John R. Phythyon, Jr's short story "Sleeping Beauty" is free on Amazon today and tomorrow. I read and reviewed the story a few weeks ago, but I still think about it occasionally, it's the kind of story that sticks to you for a while after you close your e-reader.
Beth Shipman has been in a coma for two years. Now sixteen, her friends have abandoned her, and her mother is slowly going insane. Only one person remains interested in her — Carl, the young man who fell in love with her on the first day of Sixth Grade. He visits two or three times a week, talking to her and hoping she will wake.
Carl may just be the key to breaking the spell that holds Beth in its grip. Her mother has a desperate plan to free her Pretty Princess from eternal slumber, but it won’t be easy. Carl must overcome his doubts and believe in the power of love, and Beth’s father Rex isn’t interested in her waking up. After all, he’s the one who put her to sleep in the first place. Can True Love’s First Kiss really break the curse, or are darkness, insanity, and self-doubt too strong?
“Sleeping Beauty” is a creepy reimagining of a familiar story that explores what happens when parents go too far to protect their children. A cautionary tale, it reminds us there is a fine line between love and obsession, between care and cruelty.