Once Again Upon a Time


This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for February 27. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. The photo prompt this week comes from Dawn Landau, an excellent writer of fiction, non-fiction and some personal memoirs that you all should read (after you read my story, of course). My story this week weighs in at exactly 100 words.

2015 02 27 Dawn Landau

Copyright Dawn Landau

Once Again Upon a Time

Ruby followed the railroad tracks and tried to quiet her pounding heart as she walked. Maybe the wolf wouldn’t recognize her.

After her last encounter with the ruthless attacker, Ruby had stopped wearing red. Instead she wore blue—the color of the sky, the color of the water in the lake near her home, the color of calm.

Behind her, Ruby could hear padded footsteps. Feeling anything but calm, she began to run. Just before she reached the door of Grandmother’s house, the wolf attacked.

Ruby woke up screaming. Mother held her close. “Hush now. The nightmares won’t last forever.”

For more on Ruby’s story, click HERE.

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65 thoughts on “Once Again Upon a Time

  1. Dear Marie,

    We never think of the scars left by those fairy tale encounters. I’m still smiling at your PTSD spin on an old favourite.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • storydivamg says:

      A closer look at many old favorites would, I believe, show us that every “happily ever after” comes at a price. Thanks for your kind comment on this one. It is actually quite personal . . .

      Peace,
      Marie Gail

  2. That was unexpected. Love your title, and the Grimm-ness of the tale.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Kimberly. I have now added a link to the “story behind the story” above if you are interested. So glad that the story managed to surprise and intrigue you.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  3. Nortina S. says:

    The untold fairytale, the part they didn’t want the kids to know. I enjoyed your story. 🙂

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. What an amazing twist on Little Red…

    • storydivamg says:

      That’s quite high praise coming from you, m’dear. This one seems to be popular with my readers, and it strikes me that the reader response may have something to do with how personally connected I am to this one. So stay tuned, darling. I’ll be sharing the personal side of this one before the day is out.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  5. erinleary says:

    Lovely update on a classic fairy tale. Ruby can change her clothes, but she can’t change who she is. Well done.

  6. paulmclem says:

    Nice little bit of nightmare prose. My nightmare is usually finding that all my teeth have fallen out, or I’m somewhere public with no clothes on. Hope it never happens 🙂

  7. Sandra says:

    The real stuff of nightmares. And so it continues. Good job Marie-Gail.

  8. […] this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, I wrote a spin off the classic fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood.” Within hours, the compliments from my wonderful readers (some of whom are happy to let me know when […]

  9. So many fairy tales aren’t the pleasant, happy-ending things we like to think they are. The latest creepy re-telling prior to yours, was the Red Riding Hood bit in “Into the Woods”, which was completely creepy in a child molester-type way. I didn’t really care for the movie, but that bit was horrible. As to your story, well done.

    janet

    • storydivamg says:

      I have a passion for retellings of fairytales, which means I will likely be heading to a theater to see Into the Woods to see it for myself. Sometimes I find that even a poor retelling inspires me.

      Thanks for your kind comments.

  10. That’s a such gut-wrenching tale – I read background! Nightmare story. Hope the man (?) got his comeuppance. Or shall we start a lynch party.

    • storydivamg says:

      You’re quite kind, Patrick.

      By the time my family and I had a full understanding of the consequences of the surgeon’s actions, the statute of limitations for a malpractice suit were long past. As I am now in my forties, there’s a pretty good chance he has died of natural (if not unnatural) causes, and if he didn’t change his ways, I’m sure he has some ‘splainin’ to do in the afterlife. I do hope he did not get a chance to harm others, and I also hope he is successful in finding a path to repentance and peace. I don’t wish that for him. I wish it because holding onto the anger that I have felt over his actions just hurts me too much.

  11. At first this story made me smile, the twist on the fairytale an amusing one. Then I read your other post.

  12. Marie Gail,
    I like your take on it. We rarely think about the aftermath of fairy tales, beyond happily ever after. This is more realistic. Little blue riding hood…
    -David

    • storydivamg says:

      Yeah, a quick read of The Yellow Fairy Book (or the blue one or the red one) reveals that those storybook characters paid high prices for their happy endings. Thanks for the kind words.

      All my best,
      MG

  13. karen rawson says:

    Creative take on the prompt, well-woven all the way through.

  14. I like the way you had Ruby change the color of her clothes to try to camouflage herself. We all do that in many different ways throughout our lives. Well told and I appreciate your sharing the story behind the story. Alicia

  15. The background story gave another meaning to this cleverly crafted story. It makes me happy to know Ruby fought off her demons.

  16. draliman says:

    I like your spin on the fairy tale, but your “author’s note” make for much darker reading.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Ali. Yes, a flash never gives the panoramic view, and often the smaller picture is what I’m shooting for. This time it seemed appropriate to share a little more. Thanks so much for reading.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  17. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Marie,

    A mysterious and multifaceted story. I love her name and the way you keep us in the dark re the parallels to the fairy tale and real life. Very well done.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • storydivamg says:

      Doug,
      I must admit having stolen the name “Ruby” from the television series Once Upon a Time. However, I’m not real keen on the way they spin Little Red in that show (although I like most everything else about it). Still, the name seemed appropriate.

      Thanks for reading and for your kind remarks.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  18. gahlearner says:

    Fairy tale endings rarely show how the victims really suffer. Your story does. Very well twisted!

  19. Red riding hood never scared me.. but that hound of baskervilles for sure did.. I would be running to with those paws behind me..

  20. wildbilbo says:

    Great – I saw your subsequent post, but couldn’t click through to read this one until now. Really powerful retake on the tale.
    KT

  21. Michael B. Fishman says:

    This was a good story but after reading the origin it makes me a little sad to think that you might still be troubled by nightmares.

    • storydivamg says:

      How sweet of you, Michael. I’m glad you enjoyed the flash, and I appreciate you taking the time to read the author’s note. Thankfully those nightmares haven’t come along in some time now, and I have an amazing wife and two precious kitties who come alongside me to chase the terrors away anytime they do reemerge.

  22. It’s not a wonder little red is a bit blue. Nice twist on an old tale.

  23. Sonia Lal says:

    Oh no!

    Wonderful! Pretty good twist.

  24. rgayer55 says:

    This seemed like a walk in the park after reading about your abusive and sadistic orthopedic doctor. Someone should have given him a dose of his own medicine.

    • storydivamg says:

      I’m sure he’s had his come uppance in one way or another. Maybe he has bad dreams about 6-week old babies going “all Chucky” on him.

      Thanks for weighing in, my friend.

  25. Ellespeth says:

    “Maybe the wolf wouldn’t recognize her.” Great line along with the ways she tried to go unnoticed. It’s difficult to really hide fear, though – as you show here. Wild and human beasts pick up on that quickly.
    Ellespeth

  26. It was a good story before reading the back story. Well done.

  27. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Marie Gail, Awesome story, excellent writing – you are GOOD! Nan 🙂

  28. Marie Gail, wonderful use of fairy tale and life unfurling… the nightmares we all have at one time or another. We all have our own wolf.

    I so appreciate your kind words in your intro; thank you!

  29. It was like a nice fairy tale, MG, until we got to the end. Nice twist, kind of reminded me of the movie “Carrie.” Great Job!

  30. AnnIsikArts says:

    Your own story is more horrific than the one you’ve written. I’m glad you more than overcame both your disability and your ‘treatment’. I had a similar experience with a doctor and now will not consult one unless in absolute dire need. Some medical practitioners choose the profession just so they can hurt people. 🙂

  31. Margaret says:

    Beautifully told. I love the colour imagery – the sky, the lake, and calm. Your story interprets the picture in a very original way, and now that I look at it again, all I can see is a lurking nightmare. Your background story tells of horrible suffering. I feel for you. I have an adopted grandson who has undergone extreme trauma in his infancy, and your experience encouraged me that whatever his future holds, there is a way through it to peace.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thank you, dear Margaret. On this side of adulthood, I can certainly say there are several things adults can do to help children who experience early childhood trauma. Feel free to email me if you want to continue the conversation. A lot if great new info has come out in recent years.

  32. MrBinks says:

    Great take on the prompt and a brilliant riff off of dear old “Red”.

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