…
Rose Red: “You are the luckiest girl in the room, Haven.”
Haven: “I know I am.”
Rose Red: “Seriously, I’m like jealous.”
Haven: “Cord is amazing and we’ll be married in less than a season and I sincerely can’t wait. He’s just everything I ever wished for. He’s funny, smart, kind-”
Snow White: “You forgot good looking and rich.”
Haven: “I was getting to that but his money means nothing to me. I have everything I ever wanted. I have my kingdom and the love of a good man.”
Snow White: “You don’t care one bit that the alliance between your families will more than double your holdings?”
Haven: “That’s just the icing on the cake but seriously, we have more important matters to discuss. As we all know, our friend, Jewel, the Mermaid, has gone M.I.A. and I’m just totally over Pea Girl trying to get us to let her join our club. I say we need to start looking for new members, who aren’t annoying to keep our club alive. I also think we should always have minimum of five members. What’s a good max to have?”
Rapunzel: “Twelve.”
Haven: “Good thinking. If we keep our membership low, it will keep our club exclusive and in demand. Maybe down the line will extend invites to duchess and countess, etc. and add more members but for now we’ll keep it at twelve members max. Oh, and our fellow club members have to be princesses or queens.”
Rose Red: “So who do you have in mind in becoming are fifth?”
Haven: “Technically sixth, once we find Jewel. I was thinking though we ask Queen Beauty to join. You all should already know this by the files I’ve give you containing her background, etc. I hear she just wrangled herself a beast of a man and is now queen of a kingdom not too far from your kingdom, Rose.”
Snow White: “But she’s so ordinary.”
Haven: “I beg to differ. Even I have to admit that she is quite stunning. So you weren’t impressed by the file?”
Snow White: “I read it. It’s just a poor girl held hostage and falls in love with her captor. I don’t know, she just doesn’t impress me. I don’t care if she broke a curse over an entire castle.”
Haven: “You ran away from your Stepmom and lived with dwarfs until you were rescued by your prince charming. I think what she did was a bit more impressive.”
Snow White: “How dare you- you who, never had to struggle at all in your life.”
Haven: “Snow, I’m not downplaying what you did but you had it hard for a couple of months but Beauty is living a rag to riches story and people love that. I may not have had to wait on men or take on the role of a servant but my life’s not plain or easy either. You all know the crazy whack jobs I have to put up with on a daily basis. If I had my way, it would be off with all their disobedient heads.”
I was actually kidding. I liked the weirdness and dysfunction of Wonderland; it made Wonderland wonderful. As for the beheadings that was my mother’s department. I didn’t really like such a severe punishment especially when it didn’t fit the crime but as of late mother has been starting to use it more and more.

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Kristina Garlick

Hackettstown, United States

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