Today’s story shines a light on a dark relationship.
[Dark] • 1,659 words
She comes to me at night, sometimes, just when I think I may have fallen asleep. I’ve never known why or how, but in time, I stopped questioning her for the things we share. Call it an unspoken understanding that we have. A symbiosis. A silent accord, there in the dark, and I didn’t press for any more. On one such lonely night, however, I get a little bit bolder.
FROM THE CURATORS: Although dark changeling stories may seem a little passé in our age of rainbow-sherbet antelope-bugs, this brief tale takes that classic darkness and runs with it. “This is a faerie tale, sort of a pony version of ‘Cupid and Psyche’ or even ‘Beauty and the Beast’,” AugieDog said. “But it’s a lot bleaker than either of those … slick and dark and very nicely doom-laden.” Chris had similar praise: “It creates a very effective atmosphere in scant words, before ending on a dark, evocative last line.”
He wasn’t the only one to remark on atmosphere — in fact, that was our most common compliment about the story. “The atmosphere was well realized, the connections to succubi are welcome, and I love how unreliable the narrator is in his feelings for the changeling,” Soge said. Horizon was another voice in that chorus: “Good short fics have to choose one thing to do really well, and this makes the wise decision to focus on atmosphere, building up an effectively tight and tense mood,” he said. “I think that’s exactly why the Chrysalis reveal works, even though that ‘twist’ is obvious going in.”
But it’s not just the atmosphere — this is also packed with excellent prose and voicing. “It’s full of great imagery, and our narrator really gets across that sense of taking pleasure in something so outwardly wrong,” Present Perfect said. Indeed, that unreliable narration prompted the central question raised by the story. “My Queen really gets inside the narrator’s head as it examines his sense of dependence,” Chris said. “It leaves a nice ambiguity as to how much of that is his visitor’s doing … just how much did he gild his own cage?”
Read on for our author interview, in which Bootsy Slickmane discusses plastic trophies, pet commentary, and cobwebbed children.