I have taken a break from writing for the past few months, but I am beginning to get the itch. I have two more books to write in my Botanical Seasons Novella series, but for some reason, I’m not that excited about writing them. I crave a change of pace and genre. I have always wanted to retell some fairytales.
Not too long ago, I read a Grimms’ tale I had never hear of, and it sparked an idea in me of how I could retell the original story, entitled The Pink. A few years ago, I wrote the opening prologue. I opened up the file on my iPad last night at 2:00am, when I couldn’t sleep, and I really, really want to write some more of the story! However, a while back, I gave myself a rule of only writing one book at a time, but I may have to cheat a little and indulge my craving and write The Pink before I finish the novella series. Here’s a sneak peak at what I have so far…
In the 20th reigning year of the King.
She tried to kill me in my dreams. The vision of it rests as real in my mind as the clock on the mantle, which I now hear striking midnight. As the clock chimes for the last time, I envision the image of Dianna hovering over my chest with a raised knife, her eyes wide and wild and her cheeks flushing as pink as the flower she came from. The dream caused me such terror, my heart still pounds thinking about it.
I suck in a breath and shiver on my pallet by the fire, which has now gone cold. I stretch the rough wool blanket up to my chin. My eyes search around the small room of my home, expecting to see her jump out at me, but no one appears. Hopefully, she rests better than I do. Her bed is behind the muslin curtains, sectioning off a corner of the room. The curtains hover like a ghost in the moonlight, shining in through the window. The fabric flutters, brought to life by the draft under the door.
Dwelling on my dream, the idea of dying doesn’t frighten me. No, it is the fact that my companion, whom I have come to love, held the knife. What premonition is this that caused me such alarm? How could my mind fabricate Dianna taking up a weapon against me? Surely not! My uncle I can see, for we argue every time he comes. He does not love me. He only keeps me because I am useful to him.
I tire of working his wishes. I dream of leaving this hovel he has kept us in, but I would not know where to go. I don’t comprehend why he has not wished for a life away from this place. He must have some nefarious purpose in dwelling here. My Uncle told me years ago when I was just a small boy how my family died in a fire. He said he rescued me—for which I will always be grateful—but I have no memory of a fire or its smoky fury. Instead, I remember a garden full of pink dianthus, which were my mother’s favorite flower and…blood. Lots of blood staining the white pebbled path. That was my last memory of my life before I came to live with Uncle Aldrich.
After that, my wishes started to come true. Diana came to me on a wish. When my uncle spirited me away from the fire, I had clutched a pink dianthus in my hand. After that night, I had begged my uncle to stay with me when he left for work everyday at the palace cooking for royalty, but he could not.
“Wish for a companion,” he told me. And I did. As I held the pink flower—the last link to my home and family—I closed my eyes and spoke these words, “I wish for a maiden to keep me company. Let her be dressed in pink as bright as this flower.”
As soon as I spoke, the spicy scent of clove and cinnamon infused the room. I opened my eyes and a girl about my age stood before me. Her hair shone like spun gold, her eyes twinkled like sparkling blue water, and her pink skirts fluffed out around her like the petals of the flower I had held. The flower had disappeared with Diana’s appearance.
“What is your name,” I asked.
“Diana.” She spoke, her voice light and fair like her face.
“I am Dauphin,” I told her. From then on we were inseparable, and being only seven I never questioned her appearance nor what magic had called her forth. Now I do. And another thing—Why has my tongue been gifted with granting people their wishes? What force has caused this to be, and for what purpose?
That was ten years ago. Diana has now grown up into a young woman, as I have a man. All these years she has been my friend and companion, she has not shown any tendency toward violence. How I could imagine her in such a way disturbs me greatly. Maybe it is a warning of sorts. A caution. But from what I do not know.
If only I could wish and find out, but my wishes don’t work that way. I can only wish for others. Only once did my wishing result in what I desired—when I wished for Dianna.
I want to wish us away from here, but I cannot. We are trapped by my Uncle Aldrich and his greed, but somehow I know a change is coming and with it freedom from the wishing. It has not led to happiness for Uncle Aldrich nor for me. The only happiness I have in this dismal life comes from Dianna, my pink dianthus.
The Original Tale:
You can read what the original tale is about on Wikipedia. Like many of the original Grimms’ tales, it’s bloody and not something I would read to a small child. When I do write this novel, it will be firmly in the retold fairytales and YA fantasy genres. I have ideas of how to adapt the storyline and tuck in a few good surprises.
Have you ever read a retold Grimms’ tale? If so, which one/ones?