about the author

Joel Best has published a variety of short stories in venues such as Atticus, Eclectica, Strange Horizons, and Quick Fiction. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and son. He is the author of the story collections Timeline and Little Fictions, both available from Amazon and Kindle. His fiction may also be found at JoelAlexanderBest.blogspot.com.

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Fairy Tale

Joel Best

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There once lived a woman who came to a decision. This was the day. Not tomorrow, not next week. She made a solemn vow: until all injustice had been erased from the world her fingernails would remain uncut. Why the nails and not the hair? Why not vow to avoid new clothes or pleasing foods? Why not forego sex or alcohol or going to the movies? The young woman couldn’t say. Fingernails it had to be. The decision was made on a bleak and rainy morning after a night of restless sleep. The young woman sipped tea and stared out a blurred kitchen window. Nails, she thought as the flowers in her garden bowed low. As God as my witness she told the storm clouds. I swear on my soul.

In the fullness of years she left this world dressed in wrinkles and white hair and a chitinous wrap that sheathed her hands like armor. Them are some mighty odd gloves the mortician joked as he readied the embalming needle. Nearby his halfwit assistant began formulating plans of his own. Once upon a time the assistant wrote the most beautiful poetry. Circumstances unknown had driven him mad.

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