The Tea Kettle, by Andrew Leon

The red tea kettle was blocking my view of the clock. It kept doing that. I sighed as I rolled over and sat up in bed. It was new and hadn’t yet learned its place, so I picked it up by the handle and carried it out of the bedroom, down the darkened hall, and into the kitchen, only once stepping on one of the cat’s toys, quite an accomplishment. I flicked the little stove light on and set the kettle on the counter.

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“Let Down Your Hair”

12453094Ruth snuggled more deeply into the hollow between her mother’s arm and her side. They were just getting to the good part, the part with the prince, and Ruth always liked to get all cozy at the good parts.
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair,” her mother read.
Rapunzel lowered her hair down, and the prince started climbing up. Her mother’s head jerked toward the window, bonking Ruth on the head, and she let out a loud, “Ow!” right in her ear.
“Mom! Stop yelling in my ear!”
“Ruth! Stop pulling my hair!” Claire said at the same time.
“I’m not pulling your hair!”
Claire’s face smooshed into Ruth’s as her head was jerked toward the window again. It wasn’t until that moment that they realized they were no longer in Ruth’s bedroom but in a round, stone room with only one window and no door. Claire’s hair, which had been only shoulder length moments before, was now trailing out that window, a long, golden braid snaking, ropelike, across the windowsill.
Ruth thrust her head through the opening and yelled, “Stop pulling my mom’s hair!”
Claire threw one arm against the window sill and another around Ruth as her head was, once again, jerked violently toward the window, and she slammed into Ruth from behind. If not for her arm around Ruth, Ruth would have gone tumbling out of the window.
“Mom, look!” Ruth pointed down, “The prince!”
Claire looked, and, sure enough, there was a “prince” climbing up her hair. He looked just like the prince in the book they had just been reading before she flung it across the room to keep from going out the window. Of course, he looked like any prince from any children’s book or any Disney movie, for that matter. Lots of reds and purples. Flowing cape. Gold circlet around the brow. The thing that made it creepy, though, was that he looked he disturbingly both like and unlike her husband, Will. The face was his, and, yet, it was not his. The expressionless eyes and maniacal grin probably had something to do with that.
“Mommy?” said Ruth, “Is that daddy?” She looked both repulsed and intrigued.
“I don’t think so,” said Claire. “The more important questions is what are we doing here?”
Ruth blushed, “I’m sorry, Mommy. I didn’t mean to!”
Ruth wiggled out from under her mother as Claire braced herself with both arms, the prince continuing mindlessly up her hair.
Claire gasped out, her head twisting around from the weight of the thing hanging from her hair, “I know you didn’t mean to… You have to mean not to!” Continue reading