Twisted Fairy Tale: Rapunzel by Ian Conner
Welcome to the 8th annual #SpookyShowcase! The Spooky Showcase celebrates the dark minds of creatives around the world through short stories and artistic creations that are dark in nature, macabre, or horror themed.
This year’s theme is Twisted Fairy Tales. Expect twisted legends, creepy creations, and dark fairy tales that will keep you up at night. Visit each day in the month of October for a scare. The master schedule is here.
By Ian Conner
“What could you possibly have to show me all the way up here in the tower mother?” Rapunzel asked.
“You will see. It is a special room just for you.” Rapunzel’s mother replied.
Rapunzel’s long hair was draped over her arm as she climbed the stairs in front of her mother.
“It’s quite a climb to reach the top mother.”
“It will be worth it.”
The two reached the top of the long stairwell. Both wrinkled their noses at the dust they stirred up as they opened the door to the room her mother mentioned. Rapunzel sucked in her breath in amazement.
“Oh my goodness mother. It is all so very beautiful!”
The room was filled with light as the sun streamed in through the balcony windows. Golds and yellows spilled from the comforter and walls. Rapunzel stepped into the room, twirling in enjoyment.
Rapunzel did not notice as her mother stepped out of the room and locked the door. The door boomed as she closed it. Rapunzel rushed to the locked door pounding on it.
“Mother let me out! You cannot leave me alone in here.” she cried.
“I will bring you something soon.”
Her mother leaned against the outside of the door with her eyes closed, clutching a silver cross for strength. Rapunzel continued pounding on the door as her mother made her way back down the long stairwell. She still clutched the silver cross that hung from her neck for resolve.
“I’m doing the right thing, I’m doing the right thing.” she repeated.
She muttered reaching the tower landing.
“What else could I do? She is dangerous.”
Rapunzel’s mother nervously made her way into the main house.
Rapunzel’s skin gleamed in the sun three mornings hence. She stood at the window of her tower prison brushing her hair. True too her word her mother brought her a visitor. A handsome young man appeared below her balcony in the company of her mother.
“Go on, call to her like I told you.” Rapunzel’s mother prompted.
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel maiden so fair I am here to court you let down your hair,” the young man from the village said.
Rapunzel looked over the edge of the balcony with venom for her mother. She said nothing to the woman, merely jerked her head dismissively towards the house.
“Good day young sir. Why should I let down my locks for you to visit me in my tower?”
“I am wealthy and will make you an excellent husband. I can rescue you from your tower if you will let me.” he replied.
Her mother was just inside the house listening.
Please have her accept so I can be rid of this curse, she thought.
Her mother peered out the window watching the progress of the meeting.
Rapunzel smiled down at her beau.
“How are your climbing skills, handsome?” Rapunzel asked unfurling her hair.
Her hair fell from the balcony to the ground in a long, graceful cascade. It landed several feet from him with several feet to spare.
“Climb up.” She motioned to her hair some ten feet from him.
She smiled sweetly at the boy anticipating he would make the climb. The young man hesitated, eyeing Rapunzel’s mother peering out the window. Rapunzel looked at her mother and lost all patience. Her hair seized the young man, entwining the boy, coiling around him like hundreds of snakes.
“What are you?” he screamed.
Her hair filled his mouth before he could complete the sentence. Moving like it had a will of it’s own. Rapunzel’s hair rolled him up, turning red as it pulled the blood and life from his body. Her hair continued to roll his body up the tower. By the time Rapunzel had him on the balcony his body was desiccated.
“Dry, like seasoned firewood.” Rapunzel noted.
Rapunzel deposited his corpse into the fireplace and lit it ablaze.
Rapunzel returned to the balcony and resumed brushing her hair. She glanced down to her mother’s now empty window then returned to brushing. The red color fading from her locks as she brushed.
“Bring me another,” she whispered “I hunger.”
She went inside her prison and held out her hands to the flames now blazing fire.
Her mother thought back to the first day she had realized Rapunzel was something else besides her daughter.
“Brandon wants to take me for a walk.” Rapunzel told her mother.
The two strolled away from the farmhouse and took a seat on a large boulder by the stream. Rapunzel was ever so fond of Brandon and did not much mind that he sat so closely to her. He took her hand as they sat. It was thrilling to have a boy so close, more so when he tried to kiss her.
Suddenly she was frightened by his kiss and told Brandon, “No.” He continued his advances. Rapunzel’s hair broke free from the hairpins that held it up and seized the boy.
“I, I, I….” Rapunzel stuttered in confusion and horror.
Her hair, now loose, grabbed the boy wrapping him up like a fly in a spider web. Spinning Brandon roughly, sucking the life from the boy. His blonde locks turning red as his life flowed out of him and into her.
Rapunzel screamed unable to understand what was happening to him, to her.
“What have you done?” her mother yelled, having come running at her screams.
“Mother, I didn’t mean to hurt him. He only kissed me,” she cried.
Her hair squeezed the last bit of life from the boy. It finally released the unrecognizable husk that was her friend.
“Quickly child throw Brandon in the creek and come away to the house.” her mother instructed the terrified and shocked girl did as she was told. What was left of Brandon floated away down the creek.
That was two years ago.
It was not the last time Rapunzel had taken her fill from a suitor. The forest was littered with what used to be boys sweet on Rapunzel. Her hair could only sate Rapunzel’s hunger, over the coming months more and more boys disappeared. She was not sixteen.
“My powers are growing mother. With each one my hair makes me more powerful.” Rapunzel said.
“Yes you’re quite powerful,” her mother said guiltily, thinking of all the boys who were gone.
“Let’s go to bed dear and not think of any of that unpleasantness.”
Rapunzel ignored her mother and went into the house. Rapunzel’s mother again clutched the cross hanging from her neck.
“Geben mir kraft,” she said after Rapunzel went inside.
Her mother went in after her resolved what she must do, daughter or not.
After the last suitor was claimed her mother redoubled her resolve to do what she must but again she failed. That was when the idea for the room in the tower came to her. Confining Rapunzel to the tower was a second best solution but was clearly was not going to solve the problem.
At dusk she went into the garden and selected several herbs, nightshade and oleander. Her mother boiled them into a tea, which she drank peacefully in a chair in front of the house by torchlight.
“Mother what are you doing?” Rapunzel said noticing her in front of the house.
“Oh, good. You are awake. Let down your hair. I’ve misplaced the key to the lock on your room. I want to come and speak with you about when you can go free.”
The torchlight cast eerie shadows on her mothers face. The smell of the torch burning made Rapunzel wrinkle her nose. Rapunzel eyed her mother suspiciously but let down her hair. It moved as if it had a mind of its own. The tendrils of her hair defied gravity snaking through the air toward her mother. A twist of hair meandered over to her mother’s teacup.
“What was in the tea mother?”
Her original plan was to provoke Rapunzel into feeding on her after drinking the poisoned tea. It appeared that plan was now exposed as the tips of the hair that dipped into the tea were now turning from black to blonde.
“What…was in the tea?”
Her mother still did not answer. She stared up at her daughter who now glared back angrily. Rapunzel’s hair retreated from the poison tea. Her hair sensing the threat seized her mother and began to feed but stopped.
“What’s wrong dear, I thought you were hungry. I would make a great meal to allow your escape.”
“Nightshade. Really mother, do you think I would not be able to sense that?”
Rapunzel began to crush her mother with her hair.
“Ahhhh, you much too smart for me dear.”
Her mother grabbed the torch and set Rapunzel’s hair ablaze. Rapunzel screamed in pain as the flames raced up the tower, setting the tower and the girl afire. When the flames reached Rapunzel she and the tower exploded.
The air was filled with the smell of burnt hair. Her mother collapsed from the poison. She looked up at the tower, watching as it and her daughter burned.
“Rest well Rapunzel.”
About the Author
Ian Conner is retired and spent most of his adult life as a Marine and Army Infantry Sergeant. Now living near San Diego California with his wife Bonnie, a cellist, and their two dogs, Cookie and Issabella. Conner spends his days fostering kittens, gardening, crafting beautiful stained glass and creating worlds on the page.