ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

JOIN YOLANDA RENEE ON HER BLOG TOUR!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

HALLOWEEN POST for #WEPFF - Edgar Allan Poe - Annabel Lee and my fan fiction, Beauty and the Beast

Incredibly, two months have passed and it's time for the WEP October Halloween challenge!  

Part A:
          share a favorite frightening tale, movie, novel, photograph or painting that will leave us quaking in our boots, then  in a short paragraph describe how it scared you, and why it did and or still does today

Well, I like my creepiness subtle, so Edgar Allan Poe's poem (to his dead young bride), always creeps me out as the image of the broken-heated lover laying with her in her tomb by the sea is so strong. The atmospherics are to me, completely awesome. And if you read it aloud, the rhythm sounds like those 'highborn kinsman' galloping by. Not to mention the beautiful language and the fairy tale feel created by the first line...

Annabel Lee


It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.


Now Part B is my own creepy tale...not exactly subtle. You'll see it's full of questions as promised in a previous post, How to Boost our Creativity by Asking Questions.


Beauty and the Beast

Once upon a time there lived a man with a beauty fetish. 

Each day he asked God why some people were born so blessed physically, while others had faces that looked as if they had been savaged by a beast.  He oft-times pondered the expression: ‘kissed by an angel.’  He’d been kissed by the Devil when he tore, kicking and screaming, from his mother’s womb.

His life lacked beauty from that moment. Many years later he learned the truth from the birthing attendant, Marjorie. “Take this Devil’s spawn from me!” his mother had screamed. “Leave him on an anthill far inside the forest. I hereby name him ‘Beast’. Let him be ravaged by his fellows.”

Marjorie saved his life, but his mother’s rejection turned him into a beast. Every time he saw his monster face--eyes black as the pitch he collected from the bog lands, his hands grossly stained with inky sludge--he hated.

As Beast clumped along the muddy laneways delivering his pitch to the rich men’s fires, he studied his features in the smudgy glass shop windows. He was thankful that his hair had been overlooked by the same Devil who had seared his face with a pitchfork. His hair was long, curled and glossy, washed by the rain and snow which fell upon him as he huddled by night in the abandoned garden near Grimwade Bridge.

***

Beast wakes to another day. Without rising from his damp bed, he knows the state of the weather. Real books are denied him, but these are his books, free for the taking--the colour of the sky as day dawns, the cries of seabirds as they call each other over the icy river, the noisy crackle of waves in the tide’s ebb and flow.

He runs his work-wrecked fingers through his hair and leaves his bed. He shrugs into his black leather greatcoat, stolen from some toff who lurched in a drunken dance beside the river before plunging into its icy depths. It protects him against the night freeze, but does nothing to warm his soul. 

Will he ever know warmth? 

Will he ever know the sweetness of a pure woman? 

The whores of Grimwade aside, what woman would ever welcome his cracked hands on her soft body? He needs a sweet woman to release him from the prison to which his witch of a mother sentenced him thirty years hence. 

Beast shakes snowflakes from his hair and shoulders, kicks a dead rose, then walks the icy path to the door. He salivates at the vision of hot gruel and bread from the kind mistress's hand.

He lifts gnarled fingers to the gold lion’s head and raps the bright yellow door. Clump, clump, clump

The vapour from the warm kitchen embraces him. However, the kind mistress is not standing at the doorway.  Instead…a vision…Beauty…stands before him, dressed from head to toe in silk spun from sunshine.  He beholds a wondrous face wreathed in smiles, laughing eyes and perfect white teeth. But he asks himself what lies beyond that perfect face. Sweetness? Cruelty?

He steps closer, all the better to inhale her feminine sweetness--a memory of summer strawberries in an abandoned garden.

“Good morning, kind sir.” She addresses him in a voice that transports him to the Opera House where he eavesdrops on the melodies, well hidden in the cobwebbed rafters. “My mother did speak of you, but is currently abed. I greet you in her stead.” She takes his hand and hers is soft within his rough stiff claw. Beauty blesses him with a sweet smile, one dimple dancing in her cheek as if her face itself winks at him.

Perchance she is confusing him with another. He looks behind, but sees nothing but the violent wind-tossed leaves rustling along the path, slapping around his legs. He speaks in a voice raspy with longing. “I have but pitch for sale, Mistress.”

“Yes, indeed. Our supply is low, but my mother has waited on you. She said you would return and that you never steal from us.”

She misinterprets his extended silence as he imagines by what trickery he will steal Beauty from her mother.  

“Oh dear sir, do come in. Shelter inside awhile. You must be chilled to the bone in this snowstorm, while our furnace rages day and night. When I lie in my warm bed it is like I have died and gone to heaven; I’m in a fairytale world. I never want to wake up.” She looks upon his hair. “I am too enraptured by my dreams.”

He watches as thoughts dance beneath the surface of her skin, wondering at her dreams of fashionable gentlemen astride black stallions. He flicks his long tresses so they cover the lower half of his face, hoping she will be enraptured by his glossy mane.

He follows her into the grand foyer, his hungry eyes ravished by alluring sights--tall ceilings trimmed in gold leaf; walls of green silk, the hue of the forest; furniture of the deepest mahogany, like tree branches. He wonders at the single yellow rose in a crystal vase on the windowsill. Fury rises within him at the thought of a suitor.

He drops his load beside the crackling fire while thinking--how can people live like this while I, the Devil’s spawn, live with no walls to enclose me?  His ceilings are the underbelly of Grimwade Bridge, his furniture crafted from scraps of timber he rescues from the river. Why does God choose to give all to some and nothing to others?

“Please, kind sir, stand against the fire. Warm yourself. I will bring coffee and food.” She holds out an apple. He snatches it from her and crunches it with his sharp teeth.

Soon Beast feels uncomfortably hot. He is not accustomed to a roaring fire, within or without.  It becomes just another ordeal he must suffer. But, be damned, he is done with suffering. He deserves to live. He deserves to wear splendid clothes. To sleep with a full belly each night. To bed this sweet woman.

He strokes his hair, capturing a curl with a thick finger and tugging it in anticipation. Beauty will know the Beast.

He will teach her.

Life is no fairy tale.

©DeniseCCovey2015



FULL CRITIQUE WELCOME
WORD COUNT: 1,000

WEP's HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE!This story was written for the WEP Halloween challenge. You are welcome to post something creepy and link up in my sidebar or go to the WEP site. Click on the link on my sidebar or the WEP site to see other entries...








And on Sunday night, I became a self-published author when my 15,000 word novella, a paranormal romance, hit the Amazon shelves worldwide. If you like Dracula-ish stories with a soft touch, you may well enjoy it. To bring this book together I had a lot of blogger-love help. More on that later. So, if you're in the market for a Halloween tale, here are some links:







73 comments:

  1. Hear! Hear! That's exactly right, and what a super WEP to show it. Kindness and generosity of spirit outweighs physical beauty any day. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Beast of this story intends to become what he's always feared he was. Sad, but perfect for Halloween! Love it! And the poem Annabel Lee is really beautiful. Young love cut short always tugs at the heart strings. Congrats again on the release of your novella, excellent! Just excellent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Yolanda. Glad you like the Beast. And Annabel Lee. Thanks for your kind words re my novella!

      Delete
  3. Great character development of the Beast. I wish he would not be a beast inside as well as outside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Deborah! I'm with you. It's all my fault. Got carried away with Halloween!

      Delete
  4. If you treat a person as an animal long enough, he may well become one. Sadly true. I have already bought your Halloween novella.

    Annabel Lee has always been one of my favorites of Poe's poems. I didn't want to punish my visitors with a movie or poem before my 1000 word short story, HUNTER'S MOON. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed your tragic take on Beauty and the Beast. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True words, Roland. You get what you give at times.
      Thanks for buying my novella!

      Glad you love Annabel Lee too. I know it was a bit long, but people skim or ignore what they don't want to read. I thought it fit perfectly for this!

      I've already been by and read Hunter's Moon. Excellent.

      Denise :-)

      Delete
  5. Poe mastered the haunting phrases didn't he? Lyrical, beautiful - and they stick.
    My heart ached for the Beast. Self-fulfilling prophecies follow too many of us. Horror yes, and tragedy too.
    Novella added to my towering to be read pile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't say enough good things about Poe. Marvellous. Yes, poor Beast. Parents have a lot to answer for.

      Thanks for adding my novella to your pile. I know how it is...

      Denise :-)

      Delete
  6. That was sweetly deceptive. You know how I love twisted fairy tales, and this one fit that bill perfectly. Beast is right!! Ghastly by circumstance, twisted by severe emotion. The best kind of spooky stories. And the open ending is a wicked delight.

    Congrats on being self pub'd. Min WEP will be up tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could happily twist fairytales forever. So fun.

      Thanks Donna!

      Denise :-0

      Delete
  7. Hi Denise
    Can you believe it? I've never read that poem by Poe before. Your story is soooo well written. A beast who in the end lives up to his name and a beauty who will regret letting him in. Well done.

    I can't order anything with my kindle right now, Wifi troubles. As soon as that is fixed I'll get your book.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to present Poe to you Nancy. He's so awesome and at times creepy. Glad you liked the story, too.

      Thanks re the book!

      Denise :-)

      Delete
  8. I love Poe's work, both poetry and fiction. And your take on Beauty and the Beast is just perfect for Halloween...love denied can deform any child into hating and make a beast of him, and love given can cure anything....

    Particularly liked the ending - life is no fairy tale. Shiver!

    Congrats once again on the novella!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you 'got' the story Nila. I enjoyed twisting this fairy tale. Was good to be able to present Poe, too.

      Thanks on the novella!

      Denise :-)

      Delete
  9. Denise, the Beast was a haunting tale and Poe's poem so heartbreaking. Congrats on the release of your novella.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the end of this story, it reminds me a lot of Frankenstein's monster - made into what he was by people's perceptions of him.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like Annabelle Lee, but my favorite Poe story is The Black Cat. :)

    I love Beauty and the Beast retellings and this one is no exception! I dig the foreboding and the truth to the names. Also, congrats on the novella, awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loved The Beast tale, Denise. Excellent use of fright. The ending made me jump. No joke. I must tweet this story. Everyone should read it. You write well. And your setting description is perfect. I can tell you worked on this. Man, this is magnificent. "He watches as thoughts dance beneath the surface of her skin, wondering at her dreams of fashionable gentlemen astride black stallions. He flicks his long tresses so they cover the lower half of his face, hoping she will be enraptured by his glossy mane." What fun. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. P.S. I'm a Poe fan from waay back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super congrats on the book. Heading over to buy it.

      Delete
  14. Congratulations! I will definitely buy your story. Your tale of the beast was very good. I felt sorry for him. I liked the poem by Edgar Allan Poe, too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yikes! Okay, so that's a gem. Lovely writing. But my goodness, I don't want to see the conclusion. =(

    ReplyDelete
  16. Loved your take on Beauty and the Beast. I wish people's perceptions about us wouldn't shape our attitude. But most of the times it does. :(
    All the best for your book!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Creepy story, Denise. I don't like this Beast. But the Annabel Lee poem is amazing.
    Congrats on your self-pub novella.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beauty is going to learn that the hard way, may be the last thing she learns.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've always been enraptured by the Beauty and the Beast story. And, yes, I could hear the ancient language spoken in the Anabel poem. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've always been enraptured by the Beauty and the Beast story. And, yes, I could hear the ancient language spoken in the Anabel poem. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Elegant tale! Good luck with your novella.

    ReplyDelete
  22. So the beast has a bit of beast still in his mind. Hope Beauty will cure him of his assumptions. . .That last line sounds foreboding.
    I love the poem by Edgar Allen Poe and have since high school when we first read it. I like a lot of his stories too. Thanks for the reminder, and enjoyed your version of the classic story!

    ReplyDelete
  23. On this night my
    Knees did quaver
    for death I know
    was surely near her
    the moon was full
    the night was cold
    life seem young
    but yet was old
    from the blade
    light did glared
    no longer will I
    hack into her twitter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh you're good Desk49! You get a poem out of anything as quick as lightning! Thank you!

      Delete
  24. Life is no fairy tale.

    Alas, so true. If only one didn't have to face the hungry jaws of a Beast to learn that lesson...

    And I'm always happy to see something by Poe. Well, as happy as anything by Poe can make you, I guess. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poe didn't often make us happy, but he was good at making us feel Arpan, don't you think?

      Delete
  25. First thing I thought after finishing the story was, where can I find a girl like that? Probably in a fairy tale. :) I really enjoyed the description which made me feel like I was there on the scene. The story flowed well telling the age-old story that is in real life more than people probably realize. But in real life, does the beauty ever accept a beast? Probably not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly not often I'd say Jeff. We are pretty shallow when it comes to beauty. Thanks!

      Delete
  26. Ooooo, he will teach her indeed. Does he mean for good or ill? Ominous, as the the setting.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ooooo, he will teach her indeed. Does he mean for good or ill? Ominous, as the the setting.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Annabel Lee is heartwrenching perfection. A sensory-rich portrait of the darker side of life that has me questioning even more! Will the Beast embrace his inner-demons to the point of no return? Does Beauty know a thing or two about self defense? Is rain & snow the secret to a silky mane?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah Sam, so many questions. And interesting answers pop up in my head. I like the idea of Beauty and self defense!

      Delete
  29. I love Annabel Lee! It's one of my favorites!

    Your piece is wonderfully written, and it shows a sad truth. When someone has been rejected and mistreated for long enough, they can become the monster other people labeled them as for so long.

    Congratulations on the novella! That's so exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I need to read more Poe...
    Love your elegant delivery of Beauty and the Beast!
    You are quite the wordsmith - and that's a dose of cold reality at the end! *shudders*

    Congratulations on the novella! It's an exciting time for you, Denise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michelle! Hope yours is up soon!

      Delete
  31. A tale of Beauty and the Beast, it's like you were expecting me. ;)
    I enjoyed the depiction of Beast's world view. The way a person is reared can make a difference. Obsessing over anyone thing can have tragic results, such as turning you into the thing you hate most- a beautifully sad cautionary tale.
    Thanks for sharing a bit a Poe; always a favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Toi, must have been expecting you! Glad I laid out the red carpet. lol. Poe. Yum.

      Delete
  32. The poem left me close to tears. So emotional and deep. Your story was something else. Yup I was crept out but kindness showed through. Good work.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thank you for introducing me to the poem Annabel Lee. Your story is so bitter sweet, the Beast never having been shown any love or kindness doesn't know any other way - what a shame for Beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to introduce you to AL Sally. And glad you got the Beast.

      Delete
  34. Hi Denise!

    Love you choice! Poe is one on my favorites and Annabelle Lee is a classic!

    Wonderfully written piece. Again, loaded with fine details and emotion.


    Congrats on Under the Tuscsn Moon!!!! Hope it's a huge success.


    Sorry I didn't have time to write anything, but I did post more reno pics!

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michael. Can't wait to see those pics!

      Delete
  35. Oooh, creepy retelling. Excellent job.

    ReplyDelete
  36. E.A. Poe certainly had a masterful way with words.

    You're not bad yourself. Your telling of your tales was beautifully rendered. What an ending too! Not Disney by any means. This was reality in all its scariness.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Wrote By Rote

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Arlee. Nice to see you. And a compliment! Glad you liked my non-Disney tale.

      Delete
  37. I loved your story and your prose so much! The voice really had an epic fairy-tale feel to it, and the descriptions were wonderful! I really enjoyed reading it (and that hasn't happened much recently.) Thanks for the awesome read, and congrats on your new novella!

    (On tiny thing. "...thirty years hence" means in the future, not the past. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hence?s=t Perhaps you meant to use "before" or "past.")

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for picking up that Lexa! Truly appreciate it! I always thought the opposite! Gah! I shall fix it! Glad you liked it.

      Delete
  38. Great telling of that tale. My heart went out to Beast. Congrats on your novella! I'll be sure to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Fun piece. And congrats on your new publication!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I love the poem, Annabel Lee. I once saw it written in Poes own hands in the Huntington Museum in California. It is a beautiful poem of love. As for your story, it is amazing and you did leave me quaking. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Belle. I'd love to see AL in Poe's hand! Jealous!

      Delete
  41. Congratulations on your newly published book!
    Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favourite poets and Annabel Lee is a perfect choice for this.
    Loved your story, but I was sorry to learn that the Beast is a true beast underneath it all. You're right; life is not a fairytale and this was more realistic.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Denise - I hadn't read that Poe poem before ... how very sad and as I live by the sea with tiny coves, when I'm in Cornwall or a granite coast .. I can visualise. Poor beast - and yes an ominous ending is in store for them both - a flinching fairy tale. Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete

Please take the time to share! I love hearing from you! Hit me with your wisdom!