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It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed anything from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. It’s not that I’ve lost interest, it’s that real life forces me to find other things. But now, we’re back on track with a wonderful fairy tale, and I mean that literally.
Today’s short story is The Hollow Tree by Jordan Kurella. You can find it here. This is a fairy tale in the most literal sense. As in, it involves fairies. So let’s explore the woods and see what’s in store.
A warning that this story contains domestic abuse, so if that’s not your thing, then I won’t force you to look.
The story begin with our heroine, Pira, whose father and mother don’t exactly have the best relationship. Yet the father runs a successful bakery and is embraced by the village at large. But when their abusive relationship is at its peak, Pira learns from her friend, Elias, that a fairy exists in the hollow tree that can grant anyone’s desire, for a price.
If you’re familiar with the term, be careful what you wish for, this is basically it in a nutshell. I’ve seen tales of creepy and evil fairies before, and it’s always entertaining to see something considered so pure be so sinister and dark. Granted, they’ve always been kinda the prankster type, but it’s nice to see this instead of the typical Disney fairy.
The story, from beginning to end, kept me moving. It’s haunting, dark, yet satisfying in its flow. A literal fairy tale if you will. I love how the main hero is willing to go through with this and not take any alternatives. She wants happiness, but she wants her father to stop, by any means necessary.
The writing aids this. It’s direct, doesn’t opt for long paragraphs or flowery language. It’s direct, succinct, and flows perfectly. I was able to follow along without losing my focus reading. Granted, the beginning was mostly an explanation into their family’s life, but from there, it’s clear as they.
My only issue otherwise was that the ending felt predictable. A story like this could have gone in a different direction. The father’s abusive yes, but it would have been more fun for the main character to reconsider. As it stands, the ending was straightforward and didn’t have any unique twist or anything. It wasn’t bad and certainly fit the story, but I would have loved something playful, like the fairy in general.
The way they’re described sound uniquely creepy. They have long legs and talk like a creepy negotiator. I imagined them being a little more alien than typical fairies. Considering that they’re not the innocent sugary kind. I did like it’s personality and how it refused to beat around the bush when it came to Pira’s desires.
Speaking of which, this is what makes the story entertaining. By this point, she’d eighteen or so. Meaning she’s long past childhood age. Even so, her desire to effectively force her father to stop through magical means she made up her mind a long time ago.
This fairy tale doesn’t play around. I imagine it like the PC games based on Alice in Wonderland. Dark, scary, and definitely not for kids. Any innocence is left at the door and I love it. It shows that just because it sounds innocent doesn’t mean it is. Fairies are often pigeonholed as cute, fluffy, and full of sugary happiness, but this one shows that even kindness can have a dark side. I’d love to see more like this.
A truly fantastical tale and one with a dark side. It lets you know that this story isn’t playing and will pull you into the dark. If you can get past the domestic abuse, it’s a wonderful read. I feel bad for missing BCS stories these past few weeks and this is a reminder of how much I love their stories.
Next Tuesday, I hope to talk more about my upcoming Short Novel, City of Kaiju, so be on the lookout for another small taste of giant monster action. I’ll also post the first chapter for free sometime soon. I’ll promote my story for all to see, so be ready for it.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.