Saturday, April 13, 2013

Night Beauty

Francois Gerard's "Cupid and Psyche", from Wiki Commons

When I decided to try my hand at fairytale retellings, "Beauty and the Beast" seemed like the right place to start.  It is, after all, one of my favorite stories, and I have a particular fondness for Angela Carter's story "The Tiger's Bride," which heavily influenced this one.

What started out as a fairly straightforward retelling, however, quickly morphed into something quite different.  As I read more classic tales like "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" and "Cupid and Psyche," I started to discover some troubling aspects, small details that begged to become significant.

And so what might have been a romance slowly morphed into a proper Gothic horror tale.

It was also a fun exercise in style.  In keeping with its Gothic themes, this tale is quite different from the others in the anthology -- or, indeed, many other things I've ever written.

An excerpt:

The manor was as my father had promised, effulgent in its wealth and detail – the polished gold where lesser lords would use brass, crushed velvet draperies over massive single-pane windows, hand-carved filigree on the molding. What my father had never mentioned was the loneliness of the place, the overbearing presence of no one.
It sent a chill through me, and with each step down the seemingly endless corridor, I realized that I was thoroughly alone. No sign of my would-be master, no whispering breath of my husband waiting for my company. I wondered if, perhaps, my father’s desperation had driven him to madness, if he had done his dealings with his imagination in the confines of a castle long since gone feral.
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