Twisted Fairy Tale: The Cost of a Rose by Kim Plasket
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.
The Cost of a Rose
By Kim Plasket
“A tale as old as time, true as it can be” Those are the lyrics you may think of when you hear the words Beauty and the Beast. You think about the love story between a young girl and a prince who was turned into a horrible beast. How their love conquered an evil spell. It is enough to make your heart believe in love that can withstand evil.
Let me ask you a question: do you think that is the true story? If you have any doubts then keep reading. I will tell you the true story, the one that could raise your hair and scare even the almighty traveler who has seen all the horrors in the world.
The true story of Beauty and the Beast is one that will curl your toes in your shoes and make you wonder how you fell for the lie. Do you really think a worldly man as the beast was before the witch ruined his life would fall for a girl who barely spent any time with her head out of a book?
The answer is no but if one stops and really looks at the situation maybe you will see another side. The Beast spent so much time alone with his servants who were in all accounts invisible. The only thing he could do was walk in his garden or read so he was pretty lonely.
Her family lost all their money so they had to sell their house and most of their worldly possessions and move into a small shack on the outside of a dark forest. If it was just the father and a couple of children it wouldn’t have been very bad but according to some tales he had 12 children while others say it was 7. We will go with the 7 which works just as well.
The shack was barely enough for one person let alone 7 but somehow he made it work, he loved his children all equally but if he was pressed he would say his youngest made it all worth it. He was blessed with rather good looking children but his youngest was the most beautiful.
He named her Bella which of course means Beauty. Her beauty caused her father to spoil her whatever she wanted she got. After their money was gone she still expected to get everything. I was very disappointed when she got nothing.
She refused to make the shack a home, she would insult everything the others tried to do the day her father said “you might try a little harder” but he knew she would act as she wanted to.
“What do you wish me to bring home if I am able?” He asked his children.
“More food,” her brothers were tired of always being hungry.
“Nice dresses,” her sisters had to sell their dresses and the ones they were wearing were starting to show signs of wear and tear.
“For you, Beauty?” He would bring home all the riches of the world if he could only to make her smile once more.
“A rose,” she replied, “to have at least one thing almost as beautiful as me in this poor excuse for a home.”
“I shall return with what I can, my children,” he said as he left.
You may be thinking How much of the tale so far matches what you previously know and while you are correct in some ways, from here the story changes.
He wasn’t able to acquire their money back so he’s slowly headed home. He was despondent over the fact he couldn’t bring home anything. He got turned around and ended up standing before an ornate gate, even though it was dusk he could see a garden full of the prettiest flowers he’d ever seen.
The scents that reached his nose caused his senses to swoon. The buzzing of the bees was a pleasant drone in his ear. He knew right away how much Beauty would love the flowers he found. He figured he was going to have to climb the main gate, but was very surprised when it just opened.
Here’s where the stories differ once more. In some the hapless father enters the home, eats, leaves the next morning, and is caught trying to steal the roses so the Beast threatens to kill him. A conversation went back and forth and somehow the father promised the Beast his youngest daughter would stay with him.
The truth is nothing like that at all. The father took one of the roses home to Bella. She was envious of the owner of the roses, especially when her father told her how splendid the garden was.
“Oh Father, you must take me,” she begged and pleaded with him to take her.
“Not right now,” he replied. For he was tired and very depressed he was unable to provide for his children.
“Fine, I will go myself.” Then she turned to her siblings and said, “ if I feel like doing so I will send for you.”
As she headed through the forest. She was practicing what she was going to say, little did she know she was being watched. “Dear Sir or Madam, my father has tossed me aside as if I was nothing more than refuse. Even though my clothes are tattered and torn, let me assure you I am more than capable of taking care of myself. I merely need somewhere to rest for a couple of days.” She thought it sounded really good. She told herself after they met me they would consider me a great addition to the household.
She even went as far as practicing crying and placing her hand on her heart as if she was wounded by her father’s treatment. She thought about how if the owner was a male maybe she could get herself set up as the mistress of the home.
She could see herself walking in the gardens telling her sisters, “I saw him and fell in love as soon as our eyes met. Of course, he fell in love with me as well. He instantly fell to his knees and asked me to be his.” She fell over twigs but didn’t care, she wanted to be as messy as possible.
She reached the fence while the sun was still high in the sky, she stood there looking at the garden, she saw the mansion beyond and decided no matter what she was going to be a part of that place. She had a few tricks up her sleeve nobody knew about.
She entered the garden, immediately losing herself to a fantasy. She was strolling the garden, waiting for her family to arrive to tell her how wonderful her house was and how much they wished they lived there. Her sisters were going to beg her to allow them to work for her and her brothers and father were going to ask to work in the barn.
She would be gracious but tell them they were no longer her concern as she moved on. It was such a pleasant dream she found herself walking on the porch as if she really lived here. She had to stop herself from opening the door, she knew it was the kitchen if the scents teasing her nose were any indication.
“Where is the front door?” She asked herself out loud. Only servants and peasants enter the back door.
She walked around the house until she found another gate when she opened it she saw a huge porch. She knew it was the front entrance, she quickly checked to make sure her dress was all messed up, she knew she had twigs and leaves in her hair and dirt all over her face.
She made sure to change her posture, after all, it would do no good if whoever thought she was lying. She had to look downtrodden as if life had beaten her down and her father throwing her out was the worst thing she ever had to deal with.
Thinking to herself, If they try to throw me out I will unleash all the demons of hell upon them. She had no magical powers, but she was determined to get all she thought she deserved.
The front door opened but nobody was behind it, she thought she heard a whisper but when she spun around there was no one there. The house was even more beautiful than she imagined. The front door opened right in front of a staircase which resembled one she saw in a book when she bothered to read. Her older sister Dawn was the avid reader, she was the one who read all the books everyone thought Bella had read.
Dawn would tell her what the books said and Bella would simply repeat what Dawn said. Bella was lucky Dawn was too shy to say anything, she always had her face in a book so most people had no idea who she really was.
Bella wandered into the house, she was mesmerized by how magnificent it was also puzzled because she didn’t see anyone but the house was clean. The glass sparkled as if made of diamonds, the rug looked to be as soft as silk. She could see there were dishes on the table and knew if she looked at them she would see her own reflection in them.
“Hello, is anyone here?” her voice echoed in the still room. A cool breeze went by her but she still didn’t see a single soul.
“I will send for Dawn, She will tell me how wonderful I truly am” Bella knew she had to have someone telling her how great she was or she would not feel complete.
When Dawn arrived at the house she was of course enthralled. She walked in the front door and Bella saw she was overwhelmed. She wanted Dawn to feel inferior to her so Bella told her how the house was now hers.
“So you see Dawn, the owner was so enamored with me that he has given me this house” she bragged not knowing something was going on just out of sight.
“Bella, I cannot believe that” Upon walking into the house Dawn was able to hear and see things Bella wasn’t.
Dawn saw the servants, each of them looking at Bella as if she was the one who should be afraid. One of the servants pointed to the hall where Dawn saw a shadow that could not belong to a normal man.
She didn’t say anything to her sister because one of the servants shook her head with fear etched on her face. Dawn nodded her head not really knowing why she trusted someone that nobody else could see.
“Dawn, there is a library down the hall. Feel free to read any book you want” Bella was so stunned her sister talked back to her she was forming a plan of sorts.
She knew she was going to have to keep her sister here or she was going to have to kill her. If she had to kill her sister would she be able to? What if her family came and found Dawn missing what then?
Bella knew she had to have time to make a plan so if Dawn got reading she would lose track of time. There was a lock on the door just outside the library. What if Bella locked her in and told her the only way out was to pledge she would never ruin the plans that Bella had.
She had a feeling she would be able to keep Dawn in the library as long as she had food now if she really wanted to get creative she would tell Dawn that the rest of the family will be here but she was unable to see them. It would be a test to see how much Dawn was willing to go through for her family.
Day after day Bella kept Dawn in the library telling her that now time was passing. She had her family come to the house, slowly one by one she killed them only telling Dawn they were accidents that she had no idea how they happened.
Each time she left and came back, it was as if Dawn was in the middle of a conversation that stopped as soon as Bella opened the door. Of course, since Bella saw nobody she figured Dawn was simply reading out loud.
The last brother she sent to the barn, telling him if he cleaned out the stall she would let him ride the horse. She knew he would do whatever he could for the chance to ride the animal. While he was in the stall she slapped the horse on his hindquarters.
The slap caused the poor horse to rear up which caused him to slam his hoofs onto the brother. His death appeared as though he was stomped to death by a mad horse.
Bella waited until the poor horse calmed, she opened that stall and allowed him to walk out before she went in to see her brother dead. His skull bashed in shards of bone scattered all over the stall. His internal organs spewing from his body, the blood no longer flowing.
She smeared some of his blood on her dress and hands, casually walked up to the front door and inside, as soon as she unlocked the library door she burst into the room acting as if she was rushing the whole time.
“Dawn, he’s dead. The horse stomped him to death. Now you see what happens when a family gets involved.” She paused to wipe fake tears from her eyes “I have no idea how it happened. I guess he was torturing the poor horse you know how he gets.” She took a deep breath “ I knew he had been drinking again but I had no idea he would go and try to ride the horse.”
Dawn simply sat there, she had a book in her lap but the look she was giving Bella was not one of fright but of anger. She said nothing but Bella knew the look, it caused Bella a moment’s pause, she knew what lies she had been telling her but there was no way Dawn would know any of it.
“Why are you angry at me?” She demanded thinking her sister would back down since she knew how Bella was when she got angry.
“You’re the reason he is dead, don’t lie to me and say it was an accident.” Dawn was so angry her voice was shaking and her fists were clenched. “You told me yesterday our sister fell into an abandoned well and you tried to get her out but that was a lie.” For the first time ever Dawn stood up to Bella who was enraged.
“Dawn, you and father are the only family we have left. This house is cursed, after all, how can you explain there is nobody here but the place is still clean. There is still food being made and every so often I hear what sounds like an animal.”
Something Bella missed, Dawn was always talking to someone when she was in the library. The library was one room but there was a set of steps going up into a small loft area. Dawn saw it when she walked in but didn’t think about going up until she heard a noise from there.
She took one step at a time not knowing what was at the top, so she was cautious. She heard the noise again. This time it sounded like a growl as if whoever was trying not to make a noise but were overcome with emotion.
“H-Hello?” Normally timid Dawn felt bad for whatever was making the sound.
“Don’t come any closer,” the voice was most assuredly a fierce growl.
“I want to help,” she could sense pain.
“You should be afraid of me,” the voice said as he stepped from the shadows.
His face and hands were covered in dark brown fur, his nails and teeth looked as if they could rip a person apart without breaking a sweat. He was taller than any human should have been. His chest was massive as if muscles were swelling beneath the skin.
When she normally would have run away it was his eyes that stopped her. They were blood-red but had unshed tears in them. It was the pain in his voice and the tears that caused her to forget her fears.
“Why should I be afraid of you?” she lifted her chin trying to show him she was brave but the quiver in her chin belayed it.
“You are afraid child,” he moved closer to her but she stood her ground.
“Yes, I am but I am not going anywhere. You sound as if you are in pain and I would be remiss if I ignore you.” She gestured to a seat.
They sat down and he told her that he was the owner of the mansion, how he was turned into a beast by a witch but he had to fall in love for the spell to be broken. She smiled and told him she was not willing to fall in love while her sister was running the world.
He told her that her sister was lying to her, she was the one who killed her family. Her one sister escaped and ran off in the woods. He told her that the witch who turned him into a beast was evil but Bella was even more evil than that.
“How do I deal with her?” Dawn asked.
“We will figure it out, just give it time.” He smiled as he asked her what book she was reading.
They talked about books, each time Bella came in he would hide behind the shelves so she was none the wiser. She thought her sister was alone so she would try to stay to talk but Dawn merely talked about books because she knew it would be boring.
Dawn and the beast talked about ways to destroy Bella. Since she lied about her one brother being stomped accidentally by a horse they considered having her die the same way but Dawn said she wouldn’t want the poor horse to know he killed two people.
They had no idea how to get rid of Bella, they discussed various ways but each time Dawn would say she really didn’t want anyone to be hurt because of greed. The beast knew Dawn was special but the day Bella came slamming into the room covered with her brother’s blood talking about how they had no family left the beast was angry.
He left out a door in the rear of the library, he was determined to find out the truth. He had a feeling it wasn’t her family that was being killed but maybe his own servants. If Bella watched long enough she could figure out what was going on. Even if someone wasn’t able to be seen they would still bleed and if one was lucky they could hear them as well.
He went to rooms that he hadn’t been in recently but knew his servants had gone into them for some reason. There was Dawn’s family alive and well except for her father he was missing but he would be found soon enough.
“Sir, we would have told you, but Bella told us she would kill Dawn if we did,” her siblings said as Beast walked in the room.
“Who is she killing?” he roared. He hated knowing someone had died for her pleasure.
“She killed one of our brothers. He was going to tell Dawn the truth. Since we didn’t know where she was he believed Bella when she said in the barn. Nobody but he has died.” One of her sisters came forward.
The beast was happy to hear that none of his servants died, but he was not happy that Bella killed her own brother. It seemed to him that she had a lot of greedy feelings; it was as if all she lived for was to get things.
“Where is your father?” he asked the siblings as they sat together waiting to see what he would do next.
“He wasn’t feeling well, so a speck of dust with a very squeaky voice took him into another room. We haven’t been able to see him because of Bella.” they seemed sad.
“I will find him and then we will figure it out,” he promised them and then he walked out.
He found out where he was and entered the room, the father was laying with his eyes closed. The beast knew in an instant that the old man wasn’t long for this world.
There was someone by the bed…………
“We have been waiting for you,” I told him as I sat holding the old man’s hand.
“Is it time?” his eyes were sunken in. He wanted to go so badly but had to see his kids once more.
“Shall I get them?” the beast asked, his voice no longer fierce.
“You were so fierce, why do you seem different now?” The old man asked the beast who was gently holding his hand.
“My good man I was never what you saw me as. That was your fear of dying that made me such a beast. Now that you no longer fear death, your fear of me is gone and I am just what I was before you became so scared. “
The old man closed his eyes, his breathing much more labored as the fever caused the sweat on his brow to increase. I knew his time was short, soon he would be with me.
“It is time,” I told him as he ushered his kids in. The old man was overwhelmed with emotion. He thought he lost them years ago, as far as he knew they all died in the ship that took his wife and his fortune and led to his ill health.
He had been in this very room since that fateful day. This room housed many like him. I had been waiting for him for weeks but I never wanted to leave him alone.
“I am ready now Death,” he turned to me and breathed his last breath.
So you see the fairytale you grew up on was nothing short than the delusions of a dying man.
About the Author
Kim Plasket is a Jersey girl at heart relocated to sunny Florida. She enjoys writing mainly horror and paranormal stories. She lives with her husband and 2 kids. When she is not slaving away at her day job, she can be found drinking coffee and planning the demise of some poor character. She also enjoys drinking coffee with her friend and fellow Author Valerie Willis burrs, to search out early Halloween decorations.