Wednesday, October 19, 2022

WEP Short Story Challenge October 2022: Frederick and the Princess #wepshortstorychallenge #halloween

Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog!

Thank you to Big News Yard Cards (my daughter Sara) for this surprise
that appeared on my lawn this month!
This week I am participating in the Write-Edit-Publish (WEP) Challenge 
to create a story of less than 1000 words!

The October Challenge is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19 - Friday, October 21.  But I will leave the short story up until next Tuesday.

The Fear Fest Challenge--THRILLER!

WEP describes the Fear Fest Challenge-- In this challenge  "we ramp up the spook factor over here, welcoming your creepiest compositions, your most haunting and haunted tales running the gamut of paranormal, speculative, crime and horror genre. However, as always, there are no rigid rules. Feel free to write to any genre if those mentioned are not your thing." 

Click here to find out more about WEP and its challenges.

 I'm looking forward to reading the creative stories written by the bloggers this week. But I may not want to read them right before bedtime!!!

Click here for a list of participating bloggers. Click on the name to take you to their story submissions.

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Princess Stephanie
Image by Please Support Me! Thank you! from Pixabay

TAGLINE: Nearly paralyzed with fright, Frederick struggles to face a situation that is not of his making.

WEP Challenge: Frederick and the Princess by JQ Rose

Gather round, ye Lords and Ladies, for I will tell you a tale that happened many years ago. It is the story of Frederick who is afraid, very afraid. Nearly paralyzed with fright, he struggles to face a situation that is not of his making. Alas, will Frederick be able to face his fear or succumb to it?

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Frederick’s gold-flecked green eyes caught the image of Princess Stephanie and her two handmaidens parading through the woods to the tranquil pond. Their laughter filled the air as they carried blankets and baskets filled with food.

Frederick hopped behind the thick oak tree trunk to hide from the young women as they sashayed down the narrow path. When he peeked out to watch them, his heart thumped so hard, surely the beautiful princess could hear the thudding.

Her waist-length hair flowed over her shoulders in golden waves down her back. And those blue eyes seemed bluer than the skies above when framed against her porcelain skin. 

Frederick watched the princess come to the pond on the warm summer days, taking pleasure in seeing her splash in the water with her maidens and friends. Every noon hour was time for a party in what she referred to as her “magical place.”

He yearned to be alone with her so he could take her in his arms again and tell her how much he loved her. He cursed himself for not having the courage to speak with her during the infrequent times she came by herself with only her needlework and a book for company.

With so much anxiety at the thought of saying hello to her, he was afraid he would croak out words that made no sense, or worse, become speechless in her presence.

The fall weather’s crisp days ended any notion of swimming in the cold pond water. The shortened daylight and cool breezes were harbingers of winter approaching. Frederick could not bear the idea of not seeing Stephanie for the entire winter. So far, Princess Stephanie continued to come and sit near the pond surrounded by the colorful fall trees. But for how long?

Frederick set his mouth and straightened his back. It was time to act. Perhaps, if he nonchalantly moved toward her, she would notice him and say hello. That way he would not have to say anything.  

Confidence flowed through him. Strength replaced hesitancy. He had to face his fear or have too many regrets to live with if he lost her once more. If only he could speak to her when she was alone.

The young handmaiden, pulling a  blanket tightly around her, shivered as she bowed before the princess. “Your majesty. The weather is turning chilly. Do  you wish to leave?”

“I am warm bundled up in the blanket and sitting on this one. The warm sun on my face is delightful, so I will stay. You have my permission to leave if you are cold.”

“Thank you, your highness.” Both maidens curtsied, then picked up the items they had dragged to the pond and scurried back toward the warmth of a fire burning in the castle’s fireplace.

Frederick’s heart flipped. This was his opportunity. Doubt started creeping into his mind. What if?

He squinched his eyes shut and shook off his fear. I will do this! I will win the princess’s heart."

Frederick moved away from the trees toward the pond. In a few minutes, he felt her watching him. He ignored her with every step.

“Hail, hail there! Where did you come from?” she called to him.

A slight smile of triumph crossed his face as he turned toward her.

“Come here,” she commanded.

He covered the short walk to the princess and waited, his toes touching the edge of her blanket.

Dipping his head, he said in a clear voice, "Your highness.” 

“You surprised me.” She laughed, her eyes sparkling with mirth.

Joy flooded through him. Surely this is a magical place bringing me the chance to be with my love after so many years.

“You are the most beautiful woman in the world.” He lifted his eyes to hers. 

Frederick gulped in a deep breath. “I love you.”

The princess leaned over to him and planted a sweet kiss on his face.

Frederick’s body jerked as horrendous pain surged through him. His bones turned to jelly. His insides churned. His skin cracked open and the warty green covering on his body slid away. The torture suddenly stopped as he stood tall, naked, in front of the shocked princess.

“Freddie! It’s you!” She jumped up from the blanket.

Frederick leaned toward her for another kiss and embrace, but the princess landed a stinging slap on his cheek.

“Do you realize how many frogs I have kissed in the last three years?” She slapped him again and collapsed on the blanket. “Why did you not come to find me so I could kiss you and turn you into my prince? ”

Her tears broke his heart. 

“I’m sorry.” He fell to his knees on the blanket. “The wizard took me away, so I wasn’t just a hop, skip and a jump away from you." He brought her hand to his lips. "Can you still love me?” He began shivering and turning blue from the cold.

Stephanie drew him to her and wrapped them together in her blanket. "Yes, yes, I do still love you,” she whispered. "I will love you forever."

Now, my Lords and Ladies, I hope this tale will remind you to face your fears. Never give up. Kiss as many frogs as you must to make your desires come true.

* * * *

Word count: 934 words, NCCO

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Please leave your comments below. Do you write/read scary stories? 

 Feel free to leave feedback about this story. Thank you!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

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Yolanda Renée said...

A lovely tale, but I'm not sure you have to as far as a kiss to tell who your prince will be or who the frog really is. LOL My story's about a kiss too. Happy Halloween!

Jemi Fraser said...

So much fun! Loved the twists along the way!

J.Q. Rose said...

@Yolanda--Thank you. I enjoyed your story. THAT was some kind of kiss.

@Jemi--Thanks so much. Twists are a lot of fun to include in stories.

Olga Godim said...

Oh! Some frogs are definitely better than others.

Elephant's Child said...

Lovely. I suspected that Freddie was a frog - and am glad that he wasn't a toad. Hooray for true love.

Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost said...

Oh, what in the world, Blogger? I commented on this post earlier, but it didn't "take." I guess it's a good thing I came back. I quite enjoyed the story.

Denise Covey said...

What a fun retelling of a favorite tale. Well done! Once I realized Freddie was a frog, I wasn't sure where you were taking us, but all power to you! A great Thriller story!

Nilanjana Bose said...

That was a fun take on an old favourite, very enjoyable. Well done!

Pat Garcia said...

I really enjoyed your take on the prompt. I thought he was a frog and hoped that something or someone would spring him free. I'm glad she did. Excellent job.
Shalom aleichem

J.Q. Rose said...

@Olga--Yes, you just have keep trying to kiss the frogs and get lucky picking the perfect one!
@Elephant's Child--Yes, hooray for true love!

J.Q. Rose said...

@Cara-Thanks for coming back! Knowing you enjoyed the story makes my day!
@Denise--Thanks. I'm glad it worked out as a story for Thriller....
@Nilanjana--Thank you for your kind words.
@Pat--I dropped several clues to indicate Frederick was the frog and giggled all the way through the writing. Glad you like this take on the writing prompt.

Bernadette said...

I wonder what the handmaidens thought of the princess randomly kissing frogs 🤔

Sally said...

So glad they found each other in the end, lovely story telling.

Mary Aalgaard said...

That was fun. Great descriptions!

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