The Discriminating Monster's Guide to the Perils of Princess Snatching
by Scott M. Roberts
2nd Place - Best Story - 2011
I let her see my fangs.
The princess dropped the box-cutter. She had just cut herself -- shallow slashes
that cried tiny, scarlet pearls. Her blood smelled as sweet as cotton candy, but it
was the scent of her destiny that had led me to her. Spicy and cloying, the
princess's destiny made my mouth water, set an itch and tingle in my skin. I
inhaled it and let the city, with its bloated trash bags and filthy humans and miles
of steaming asphalt, fade, fade, fade into the darkness. The princess's destiny was
like Christmas morning: cloves and oranges, nutmeg explosions and cinnamon
arias. All bright; all clean. A song in my sinuses, on the back of my throat, as pure
as a child's kiss, as sweet cream.
I bumped my nose against the window. The twinge of pain brought me back to
reality. The city, the humans, the asphalt, all that. And more, now: the stench of
the princess's mother downstairs, sucking on vodka and painkillers, stinking of
booze and vomit.
The window wasn't locked; I rubbed my nose with one hand and opened it with the
other. "Hello, princess," I said.
She didn't scream. Most princesses don't, not even the little bitty ones. It takes
time for the human brain to comprehend me; the four-fingered, clawed hands, the
enormous beaky nose, the bulbous eyes, the warts. I'm as tall as God, ugly as
Satan, and it takes time to put all that in the context of the waking world. By the
time they build up a good scream, I'm halfway to Bald Mountain, and who can
hear them from there?
I snatched her close to my chest, put a hand around her mouth, and bent back
through the window.
Downstairs, the princess's mama coughed and began mumbling to herself. I
slipped into the darkness with her daughter, who she'd never see again, not even in