Saturday, 5 November 2011

A Grimm Twist

Hello everyone! Right, as you might know, when I have a bit of spare time I like writing contests. So when I found a particularly original one a while back I was very happy. Basically, the challenge was to take one of Grimm's Fairytales and add a twist and make it a little less...outlandish.

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties (i.e my touchpad melting down) I didn't get it finished in time (I lie, I got it finished and then clicked save... I have no idea what it was doing in the nine hours it took before I decided to give up waiting and rewrite, but it wasn't saving), but I thought I'd put it up here in parts as I get it rewritten.

The fairytale I chose was The Water-Nix. There are quite a few problems in here. For starters, Iseult states that she is Irish and the name is Celtic... but Nixies are from German folklore. The whole Italian thing isn't particularly believable either, but hey, I digress.

(Part One)

"Did you know that the castle on the island is haunted?" my younger brother, Gasparo, asked eagerly as we sat down by the dock. I stared out at the calm sea and the island that seemingly floated serenly in it as I unpacked the sandwiches mamma had made for us this morning.

"Don't be silly," I replied, passing him a cheese and tomato sandwich. "In any case, it would be all the more reason to stay away." Gasparo groaned and I closed my eyes eith a sigh. "I don't see what's wrong with the countryside. In a few days we'll have to go back to Naples, where it wont be anywhere near as beautiful...or clean."

"But Lorenza, it's really boring here and we have nothing else to do. Please?" he begged.

"No-one's going to take two children across by themselves," I protested. "And look at how many people are waiting for boats. Madre and padre are expecting us back in an hour and a half."

"You're not a child anymore, Lorenza. You're getting married next month!" he exclaimed. He was right. No matter how much I wished he wasn't, that one fact wasn't going to change. I didn't even like Renato Naevius, but I would do what was best for my family even if it meant marrying a person I despised.

"Excuse me, were you saying you wanted to go to the island?" a woman asked. I looked up to see a beautiful, lithe girl standing near us. Gasparo nodded before I could reply and she smiled, reaching a hand out towards me. "My name is Iseult. My father owns a boat over there, I can take you both if you wish."

I should've refused. We didn't have time to go get to the island and back before we needed to be back at the cottage we were renting for the summer and I knew that Gasparo would want to walk around the island too. Still, I found my head nodding and my hand clasping hers. "We would be very grateful if you could, Isolte," I said, hoping I had the pronounciation of he girl's strange name correct. "I'm Lorenza Marino and this is my brother Gasparo."

- - -

Quite some time later we were all in a small boat heading across the water. Iseult had been singing softly for a while now, the song spoke of sorrow yet it was beautiful and captivating. I vaguely remembered that Gasparo and I hadn't gotten around to eating as my stomach absently grumbled. The singing stopped and something like pain errupted in my chest, as if my heart had been torn out. I turned towards the girl. It was only now, in my own pain, that I remembered how unsteady she had seemed as we had walked towards the pier, almost as if she was not used to walking on the ground.

"Are your legs okay?" I asked, hoping I wasn't being too rude by asking. "You seemed a little off-balance back there." The girl smiled.

"Sea-legs. I spend most of my time in the sea. I'm not sure of my bearings on land - we haven't been here long," she replied. I nodded.

"Where are you from originally?" I asked.

"Ireland," she said. I frowned; I had no idea where Ireland was. "It's a small country a long way north-west of here." Ah, now I remembered. It was on the other side of France and England.

"Iseult, how much further is it?" Gasparo piped up. I'd been waiting for that question for a while. It took him longer than usual to ask it, but not by much. Iseult stopped rowing and turned around.

"We're here," she said. I opened my mouth to speak - we were still a long way from land - but she spoke again. "I'm sorry. All I ever wanted was company. I get ever so lonely..." The boat rocked and I clung to the side of the boat. Gasparo didn't.

"Gasparo!" I yelled. Gasparo couldn't swim and had always been scared of water. I wasn't much better. Iseult dove into the water after him and pulled him up as he coughed and spluttered. Iseult turned, but as she did so she...changed. Below the water her legs molded into a giant, scaly tail and she winced as slits forged their way across her neck to form gils. Despite this, she retained her beautiful blonde hair and sparkling green eyes, the high, chiselled cheekbones and the slim physique. I was still gazing at her as she grabbed my neck.

"Gasparo, run!' I choked out, knowing it was futile. We were in the sea. He couldn't run and he didn't know how to swim. He couldn't even steer the boat if he managed to get back to it. I screamed as a burning heat seared across my neck slowly and surely. When she let go my hands flew to my neck, feeling the bumpy slits there. Gils. What was she and how could she do that?

She moved towards Gasparo. "No! Leave my brother alone, you nymph!" I yelled. She paid no heed and placed her hands on his neck as I found the water in an attempt to get to him. "Stop! Please!" My brother cried out and thrashed wildly. I got between them, just managing to avoid being hit, and I push the...thing away.

"You don't want to do that," she warned, grabbing my arm and pulling me behind her. "Now that I've started, if I don't finish then he'll die. And I'm a nix, not a nymph." She put her hands back on my brother as I wallowed uselessly. A few seconds later she was finished. "There, now let's go."

"Where're we going?" I asked. I was still unsure of what I nix was, but I didn't ask.

"My home, I've been looking for companions for a while," she said, beginning to swim forwards before turning back around. "And a nix is just a shapeshifting water-dweller, while a nymph is a minor nature deity. I'm quite flattered really."

Gasparo and I stayed where we were, realising that the sudden addition of gils didn't actually mean we could swim now. We could bob in the water, but that was about as far as we went. Not that it mattered of we didn't of course...the whole gils thing did help there. The nix turned around when she realised and grabbed our arms, dragging us along with her. It wasn't our fault we couldn't swim - we'd never needed to.

We were dragged to a cave entrance, which seemed to lead up from below the water until it got above sea level. I started choking in oxygen as soon as we emerged and had beached near some rocks. The gils had kept me alive, but I'd never quite realised just how comforting air was. Gaspano recovered quicker than I did, pulling himself up onto the rocks. The nix shifted back again and followed him and after a few more deep breaths I heaved myself up too.

My stomach rumbled again and it was only then that I realised just how bad a situation we were in. Gaspano and I were cold, wet, hungry, tired and lost. Mamma and pappa would be worried too - we must've been gone for quite some time. The nix passed us both a plate of something and told us to eat.

I blinked, seeing what was on the plate and cautiously raised one of the round, grey things up to my mouth and bit down lightly before dropping it. Yes, they were exactly what I thought they were. "We can't eat stones," Gasparo said. The nix looked confused.

"What do you eat then? I don't have to eat, so I don't know what you can and can't consume," she replied. I bit my lip and my thoughts went to the beautiful apple trees that lined the docks.

"Do you know what apples are? What about bread and chicken?" I asked. It would be easy to cook the chicken in the cave, there was even a small fire on the corner. The nix nodded.

"I'll go back to the land and get some now. I can keep it dry from there to here I think, and money's no issue." she grabbed some more stones, which at her touched transformed into small coins. I nodded.

"Is there anything we can do?" I asked. The nix nodded and told us about the spinning wheel in the corner and the blunt axe on one of the rocks before leaving. Gasparo kicked the wall and snorted.

""Is there anything we can do?" listen to yourself Lorenza, we've been kidnapped!" Gasparo exclaimed. I walked over to the spinning wheel and sighed.

"She's lonely and she's doing all she can for us. Unless you've miraculously learnt to swim then we're going to be here for a while, so I suggest you pick up that axe," I said, taking some thread and starting to spin.

- - -

That was longer than I expected... hmm... *checks phone* the next two parts won't be so long.

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