Congratulations, everyone! It’s lunchtime on Wednesday, which means you’ve officially reached the halfway point of your work week. And believe you me, Friday afternoon cannot come soon enough. But to distract all of us from our workplace woes, let’s travel back to
a magical place long, long ago YA Tropeville, because it’s time for another installment of Effed Up Fairy Tales.
Where we last left off, a father was in love with his daughter! She ran away to Mississippi to hang out with racist people! She lived happily ever after with a peeping tom named Swift Donner! Today, we’ll be revisiting something a little different, but equally creepy: Bluebeard! A story about
Henry VIII a girl who marries a rich dude, and then finds the corpses of all his ex-wives in the cellar after he’s all, "Whatever you do, don’t go in the cellar. Oh, here’s a key to the cellar." And she, of course, goes in the cellar. The moral of the story is don’t date above your station, and also, listen to Marty from Cabin in the Woods.
Fifty Shades of Blue: A Bluebeard Retelling
Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Anastasia Cobalt, but everyone called her Ana. Ana was an unremarkable teenage girl, excepting her adorable clumsiness, and probably looked a lot like you. She also probably talked a lot like you and dressed a lot like you. In fact, just go ahead and picture your 16 year old self, because that’s how old Ana was as our story begins.
Ana was a junior at Tiny Pacific Northwest Town High when she finally got promoted to Varsity cheerleading. Granted, she only got the spot after Bree Mellings left to pursue a modeling career in LA, Emily Sanders was sent to boarding school in Canada, and bubbly twins Kelsie and Gabrielle Westlake were shipped off for an unwanted teenage pregnancy and to an eating disorder clinic, respectively. But finally, Ana was getting a chance to move up in the ranks of TPNTH. And most importantly, she was going to get a shot at long-term crush and star football player Christian Blue, the richest, cutest boy in school.
As she said to her friends at the AV Club table, “Christian is perfection. He’s just so deep! You can tell by the dreamy way he doesn’t talk and instead stares at everyone with condescension and disdain!”
“You’re not freaked out by how he’s so pale that his skin takes on a vaguely bluish tinge?” asked her friend Mel, a nerdy but cute girl bearing a striking resemblance to Anna Kendrick. “Plus, he’s probably gay. No straight man spends that much time on his hair. Then again, no self-respecting gay man would style his hair with an egg beater and a wind tunnel. I’m surprised he’s not combing his hair with a fork right now.” She added, gazing across the cafeteria to the jock table.
But Ana was not to be deterred, and pretty soon, for reasons no one could explain other than the present drought of popular girls, she caught Christian’s eye (which was the color of sepia, in a rainstorm). Christian and Ana soon became inseparable. Ana stopped sitting with the AV kids, and Christian changed his schedule so they shared every class.
Mel cornered her in the girl’s bathroom one day, a rare moment where Ana and Christian could be found separately. “Don’t you think this is going a little fast, Ana? You’re freakishly obsessed with this guy. You don’t even talk to your friends anymore. You used to love AV Club. What’s happened to you?”
“If you were my real friend, you would understand that Christian and I are MEANT to be together. WE’RE IN LOVE. You’re just jealous of my popularity and hot boyfriend. Please don’t talk to me anymore. I don’t associate with losers like you.”
And as she stormed out of the bathroom, Mel shouted behind her, “HE DOESN’T EVEN LIKE GARLIC! WHAT KIND OF PERSON DOESN’T LIKE GARLIC?!”
And so, Ana and Christian’s perfect romance continued. They were head over heels for one another, but despite the fact that he climbed into her bedroom window each night to watch her sleep, they still hadn’t done the deed. And Ana was desperate to do what every teenage girl wants more than anything in the world--lose it to the most popular guy in school. Finally, she convinced him to go all the way with her.
“Are you sure you want to do this now? Don’t you want to wait for a special occasion, like prom?” He asked by their adjacent lockers one day (he’d arranged to have his moved next to hers). “We have our whole lives to spend together. We don’t need to rush them now.”
“No, I want to do this,” she insisted. He sighed and handed her a large set of keys in response.
“Ok, here are the keys to my house. Go there while I’m at football practice today and get ready. This is the key for the house, here’s the key for the garage, here’s the key for the wine cellar, and...” he paused, holding up a fancy, old fashioned key. “This is the key to my walk-in closet. Whatever you do, do not go in there.”
“Ok, of course I won’t,” Ana promised. “I love you. And I’ll see you tonight.”
Christian replied, “I love you too. And I can’t wait.”
After school, Ana drove over to Christian’s house in the ostentatious car he’d bought her for their two and a half week anniversary. She let herself into his bedroom and arranged candles around his bed. Briefly, she wondered what would happen to the feather throw pillows if they caught fire, but that thought was derailed by the siren call of an ornate lock on Christian’s closet door.
“What could be behind that door?” She wondered aloud. “Maybe he got me a present and he’s hiding it in there.” And Ana, who had always been one to sneak a peek at her Christmas gifts, took out the last key.
It wasn’t a present for her.
All along the walls of his closet, the dead bodies of former cheerleaders--Bree, Emily, Kelsie, Gabrielle, and others she didn’t recognize--were strung up from hooks hanging from the ceiling. If the sight had been any less horrific, she might have been overwhelmed by the putrid smell. But as it was, each girl had been dressed in really uncomfortable looking leather lingerie and tied up. Some had been blindfolded. Each looked like she’d been beaten severely, suggesting they had been here for some time before he’d finally killed each one with a bite to the neck. Blood oozed from their festering wounds, down to the floor where it merged into a congealed pool. Ana dropped the keys in horror, and a little splashed onto her foot.
Behind her, a gruff voice said, “I told you not to go in my closet.”
She turned to face him, in terror. “You’re a vampire!!!!”
“Uh, no shit. Why do you think I don’t like garlic or wear this ugly-ass ring all the time? It’s so I don’t burn in the sunlight. Wow, your lack of observational skills is really astounding.” Then he lunged for her.
She tried to run, but in her adorable clumsiness, tripped over a collection of whips, handcuffs, and other sexual accoutrements in the corner. She made it as far as the bedroom door, but then tumbled headfirst down the stairs. She looked down at her shin and saw bone poking through the skin, and somewhere in the back of her mind noted that she might need an X-Ray for that. Christian caught up with her and licked blood off her leg.
“Mmmm, delicious. I can’t wait to taste the rest of you.” Then he leaned in towards her neck baring surprisingly sharp incisors that Ana couldn’t believe she’d never noticed before. She also couldn’t believe this was what she was thinking about as she was going to be murdered. Shouldn’t her life be flashing before her eyes? "What a completely bullshit way to die," she thought angrily. And then just as she felt his breath on her neck, he vanished in a dramatic cloud of ash. She looked up and squinted through the dust at her savior.
It was Mel, wearing a bandolier of wooden stakes.
“How did you know!?” Ana gasped.
“Girl, I watch a lot of Buffy. Just because you’re an idiot who thinks vampires sparkle in the sunlight doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t figure out what’s up. Next time, stick with your real friends and try not to date abusive assholes.”