The Peelers

I was born for one purpose. My duty in life is to provide nourishment to the Peelers, to help fuel their lives by giving my own. My life was dark for some time, a flash of brightness before I and my brothers were taken away from our home. I don’t know how much time passed between then and now, but here I sit surrounded by my brothers waiting to be chosen, to be given my chance to live.

I am still a young creature, firm and green like my brothers. I know that now, in the Choosing Place, is a critical time for us. If we are allowed to age on these shelves, we will die uneaten. Our coats will rot and we will turn to slime and there will be only regret and despair until there is nothing more. Our lives will be a waste.

We are thrown carelessly into a basket by a Peeler, all of my brothers and I. I am filled with joy to know that we have passed this critical test. We circle the Choosing Place as distant cousins and foreign things are thrown into the basket next to us. We come to the Gates of Freedom in the Choosing Place and the Handler puts us in bags for the Peeler.

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Original Fairy Tales – The Pretty Girl and The Ugly Girl


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There were once two sisters, both the daughters of a poor cobbler. One sister was very pretty, the prettiest girl in all the land, and her name was Aurora. The other was very ugly, uglier than the ogres that ate wandering travelers, and her name was Aria. These two sisters were the best of friends, and neither of them wanted anything to do with the other children of the town, for they only wanted to befriend Aurora for her looks and Aria they despised.

However, it came to be that the girls grew to be young women, and Aurora became tired of her sister’s presence. “Your ugly face gives me pain,” Aurora said one night, “and you are as boring as wood. I will go make pretty friends and we will flirt with the boys in town. It is too bad that you are too ugly to join us.”

Aria locked herself in her room and cried for hours after this, for Aurora was her only friend, and she loved her. A mouse crept into the room while she was crying and said, “Aria, why do you cry?”

“My sister has called me ugly,” she replied, “and said that I am boring.”

“I think that you are beautiful,” the mouse replied. “And not at all boring.”

“But you are just a mouse, what do you know of such things?”

“I know much. Can you sing for me?” Aria nodded and dried her tears, and she sung for the little mouse. “You have a beautiful voice, my dear Aria, but could you match it with an instrument?” the little mouse asked.

“My father has a flute,” Aria said.

“Then go fetch it,” the mouse said. Aria did as she was told, but when she blew into the flute it produced so horrible a screech that the mouse had to cover its ears.

“See, I’m good at nothing,” Aria said, and she began to cry again.

“Don’t cry, my dear Aria,” the mouse said. “I will come back tomorrow and bring you a better instrument, and I will teach you to play it, and then no one will be able to say that you are boring.” Aria said goodbye to the mouse and went to bed, still saddened over her sister’s insult.

“I am going out to flirt with boys,” Aurora said the next morning. “It is too bad that you are too ugly to join us. Thomas is going to buy me flowers,” and she flounced out the door and left her sister behind. Again, Aria locked herself in her room and began to cry.

“Aria, why do you cry?” the mouse asked when he’d crept in once more.

“My sister has called me ugly, and said that a boy is going to buy her flowers. No boy will ever buy me flowers.”

“I would buy you flowers, if I were a real boy,” the mouse said. “But for now, all I have for you is this harp. Would you play it, please?” the mouse asked. Aria took the harp and began playing, and it produced the most wonderful sound. From his workshop, her father heard, and he came up to see where this beautiful sound came from.

“Daughter, who knew you could play music so beautifully!” he said.

“And she can sing!” said the mouse.

“Oh daughter, won’t you play with me?” the man asked. “Not since your mother passed have I played music with another.”

“Yes, Father,” Aria said, and as her father played his flute she sang and played her harp, and it was a fun song that set the mouse to dancing, which caused both the father and Aria to fall about laughing.

The next minute, the door opened, and Aurora called that she was home. “I must go great my beautiful daughter,” her father said, and he kissed Aria on the forehead and left the room. This saddened Aria, so the mouse began dancing again, which did cheer her.

“I played music and sang with him, yet his favorite is still Aurora,” Aria said. “Nothing will ever match her beauty.”

“Do not fret,” the mouse said. “Tomorrow I will come back and teach you to cook. If it is your father’s love you want, good food will surely earn it.” Aria said goodbye to the mouse and went to bed.

“I am going out to flirt with boys,” Aurora said the next morning. “It is too bad that you are too ugly to join us. David is going to buy me a new dress. It will be green, like my eyes,” and she flounced out the door. Again, Aria ran and locked herself in her room and began to cry.

“Again, dear Aria, why do you cry?” the mouse asked.

“A boy is going to buy my sister a dress to match her eyes. No boy will ever buy such things for me,” she said.

“Cry not,” the mouse said, “for what do dresses matter with a voice such as yours?” And the mouse crawled into her hand and laid in her palm a flower, a tiny blue flower that matched her eyes.

“Oh, thank you, Mr. Mouse, that is so very sweet of you,” Aria said.

“And now you shall learn to cook! Quick, we must run to the market and buy ingredients for dinner. It will be the finest meal your father has ever eaten!”

“But the girls will make fun of me if I go into town,” Aria replied.

“You cannot fear such silly girls,” the mouse said. “If any of them make fun of you, I shall jump out and scare them.” And so the pair of them went to town and bought the things for their dinner. One girl did tease Aria, but she was so startled when the mouse jumped out at her that she spread the word that Aria was guarded by a fierce beast, and so the mean girls avoided her and she was happy.

“Daughter, what is all this?” the father asked when he came in from work to see a full table.

“I baked you dinner, Father, for I love you.”

“Thank you, daughter. And will you play for me while I eat?”

“I shall!” And so Aria played on her harp and sang while the mouse rested on her shoulder and her father ate.

“I declare, this is the best meal I’ve ever eaten! Where did you learn to cook like this?” But just as he asked this, Aurora walked in in her new green dress, and so their father became distracted and Aria took her harp back into her room.

“Still he loves her more, though I cooked him a fabulous meal and played and sang for him,” Aria said.

“Do not fret,” the mouse said, “for tomorrow I shall come back and teach you to sew, and you will sew such pretty things that they shall outshine any dress that your sister wears.”

And so it was that every day the mouse came and taught Aria some new skill, for each morning Aurora would brag of her plans and Aria would grow sad, then the mouse would show up and she would be happy again. He taught her to dance, to garden, to make a fire, to mend a wound, to make a doll, to fix a roof, to skin a rabbit, to paint, to clean a house, to help her father in his shop, to manage money, to calm a horse, and to make a crying baby smile.

After all of this, Aurora came to breakfast and said, ““I am going out to flirt with boys. It is too bad that you are too ugly to join us. William promised me a kiss.”

Aria ran up to her room and locked it, but she did not cry, for the mouse was already there. She told the mouse what her sister had said, and cried, “Oh, if only a boy would promise me a kiss! I shall never be pretty enough for that!”

“You could kiss me instead,” the mouse said.

“But you are just a mouse! Oh, but you are my dearest friend. Very well, Mr. Mouse, crawl into my hand,” she said. The mouse did as he was told and Aria brought him up to her mouth and kissed him on the head. In an instant, he transformed into a man, and since he was very naked she turned away and hid her eyes. When she turned back he was gone, and she cried for the loss of her friend.

The next morning, Aurora said, “I am going out to flirt with boys, it is too bad-” and she was then interrupted by a knock on the door. Aurora said, “It must be Logan, ready to take me on my walk!” but instead it was an old man who wished to speak to their father. Their father was brought forth from his workshop and the old man introduced himself.

“I have two sons who I need to marry. Both have large farms, and both are very wealthy. I heard that you have two beautiful daughters eligible for marriage, and I have come to meet them.”

“You are mistaken,” the cobbler said. “I have two daughters, but only one of them is beautiful.”

“Nonetheless, may my sons and I come in?” the old man asked. The cobbler agreed and the three men came in. One son was tall, strong, and very handsome. The other was fat, short, and smelled of pigs. Both of them smiled at the girls.

“I am Wilson,” said the fat son.

“And I am Gregory,” said the handsome son.

“I will marry you, Gregory,” Aurora said, going to his side. “Wilson, if you shall have my ugly sister, both of you will have found your brides, and no longer shall we want for husbands.”

“Wait just a second,” Gregory said. “Before I chose you as my wife, can you sing?”

“No,” Aurora said. “Of course not, but I’m beautiful.”

“Oh. Can you play an instrument?”

“No, but I’m beautiful.”

“Hmm. Can you cook? Sew? Dance? Make a fire? Skin a rabbit? Fix a roof? Make a crying baby smile? Mend a wound? Manage money? Clean a house?” Gregory asked.

“No,” Aurora said. “Why would I need to do any of that when I am beautiful?”

Gregory turned to Aria. “And you?”

“I can do all of those things, sir.”

“And can you calm a horse?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And paint?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And make a doll?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Aria, it would be a pleasure if you would be my wife,” Gregory said.

“No, sir, you are far too handsome for me. Marry my sister instead. You will have beautiful children.”

“It is you that I chose,” he replied, “and my name is Gregory, not sir.” He bent down and whispered, “And you may also call me Mr. Mouse.” Aria’s eyes widened at this, and she accepted his proposal. This upset Aurora greatly, for she was the beautiful sister, and so she deserved the handsome husband.

“I will not marry this ugly man,” Aurora said, stomping her foot. Wilson lowered his head at this, for it saddened him to be shamed so, and he had not the time to shed a tear before an old woman appeared in the room.

“Grandmother,” the cobbler said, “what business do you have with us?”

“It is your daughter that I’ve come for,” the old woman said. She turned to Aurora and spit at her. “You shame your beautiful, for your insides are rotten. You’ve been blessed with a pretty face, yet you throw this gift away and act like a pig. Well, a pig you shall become, and not until you can secure the kiss of one who loves you will you be freed.” And the old woman disappeared in a puff of smoke, and behind she left a squealing pig where Aurora had been.

“Oh, my poor daughter, my beautiful daughter,” the cobbler said, starting to cry. “Now I will have to build a pen for her!”

“That was the same witch who turned me into a mouse,” Gregory whispered to Aria. “There may be a hope to save her.”

“Oh please, won’t someone kiss me,” Aurora squealed from her place on the ground. “I can’t bear to live as a pig for a single second longer. I am uglier than a frog, uglier than my sister.”

“Aurora,” Aria said, getting down on her knees. “We had been the best of friends. Why did that change?”

“Because, Sister, I wronged you, and now I shall forever live as a pig. Wilson, won’t you kiss me?”

“I love you not, little pig,” Wilson said, for he was still not over her insult.

“Oh, Sister, I am sorry for calling you ugly, and you too, Wilson. Truly, I am the ugly one, and forever shall I stay like this. It is time I go outside and live in the mud, where pigs belong.”

“Wait, Sister,” Aria said, “though you have made me cry many times, I accept your apology. You will always be my sister, and I love you.” Aria kissed the little pig on her snout, and a human girl she was once again. The cobbler gave her his coat to hide her nakedness, and once she had put on a proper dress she agreed to marry Wilson.

Side-by-side the sisters lived, and together they raised their families. Each day they’d have lunch together and talk about their day, and again they were best friends, and lived happily ever after.

The End

Let the music carry us away

There’s a girl floating in a back-country creek
In an old patched inter-tube bleached by the sun
Just a lazy Sunday to relax and enjoy
She looks up as the clouds pass by
Such beauty in such a simple thing
Who doesn’t look at the sky and feel joy?
Whether it be clear skies of blue or the excitement of a storm
Or the vast dark skies filled with twinkling lights of distant lands

In the summertime, when the weather is hot
You can stretch right up and touch the sky”

Music drifts to her ears from a worn radio
She hums along to an old song her mother used to sing
Just a sweet little melody about the summertime
The girl enjoys the sun now and soaks it in
Her skin darkens as sweat rolls off into the cool water below
The sun makes rainbows in the water, reflecting enchanting beauty
Little minnows dart back and forth, going about their day
The girl allows herself to drift further downstream
The music grows fainter now

We love everybody but we do what we please
When the weather’s fine
We go fishing or go swimmin’ in the sea”

Laughter is carried on the wind from a group of men fishing
The girl closes her eyes and allows luck to guide her past their lines
She’s drifted farther than she ever has before
The breeze is picking up, blowing cold against her skin
The trees rustle and she enjoys the music of nature
Water rushing, wind blowing, birds chittering gossip
The trees clack together from the fierce wind

When the weather’s fine
You got women you got women on your mind”

The breeze has grown freezing cold
The girl shivers as she drifts down the creek
The cold hands reach out and claw at her, tearing her flesh
The tube deflates and she’s pulled under the water
She can’t breath, she’s gasping for air
She can’t hear anything but her own struggle to reach the surface
Her lungs burn and her skin sear as the fish slice at her skin

We’re always happy
Life’s for livin’ yeah, that’s our philosophy”

There’s yelling now, telling the girl what to do
The radio in the corner plays on, the singer chipper and relaxed
The girl turns over on the bed, begging for it to be over
She smells blood and sweat, then the breath of her abuser
He’s on her again, digging his nails into her skin
He brutalizes her until he’s satisfied and leaves her to her tears
She reaches under her bed for help
The white powder will make all her pain go away
One good sniff and she’s drifting down the creek again, humming along to the radio

Sing along with us
Dee dee dee-dee dee
Dah dah dah-dah dah
Yeah we’re hap-happy”

The song, for anyone who doesn’t know.


Friday Fiction – Doctor’s Demise

You are sitting across from one of the most dangerous super villains in modern times. His arms and legs are chained to his seat, and his blindfold is made of lead. He has been given a strong dose of a medicine known to repress superpowers. If it wasn’t for the fact that you’d felt the drug’s affect firsthand, you would not consent to be in a room with this man.

“Tell me, Arnold, why you started killing people,” you say. Arnold remains silent. He struggles silently against the chains surrounding him, but they don’t budge. Arnold is a tiny, ugly man who has no hopes of breaking out of prison now that he has been caught. “Well? Was it something someone did? Did they push you over the edge? Make you mad? What was it, Arnold?”

“I will not respond to that name,” he replies. You nod.

“Very well, Asphyxi. Will you answer my question now?”

“Of course.” He grins. His teeth are yellow. Luckily, the blindfold means that you don’t have to hide your look of disgust. “My first kill wasn’t a who.”

“Come again?” you ask.

“It wasn’t a who, but rather… a what. You’re asking the question wrong.”

“Fine. What was your first kill?” you ask. It had not been your original question, but you’d take what Arnold was willing to share.

“My sister’s puppy,” he says. He is smiling, as if caught in fond memory. “She’d just gotten in as a present from our grandmother. Grandmother had never given me any gifts, so I’d tried stealing the puppy into my room one night. I got mad when he wouldn’t listen to any of my commands, when he so obeyed my sister, and all of a sudden he stopped breathing. It was the first time I’d used my powers.”

“And how old were you?”

“Six, I believe.”

“That’s an uncommonly young age for someone’s powers to manifest.”

“But then again, there’s nothing common about us, is there, Doctor?” Arnold is grinning again. You have the feeling that he can see right through his blindfold, though that would be impossible.

“How do you know who I am?” you ask calmly. Doctor had been your superhero name. You’d had a brief stint with the local superheroes– flying around on Arrow’s back and covering for Bolt when raiding evil lairs– but you’d quickly grown tired of using your powers in such a way. It wasn’t exactly evil, as you’d been helping the heroes, but it still left you feeling ill inside.

Your power is the ability to give or take away the madness within a person. Since you hadn’t been cut out for a superhero– nor a super villain, for that matter– you retired your mask and buckled down for eight years of schooling until you could call yourself a Psychologist. You immediately began work at a mental institution. Innumerable people had been cured under your care, and you were able to work anonymously.

That is, unless the local league of superheroes decided to call in a favor. As they had been the ones to pay for your schooling, you couldn’t possibly turn away their request.

“Oh, please. I’ve killed hundred, and yet I’m not in jail yet? They tie me up and have me interrogated first? Do you think I’m an idiot?”

“Interrogation is standard for new prisoners,” you say.

“I’m sure it is. This kind of interrogation isn’t, however. Except for Ooze, perhaps. She was one mean son-of-a-bitch.”

You look at Arnold. “Let us return to the topic at hand.”

“Of course. So would you like to talk about the first person I killed, then? Because the puppy wasn’t the only animal I’d done away with.”

“Yes. The first person, please,” you say, rubbing your temples. Arnold is a psychopath, no doubt about it.

“I don’t know her name, of course, because I just hired her off the street. May have called herself Ruby, or Scarlett, or something like that, ‘cause she had bright red hair.” He pauses. “We went behind a dumpster and she got down on her knees, but I choked her without even taking my pants down.” His grin is savage. “I remember the feeling of it. I took the air out of her lungs, bit by bit, until she couldn’t breath at all. She tried fighting me, but she didn’t have the strength. I teased her a bit, letting her breath just before she was ready to pass out, but that grew old after a while. The fun in killing is seeing the life leak out of them, don’t you agree?”

“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never killed before.” You glance at the guards in the corner of the room, the ones who’d been there silently the whole time. They look ready to beat the prisoner within an inch of his life. You know that they’d never been faced with a criminal such as Arnold. Their usual super villains had solid motives for killing. For him, it’s just because he’s a sick bastard.

“Oh, surely you have. I saw some of your tapes from your moonlighting days. (Nice spandex, by the way.) I watch the way you could just look at a person and scramble their brains. They’d be weeping and clawing at their eyes and talking to spirits in seconds. Didn’t it ever tempt you to turn the whole world mad?”

“The world is mad enough as it is,” you say. “I returned each of the villains I cursed back to their original state. I don’t enjoy watching people suffer.”

“What differences we have, Doctor,” Arnold says. “Watching people suffer is what I live for.”

“That’s enough.” The comment is directed at the guards who have taken a step closer to the madman. Arnold smiles up at you.

“What? Had enough? Am I too mad for you?”

“Don’t worry. I can still help you.” Your powers are greatest when making physical contact so you reach forward for Arnold’s shoulder. He jerks backwards violently.

I don’t want your help,” he hisses, and then it seems as if all the air is suddenly gone.

“A-Arnold.” You struggle, grasping your throat and falling to your knees. The guards act the same way. The drug has either worn off or has no effect on the madman, for he is calmly releasing himself from his bonds while choking you to death. “Asph…yxi,” you say, once he ignores you.

“Yes, Doctor? What have you to say?” Arnold asks. His hands are freed– you struggle to think how this could be happening– and he takes off the blindfold and stairs down into your eyes. You are curled up on the floor, now, still gasping for air that has fled the room. “How pitiful you look. And old, too. I confess I expected something else. Those tapes are outdated.”

Stop this, you want to say, but you can’t get the words out. Your vision is growing fuzzy. You wonder what has happened to the people monitoring the room.

“Goodbye, Doctor. You think any jail can hold me? You’re wrong. All of you are so wrong.”

You vision turns completely black, and then there is nothing.

For the Friday Fiction link up from

All is Black – Friday Fiction

The voices are back. Never left, in fact. They’re always there, always whispering in my ear. Telling me nasty things. Telling me to hurt, telling me to die. They’re screaming now, screaming that I’m worthless. I cover my ears, but their voices only grow. I scream, and someone grabs me. Someone real, more solid than my voices. I find the world to be fading, and the voices go with them.

All is black.

New voices, different from the others. Talking about the weather, about their medication. These voices don’t bother me, not like the others do. These voices are connected to bodies, to people. People not unlike me. They sometimes talk about their own voices, during the times when we sit in a circle and talk about our feelings. But I never hear their voices, only the voices in my head.

A voice has asked me to move over, and so I do. My lunch tray slides across the table. Not paying attention, my tray knocks over another patient’s water.


The other voices try to calm me, try to stop my tears. They tell me that everything’s alright, but I don’t believe them. I can barely hear them over my voices. I grab at my head again to get them to stop, I’d do anything to get them to stop, and my food falls to the floor.


Voices in uniform grab me, tell me to calm. I listen as their drugs enter through their needle, that ever-present needle. Calm. So calm. The voices go away, the world goes away.

All is black.

Lots of voices now, none of them my own. They’re steady voices, gentle voices. Happy voices, some of them. There are artificial voices coming out of a box, laughing voices surrounding them. I’m on my own, sitting in the corner. Every once in a while a uniformed voice comes to check on me, make sure I’m okay, as if I’ve ever been okay.

The voices leave me alone, for I’m always alone, alone except my voices. My voices never leave me.

We’re the only one you’ve got. You’re alone. No one wants you. PATHETIC!Give up, why don’t you? Look at you, sitting in a corner, talking to yourself. No one will ever love you. You’re nothing but a burden. PATHETIC! Your family hates you, everyone hates you, you’re a blight on the world.

I curl up in my chair, wishing the voices away. No one notices me. I look around and spot a table. An old, breaking table. Metal runs around the edges. Solid metal, sharp metal.

Look at that. Look at that! There’s your chance. No one’s looking. Come on, get up. See that bit? You can use it. Use it to end things. You want me to stop, don’t you? You’ll do anything to end the voices. I’ll never leave you if you don’t take it. Never! You’ll always have me, you’ll always be pathetic. PATHETIC!

Up I go, slowly, shuffling to the table. No one takes notice, I’m never noticed. I lean on the table, pretending to study the picture hanging on the wall behind it. My hand goes to the metal edge, the metal edge that slowly peals off and drops into my hand. It’s thin, but sturdy. Twice as wide as my finger. I look around, but no one sees. I slip it into my underwear.

I turn to go back to my seat, to wait to be alone, but someone is behind me. An old voice. I don’t stop in time, and I hit her. She falls down, her voice is all pain.


I fold into myself and whimper, my real voice crying out. Uniformed voices grab me, but I twist away. I don’t want them to take my secret weapon, my way out.


All is black.

Alone in my room, I wake slowly. It’s night. Real darkness. I feel something in my underwear, the piece of metal. The voices start again, but they’re quiet. They’re edging me on, not forcing me. Not yet.

You know you want to… Come on… Do it!… You know you want to…

I feel around the metal, finding the jagged edge where it broke away. It lightly touches the tender skin of my wrist. Pressing, not cutting. I stare at it.

Do it! Do it now! Before you’re caught! Before you mess up again! What are you waiting for? This is what you want! This is what you need! You have to die! If you don’t die, you’ll never be free of me!

I hesitate, studying the veins of my arm.


I press harder, the metal cuts into my skin like it’s not there. But it is there. I feel it splitting, feel the metal sinking in. I hiss and close my eyes.

Good! Keep going! You’re so close! DO IT! END IT! NOW! NOW!

I drag the metal along. Suddenly, I’m soaking. Blood everywhere. Pain everywhere. My arm hurts. It hurts so much. I hurt so much.

Almost there, keep going! You’re so close! Almost!

The other wrist now, this one more difficult. Both arms cut open, the metal falls to the floor. Tears mix with blood. I’m getting dizzy now, getting tired. But I’ve always been tired. So tired, so weary.

Good… good… It won’t be long now… You’ve done good…

My eyes close, the world fades in and out. Distantly, so far away, I hear panicked voices. Lots of them. I don’t care. They aren’t my voices.

Almost there…

I slip further away. I hear nothing, I see nothing, I am nothing. No pain, no voices; nothing. Nothing. Sweet nothing.

All is black.

 For the Friday Fiction link up from