Grimm's American Macabre

Reviews

  

This book was an interesting collection of short mystery/horror stories. I enjoyed the creativity and variety. –Bob Wilson

I loved it, and have told many friends about the skillful writing of this book of twisted tales. Some reminded me of tales from childhood bonfires, others were like bizarre dreams I thought I may have had. Well written and enjoyed immensely –Margaret Cooley

I have to say I went into reading this expecting the stories to be modern retellings of already known fairytales and yes, there are some elements in this group, like the last story Escape to Grahms. But indeed, if that were the case, they are very different takes on the tales. 

Another connection to the original Grimms is the use of Nature in stories. Originally the woods were the scary parts and the humans decent, but this is a modern telling. Nature is dying out, and humans are the cause. There are also tales about trying to find ways back to nature, like End of the World, or what is happening to our world ... are we mutating, like The Revolution. There are cautionary tales, and tales of hope, weird tales and cute ones. Both adult tales, and those that would appeal to children. With the modern twists, young adults will find the stories relevant... living in a world of gadgets, and instant gratification, or latchkey children with parents working all the time, or wanting too much from you.

So, interesting read, but don't go into this book thinking you know what you'll get. This Isn't your Grandmother's Grimms Fairy Takes after all –Kelly Kendrick

This collection of short stories is a delightful blend of American themes and fairy tale elements. Don’t expect anything too romantic. Although the tales are varied, they often lean towards the macabre more than the classic Grimm's happy endings.

The supernatural is present in all the stories. You will find cannibals, vampires, a futuristic technological world, ghosts and nature spirits. Life lessons are interwoven with the characters’ trials and many errors. There are references to classic fairy tales, such as Hansel and Gretel, in stories adapted to a modern context. They often provide social commentary and insight into human nature. My personal favorite is ‘Hiding in Caves’, which portrays the suffering of a lonely girl through beautiful imagery. Her symbolic journey into the woods to confront and heal her troubled psyche tugged at my heartstrings. –Mia Lutsch

Table of Contents

 I was recorded talking about what's in this book. See it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1ISvQgkijM&feature=youtu.be


1. The Last Resort: A young man who robs and kills old women finds himself stranded at an “old age home” filled with them. Karma’s a bitch.

2. Heart of Ahmalia by Nancy Byng: A gypsy girl with two hearts finds out she was adopted and goes off with a crazy old fiddler to seek her real parents. Two hearts are handy when one gets broken.

3. Night Goes On: Night stalkers become the stalked. Fear not the bear, for she lives to try again.

4. Wolves in the Woods (Part 1): Is it greed or survival? Are the wolves real, or aren’t they? Parents teach their daughter a lesson in the abuse of psychic powers.

5. Tree’s Vengeance: An enchanted tree from Story 2 ruin’s a girl’s golf game. Watch that slice!

6. Once Upon a Bug by Lloyd Grimm: One friend’s hospitality to another leads to total societal downfall. All because of hunger.

7. The Sleepover: Those who tell fearful stories run the risk of becoming one.

8. Ocean Blue: Moving on to your next life is hard when you can’t let this one go. Lessons of love are as vast as time.

9. Wisdom of the Name, adapted from an Oneida Indian tale: What’s in a name? More than you might think! A native journey into the unknown to explore the burden we all bear.

10.  The Great Worm Empire by Royal Grimm: Before going to war you better know who you’re fighting. Light political humor.

11.  The Neglected Daughter: What’s a daughter to do? She wants her parents back together, and discovers she has nearly as much power as a vampire and a witch to create an abnormal solution.

12.  The Love Spell, by Lynnie D Grimm: Who says being in love is easy? A transgender tale that uses a love spell to change the outside, but not the inside.

13.  The Logger’s Dilemma, adapted from a Northwoods tale presented by Bernice and Gordon Falk: Legend of the Light of the Lake has been around for centuries and one logger needs to find a way to talk to it. A fairy tale in its truest form.

14.  Gaming for Life: A mom tries to get into her daughter’s love of video gaming—only this one’s for real. And for life.

15.  Hiding in Caves: There’s more than one kind of cave in life and the second is the kind we cannot see. Readers’ favorite.

16.  Scream for Ice Cream: An immigrant story of a Chinese girl who just wants to feel like a real American. She discovers the idea that we all have an animal hidden inside us, waiting to be released.

17.  The Revolution: An apocalyptic idea—the true rulers of the planet begin to take the planet back.

18.  Sisters in a Tree by Ceara Jaen Baxter: The choice between caring for nature and fun in the city dooms nature’s most important resource, and the women caring for it. But nature can sometimes find a way to return.

19.  End of the World: A father chases his daughter over a cliff following a giraffe who wants to save them. The world’s end is also its beginning.

20.  The Return: Her children are tired of her neglect. She finds a way to make amends, so they get more than they bargained for.

21.  Wolves in the Woods (Part 2): The most controversial of the stories, where a girl and her brother go into the woods to explore, and discover nature’s ultimate retribution.

22.  The Troll: An internet troller is a bit too imaginative and her lies leak out into her “real” life.

23.  First Day by Lynnie D Grimm: A little girl’s first day of school has unexpected consequences when her teacher becomes a donkey.

24.  Escape to Grahms: A re-telling of Hansel and Gretel, where runaway children are told to find Grandpa Grahms to help them, but are not told the kind of help they need.

1st Half of 1st Story

The Last Resort

Scott sped out of town using the least traveled route because all back roads led somewhere. He hadn’t meant to kill his grandma, but she caught him with the loot he stole from all her friends. He just figured to start over somewhere else and try to forget the look in her dead eyes.  The road led into the forest, as he knew it would, but every fork in the road led to another dead end, another circle of trees. There had to be a way out, and he kept looking, finally finding a dirt track that kept going. What choice did he have?  There were sirens back there. 

When he finally entered open land again, a swirling fog rolled in, forcing him to stop dead. Frustrated, he laid on his horn, and the fog moved on. He sped up, not knowing where he was and the empty countryside gave him no clue. His gas gauge read nearly empty.

He rounded the deep curve of a hill and the road dead-ended on an oasis of buildings. Scott drove his car sputtering on an empty tank into a barn big enough to hold an airplane. No sign of any kind of vehicle owned by whoever lived here. With his car safely hidden, he walked up the porch to the front door, rubbed his sweaty hands on his pants, and rapped on the door. No turning back. No choice anymore.

He noted the teeny print by the doorbell. “Paradise Valley, Resort for the Elderly.” Scott plastered a fake smile on his face when he heard the loud clumping from within. “Last chance to flee,” he said aloud, mocking that voice with a little glee.  

But the door opened and the sweetest little grandmotherly type smiled up at him. “Are you lost? Do come in.” She grabbed his arm and gave him a tug.

Scott had no choice. This was paradise, all right, if there were no one but old ladies to steal from. The door slammed shut and he jumped. He heard her lock it behind him. “Uh, thank you, but I can’t stay. Can I … ah … borrow me some gas?”

“Oh, no, Buddy. We don’t have gas. No vehicles here.”

Scott jingled his keys. “What about emergencies? How about a phone?” 

She shook her head and he shook with her. 

“I know, no one to call.” He looked at his cell phone before waving it at her. “No signal, right? So why have phones?” 

Well, they went back and forth like this, nope, don’t have and nope, don’t need, until Scott realized he was stuck here until their next supply helicopter came, which happened, she said, every so often. He didn’t like this old lady much. She wasn’t the mild sort he was used to robbing from. 

But by the time she led him to a room where he could stay while he waited, he was back to feeling this was his paradise ripe for the taking. “How many of you are there?” 

He saw door after door, all shut, and wiggled on one doorknob to find it locked. She grinned at his curiosity, her teeth so healthy they sparkled. 

“You’ll meet us soon enough. After all, you’re stuck here.” She unlocked a door and opened it for him. “But you’ll find the time pleasurable. You can have massages, take bike rides in the moonlight, read, play spin the bottle---.”

“Spin the bottle?! With old people?”

“You really are a silly boy, aren’t you?” 

The one he came to call Granny stopped him from entering the room when they were approached by an old lady who looked familiar to Scott—too familiar. She looked like his grandmother, the one he’d killed. Was this a house of ghosts? She even had that same expression before she dropped—shock, horror and teeth-gritting anger, all in one look. I gotta get out of here. This place gives me the creeps. After I steal me some money, that is. Granny gave him a push, and Scott stumbled into the room she’d opened for him. “Marge, Buddy here is very tense. Would you see that he gets a massage?” 

Marge entered the room as Granny walked away, and the dead image wouldn’t leave her face, so Scott decided he wouldn’t look at her. Not knowing what else to do as she stood staring at him, and not wanting to accuse her of being his dead grandmother, Scott looked around at his room. The walls were padded, the carpeting so thick he couldn’t feel any wood beneath it, and the colors were rich browns and burgundy with accents of blue. Not too flowery and all immaculately clean, with beautiful Victorian glass fixtures. His room had a wet bar that Marge went digging into to find him some cool refreshment. She handed him the can of beer but before he could open it she pushed him back on the bed. Not a trace of a squeak from any corner of the mattress, although Scott wasn’t really listening. He’d become transfixed by Marge’s youthful eyes as he sat up, opened the beer and downed the refreshing liquid.

“Is there uh … food in that fridge, too?” He belched with beer taste in his mouth, the sound loud and comforting.

“Plenty. For later. Let me give you an appetite first. Take off your shirt and pants.”

“What?”

Marge held up her bony hands. “They are warm and soft. But you’ll never know if you don’t take your clothes off.”

“Now wait---.”

“For your massage.”

So Scott undressed and laid flat on his stomach. No way was she gonna get him to turn over. He didn’t want to give her any of those ideas. But her bony hands were warm and soft.

“So tell me, Buddy, what were your parents like?”

“My parents?”

“Uh-huh. Tell me a story about them.” She made it sound like an order. Not curious but demanding, as though her life depended on his story.

So Scott talked about his upbringing, about how his father was a traveling salesman, leaving his mother home to believe he was banging every woman he met, until she became so bitter she killed herself, leaving him alone at 16 to try and find a way to make a living. When his father heard of her death he stayed away, feeling sure he’d be accused of killing her. He couldn’t remember a single happy time with the three of them, not one, and hated his father for leaving them alone. But his grandmother helped out. And he helped himself, living fine off her money until she began to get suspicious of all her friends being robbed, a couple of them dying mysteriously. Her death was no mystery. She took a knife in the gut, and as she died, he stripped the house of her valuables. As far as he knew, she was still alive when he sped away. Scott was careful to keep this last part of the story to himself. He hoped, anyway.

“Oh, you poor baby boy.” Marge pushed muscle against muscle until he felt he had become a gentle flowing river. She climbed on top of him and sat on his butt as she continued to massage him. She pulled the sheet down off his back and her hands were very warm, almost hot. He started to doze, but when she pulled the sheet from his rear the instant cold woke him.

“Hey, what are you doing back there?” He angled himself to see her sitting on him.

Marge was naked. Not as wrinkly as he expected, but the light reflected off her glistening skull with the thin wisps of gray hair. “Relax, dear boy.” She massaged his buttocks and worked down to the legs. Massaging, her hands almost vibrating, until---.

“Ouch! Hey, what’d you do?” Scott pulled the sheet up, but Marge was gone. She had pulled a hair or something, or maybe it just got caught in her fingernail.

Left alone, finally, he got to look in that fridge, and found a whole baked turkey to eat while trying the television. But all he could find were silent movies in black and white, with the dialog showing up on occasion. “Everything is old here.” The turkey was so darned good he had it half gone before he stopped, not because he was full, but because he wasn’t. And he didn’t realize how little sense that made.

Another knock and this time a younger gal came in, dressed as a maid with linens to change his bed. Younger was a relative term in this resort of old age but after she put the linens on the bed, Scott grabbed her arm, seeing her as gorgeous as an aging Marilyn Monroe. Scott kissed her and she kissed back, passionately.

“Ouch!” Scott clamped his hand to his mouth. “What the hell did you do?”

But the maid dashed out, leaving the linens behind. Scott grasped his mouth and then peeked into his palm. Blood. Heart and tongue pounding, he peered close at his tongue in the mirror. She bit the tip off. “Oh, that does it. I’m leaving.”

He ran to the window and peered off in all directions. Flat land, empty roads, no sign of anyone anywhere. He couldn’t even see the woods he had driven through. How far would he get on foot? 

Scott sat back on the bed and grabbed a turkey leg, as though for protection. “Okay, I get it. This is a loony bin for witches trying to find the secret of youth by stealing my body parts. Well, more power to ‘em. I just won’t let them touch me anymore, that’s all.”

^^^

Purchase Details

Get an author copy, only $12, plus postage, US only. Email me! Or go to Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/zzonkqq 

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Why I Wrote This:

You see the name of my writing business is Grimms Etc.? The reason is that I found out I was a Grimm when I was five, and always wanted to write my own collection of fairy tales.  I worked on this for years, a short story written here, one found there, but until I was able to connect the stories in a certain way, I had a hard time finding a publisher. I highly recommend you read these stories in the order they're presented, but it seems people enjoy them no matter what order they're read.  Get your copy at Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/zzonkqq