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From "The Princess Quest" by Shaun Avery
“I’m afraid I love another.” You smile and meet her gaze, knowing that your next words will make her understand. “But it’s okay. You don’t have to be mad. She’s a princess.”
She looks at you.
Next thing you know, you’re laying outside of the house with a bloody nose and a bruised eye, looking back through the window she just punched you out of.
You never can tell the way some people will react to good news.
From "Blood--Not Rose" by Megan Fuentes:
“They were a force of destruction for this country—you know that as well as I do. They were sabotaging all that your father had worked so hard to achieve.”
“I know.” He sighs again, hobbling closer to me. Our marriage had been a forced one—the king’s dying wish was to see his lame, younger son married, and I had been an ideal candidate, being without ties except to my sister. Still, we got along fine. What does he think of me now, standing here, in his brother’s bedchamber, obviously guilty? Even after five years, I still cannot read his face.
From "While You Were Sleeping" by Rohit Sawant:
“Lately, I’ve been finding myself thinking about...it a lot. And it frightens me.”
Maybe the curse won’t happen, he wanted to say; he wanted to say other things as well. Instead, he held out his palm. She took it.
“It’ll be all right, Dawn. I’ll save you.”
“You are aware that you have to be a prince to pull that off.” She half-teased.
He flushed with embarrassment. How ludicrous it sounded now that he voiced it. Like something read in storybooks.
“Why a prince?” Indignation pricked him, the helpless sort only those with rough hands know. Their conversation reached a place where neither of them made eye contact.
“Tradition, I suppose? But don’t worry. I doubt any of it shall transpire. I mean, it hasn’t until now. Right?”
But it did happen.
It happened the next day.
The happily ever after is never the end. The curtain doesn't fall once love is recognized or evil is vanquished. Credits don't roll once the giant is slain or the big bad wolf is boiled alive. Wicked stepsisters, malevolent rulers, and hideous creatures still have lives after their sinister roles play out; heroes, lovers, and dreamers often find their victories lead to more troubles.
Within these pages are more than seventy continuations, retellings, and eldritch stories that explore the dark forests, magical castles, and gruesome monsters After the Happily Ever After.
From "Tipping the Cup" by J. Rossi
This darkness caught me by the hair and pulled me back so violently my neck and back cracked as I hit the ground. The pain shot up all around me all at once but I was frozen on the cold earth. I wanted to move but I couldn't. The darkness wrapped around my wrist so gently and tugged.
Then it tugged again, and again until I moved back.
Then I was sliding, slowly backwards. It was taking me back.
And it was singing in the most beautiful voice.
They're in the music.
I saw my feet twitching as it pulled me by one arm slowly back through leaves and mud and twigs. I remember the cold. It was freezing, but my spine and hair was on fire.
My tears soaked my cheeks and blurred my vision. My little house faded in the distance. I couldn't turn my head to see it. I could feel it.
No one saw me. No one was there to help. I was going to that hole and then, God knows where.
I wonder where I went.
Wonder what land.
From "Little Red Hunting Hood" by M.T. DeSantis
I finger the strands. Naturally, my hair is auburn, but since I turned fourteen, I’ve dyed it with various shades of reds and oranges. The result resembles flames.
Grandma steps on Hutson’s foot.
He yelps and shuffles away from the dangerous old lady.
“Nice to meet you, too.” His tone suggests he’d rather be burned alive by hair-fire. He takes my hand for the wimpiest shake ever before dropping it and making eye contact with the floor.
What is this guy’s problem?
“Very good,” Grandma says in her I-have-news voice. Nothing good ever follows the I-have-news voice. “It’s about time you two met. The arrangements were made ten years ago, and Gunter asked if I would do the introductions.”
What is she talking about?
“You two are betrothed.”
The world goes away.
Did another wolf barge in and swallow me whole?
I blink a bunch of times until reality comes back. The words future and husband flit around in my skull like a fly trying to break free of a jar. I heard wrong. Or maybe Grandma’s going nuts in her old age.
“I’m sorry, what?” I say.
Grandma beams. “You two will be wed. Well, not right away, of course, but isn’t this exciting for the two of you?”
Hutson’s face turns a paler shade of green.
I can’t blame him. Betrothed? It’s so archaic. Besides that, betrothed to Hutson Twig-Arms? Absolutely not.
“Well?” Grandma lifts her foot to step on something, most likely someone else’s foot.
Possibly my foot.