Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Anna Meade

This is my non-eligible entry for the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction contest. Of course, the linky is closed, but hope you enjoy it regardless.

The Ice Maiden

Greta traced small flowers in the window frost, “Mother, may I have some cocoa?”

Inge was accustomed to her daughter’s formal way of speaking. It’d been a mistake to read Greta poetry, but she hated how mothers gibbered at their babies. As a result, Greta was all precocity at six.

Inge stirred in milk as the wind blew ceaseless at the shutters. After Erik left, she’d scorned moving to her parent’s flat in Reykjavik, opting for country solitude. She’d raise her daughter in peace, without interference or superstition.

“A story, please,” Greta had the golden braids and command of a Nordic princess.

“I told you all the stories I know.”

“Tell me the Ice Maiden.”

“On dark, starred nights the Ice Maiden comes, robed in velvet black and crowned with icicles. If you do not leave her a tribute at the hollow tree, she steals under your sill and kisses you with frozen lips.”

Inge knew the words, but was hopeless at the rich cadences her father once infused in them.

Greta didn’t mind, listening rapt, “Then what happened?”

Inge scooped her up, “Then they lived happily ever after, because it was past their bedtime.”

Once she deposited Greta in bed, Inge snuck to her bedroom for a secret cigarette. She cranked the window open an inch, watching the ash blot the snow on the eaves. Stupid of her to tell Greta that story; she needn’t fill her head with dark-edged tales.

The stove was turned too high and Inge nodded off in her chair.

Outside, snow whirled wildly, like they were encased in a glass globe.

Inge woke abruptly. Something had burned – cocoa! She hurried downstairs, pulling on her thin robe. Uneasy, she switched the stove off. Didn’t she turn it off before? Then she saw the open door.

She ran, bare feet crunching unfeeling through ice crust.

“Greta, Greta!” she cried, wind stealing her words.

She found her at the foot of the hollow tree, mug of cocoa clenched in ice-rimed hand, an unclaimed offering.

Inge kissed her daughter’s frozen lips, to keep from screaming.

Photo by Suzanna Glaze


  1. Jo-Anne (jtvancouver)
    May 5, 2012

    and we have a winner :)) Your writing is beautiful Anna, a magical story beautifully woven. We knew you wouldn’t be able to resist! No wonder you are our Fairytale mentor, my dear!

  2. mysoulstears
    May 5, 2012

    A work of art. Crafted by words. Leaving pictures that never were painted in life in a reader’s mind. A work of art.

  3. Sara Leggeri
    May 5, 2012


  4. Sara Leggeri
    May 5, 2012


  5. Magaly Guerrero
    May 5, 2012

    Wicked cool (pun intended). I love the lyrical tone and the mythical feel to it. And Inge is such an interesting character.

    I’m new to your fiction, but if everything is half this whimsical, you are now reading an addict 😉

  6. Raiscara Avalon
    May 5, 2012

    Awesome! You totally nailed it…I think you just put us all to shame lmfao.

  7. ashviper
    May 5, 2012

    Very well done :)

  8. Rowanwolf
    May 5, 2012

    So lovely, Anna. The classic style suits you so well.

  9. Angie Richmond
    May 5, 2012

    Oh this is wonderful! I could see every word. LOVE :)

  10. Jen
    May 5, 2012

    Absolutely beautiful & heart-breaking. Love it.

  11. Evermore Evil
    May 5, 2012

    A gorgeous, haunting story, Anna! So evoctaive, and chilling (no pun intended), with a hint of heartless nastiness at its’ centre. A proper, spooky fairytale. Thank You for sharing!

  12. Cameron Writes
    May 6, 2012

    More please. Liked that one very much *settles down with cocoa to hear another story* …. oh dear, did we say cocoa?

  13. TracyFells
    May 6, 2012

    Beautifully crafted piece almost lulling us into a false sense of complaceny before the ice cold ending. A true fairy story a la Grimm…

  14. Cameron Writes
    May 6, 2012

    Thanks so much Anna – here is my (wildly different and not at all lyrical) effort.

  15. Melanie Conklin
    May 6, 2012

    oh, crushing.

  16. Lillie McFerrin
    May 6, 2012

    This is perfection! I loved every word!!!

  17. Ang
    May 7, 2012

    creepy. magical. beautiful. and oh-so-wonderful.

  18. SJIHolliday
    May 8, 2012

    Yikes! This is fantastic Ms Fairyqueen! :) x

  19. Laura Jane
    May 8, 2012

    Very good :)

  20. Eva Rieder
    May 9, 2012

    The dark fairy queen emerges! Wow, Anna, this is really beautiful! Love it. You are a real talent!!

  21. Diane Reed
    May 11, 2012

    So gorgeous! Anna, you are a master of language and enchantment : )

  22. Natalie Bowers
    May 12, 2012

    That was truly unexpected. I thought the Ice Maiden might pay a visit, but I didn’t think Greta would do that! But children take stories very seriously … Makes me wonder if Inge’s father left an offering at his own hollow tree. Superb!

  23. paul
    May 13, 2012

    Blown away. I don’t even know what to say…

  24. moonduster
    May 15, 2012

    Oh so sad! Absolutely beautiful! The ending surprised me. :)

  25. Fabulous! I really enjoyed this – beautifully crafted :)

  26. Kelly M
    Aug 19, 2012

    Ooo, I have the chills now! Just the right amount of darkness to make it beautiful.

    Love your writing!

  27. Diane J. Reed
    Oct 14, 2012

    I read this when you first wrote it, but I just had to read it again–so exquisitely beautiful!! Heartbreaking, yet it draws you in and won’t let you go. I can’t wait to read more flash fiction from the Faery Queene!

  28. Alison DeLuca
    Dec 12, 2014

    A little slice of frozen sadness and wonder. So short and so lovely!

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