Age Range: 12 and up
Approx. Length: 7,728 Words
A dormant girl named Beauty, who controls and terrifies the people around her, wants to possess another girl. Quiet, don’t wake her up or there will be Hell to pay!
It was one of those tasteless roadside attractions but with a twist, a fairytale theme. The Ache Family could not have imagined what trouble stopping for food and gas might result in during their very first vacation trip. Let sleeping girls lie. That was what they should have done. Sadly, they never seemed to do anything quite right. Inspired by Sleeping Beauty, presented from multiple perspectives, this humorous horror tale by the author of Chocolate-Covered Eyes and The Fairy Fly allows you to peek inside the heads of an average quirky family.
“Nobody’s kicking anybody,” their dad announced, booming like a megaphone. He was kicked in the shin under the table. “Ouch! What was that for?”
“I want us to sit here and pretend we’re a happy sane family.” Trudy’s teeth were clenched. “Is that asking too much?”
Rose and Rory groaned in unison.
~ from Beauty
A rustbucket filled with squabbling dysfuntionals pulled into the type of off-the-beaten tourist attraction you later wished you could un-see, and not because it was creepy or grotesque. It appeared to be the opposite: a maiden advertised as Beauty, who fit the name well enough and even fit the storybook fairytale mold — for she was sound asleep in a glass box. Trouble was, she also fit another fable about a young lady and a beast. In her case, the beauty and the beast were one and the same, more like Jekyll and Hyde. The Aches didn’t know this when the family of four clambered out of their Stationwagon, unkempt and disgruntled after a very long drive.
“Maybe next time you’ll listen when I say there might not be a place to eat for hundreds of miles!” grouched Trudy Ache. The sawed-off shotgun was prone to telling people she had told them so. “And you had to get vinyl seats. I’ve been sitting in a puddle of water for hours.” The woman’s lips puckered as if she had a mouthful of sour grapes. Slamming her door, she tugged at the soaked rump of acrylic pants.
Hubby Norton, adept at ignoring these statements, refrained from mentioning that she had nattered about the vinyl seats for umpteen years. It could be perceived gallant of him to overlook Wifey’s flaws. The man frankly didn’t care what she had to say. He figured she had said it all before a thousand times. What difference did it make whether he listened or not? Living beer to beer, he felt numb, disassociated. Not that he was completely tuned out. He grunted each morning at himself in the mirror, taking stock, noting the latest indignities and erosions of age. “One step closer to the grave,” he would mutter. He had no conscious desire to hasten the process; the guy was simply kind of lackadaisical. Or, in his wife’s words, “lethargic as a slug”. He quit smoking when it became a hassle, banned or restricted in too many areas. It had nothing to do with health. Life was tedious, and Norton was basically marking time . . . perhaps secretly hoping to be put out of his misery. At the moment he was concerned with finding a restaurant for his grumbling gut and a rest-room for his carsick boy. He didn’t need the kid puking on the seats and floor again.
Silent as an unplugged jukebox, the man arched his spine then contemplated the pit-stop. A tacky sign propped above the roof greeted them, describing a girl who had been asleep from the day she was born. CURSE OR FREAK OF NATURE? ONLY FIVE BUCKS TO WITNESS A TRUE WONDER! GROUP RATES AVAILABLE. ALL SALES ARE FINAL. NO REFUNDS.
Honors & Praise
“The story of Beauty may be short, but it keeps you hooked until the very last word. Lori R. Lopez has a way with words that grabs and holds readers’ attention consistently all throughout . . . The author also has this ability to get the desired reaction from readers. The characters, most especially the Aches and the relationship between each of them, are like the sprinkles on top. They didn’t overpower the story line, but they made everything colorful. The Aches were, of course, made to be more than normal, but Lopez was able to write them in a way that they could still be relatable. As for the mood, the balance between humor and the more sinister side was just right. It is usually difficult to make humor and horror merge successfully with each other, but Beauty is a cool exception. What’s cooler is that underneath all of this, there’s still a lesson to be learned and a realization to think about. Lori Lopez’s Beauty is an awesome read. It’s funny, dark and twisted, but still suitable for teens.”