Friday, April 29, 2016

Top 10 Disney Villains

Inspired by my review of The Jungle Book where I mentioned a few of my favorite Disney villains, I decided to make a list of my top 10. But I couldn't decide easily, so I spent the last two weeks binge-watching Disney movies in the name of research. You're welcome.

Here is my opinion on the matter, blared out onto the Internet to serve my self-entitlement. Enjoy!



10: Warden Louise Walker (Holes)



First off, played by Sigourney Weaver (Alien and Aliens). Second, she's exploiting child labor to find treasure. Third, she puts rattlesnake venom on her nails. On. Her. Nails.

And she didn't have a chance. Her grandpa completely ruined her.


9: Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)




Cold, calculating bitch. What's not to love?

But she's only mean to Cinderella, not her "real" daughters, and she wants what's best for them (which would be marrying one of them off to the prince; that was the only way to ensure a good future for a girl in that time period). So there is some love in her; it's just reserved for the two people who are as nasty as she is.


8: Hans (Frozen)




Was anyone else surprised when he turned out to be the villain? When he and Anna were moving in for the kiss, I thought Obviously that's not going to work because Christophe is her true love, so this'll be like Quasimoto and what's-his-name from Hunchback. I did not expect him to turn into a cold, ambitious bastard like flipping a switch.

It is a very rare Disney villain that can surprise me.

It's a shame Hans was only the villain for ten minutes. He was way more interesting as the bad guy than the love interest.



7: Syndrome (The Incredibles)




I love villains who think they're the good guy. Syndrome thinks that unleashing a giant robot to kill a bunch of people, pretending to destroy the robot, and then selling all of his inventions is actually going to help everyone because he'll be eliminating superheroes in the process.

And he's full of himself, which makes it very satisfying when he loses.

And to top it off, he's actually a coward. He's like an over-sized child who plays with lasers.



6: Charles Muntz (Up)



Hey, I'd go insane, too, if I was stuck in the jungle for forty years. And he's lost so many poor puppies... ;~;

Really, how can you not love a guy who has so many dogs? Talking dogs!



5: Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)



I already talked about this guy quite a bit in my review of The Jungle Book (the 2016 version, not the original). So I'll just do a quick recap:

Terrifying.

Unstoppable.

That creepy scene with the wolf cubs.



4: Jumba and Agent Pleakley (Lilo and Stitch)



I'm counting these two as villains even though they ended up as good guys because...well, they did spend 90% of the movie trying to catch Stitch and repeatedly endangered Lilo's life in the process (not to mention destroying the house...).

These two are hilarious and so at odds with each other. And their characters are developed enough that they can believably do a 180 in alliances. Jumba's willing to do pretty much anything to capture Stitch (and he does quite a lot once Pleakley no longer has lawful authority over him), but once they realize the damage it's causing (with Lilo's kidnapping and the fact that Stitch has now found himself a family), they help.

And Pleakley gets bonus points for cross-dressing. (He's right; the wig does make him pretty.)


3. Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)



Another bad guy who thinks he's the good guy. Except unlike Syndrome, many people like Frollo actually existed in France.  The Roma people ("gypsies" is an extremely offensive term) have always been persecuted, and religious authorities like Frollo were usually the ones who carried out that persecution.

Then there was that whole sexual harassment of Esmerelda. He would have burned her alive for not sleeping with him if it hadn't been for Quasimoto, and somehow pressuring her for sex makes both of them "pure." Disney just nailed that weird logic used by sexual predators and rapists.

Frollo's a great villain because he's real.



2. Scar




I had a bitch of a time figuring out #2; it was either Scar or Judge Frollo (for aforementioned reasons). So I asked my friends on Facebook and every single one of them voted for Scar. Mischief managed!

Fratricide, regicide, attempted nepoticide, letting the hyenas take over and destroy everything, serious big brother issues...and such a manipulative bastard, too. Granted, not much skill is involved in manipulating a kid, but you can't have a lot of morals to do that, either.

Power-hungry bastards who will stop at literally nothing to get what they want scare the hell out of me.



1. Shan Yu (Mulan)



He survived an avalanche (popped out of the snow like a daisy).

He took over the Chinese capital with a handful of men.

He's freakishly strong.

And, unlike many villains (and heroes), he doesn't hesitate to fight Mulan just because she's a woman. Usually in a movie that deals with sexism the way Mulan does, the bad guy is the guy who hates women the most. Not so here. When Mulan reveals to Shan Yu that she was the one who single-handedly destroyed his army, he doesn't stop and gape, he doesn't say, "But you're a woman," he doesn't do any of that. He just drops the captain and goes after her.

Which is terrifying, because villains are supposed to be sexist so they underestimate the female hero, so she can easily beat him because he never looks at her twice. Shan Yu doesn't give us that opening! How the hell are we supposed to fight a guy who actually respects us and doesn't belittle us for our gender? That's just wrong!

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(And yes, I see the irony of putting Shan Yu at #1 for lack of sexism when I put Claude Frollo just two steps down for being sexist. I like be contrary; sue me.)

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Thanks for reading! :)

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns and are not comfortable using the little comment box below, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: "Robopocalypse"

On the DZA Review Scale, I put this one at "The best Terminator rip-off I've ever read." It'd make a great movie.

Read it here!




I can't do my usual format of 2 parts because of the way the book is written. It's basically a collection of loosely intertwined short stories about the robot apocalypse. But I promise no spoilers for the first couple of paragraphs (I'll warn you when we get there).

Basically, all the robots get taken over by a big robot called Archos who decides that humanity is done and it's time for our extinction. And this happens a few decades into the future, when we're even more dependent on technology than we are now. (And before you ask "Why didn't it just nuke us?" Daniel H. Wilson has that covered! The robots want to live in our world, not destroy it. They want other species around, like animals and plants and whatnot, but believe that there can only be one dominant species, so humans have to go.)

It's a very fast, action-packed read, with a lot of POCs (for which Wilson gets lots of brownie points). Very few women characters, though, and they don't really drive the story (he just lost his brownies).


SPOILERS

Obviously the focus is on robots vs. humans (spoiler alert: humans win). It would've been nice to see more humans vs. humans. There were a couple of scenes where tensions between humans ran high, but it never led to injury or death. And Archos gets its hands on some of the humans and turns them into "transhumans," basically replacing a few fleshy bits with metal bits. And no human community turns them away or hates them. I call bullshit on that. I may be Buddhist, and an idealist, and do my best to see the good in humanity, but we are a fucked up species. We are constantly looking for excuses to destroy each other, which Archos does talk about (it's one of the reasons it uses to justify its extermination of us). But we don't see it where we should.

Other than that, great read. We go across continents, from an old man who's better at communicating with robots than humans in Japan, to Native American badasses in the Plains, to soldiers in Afghanistan, to a hacker turned hero in London.

This is hardcore sci-fi, and a lot of the science stuff went right over my head (I'm a history major, not a mechanic), but it seemed solid, and really worked into the world-building.

Some of these stories are almost terrifying. Obviously, robots killing us is scary, but there's one story toward the beginning about these engineers in Alaska...yeah, I'll let you read that one and you'll see what I mean. Very Twilight Zone; I liked it.

There is a sequel, but I don't think I'll go for it. What can I say? I get pissed when there are literally dozens of major characters with great stories, and only two of them are women. And before you rail on me, Mr. Wilson, wives and love interests don't count.

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Order and read Robopocalypse here.

Thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Monday Movie! "The Jungle Book"

On the DZA Review Scale I put it squarely on "awesome." Totally worth the obscene prices for 3D tickets and snacks. ($8 for Snickers and a bottle of water!!!)

Buy and watch it here!






I never saw the original Jungle Book, so I'll leave someone else to do the "Well, the original was sooooo much better" blog post. This Jungle Book was amazing. And the wolves were the good guys! Not the villains! Whoo-hoo!

Speaking of villains, Shere Khan ranks right up there with Shan Yu, Scar and Judge Claude Frollo (my personal top 3) in terms of best Disney villains. He's vicious, smart, and relentless. But the creepiest scene was when he was hanging out with the wolves, and he was gentle and kind to the cubs, telling them stories about the other creatures of the jungle. And the next minute, he goes back to being scary and you're wondering if he's going to eat one of those cubs.

Mowgli is a little smartass, which is awesome, and Bagheera and Baloo make my favorite dynamic duo of the year.

One of the smaller things I really like about this movie is that Mowgli gets beat up and bruised and bloodied...and you see it. Disney doesn't hide the fact that this kid's getting the crap kicked out of him from a hard jungle life. You're not going to come out of that smelling like roses. So, yay, accuracy! (Or at least as much accuracy as you can get in a movie that has talking predators who care for a baby human.)

Side note: I was skeptical about wolves living in the jungle, but it turns out, they do. How cool that is that? :D


Spoilers!

The movie starts with a drought that is so bad a jungle-wide truce is called; drinking comes before eating, so no hunting at the watering hole. Mowgli, the wolves who raise him, Bagheera, and everyone else goes to get a drink, and we see Mowgli getting scolded by the alpha wolf Akela for "tricks" (inventions), since they're not the wolf way (they weren't clued into the fact that Mowgli makes a pretty bad wolf by the lack of fur, lack of snout, and not running on all fours).

A scary-ass tiger with a burned face named Shere Khan also shows up, and when he sees Mowgli he says, "Uh, no, as soon as this peace is over I'm going to kill you because I'm a dick and I hate everything."

Yeah, I'd be pissed at the world, too, if I had a face like that...

The rains return, and all the wolves argue over what to do with Mowgli, because Shere Khan is crazy and they don't want to die. Mowgli solves the problem for them by leaving. (And that good-bye scene with his mom...I'm not crying! I'm sweating. Through my eyes.)

Bagheera starts leading Mowgli to the human village, but they get separated by Shere Khan, who loses Mowgli. So Shere Khan goes to the wolves, asking where Mowgli's going. Shere Khan's real chill about it, all, "Hey, you know that human you guys raised? Yeah, can you let me know where he's at?" And Akela's like, "Naw, we don't know. He left, so he's not our problem."

And Shere Khan snaps and kills Akela.

Is it a spoiler saying that a Disney movie kills off a major parental figure? I don't think so...

Anyway, Mowgli runs into Kaa the snake, who tries to eat him. But gets her butt kicked by Baloo, the bear sloth. Baloo wants Mowgli to get him some honey on the cliffs, which Mowgli does, gets stung a hundred times by the bees (which Baloo failed to mention), and leaves. Baloo catches up and leads  him to the village, then convinces him to stick around for a little while and fetch him more honey while honing Mowgli's "tricks" (this marks Baloo as the first person in Mowgli's life who appreciates and encourages Mowgli's inventive talent).

So Mowgli stays and stockpiles a bunch of honey for Baloo. Shere Khan continues to be a dick (see above, that creepy scene with the wolf pups). Bagheera finally catches up to Mowgli and gets pissed at Baloo for keeping Mowgli in the jungle.

Then Mowgli gets kidnapped by a bunch of monkeys, who take him to King Louie. King Louie wants Mowgli to give him fire (the "red flower") in exchange for protection, but Mowgli doesn't know how to make fire and also, Louie's basically saying, "Hey, wanna be my slave for all eternity, making fire when I want to destroy my enemies, and I might not kill you?"

@King Louie: I'll give you fire, if you give me running water. And antibiotics for all these cuts and bruises, because we live in the f***ing jungle and if these get infected then I'm dead. No? Then no deal.

Bagheera and Baloo get Mowgli out, but during the escape, Louie tells Mowgli about Akera's death. Mowgli's pissed, and decides he's going to fight Shere Khan with fire.

...and burns half of the jungle down.

By accident, of course. And Shere Khan thinks this means Mowgli's alienated himself from everyone in the jungle. But in a moment of classic Disney solidarity, the wolf pack, Baloo, and Bagheera stand together and hold off Shere Khan (who kicks all of their asses) while Mowgli thinks of a plan.

Mowgli lets Shere Khan chase him into the burning jungle, sets a trap for him, and Shere Khan dies a run-of-the-mill Disney death by falling from a very high place into fire. Then a bunch of elephants come and put out the fires.

And...that's pretty much it. It's a good movie; the above sarcasm doesn't do it justice. So go see it for yourself! There's even a handy little link right below this to help you out. :P

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Watch The Jungle Book here!

Thanks for reading! :)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Women and Rape in "Game of Thrones"

If you haven't already guessed, I love Game of Thrones. I'm counting the days to season 6, and it's kind of terrifying because I've read all the books, so until now I've always known everything that's going to happen (or at least the general gist of it). But now that the show is passing the books, I'm terrified! Is this how the non-readers feel all the time?! It's exhausting!

Anyway, I was talking about the show with a friend, another woman. At one point she asked me how I felt about how women are presented and treated in Game of Thrones.




Let's face it: you don't want to be a woman in Westeros or Essos. The story and world is based off of Europe during the War of the Roses, which happened in the 15th Century, back when women were sold off in marriage, objectified, dismissed, and had little to no political power (frankly, today isn't that different; we have a long way to go).

Westeros, just like Earth, is a patriarchal society. When you have a patriarchal society, you have rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence in abundance. (Not that it doesn't happen when women are in charge, but since 1 in 5 women in America will be raped vs. 1 in 71 men, I think it's safe to say that having one gender in charge for so long doesn't do the other gender any favors.)




So, yes, women are horribly abused and mistreated in Game of Thrones, and it's not okay. And more importantly, Game of Thrones shows just how not-okay it is.

If GoT showed rape and abuse as totally fine, and dismissed it entirely, it would not be okay. If GoT showed its women being weak and meek and simply taking (or worse, enjoying) all the shit that happens to them, that would not be okay. If GoT blamed the victim for her abuse, that would not be okay.

Instead, GoT highlights an ugly truth that has plagued human society since we began. It pulls no punches, and it does not say, "well, what are you gonna do?" It shows that it is not okay and condemns the abusers to an agonizing death. (Usually; Jaime has yet to be punished for raping Cersei, but he did just lose Myrcella, so maybe that's a karmic punishment? And the Boltons have yet to see their comeuppance, but now that Sansa's free...)




Furthermore, GoT shows how women can overcome it. Dany seduces Drogo, taking charge of the relationship and forcing him to acknowledge her as a human being. Sansa gets help and escapes both of her abusive relationships (hopefully permanently). Arya uses Meryn Trant's pedophilia to get close enough to kill him.

In fact, the only problem I have with the rape on this show is that it's sometimes used excessively to really drive home the point that these guys are the bad guys. Like Meryn Trant; we wanted him dead already, he didn't need to be a pedophile. And when the mutinous men of the Night's Watch took over Craster's and we saw all the abuse on the edge of the screen while the men were talking...also not necessary. They killed Mormont, and the writers just needed to show a couple of seconds of abuse to get the point across.



Otherwise, kudos to Game of Thrones! For not romanticizing gender relations, for showing us the very real dark side of humanity, and for punishing the abusers instead of the victims.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fantasy vs. Nonfiction (Not Even a Competition)

Or, an Assignment from my "Truth or Fiction" Class


I'm taking this class called Truth or Fiction. Basically, it's a course that studies that thin line between creative non-fiction (i.e. memoirs) and realistic fiction. I didn't want to take it, but I need creative writing credits for my social justice major (since that's my concentration and shut up, Dad, I can already hear your lecture about bad career and college choices), and there were no courses available this semester for the more fantasy-based writing branches.

So I got this assignment and laughed my ass off while I was writing the response. Then decided to post it on my blog because the book I want to review is another 200 pages long and there's no way I can do that in under a week while also passing my classes (I mean, I could fail all my courses and spend every waking moment reading and writing, but as tempting as that is, that's not what I'm paying 40K a year to do). Plus, I get to saturate the internet with my opinion and that makes me feel special. :)



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The Assignment: reflect on a larger event that you have considered writing about but haven’t because it is either too personal or for some other reason. Do you think you would be comfortable writing about it as fiction? Why/why not?


My response:

I actually laughed when I read this assignment. A “larger event” that happened in my life that I’ve considered writing about but may be too uncomfortable writing it as nonfiction?

I’m a boring White girl from Nowheresville, Minnesota. Nothing happens to me! That’s why I live voraciously through fantasy and sci-fi novels, and all my stories involve tragedy and action and fantastic things because I need to compensate for the utter lack of interesting things that happen to me. (I traveled a bit as a kid, one of my family members is a recovering addict, and I was lonely in high school, but in the end, who cares?)

Now, I’ve written about some things that have happened to other people, and have changed their names at their request. For example, for my social justice internship I interviewed and wrote about a friend’s younger brother who was imprisoned for distributing child pornography, but in fact it was a sixteen-year-old sharing intimate photos of himself with whom he thought was his online boyfriend and is now being severely over-punished for his teenaged hormones that fueled a stupid, harmless mistake. I kept the story as true and as close to the facts as possible, with one exception: I changed the names of everyone involved at their request for their protection.

On my blog Dragons, Zombies, and Aliens [Yup! I mentioned you guys in my paper!] I mentioned going to the movies with my mom’s best friend. I changed her name to Cat, because it was posted on the internet and I’m not stupid.

So, when I end up writing about social justice issues (as that’s the only thing in the real world I’m interested in writing about, with the possible exception of history), I would be plenty comfortable writing it as non-fiction. But if the subjects of that issue ask for change in the interest of anonymity and protection, then I would honor that request. And if I thought a certain story would have a bigger impact as a piece of fiction rather than nonfiction (i.e. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle or Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin), I would write it that way.

One thing I will say, though: I’ve always found issues of social justice written in a purely fantastical/sci-fi setting to be the most fun and the most interesting. It’s more comfortable and, dare I say, interesting for the reader, since they can distance themselves from the issue (oh, the women in Game of Thrones get treated so harshly, thank goodness it’s fantasy; it's not like that kind of thing ever happens in real life, right?), but if they take a closer look they realize it’s about the real world, reflected in fantasy. (Star Trek did a great job of this: half of the episodes were about the utter insanity of the Cold War that would’ve gotten the writers arrested if they’d spoken plainly, but because it was aliens they stayed out of jail).

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Thanks for reading! :)

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns and you're not comfortable leaving it in the little comment box below, then please contact me directly.

Friday, April 1, 2016

"The Last Meal"

I have good news and bad news. 

The good news is Bewildering Stories accepted my short story "Snow Witch." My goal is to have five short stories published in 2016 and I'm already at four. Whoo-hoo! :D

The bad news is this week was midterms, so I had no time to read or watch anything cool, so I don't have a fresh blog post for you. So here's one of the other short stories I've published, called "The Last Meal" (as it first appeared in Quantum Fairy Tales). Rapunzel gets revenge on her "mother"/kidnapper. 

Enjoy! :)

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There were only two things of which Rapunzel was absolutely certain:
1) She was sitting in an isolated tower with a hundred yards of golden hair hanging from her head.
2) She was going to leave.
Rapunzel finished brushing her hair, a six-hour venture she undertook every week. She pushed the massive bundle of hair out the window, watching it fall down, down, down, until it stopped and the wind caught it. The side of the tower was covered with a wall of flowing gold.
She’d cut her hair for her first escape attempt some years ago. This was the first time since that the edges of her hair brushed against the grass far below. She felt ridiculously proud and disgusted at the accomplishment.
Rapunzel started braiding. That took another three hours. By the time she finished, her arms were leaden, the sun was setting, and a figure was approaching the tower.
The tower was centered in a field, offering no cover to potential intruders. The walls were smooth, incapable of being climbed, with no doors. There was only one window, at the very top, where Rapunzel stood, tying her braid around a hook so her hair wouldn’t be ripped from her head.
“Good evening, Rapunzel dear!” the figure called from below.
Rapunzel didn’t answer, watching Mother (not her mother) take hold of the braid. She pulled the old woman up.
“Good evening, Mother,” Rapunzel greeted, once the old woman had reached the window and climbed in.
Mother brushed herself off with a huff. Her hair was a dark gray that was growing lighter and more silver by the hour. Her cloak hid the wiry muscles she kept strong with her daily walks into town.
Mother set her basket on the table by the window. It was full of herbs and some goods bought from the market. “I’ll have dinner in my study, dear.”
“Of course, Mother.”
Mother went downstairs, to the library that doubled as a study. Rapunzel had read every book at least twice. They were mostly herbal and astrological lore, with a few fictional stories.
Rapunzel unhooked her hair and went into the kitchen, lit by a fire and the fading sunlight.
The meatloaf had just finished cooking with the potatoes and beans. The rich scent was suffocating.
She pulled the chain from beneath her dress and studied the ring it held.
It wasn’t a giant diamond ring like she’d read about in books. It was a thin band of gold with six rubies embedded around it.
“Diamonds are so plain. Boring. Empty,” Harmon had said, sliding the ring on her finger. “You, my dear, burn with a passion like fire.”
Rapunzel caught her tears before they could fall. She shoved the ring beneath her clothes and readied their meals.
Mother was looking through one of the herbal recipes, the pages lit by candles. “The ointment I made for the farmer isn’t working as well as I’d hoped,” she said when Rapunzel set her plate on the table. “I may have to redo it…”
Rapunzel sat and started eating, keeping her eyes on her plate.
Mother slammed the book shut. “Enough!”
Rapunzel set her fork down. “What?”
“You have got to get over this silly little infatuation!”
“You mean my husband?”
Mother waved away the words. “A ring doesn’t make a wife. You need a priest and legal papers for that. If memory serves, I saved you before that happened.”
“Saved me.” Rapunzel’s voice was flat and dead. “You slit his throat.”
Mother wasn’t listening. She never listened. “He ravaged you.”
“He made love to me. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
“And what’s worse, he planted a child in you that had no business being there. Be grateful I got rid of that, too. Children are nasty business.”
So are mothers. Rapunzel nibbled her meatloaf.
Weeks before they had run away together, when Harmon was beginning to understand Rapunzel’s situation, he had suggested that Rapunzel had been kidnapped as an infant. Or perhaps offered to the old woman as a form of payment. It’d happened before, and Mother had never mentioned a father.
“Why would she want a baby that wasn’t hers?” Rapunzel had asked.
Harmon had shrugged. “Even monsters need something to love.”
Mother came around the table and turned Rapunzel’s chin, forcing her to look up. “I know you don’t appreciate it now,” she said. “But one day you’ll see that I saved you. You would have been a slave to that man, in a cruel world.”
“I would trade my entire life in this tower for one more day with him,” Rapunzel said.
She heard the slap before she felt it. She was used to the pain by now. Harmon had both admired and been horrified when he’d put his hands on her face for the first time. He’d said it was like touching two different faces. Her right cheek, soft as a lily pad. Her left, hard as stone.
“I saved you,” Mother hissed. “I took you in and raised you here where it was safe, where you could stay pure and innocent. You have no idea the sacrifices I’ve made to keep you here, knowing you would die within a week outside of this tower.”
Harmon and I would’ve looked after each other, Rapunzel thought.
“Of course, Mother,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
Mother relaxed, and kissed Rapunzel’s forehead. “Eat your dinner.”
Rapunzel continued nibbling her meal. She watched Mother sit and eat while skimming through her books.
She watched Mother’s hands move slower as they turned the pages.
She watched Mother’s eyes droop.
She watched Mother try to stand, then crumble to the floor with a curse.
Rapunzel set her fork down and stood. Mother’s glazed eyes stared at the ceiling as her head lolled back and forth.
“I should wrap my hair around your neck and strangle you with it,” Rapunzel said.
Mother’s eyes widened. She was losing her sight, but not her hearing.
Rapunzel took the knife from her plate and knelt next to Mother. “It’s only fair, isn’t it?” She drew the blade over Mother’s cheek, the cold metal kissing the skin. “You’ve taken two lives from me. Three, if you include my own.”
She pressed the knife into Mother’s skin. A thin line of blood dribbled down her cheek, onto the stone floor.
“In Harmon’s country, murderers are put to death.”
She pressed harder, the knife sliding against Mother’s cheekbone. A thin whine slithered out of her throat.
“They hire a man who’s very good with an axe, and they put him up on a platform with the criminal. This platform is covered in sand, so it absorbs the blood. Apparently, when you cut off someone’s head, you also cut through the jugular, and that’s one of the largest veins in the human body. The blood pours out.”
Rapunzel turned the knife to the side and started sawing the flesh on Mother’s face, right above the bone. “But that’s rather messy. Hanging would be better. We don’t have any rope, but my hair should be long enough. I just finished braiding it.”
Tears were slipping from Mother’s eyes, and she kept doing that high-pitched whine. That was all the drug allowed her to do, else she’d be screaming by now.
“But my favorite method comes from the east.”
Rapunzel cut through the skin and flicked the severed piece of flesh away. “They mark a murderer’s face, and let him go.”
Rapunzel stood and dropped the knife on the table. She turned Mother on her side, in case she vomited while still paralyzed. Wouldn’t want her to suffocate. Then she left her on the floor, bleeding from the gaping hole in her cheek.
Yesterday, Rapunzel had packed a travel bag and hidden it beneath the stairs. She retrieved it now, and her travel cloak. Then she tied her hair around the hook one last time.
The knife was built for filleting meat, but it worked on hair well enough.
Rapunzel wrinkled her nose at the odd feeling of hair ends on her shoulders. She ran her fingers through her hair and remembered when Harmon had done the same.
Speaking of Harmon…
She removed the chain from her neck and yanked the ring off of it. The broken chain clattered to the floor—a little silver heap. She slipped the ring on her finger, admiring the dark rubies against her pale skin.
Something crashed downstairs. Rapunzel stifled a curse. The drug must be wearing off.
She grasped the rope of hair and climbed down the tower. She jumped the last few feet, giggling when her palms hit the prickly grass.
Inside the tower, Mother screamed.
Rapunzel grabbed the matches from her bag.
Within seconds, the rope of golden hair was a pillar of flame.
Rapunzel shouldered her pack and started walking.
Mother’s wails of rage gave her her first smile in years.
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Thanks for reading! :)
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns and don't feel comfortable using the handy little comment box below, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.