Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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The Discriminating Monster's Guide to the Perils of Princess Snatching
    by Scott M. Roberts

2nd Place - Best Story - 2011

The Discriminating Monster's Guide to the Perils of Princess Snatching
Artwork by James Owen

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 her dreams.

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