Rumpelstilzchen Inspired Short Story
by Dorlana Vann
I walked through the front door a little after midnight. Jana sat on the couch in the darkness covered by the quilt from our bed, the images from the television flickered on her solemn face. “Oh, you’re up,” I said and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“I want to talk to you, Trevor.”
When I caught a glimpse of deep concern in her eyes, I immediately thought something had happened to the baby. “Is Ethan okay?”
“He’s a handful to deal with by myself … but he’s fine.”
“Good, good.” That’s all I needed to know; I could go on to bed because anything else could wait until morning. “Well, goodnight.” I turned and walked down the hallway. But I didn’t get very far.
She yelled after me: “I’m going to hire a P.I!”
As I stormed back into the room, fear flushed my face. I stood over her. “Why would you do that?” When I realized my hands were clenched so tight my fingernails dug into my skin, I tried to relax but still couldn’t control my fidget.
“Because every time I try to talk to you, you walk away. I want the truth. I deserve the truth. Where do you go?”
“I’ve told you a thousand times. You know I’m out drinking with the guys.”
I watched her jaw tighten, and through her teeth she said, “Why are you lying to me?”
My heart raced. Had she already found something? “What makes you think I’m lying?”
Jana tossed the blanket off her lap and stood up. I tensed, prepared for a slap.
She eased to her tiptoes until we were face-to-face, breath-to-breath. “You don’t smell like a bar,” she whispered. “For a man who has been out drinking all night long, you certainly are sober. You don’t drink at home. Why the hell would someone pretend to be a drinker?”
I plopped down on the couch and rubbed my face hard with my hands. “Why are you doing this? Why can’t you just leave it alone?”
“Leave it alone? This is our marriage!”
I had nothing to say, nothing to offer.
“I give up,” she said. “I’m just going to ask, since you can’t be a man and admit it. Are you cheating on me? Is there someone else?”
An affair. It would be a simple enough explanation. “Would that be something you could forgive me for?”
“Wait a minute. That’s not it, is it? Shit, I can see it in your eyes. Trevor?”
“Just do yourself a favor. Do our family a favor. Let this go. Let me protect you. Don’t you see? If I tell you, I don’t know what will happen. I’m afraid you’ll never forgive yourself.”
“What? Forgive myself? What are you accusing me of?”
I looked at her, exhausted, tested, tears filling her eyes. It had gone too far. I knew she would probe until she found the answers. I also knew that it wouldn’t look good if a private investigator came back with pictures. Jana would just draw her own conclusions that would, no doubt, end our marriage. I had sacrificed too much to let that happen. I inhaled and then exhaled slowly. I didn’t have a choice but to confess. “You tried to sell Ethan.”
“I had to buy him back,” I said. “Now I can’t catch a break.”
“Just stop it. Stop it.”
“You wanted to hear this; so here it is.” I stood up and grabbed her hands. “Luck, like anything else, can be bought and traded. Before we met, you made a deal with Luck. Because you had such horrible luck, you agreed to trade your first-born for what you thought was really good luck.”
“Really?” She pulled away from me. “That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
“After we were married,” I said firmly, “after we were pregnant, you told me what you had done. You told me how you found out too late that good luck was just an illusion; that there were only three types of luck: extreme, medium, and weak. With extreme luck, really good things happen but so do really bad things.”
“Maybe you haven’t been drinking,” Jana said, “but something is wrong with you.”
“You said you tried to take it back, but it was too late. You had already given up all rights to our unborn child, before we met, to some couple with medium luck.”
“This is crazy, Trevor. Do you know how crazy this sounds?”
“I thought so too at the time. But still, I asked you where I could find this luck guy. Even though I didn’t believe you, never believed a word of it, I went there. Even after I found the guy, I still didn’t believe he was who you thought he was. But for your peace of mind, I made my own deal.” I had to think hard. As time passed, the details had faded. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would completely forget just like Jana had.
“What kind of deal?” she asked with impatient sarcasm.
“I remember asking if you could give back the money you had won in the lottery. But that had already happened. He couldn’t erase time. I had to make a new arrangement so that I could keep my son. He called it weak luck, but it’s worse than that, it’s no luck at all.” I shrugged my shoulders because I knew that even if I would have known the outcome, I still would have done whatever I had to do to protect Ethan.
When I looked at Jana’s face—her puckered lips and firm jaw—I knew she hadn’t believed a word I said. But I had to finish. “I gave myself a little test all the way home that night; I flipped a quarter. Even after it never landed in my favor, I didn’t believe it. As each day passed, I pushed the limits a little more. You know, I had to see if it was real. I kept testing my luck, until it became an obsession. Until …” At this point, I couldn’t look her in the eyes. I cleared my throat of my sudden panic and then whispered, “I’d lost everything.”
“What do you mean?” Her words trembled.
“All the money that was left from your lottery winnings, all of our savings … is gone.”
“No, no, no, this isn’t happening.”
“I’m sorry. I just keep thinking that I got to have some portion of medium luck. That’s where I go! To try and win it back.” Suddenly, it became so clear. This could be good. Together we certainly made medium luck! “You can win it all again. All you have to do is buy another lottery ticket, or we could go to the horse races.”
“No! Stop it!” She reminded me of a cat in defense mode: hunched back, hair on end, eyes wild, claws loaded. “I can’t believe you would make up such a ridiculous story so that you could blame me for you losing our son’s future? You don’t have bad, weak or whatever luck, Trevor, you have a gambling problem.”
“What? No!” I wondered how it had happened. How had I become the bad guy? “I know it’s hard to believe. I didn’t believe you when you told me, either. But I gave you a chance.” My body had begun to shake. “Just think about it for a minute. I know the memory of meeting him fades for a reason or everyone would be at his door. But there must be something there. Think Jana, think!”
“You need help, Trevor. Are you willing to get help?”
“What I need is for you to believe me. How many times have you said it yourself ‘Your luck sucks’? How many times has everyone said it? I traded it for you, for Ethan, and that’s why the car keeps breaking down, lights turn red at intersections … the reason I have lost so many jobs.”
“What? You’ve lost jobs? More than one? You don’t work for Laurence anymore?”
“It’s been six months.”
She stood with her mouth open as tears streamed down her face. I took a step to comfort her, but she held up her hand and said, “Tell me his name and where I can find this person, this luck guy.”
I closed my eyes trying to think again, trying to recall.
“What is it Trevor? Give me something. Is it John? Peter? Frank? Larry?”
But his name had left my memory months before. “I can’t. I don’t know,” I said without opening my eyes.
The soft breeze told me she had left the room.
I sat on the couch, waiting for her to go to sleep, thinking we could talk it through in the morning. Maybe as she slept some of the memories would return.
A few minutes later, she walked into the room. When I looked up, expecting another confrontation, she stood at the open front door, her back to me, Ethan asleep in her arms, and an overnight bag slung over her shoulder.
Before leaving, she said, “Good luck.”
If it Weren’t for Bad Luck was inspired by Brothers Grimm’s Rumpelstilzchen from Children’s and Household Tales. Germany: 1812 – It is one of the short stories from my collection Supernatural Fairy Tales available now on Amazon.
- Posted in: a short story by Dorlana ♦ Dorlana's Supernatural Fairy Tales ♦ Free short story ♦ Uncategorized
- Tagged: amwriting, books, dorlana vann, fairy tale, fairy tale collection, fairy tale inspired short story, free short story, inspiration, luck, paranormal, Rumpelstilzchen, short stories, short story collection, stories, supernatural fairy tale, supernatural fairy tales