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The Dark Fairy's Confession

Jenna Glover is a speculative fiction writer from California. Her work has appeared in After Dinner Conversation, the Santa Clara Review, and multiple cycles of F(r)iction's Dually Noted. Alongside writing (and reading--so much reading!), Jenna enjoys being a mediocre knitter and an excellent cook. You can read her work and learn more about her at www.jennaglover.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @JennaCGlover.

"Why did you do it? Were you really so angry?"
"I wasn't angry."
"Then why curse the girl?"
"Because she asked me to."
Magic is complicated. It exists in the same way the space between waking and sleeping does, when you're perched on a precipice of impossibility, and there is not just the dream ahead of you, but the power to achieve it. Magic is freedom.
She understood that, maybe even better than I. Being born magic means being born into the dream. I have always been free, and therefore I did not understand freedom. She may have been born into wealth and status and privilege, but she was not born free, nor was she born with the power to make herself free. But I was, and she understood that, too.
She came to me, impossibly, in the realms of magic, passing through as all mortals do at the end of their life. You understand what it is like there. Time is meaningless. The mortal world's linear path becomes broken and branched, allowing past, present, and future to exist as one. You can meet anyone from anywhen, and that day I met her.
She was a fully grown woman when she came to me, mature in years, golden hair gone grey, but still beautiful as you ensured she would be. I did not recognize her. It had been ages since I walked the mortal world, long before Princesses existed. But she smiled at me, as though we had been friends for a century, and I knew we had been, would be.
She told me everything. How she was defined by others before she was even born. Daughter. Princess. Wife. Mother. Did anyone ask her if she wanted to be these things? Even you and your sisters sought to mold her at her christening with your so-called blessings. Beauty. Wit. Goodness. She didn't even get to choose to be good. Can you imagine?
She told me of my curse, the spindle, the century asleep. And though there was no anger in her eyes, there were tears. The years after, she said, were endless waking, held forever in unbreakable chains forged by her own body, only released at night when she could close her eyes and dream, enter the realms of magic and search for me, the only one who could unmake the waking. But the realms of magic are vast and the nights short and mortal life even shorter. Night after night she failed, year after year, until she closed her eyes to pass through one last time on her way to the beyond, and finally found me.
That was when she asked me. Though we both knew the ending, she asked me to curse her still. She asked for me to give her those one hundred years asleep, to take her younger-self to the realm of magic to walk among dreams of her own making, where she wasn't Daughter or Princess, Wife or Mother. Where to be witty and good were her choices. Where I was her friend and not her enemy.
And where she was just Aurora.
"I would have stolen her away for a thousand centuries more, if I could."
"Because she was the Princess and she asked you to?"
"Because she was my friend and I loved her."
The End
This story was first published on Monday, March 14th, 2022

Author Comments

There are many problems with how women are portrayed in fairy tales, and one of them is that often women characters are placed in opposition to one another. What if they weren't? What if the women in these tales were friends? What if their actions weren't committed out of hate, but rather as gestures of love? This story is my answer to these questions.

- Jenna Glover
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