**Out now on Amazon.com**
Every good man and woman in the Kingdom of Cendrillon knows the story of Cinderella. It is a tale of a beautiful and modest girl who was abused because of the greed and jealousy of her wicked stepmother. Then, a single night of magick changes her life; she finds love, and her life becomes a whimsical fantasy most can only dream of living. The young women who hear this lovely tale wish they too could be visited by a Fairy Godmother and be swept away by a charming prince to live happily ever after.
But that is not the full tale.
Unbeknownst to Cinderella, her fairy tale life was saturated with dark magick and evil workings that was all put together by the malevolent High Demon of Hell called Askharoth. Askharoth’s twisted plot spans Cinderella’s entire lifetime and affects everything and everyone around her.
Narrated by the titular demon, Askharoth’s tale of deception, violence, and drama goes through Cinderella’s life as a young girl, a Queen, and a widow in three separate, but equally intriguing parts. Askharoth only tells one piece of his story at a time, but as he puts it himself: “The pieces fall much better when they do not fall in order. Do you not agree?”
Budgie Bigelow brings a tale that is truly imaginative and delves into the tale of Cinderella like no other before. Askharoth is as thrilling and cringe inducing as it is tear inducing. This is a tale that should not be read in the dark.
Prologue: Adam Charmont
The sun began its slow rise in the Kingdom of Cendrillon.
It was dark in the small cellar of the castle. Dawn crept across the grassy fields outside the kingdom walls, but the light did not make its way this deep into the bowels of the castle. This is where I first met Adam Charmont in the flesh. He was right where I knew he would be. Adam’s dark hair swept across his pale, white face as he walked on the cobbled stone of the dungeon floors. He was a slender boy, and did not look like he was well fed (though, as a princeling of Cendrillon he was present at countless feasts). Adam spent a lot of time in the darkness, and that is why I liked him; he was not at all like his heroic king brother.
Then again, I designed him this way.
I walked into the room slowly and silently. Adam had come down soon after waking to read a book he came across years ago in the castle library. He had lit a single candle in the center of the rectangular table and pulled the book close to him before opening it to exactly where he had left off. He had read this particular tome many times before and always in secret. This book contained the account of how his mother and father, Cinderella and Henry Charmont, had first met. A story which, by all accounts, is fiction except for the one person who lived it and knew it to be true; but not even Cinderella knew the entire truth.
Cinderella; the one-time servant of her stepmother, subsequent princess, rightful Queen, and now widow. By the time the sun sets on this day, she will have had to bury one of her sons, but it would not be Adam. This one belonged to the darkness, and the darkness is my realm.
“Hello, Son,” I said, making myself fully visible for the first time. The sixteen-year-old prince turned to look at me, growing paler than he first appeared. I rarely show my true form to humans I do not wish to kill. It has been said by the good men who have witnessed my true form that my black skin was scorched by the very fires of Hell itself. My shoulder-length hair was trimmed neat for this occasion. I wore a doublet of shiny black leather under a black fur cloak. My razor-sharp claws lay motionless at my sides. I was not there to threaten young Adam. I had quite the enticing offer for the young princeling. Adam’s reaction to my appearance was reasonable. It is not every day one meets a High Demon of Hell.
“Who are you, and what do you want?” Adam asked, standing at full attention. He was a brave lad to be so brazen in sight of me. I had seen braver and stronger men piss in their britches after seeing my true form. I could hear the fear in the voice of Adam Charmont, and I admired the way he stood his ground in spite of it.
“My name is Askharoth,” I said, stepping closer to the table at the center of the dank cellar. “I am a High Demon of the realm of Hell. I was placed here on this Earth to serve my own purposes and to find those that would aid my own realm. I only wish to talk and extend a most intriguing invitation to you. There are pieces moving and events unfolding even as I stand here and expel breath. You must be a part of it. This, my princely son, is your destiny. It is the very reason you were born into this world. You need me as I need you. Come with me and embrace the inevitable.”
“Why do you keep calling me son?” Adam asked me, confidently not moving from his spot. The book was still under his hands. He was fighting the urge to pull it to him and hold it to his chest like some kind of talisman.
“There is much you do not know or understand, young Adam. Perhaps you would like to join me at the table? I can tell you of many things. I can tell you of your mother. I can tell you of your father. I can tell you of your grandparents and those you have never even met. I can tell you of the past and present and I can tell of a future that you and I together can share. You have lived a very sheltered life, Adam. It must have been dark standing in the shadow of your brother.”
This got his attention. He slammed the book on the floor and kicked his chair behind him. “WHAT DO YOU KNOW OF MY BROTHER’S SHADOW, DEMON!” he shouted, allowing himself to become slightly vulnerable now. “All my life I have felt a heaviness on my soul. Henry was always father’s favorite. Henry was mother’s handsome little man. Henry, the king of this dung heap kingdom; simply because he had the good luck to be born a mere seven minutes earlier than I. And what does he do when he finally gets his pretty crown and throne?! He tries to undo our father’s work. He strives to make peace with the very men that ended our father’s life. This is treason, and our country’s only course of action should be war!”
I could see I had chosen this one well. War was the answer I was hoping for. War was the inevitable end of this little game I had chosen to play. War would bring the pain, blood, and sorrow I would need to awaken The Viss, and to cloud this world in a darkness it would never recover from. Heaven’s tears shall taste sweet indeed.
“Young Adam,” I said, patiently folding my hands in front of me. “I sense a great darkness deep inside of you. Many would say this is a great weakness, to force you to hide your true nature. Not I. In darkness there is power and strength. There is much you and I can accomplish together. Together, we shall have glory. Together, we shall rule not only your ancestor’s land, but all land. The dogs in the East will be ours to cull as we see fit. The salty pirates across the Southern Sea will sail red seas under our flag. The men in West Cendrillon will bring you the finest foods and greatest pleasures of all the land. The lands across the great seas of this Earth will all fly your banner. Together, we shall be immortal. Together, we shall defeat and rule over Heaven as if it’s a pen of beaten and broken dogs. All this is possible once your brother’s body is lying motionless at your feet.”
“I am a Prince of Cendrillon,” Adam said, proud and defiant. “My father and his father and his father’s father bore the blood of kings, and so do I. Do not think you can use me as some pawn to conquer your own enemies.”
I grew weary of his prattle and let my frustration show. “I despise the hierarchy that man has placed on themselves,” I said, lowering my voice into a noticeable growl. “Your father and his father and his father’s father and so on, built castles of immense sizes to pay homage only to themselves. They took what they wanted and stepped over all those who opposed their greed and war-mongering. You call forth the names of your ancestors all you want, boy. In the end you are all pawns in a game so big, you cannot even begin to imagine the majesty of it.”
“So you are above all that, are you?” Adam said, still high on the adrenaline his rage had brought on. “Are you not a High Demon, as you put it yourself?”
The boy’s haughty mouth was edging him closer to death’s door, as I held my claws at my sides in order to not tear the boy’s head from his slender shoulders; he was extremely lucky that I needed him alive. “There is a difference between you and me,” I said, controlling my rage with just an exhale of breath. “The position of High Demon is something that is not easily earned. It is not given to you based on the blood of your father. There is only one chair of power in Hell, and it is not shared. Only talent and power is rewarded with my kind. It is not given to you, as a birthright, as it is to your people. Then again, you being born to the proper parents is what prompted my playing this game in the first place.”
“Do you often speak in riddles, demon?” Adam asked, somehow calming himself.
“Only when I fancy them,” I replied. It seemed young Adam enjoyed these riddles nearly as much as I enjoyed posing them.
Young Adam finally picked his book off the floor and placed his chair back by the table. The candlelight flickered across his stubborn face and shiny black hair. He folded his hands on top of the large tome where his parent’s history was written. He was so easy to read. I could see he longed for this. He may have even prayed for my arrival in the darkest loneliness of his soul. Jealousy was his sin of choice, and one of the easiest for me to exploit. I did not lie to him. I did need him as much as he needed me, and I meant everything that I promised.
“I have read of your kind,” Adam said calmly, tossing his head toward a stack of books in the corner. He returned his gaze to me as he drummed his fingers on the top of the book. “If we strike a deal, you have to honor it no matter what. Is this correct?”
“It is,” I said lustfully.
“Then I shall name the deal,” Adam said, relaxing back in his seat comfortably pleased with himself. “I shall join you in the darkness and rule with you by my side in the shadows. I will send armies to their deaths, and I will spill blood across this Earth. I will allow you to rid me of my pompous brother as well. I only ask one thing in return: It is a simple request, I think.” The smile on Adam’s face told me more than his words could.
“Name it, and if it is in my power, it shall be done,” I said. I did not try to conceal my own smile.
Adam drummed his fingers on his book once again; the book that contained the tale of two souls that came together, in a love-story that every high-born maiden, washerwoman, and whore, knew by heart. Adam read my gaze as I looked at the book and suddenly stopped his obnoxious drumming. “I want to know everything as you promised,” he said finally. “The pieces missing from this story; the pieces missing from my own as well. I want to know about mother’s past and father’s death. I also want to know about you and your shadows, Askharoth.”
The boy was smart. He had noticed there were holes in the stories he had often been told as a child and even those that were recent histories. His idiot brother would not have seen these in the light, but in the darkness, the holes became clearer. Young Adam may not like some of the answers he would receive, but it was no matter to me. Once my tale was done he was bound to hold up his end of our deal. He would be under my complete power. He knew this as well as I knew that I would have to hold up my end of the deal, and tell him true.
“Very well, Adam,” I said. “I will tell you the entire truth of what I know but not in the order as it happened. The pieces fall much better when they do not fall in order. Do you not agree?”
“I do agree,” Adam said sitting back in his chair. He could barely hide his giddiness. “Please begin.” The candles burned a little brighter as I sat across from him, looking into his dark eyes that were so much like his father’s. I liked this boy very much. Very much indeed.
“Excellent,” I said. “We do not have much time. It is a long tale, and your brother will be dead by nightfall. Let us begin, long before you were born, with my trek up to the witches of Black Keep in the North Mountains.”
Desperately Seeking Shemale:
**To be released on 11/8 – #ShemaleSaturday**
Ron Morgan has been lonely since his wife and daughter packed up and moved across the country while he was at work. Ron eventually became so lonely that he started trolling the internet in search of cheap thrills. He never thought it would result in anything real.
Cindy is a lonely transsexual who has been unlucky in love (and that’s putting it mildly). Nothing seems to work out for Cindy as she led her life feeling like an outcast for who she is and how she presents herself. Cindy seems to have given up hope, letting her friend put an ad on the internet looking for companionship and more.
Ron and Cindy have a serendipitous meeting in the meat section of a supermarket, and sparks instantly fly. Ron realizes that he recognizes Cindy from her internet and decides to woo her. Cindy welcomes the attentions from a nice guy who genuinely likes her for who she is and not what hangs between her legs.
Ron and Cindy start dating, despite being at very strange points in their respective lives. Can the two get past their outside issues and be happy together, or will the strain of Ron’s hectic life and Cindy’s questionable gender get in the way?
Cindy left her house shortly after arriving home from work that evening. She promised her best friend, Katie, that she would make a pot of jambalaya to bring over when she visited this weekend. She looked through the ads on her kitchen counter before leaving. She noticed that Macho Mart had the sausage she needed on sale buy-one-get-one free. “BOGO!” she exclaimed to her empty kitchen. She grabbed her keys and ran out of the door.
Cindy ran through the rain back to her car. She sat in the driver’s seat, realizing she left her jacket inside and now her NY Jets shirt was all wet. It was OK, since it was her black one. Rather than ironically run through the rain again to get her coat, she put her key in the ignition, and drove down to Macho Mart for sausage.
Ron had finished saving the world one issue material report at a time by two. Now, Ron was busy cleaning it up one aisle at a time. He was trying hard to focus on his tedious tasks at hand and not last night’s conversation with his estranged wife (which continued to plague him throughout his day). He once again fought the urge to check the time. On days like these, it slows down time to be watching the clock, and he already lost many of these battles at his first job. The best thing was to just listen to the shitty grocery store safe music and continue stocking the store’s buy-one-get-one free Hillshire Farm assorted sausages. It had just gone on sale, and Ron couldn’t keep it on the shelves. The people of North Haven liked their sausage.
Ron beat up the box he had just emptied and flattened it. He looked up to see a woman walking towards him holding a young boy’s hand. The boy was around the same age of his daughter, so it put his mind back on Emily, who was too far away to see (eve if she wanted to see her father). The boy was wearing pajamas that made him look like a giraffe from head to toe. He even had the hood on his head so he looked like some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character reject.
Ron realized he stared at the kid too long, and his mother gave him a dirty look. She passed him without giving him another second of her time, putting two packages of sausage into her red basket.
“Don’t be pissed at me,” Ron muttered, under his breath. “I’m not the one who dressed your damn kid like Silence of the Giraffes in public.”
Ron opened a fresh box of sausage when he heard a woman’s giggle behind him. To his surprise, the read-head standing behind him had a warm smile at Ron’s insulting of a child. Ron smiled back. He wished he had something to say, but nothing would issue from his mouth.
“Is that the sausage that’s on sale this week?” The woman asked, somehow suppressing her giggles.
“Oh yeah”, Ron replied, holding a box in his hand. “I’m the guy with the sausage.”
The woman gave Ron half a smile. Thank God, he thought. That comment could have gotten him fired as easily as it earned him a smile from such a pretty woman. The woman couldn’t have been older than twenty-eight or twenty-nine. She had shoulder-legnth dark red hair and nails to match. She wore a black shirt with Jets logo on it. Her breasts looked like a perfect handful. There was a stirring in Ron’s pants he usually saved for his various Internet adventures. He gulped and tried to ignore the stirring.
“Well now,” the woman said, blushing a bit. “You think I can take some of those sausages off your hands, or are you just going to stand there holding them all night?”
“You sure can,” Ron said smiling like a goon. He handed the woman over the package of sausage he was about to shelf. “Here you go. I like a lady with a bit of sausage.” Ron wished his over-tired brain processed that last sentence before he just blurted it out. Whether he was overworked or stressed or any number of things, Ron had just stepped in it big time if she didn’t smile at that. Less than a second must have passed, but it felt like forever. Please smile again, he thought.
She did smile (finally). “Wow,” she said with a goon-like smile of her own that Ron thought lit up her face. “I usually don’t get this kind of service here from someone handling my meat.”
“I’m only a part time meat handler when I’m not office jockeying. I’m Ron by the way.”
“Cindy. Nice to meet you, Ron.” She said with a bigger smile now.
“Likewise,” Ron said. “If you ever need any help with anything else I’ll be glad to help. I know plenty about produce too.”
“No produce tonight, Ron,” said Cindy. “I’m just a lady after a bit of sausage. It was really nice meeting you. Maybe next time I’ll catch you in produce and we can talk about cucumbers.” Cindy gave Ron one last perverted smile.
“I’m partial to the zucchini myself,” Ron said returning the perverted smile.
“Well then…” Cindy paused, apparently waiting for something or deciding on whether or not to add something else to the short conversation. “I guess I’ll see you around.”
“I guess so,” Ron said as Cindy began to leave. “Have a good night. Thank you for shopping at Macho Mart.”
Cindy turned and laughed before almost knocking over a standee of crackers (2 for $4!). Ron watched her for a minute. Not that bad from the back either, he thought. As if she heard the thought, Cindy turned around one more time, and gave him a little wave before getting in line to checkout. Ron went back to work, happily handling sausage.
A New Haven, CT native, Budgie Bigelow began writing short fiction in the winter of 2013 part time around his full time job as a field engineer and raising his daughter. Prior to that, he had written a few short stories as a teen, but nothing that was saved during the great closet cleaning of 1999. In 2013, he started with a short story called Desperately Seeking Shemale and moved on to a longer story called Askharoth. Askharoth is Budgie’s take on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella.
Budgie continued writing short stories and some longer fiction for his blog site for some time before deciding that he wasn’t quite done with Askharoth. He edited, rewrote, and moved some stuff around in the original to create his first self-published ebook. Following Askharoth, Budgie began work on turning his short story Desperately Seeking Shemale into a full-length ebook, which is due out in the fall of 2014. Desperately Seeking Shemale is a love story focusing on a post-divorced man unexpectedly finding love in the most unlikely of places from the most unlikely person.
What does Budgie have planned for the future? He still writes short fiction for his blog now located on BudgieBigelow.com. He also plans to release a collection of short stories in early 2015 along with a novel called Unnamed: The Chronicles of the Son of Drog (a spin-off of a character from Askharoth) what will be entered for National Novel Writing Month. After that, an expanded and rewritten version of the first two New Millennium stories that originally appeared on Budgie’s blog are planned as well.
Budgie Bigelow lives in New Haven, CT with his wife, daughter, and doggy.
Follow Budgie Bigelow on Twitter (@BudgieBigelow), friend Budgie Bigelow on Facebook, or go to BudgieBigelow.com for more.