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by Elliott James

Publication Date—Jan 18, 2014

This is the fifth in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, CHARMING (US | UK | AUS), is available now. Somewhere in Alaska a locked house full of ripped apart bodies and one teacup poodle covered in blood. Somewhere in Alaska, the voice of a dead woman speaks through a car radio. And somewhere in Alaska, the last surviving descendant of one of John Charming’s only friends is being pursued by nightmare hounds. The dog days have begun.


Once Upon a Time, I missed the first part. This was the part where two Alaska state troopers pulled up to a large three-story house that looked like a wooden palace in the middle of nowhere. And I mean nowhere. The nearest town was Swelling, Alaska, five miles away and not so much a town as a truck stop with a glandular condition. The state troopers were responding to a 911 call from one Anna Sharpe, who claimed to be trapped in her attic by a bear that had broken into her house and killed her husband.

The reason I gave a damn was that one of the responding officers, Bob Franklin, was the son of Lily Alguvuk. Well, technically I suppose her name was Lily Franklin, but there are legal names and real names. I should know; I have several legal names on several legal driver’s licenses, but my real name is John Charming. That’s right, Charming. You know all of those stories about guys named Prince Charming who were always rescuing maidens and getting tangled up with witches and slaying some kind of monster or another when they weren’t being maimed or turned into something? Those were my ancestors.

You’d change your name a lot too. Oh, and by the way, I’m cursed.

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