…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it. From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.
I love fairy tales because they cross so many literary boundaries. They take fables with anthropomorphic ideas as characters and demonstrate a lesson to learn, but then cross over into fantasy and horror as magic and the supernatural play a part in warning the reader. Of the classics, I would have to say “Little Red Riding Hood” is my favorite fairy tale. Whether we choose to heed the advice or not, it warns us all to follow the known path and to be vigilant against strangers who will try to deceive you. And probably eat you.
Angelina Jolie’s movie Maleficent and the song, “Once Upon a Dream”, from its soundtrack performed by Lana Del Rey, is what inspired me to create this anthology of fairy tales retold as horror stories. We opened the anthology to re-imagined classic fairy tales and to new stories with familiar elements. For darker classics we have bloody good versions of Rumpelstiltskin, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella to name a few. Then we have stories with ghosts, fairies, changelings, doppelgangers, elves, trolls, and more.
“The Black Undeath” by Shannon Lawrence: There was a plague no one speaks about, one much worse than the Black Death. “The Black Undeath” combines the ravages of the plague and leprosy with the tale of Rumpelstiltskin.
“Melody of Bones” by Nickie Jamison: This is a delightful mashup of the German tales of the “Singing Bone” and “The Pied Piper of Hamlin.” Death can make beautiful music.
“The Godmother’s Bargain” by Alison McBain: This story is based on Cinderella but instead of relying on a fairy godmother, Cinderella makes a deal with something more sinister.
“Leila” by Dan Shaurette: This medieval tale about the dangers lurking in the deep, dark woods doesn’t reveal what you might expect.
“Nothing to Worry About” by Charles Frierman: Nothing killed Old Smeltzy; don’t let it kill you, too.
“The Cursed Child” by C.S. Kane: Witches do what they must to save a child.
“The Healer’s Gift” by Lynn McSweeney: A pale boy with a whiff of the uncanny begs admission to a wounded healer’s cottage just before sunrise, conjuring her darkest fears of who – or what – he may be.
“Briar” by K.L. Wallis: “Briar” is the story of a man who is lost deep in a mythical Black Forest, where he stumbles upon an abandoned fairy-tale palace with a forgotten sleeping beauty
“Curse of the Elves” by Sara E. Lundberg: This story gives a horrifying spin on the old tale “The Shoemaker and the Elves.” What if the elves were grotesque murderers and you wanted them to go away.
“Lake Tiveden” by MD Maurice: The modern retelling of the legend of Tiveden and the epic encounter between a fisherman, his daughter and the fearsome Nokken.
“Wax Shadow” by Emerian Rich: Horror fairytale modern retelling of “The Shadow” by Hans Christian Andersen.
“Without Family Ties” by Chantal Boudreau: This is a modern horror tale based on the story of Pinocchio.
“Commanding the Stones” by Laurel Anne Hill: A murder, a troubled marriage, a mysterious benefactor and a Russian fairy tale add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris.
“Gollewon Ellee” by DJ Tyrer: Two young girls follow the Gollewon Ellee fairy lights and discover that not only are the Fair Folk real, they are stranger and more sinister than they imagined.
“Mr. Shingles” by J. Malcolm Stewart: Bay Area boys meeting with a certain rhyming troll who may or may not still be living under the Carquinez Bridge.
“The Boy and His Teeth” by V. E. Battaglia: This story tells the tale of woe faced by a boy visited by the tooth fairy. He gets a reward for his tooth and eventually becomes greedy (even if he wants to help his family, too), so he crosses a dangerous line acquiring more teeth to trade.
“The Other Daughter” by Adam L. Bealby: It’s nice to see Hannah looking her old self, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The problem is Hannah - the real Hannah - with her black nails and even blacker attitude, is already upstairs.
“Old and in the Way” by Wayne Faust: Atmospheric tale about an old man who can no longer do his duty.