Part 1 of a story I published over at Ricochet.com, Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 1) — The Serpent’s Kiss:
‘Won’t hurt a bit,’ she says, ‘just a little prick.’ Sure. Because that’s always been true. Except this time it’s a magical spinning-wheel, and no lollipops for good boys and girls. Evil fairies running amok, and I was just about ready to pass out after cutting my finger on that confounded spindle. My name’s— well that’s not important right now — welcome to my life — this kind of thing happens to me all the time. Except everyone was trying to kill me — long story, they thought I was responsible for— Anyway, no time now, guards are coming. Why hadn’t they fallen asleep, and the kingdom with them, you ask? Well, funny thing, when I get hit by an evil enchantment I tend to grab the nearest heavy object and smash the evil magic spinning-wheel to pieces. But that’s just me. So the enchantment was short-circuited — and short-circuiting — and I wasn’t feeling at all well. No matter, no matter, think … think. Got to be something else I can do, something else I need to do. Well, aside from hiding behind this tapestry … with a secret passage behind it. Interesting … Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, and in case it’s not clear, I’m not a princess (maybe that’s why the spinning-wheel hadn’t sent me to sleep for a hundred years that instant), I’m a guy — and the girl I’m in love with is probably going to marry someone else whether or not I can break this enchant— There was an echoing clang, as of a mop bucket which some idiot has kicked, rolling down the stairs.
So, the secret passage turns out to be a janitor’s closet, or something, and that clang was going to attract some attention — or would do if everyone wasn’t making too much noise looking for me as it was. Small mercies. But do janitors’ closets usually have a spiral stone staircase leading down from them? I would say not, but I haven’t been in all that many. Look, I went to knight school, all right? Graduated knight school, anyway — but that’s not important right now. Look, it’s not as if I even started life in this fairy tale, okay? I know it sounds unlikely, but I just sort of … woke up here. I don’t know what happened. One minute everyone was normal, next minute it’s this weird sugar-spun world where nothing makes any sense anymore. I thought things made sense again, a little, for a while … Hey, do you mind looking the other way a moment — intruding on private grief here! Thank you! Anyway, where were we again? It sure was dark down this staircase. I hope I didn’t fall and kick the bucket — again.