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STORYTELLER - DAWN COLCLASURE


The Evil Wizard stomped towards May, cackling with glee. “I’ve got you now!” he said. “No dragon or Sword of Wisdom to save you!”


Princess May gulped. The Evil Wizard had a most hideous face, with warts all over his nose, a ghastly mane of orange hair, red evil eyes, and he towered over her by practically ten feet! He held his magic wand that could only do evil magic, and he pointed it at the princess as he drew closer.


“I will end your reign!” he threatened. “Your kingdom will be mine!”


But Princess May had one last trick up her sleeve. “Not today, Wizard!” she cried, and with all of her strength, she threw the very last of her fairy dust at him and made a wish to banish him from her kingdom.


The fairy dust fell over the Evil Wizard, and he cried out in pain as he started to disappear.

“This isn’t over, Princess May!” he warned, as he faded away. “We will meet again!”


The Evil Wizard was gone, and Princess May lived to defend her kingdom from evil yet another day.


Chloe Brashears threw up her hands and said, “The end!”


“Yay!” her 8-year-old sister, May, cheered as she clapped. “That was such a great story!”

Chloe grinned. “Thank you. And tomorrow, I will tell you more adventures of Princess May.”

And that was how May ended up at her open bedroom doorway the next evening. “Tell me a story!”


Chloe smiled. She and May, didn’t usually spend much time together since she, at 15, was too old to be hanging out with her little sister. Anyway, she was usually too busy with sports, cheerleading, writing stories and creating art. But May loved Chloe’s stories, and every night, she wanted Chloe to tell her a new one.


She turned away from the clothes she had just hung up in her closet. May stood in the opened doorway of her bedroom, dressed for bed and clutching her stuffy.


“Sure thing, May,” she said, walking to the door. “Did you brush your teeth?”


May eagerly nodded, smiling just to show how clean her pearly whites were.


“Good job,” Chloe observed. “Now get into bed and I’ll be right there with your story.”


May excitedly ran to her room. Chloe chuckled. Story time was always the highlight of their bedtime routine. Forget the goodnight kisses by Mom and Dad or the whole “getting tucked in for the night” thing. It was stories May wanted.


And, as the writer in the family, it was stories Chloe delivered.


Chloe sighed. She wondered how long she would just be a “writer” and not an “author.” Maybe telling stories made her an author, but she always hoped to see some novel with the name “Chloe Brashears” as the author.


Well, maybe someday.


She smiled and perked up, getting back into story mode. Her sister was patiently waiting for her story, so it was time to deliver.


Shutting off the light in her bedroom and closing her door, Chloe walked to her sister’s room. The sight of a princess-style bed with a rainbow canopy over it and Disney Princess comforters met her eyes. May was going through a princess phase and she especially loved anything princess, especially stories.


Which was why Chloe put together yet another story of a princess named May each night she told her sister the stories she so loved to hear.


As she walked into her sister’s room and settled onto the side of the bed next to her sister, she asked, “Another Princess May story?”


“Yes, please,” her sister answered. “But no evil wizard. He’s too scary.”


Chloe nodded. First May didn’t want anymore stories about the Burping Monster and now she didn’t want anymore stories about the Evil Wizard. Both of those things scared her too much.


“There was once a beautiful princess named May,” she began, using the same beginning she always used for the stories.


May squealed with anticipation.


Chloe smiled before continuing. “And this princess lived in the most beautiful castle in the entire kingdom. One day, another royal family moved into an abandoned castle in another part of the kingdom. The king fixed up the old, dusty castle and turned it into a magnificent castle that was just as pretty as Princess May’s!”


“Bad king!” May commented in an angry tone.


“Yes, the king was very proud of his work,” Chloe continued. “And he told everyone in the kingdom that his castle was the best one ever. It had gold walls and a golden drawbridge. It had the most beautiful and most expensive furniture. And the princess who lived in it had the most beautiful clothes! This made Princess May very sad, so she hired the best carpenters and the best smiths to make her castle even more beautiful. But no matter what they did, she kept thinking the other castle was better than hers. Then, one day, an old traveler came to her castle begging for food. Princess May took pity on him and gave him a royal feast. She gave him lots of water to drink and a lot of nice clothes to wear. She invited this poor old man to stay the night at her castle.”


“Yay!” May cheered, smiling.


“Then, the next morning,” Chloe continued. “After they ate breakfast, the old man said he had to leave. But he told Princess May, ‘Your castle is the best castle in the entire kingdom.’ Princess May grew sad and said, ‘You are very kind, sir, but my castle is nothing compared to the other castle in the eastern kingdom. That castle is much grander!’ The old man smiled at her and said, ‘It may be grand, but what matters is what is inside the castle. Before I came here, I begged for food and water at that other castle. They turned me away. ‘Get your dirty feet off of my property!’ they said. ‘This castle is too fine for the likes of you!’ Then I came here. You gave me more food than I have ever eaten in my life. You gave me beautiful new clothes to wear and a warm bed to sleep in. You gave me water for my thirst and money for my travels. That makes your castle the best one.’ This cheered May’s heart and, ever since that day, she didn’t care if her castle was not as pretty as any other castle, because she knew that what was important was the person living in it.”


Chloe held up her hands. “The end!”


“Yay!” May cheered, clapping. “Good story, Chloe! More, please!”


Chuckling, Chloe got out of the bed and adjusted the covers over her sister. “Maybe tomorrow, okay? It’s time to go to sleep.” She kissed her sister on the forehead. “Goodnight.”


She turned to leave the room, smiling at her parents as they entered to tuck May in for the night.


Another story down, Chloe thought to herself as she walked to her bedroom. I’m so glad I can make these stories up and make May happy with these stories too. Maybe someday I can make other people happy with my stories.


“Great storytelling skills!”


Chloe smiled as she looked at the teacher’s written comment on the paper she just got back on her desk. She moved her gaze up to see the grade and her smile broadened as she caught sight of the giant “A” at the top. She put her paper into her notebook then opened her textbook for English class.


Once her teacher finished returning the homework assignments, she returned to the desk at the front of the class. Chloe listened intently as the teacher spoke about the difference between reality and truth.


“Most stories are works of fiction,” the teacher explained. “But even in fiction, you need to have some kind of realism in them. You can’t just have a character who has never gone to medical school suddenly turn into a doctor one day. Readers are too smart for that. Some writers of fiction try to suspend reality in order to make their stories work, but even then, it still has to be realistic and logical.”


Chloe smiled, eagerly taking in the discussion. She loved this class. It was her favorite of all the classes she took at Merryweather High School. This class encouraged her to tell stories and to write different things. She always got an “A” on her assignments and that could only mean she’ll get an “A” for the class. That would help her when it came time to think about college.


“Are you thinking about college?” her best friend, Millie, asked her later, as they exchanged textbooks at their lockers.


Chloe smiled at her friend. She usually wore her long blond hair in a ponytail, since she was usually practicing at track, but today she had it down. She wore a long velvet blue dress with white stockings and boots. Chloe thought her friend was overdressed for school – after all, she only had on blue jeans and a red T-shirt with her sneakers – but maybe Millie had something going on after school today. “Of course!” she finally answered. “I’m thinking Smith College or Brandeis.”


Millie frowned. “The liberal arts college?”


Chloe nodded. “Yep. I’m going to major in communications.”


“Just make sure you apply for a teaching credit,’ Millie reminded her. “It’s so hard to make a living as a writer. Just ask my dad!”


Chloe chuckled. Millie’s father was a freelance writer and had the occasional article sale, but as far as being able to provide a roof over his daughter’s head and put food on the table, he also worked in construction.


She closed her locker then turned. Her smile disappeared and she gasped in alarm at the sight of her other friend, Louisa, glaring at her with her arms folded.


“Where is my jacket?” Louisa asked.


Chloe sighed when she remembered Louisa’s jacket she had borrowed – the same jacket that she forgot to bring back to school to return to her for perhaps the tenth time!


“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I spilled ice cream on it last night and I forgot to clean it off.”


Louisa huffed. “Yeah, right. You’re always making things up to get out of trouble, Chloe!”

Chloe gasped. “I do not! That’s the truth!”


“Spoken like a true writer,” Louisa sarcastically replied, then she marched off.


“But it’s true,” Chloe responded in a whisper, sadly looking away.


Just because she made things up for stories, it didn’t mean she made things up in real life. Why didn’t Louisa believe her? She hadn’t lied.


She tried to get through the rest of the day forgetting about it, but when she sat at the dinner table with her family that night, it still bugged her.


“Chloe! Are you listening?”


Chloe snapped out of her thoughts. “Oh! I’m sorry,” she apologized, looking at her mother. “What did you say?”


Her mother smiled at her. She still wore the suit she’d had on at work and her black hair was still up in a bun. “I was asking you if you’ve had any luck with job applications lately.”


Chloe sighed. “Well, I haven’t gotten any calls. I did have an interview, but the guy said he wasn’t interested in hiring any redheads.”


Her father chuckled. “Good one, Chloe,” he said. “Tell us another story.”


May laughed as though she was enjoying the sudden burst of inspiration.


Chloe frowned. “But it’s true.”


Her mother smiled as she shook her head. “Chloe, that’s ridiculous. Nobody gets turned away from a job just because of the color of their hair. You have got to stop telling stories when people want the truth.”


Anger flooded through Chloe, and she hardened her gaze. “Everybody thinks that all I do is tell stories and that I never tell the truth! It’s not fair!”


She stood from the table. “I won’t tell stories ever again!”


She turned and marched to her bedroom. When May came into her room later that night, she was still mulling over her anger and lying down on her bed.


“Please tell me a story, Chloe,” she said.


Chloe sighed. “Not tonight, May.”


She heard May sigh behind her before leaving her room.


No more stories ever again, Chloe thought, before drifting off to sleep.


Chloe ran through the Magical Forest. She could hear the dragon roaring behind her. She had to get to the castle and save the princess. That was all she knew.


But when she reached the clearing, a gigantic foot the size of a mountain stepped in front of her, bringing her to a quick stop. As she moved her gaze up to see what this thing was, a vibrating, rumbling burping noise shook the air. The ground beneath her quaked and she fell. She crawled backwards to look up at the enormous Burping Monster towering over her.

The monster looked down at her, its yellow eyes glistening with hate as they shone down on her.


Chloe got to her feet and ran between the monster’s legs. The ground shook as the monster chased after her, burping its very loud burps with every few steps.


Just before she got to the castle, the monster scooped her up in its claw. Chloe screamed as it lifted her through the air and brought it up to its mouth. A burp escaped past its lips and Chloe made a look of disgust as the terrible smell hit her face.


Then she tried to think. What did Princess May do to beat the monster?


The memory hit her, and she looked at the monster again. “Begone, Foul Beast!” she screamed, saying the magic words. “By the power of Princess May, disappearis malignas todas!”


The monster howled, dropping Chloe as it writhed in agony. Chloe yelped as she fell, but luckily, a giant tree caught her and gently brought her to the ground.


“Thank you,” she said to the tree, before she bolted towards the castle. But when she got to the castle, she could only hear the Evil Wizard’s laughter.


“Chloe! Help!” her sister’s voice cried.


Chloe awoke from the dream, gasping. “May!”


She got out of bed and ran to her sister’s room. But right when she threw the door open, a torrential wind nearly blew her back out of the door. Chloe held up her hand to protect her eyes and she struggled to make sense of what she was seeing. A large vortex was swirling behind what looked exactly like the Evil Wizard from her stories.


“Catch me if you can, Storyteller!” he sneered. He threw a sack over his shoulder. The sack appeared to have someone in it, who was struggling to get out.


“Chloe! Help!” May’s voice sounded from behind the Evil Wizard.


Chloe looked to see that May’s bed was empty. Gasping, she looked at the large wizard again and realized he had her sister in the sack. “May!”


The Evil Wizard cackled and disappeared into the vortex.


Gathering her strength, Chloe ran right into the vortex to chase after him.


Chloe landed in the Evil Wizard’s castle, the most horrible place in all the world. Prisoners in chains had their skin torn off of them, cruel monsters roared as they stomped around, hideous beasts spitting fire were everywhere and ghoulish creatures oozing with a thick green stench stumbled towards the prisoners.


Chloe kept her eyes off of these horrible things and ran after the wizard that had kidnapped her sister. When they finally arrived in his throne room, Chloe shrieked with alarm.


There, in the middle of the room, an enormous, hissing red snake snapped at her. The wizard ran right past it unharmed, coming to a stop next to where he kept a golden sword on a white table.


Chloe gasped when she saw the sword. “The Sword of Wisdom!” She looked at the Evil Wizard. “You stole it!”


“Not only did I steal it, but my soldiers will be killing the dragon, too!” the Evil Wizard said. “And now, in order for the kingdom to be mine, I will murder Princess May!”


He put the sack on the large table next to the sword and when he removed it, Chloe gasped. Her sister was dressed up just like a princess! That is, if her hands and feet weren’t tied with brown rope.


“Let me go!” May cried


“Never!” the Evil Wizard cried. “I must have the blood of the innocent, and my spell will be complete!”


Chloe shuddered as she watched him pick up the sword. He moved it closer to May, aiming it right at her heart.


Chloe looked at the Wizard as an idea formed in her head. It was time to tell a story.


“But that’s not how it works!” she said. “Her blood will only weaken your spell; it won’t make it stronger!”


“Silence, Storyteller!” the Wizard raged. “Your stories won’t change anything for me!”


“You’re wrong!” Chloe replied. “Stories have power!”


I made you, Chloe thought. I can unmake you.


“Your stories have no power here!” the Wizard screeched, looking at her.


Chloe took a deep breath. “There once was an Evil Wizard who tried to take over Princess May’s kingdom,” she began.


“Stop!” the wizard exploded, running to her and pointing his sword at her. “No more stories. You said you would never tell them again, remember?”


Chloe ignored him. “But Princess May was too strong for him or his spells. She had a special power, the power of being able to tell stories, too. And since this was her story to tell, she had the power to make anything happen.”


The wizard gasped when he realized what Chloe’s words meant. He slowly turned and Chloe looked past him. The snake was gone and Princess May, her sister May, stood in front of the table, looking directly at the wizard. She pointed her wand at him. “Begone, Evil Wizard!” she cried. “By the power of Princess May, disappearis malignas todas forever!”


“Noooo!” the wizard cried, dropping the sword as his body crumbled into ashes.


Once the Evil Wizard was vanquished for good, the castle slowly faded from view. Chloe and Princess May were right back in May’s room, with May holding up her wand.


She smiled up at Chloe. “The end!”


Dawn Colclasure is a writer who lives in Oregon with her husband and children. She is the author of three novels: Shadow of Samhain, Faded Reflection and Imprint. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Her website is at https://www.dmcwriter.com/ and she’s on Twitter @dawncolclasure.

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