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On 17 February the Microcosms Fiction prompt was:

Today – 17 February – is the anniversary of the birth of crime writer Ruth Rendell in 1930. Her best-known creation, appearing in many police stories, was Chief Inspector Wexford.

But I prefer the novels she wrote under her pseudonym Barbara Vine, in which she explored the psychological background of criminals and their victims. These books include:

No Night Is Too Long (1994)
The Brimstone Wedding (1995)
The Chimney-sweeper’s Boy (1998)
Grasshopper (2000)
The Blood Doctor (2002)
The Birthday Present (2008)

 Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, setting and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Politician, setting: Palace, and genre: Fairy Tale.

I liked the idea of looking at the main character’s psychological state, as well as that of the rest of the characters featuring in the story.

Here’s my response to the prompt.

Pastel Hell

By Ronel Janse van Vuuren


The beams across the fresco roof glittered with unearthly beauty. It must have cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

The politician glanced out the window, hoping to see his host approaching. Instead, butterflies with gem coloured wings flew in synchronisation.

To read this story and others like it, get Tattered Tales now. https://www.books2read.com/u/4XK7jL

24 tales of Speculative Fiction (ranging from science-fiction to fantasy to magical realism) with a Dark Fantasy undertone running from outer space, strange advancements in technology to the subtle things that make characters tick in a supposedly normal world.

I honestly have no idea where the pastel images came from. Somewhere in my mind petit fours, tea and a beautiful morning room with a view of the garden appeared and that’s what I went with. As for the genre, I’ve read enough Grimm fairy tales to know that everything isn’t always as it seems…

The judge’s favourite line: …the walls the strange consistency of marshmallows… Happens to be one that I really enjoyed thinking up. What do you think of this story? I always appreciate feedback, so don’t hesitate to comment.

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