Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Tower, a Retelling of the Tale of Rapunzel, Part One

Please pretend this long-haired girl is not wearing shoes.(

Zee stood naked in the center of her tower chamber, her slender right foot arched across the throat of a diminutive blonde. The blonde's age was in her graying temples, her crow's feet, the defiance in her gaze even as Zee controlled the woman's breath with just the pressure of her toes. Zee swung her floor-length hair, uniform in its sleek ebony plait, across the woman's body like a scythe, sometimes whipping it across the blonde's flesh so quickly that her skin reddened, stung.

"My father," began Zee, "went to his grave believing he had traded his first born child for a handful of root vegetables." She laughed shrilly then hardened her face to meet the blonde's tense stare. "Would you say I'm worth a handful of vegetables?" She increased the pressure of her foot. "Turnips? Radishes?" She let the woman on the floor breathe a moment, a gasping, rasping breath, before shoving the tips of her toes between the woman's lips. "Rutabagas? Carrots? Suck, you withered harlot. Spring potatoes?"

She removed her foot and turned her back on the woman, pacing the short diameter of the circular room. She stopped at a knotted oak chest by the window, opening it to reveal a strange collection of objects. The fork-tailed strap, a well-oiled, shining length of mahogany leather, called to her. Its weight was tested in her hands, approved, whisked through the air.

"Hands and knees," she commanded. Resuming her pacing, she struck the woman's exposed backside with what seemed to be accidental precision, the blow stretching across the underside of both buttocks and leaving an even pink glow. With each pass, she let the strap flare, sometimes gently, caressingly, sometimes with a cruel snap of her wrist, the leather cracking so loudly as to echo off the stone walls. The blonde woman's cries birthed and mimicked the echo until the room was a riot of the leather's fleshly wails and the woman's wailing flesh.

Finally, Zee stopped whipping and pacing and stood behind the blonde, now pressing her face against her own tears on the cool wet tile of the stone floor. Their breathing heaved in time together. "Strega?" asked Zee.

The blonde looked up, her face nearly as red as her bottom and upper thighs, the harsh edge now gone from her silver eyes. "Rapunzel?"

"Why did my mother tell my father to gather vegetables from your garden that night, when she knew you were there to catch him? Why did she trick him?" Zee swallowed shallowly and closed her eyes, the strap now hanging limply at her side. "Why did she give me away?"

Tentatively rising to her feet, the blonde woman, Zee's Strega, smiled softly, wincing at the bodily pain she had not allowed herself to feel for so many years. She touched Zee's cheek with one hand, taking the strap with the other. "Because she loved you, even before you were born."
"And why did you want me? Why did she want you, of everyone, to have me?"

"Because there is pain, and there is pain. No woman should know the pain your mother felt, the pain I have felt. But there is power in this," she held up the strap, "and in this," she stroked Zee's forehead. "Now." Her voice changed, turned crisp and cold. "I allowed you this rash transgression because you felt betrayed, and I was the source of that betrayal. I kept this from you for eighteen years, and you have every right to express your anger as I have taught you. But I have also taught you the rule of three, that your actions come back to you threefold. Today is no different. Go to the bed."

"But Strega," began Zee. Strega grabbed Zee's braid, quickly wrapping it around her forearm so that Zee had to twist her neck to keep from crying out in pain. The younger woman was pulled to the bed, tears already gathering in the corners of her eyes from the pain at the nape of her neck, from the pain she knew she was about to experience, and from the sudden sense of shame that was the source of it all.

Strega told Zee to lie upon her stomach on the bed. "Face down," she demanded. "You won't be getting up again tonight. Threefold, Rapunzel. Let this be a lesson on wielding your heart along with your implements in the future."

"Yes, Strega," whimpered Zee. She began to weep with the first stroke of her thrashing, as much from self-pity as from the agony to come. For the end of her eighteenth birthday, this was hardly the fairy tale ending she'd always had in mind.


  1. Oh, my. I heart you so much. This is utterly wonderful, makes me want to combine trampling and breath play (why haven't I before?), and I have a new and enduring love for the line "Rutabagas? Carrots? Suck, you withered harlot. Spring potatoes?"

    I have to confess my ignorance at this point, though, and tell you that all I know of the Rapunzel story is that she was locked in a tower and let herself down with her hair. Who is Strega? What are the root vegetables about? Would you recommend a particular version of the story so I can fill in the gaps in my knowledge, or shall I just google and see what I can find?

    Thanks for posting this. More fiction please! :)

  2. Oh, this is wonderful, Abby! Thanks so much!

  3. -- fleshly wails / wailing flesh -- that was a "master stroke" as it were. Very witty. Not to mention very spanky too.. Loved it.

  4. Ooh, a tawse story. That's not the way the story went in my Golden Book of Fairy Tales, but I'm sure that edition is sadly out of date.

    I need to know, what would she have been worth in parsnip units??

    A lovely story, AND Chross obviously thought so too. Well done, Abby.


  5. Hi Abby,

    Quite intriguing and leaves me wanting more of this pervy fairy tale.

    To echo a an earlier commenter, More Please :)

    Keep up the fantastic fiction and blogging and everything,


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