Wonder Tales

Twelve wonder tales feature ten young woman and their sisterhood.

Tanya Casteel © all rights reserved

LANA AND LENA: Lana, a petite young woman, works in obscurity as a legal secretary in a large, metropolitan law firm until she confronts her isolation and silence, her repressed voice and wisdom, through an encounter with a talking black bird, Lena, and a shape shifting experience—flying through the immense city at night.

A fabulist tale, it draws from a Native American lore that reveres the trickster/god Raven, a shape-shifting creature known for its power of transformation and for carrying messages of cosmic truth hidden in its midnight wings. Motifs of the mythic Raven are woven tightly throughout the story of “Lana and Lena” to create a modern female quest.

JULIE AND THE BEAUTIES: Julie faces her mirrored image behind a bar and finds it lacking, based on social norms for feminine beauty, but is soon catapulted through the mirror to a room of fun house mirrors, through a holographic art gallery portraying the greatest beauties of all time, and into a maze and becomes lost.

A fabulist tale, it echoes the confusion of modern female identity and draws from mirror motifs in Snow White and Alice Through the Looking-Glass that depict female competition, and ends with the mythical theme of the maze, an ancient metaphor for self-discovery, to find the ultimate prize in a mirrored locket.

CARLENE AND THE ROCK CANDY: Carlene deals with female status in a male-dominated corporate culture and connects the dots to discover a hidden message and the story behind it.

MEGAN AND THE ARTISAN BREAD: Megan endures depression and self-destructive tendencies when dumped by her boyfriend for a rich heiress, but finds solace in bread making with her neighbors and tastes her own tears.

REBECCA’S SLIPPERS: Rebecca flees from her abusive, violent husband and runs to a hillside jogging trail in her bathrobe and slippers; when she stumbles, she falls to a dark place and meets the three sisters, the Fates, who are spinning each human life and who question Rebecca about hers.

DESIREE AND THE VEIL: Desiree defends her choice against the social norm to remain single and childless to her boyfriend only to be ridiculed; furious, she climbs her apartment stairs to the roof and finds herself in a castle tower with the wise woman, Psyche, who was once counseled by a tower.

LIZ AND THE MOUNTAIN: Lost and alone on a mountain ledge in a dangerous electrical storm, Liz finds a crack in the granite and enters a cavern of spirits, those who lived there in other times, long ago; healing her, they tell her the story of her life and discover the childhood gifts Liz had lost.

CornHuskANNEMARIE AND THE CORNHUSK DOLL: Annemarie visits her widowed mother in the small midwest town where she grew up and experiences her mother’s resentment at her daughter’s newfound opportunities and life choices; feeling abandoned and misunderstood, Annemarie goes to her room and comes across a cornhusk doll she made as a child who comes to life.

JASMINE AND THE KUKUI TREE: Newly married and off on her honeymoon in Hawaii, Jasmine finds her in-laws an intrusion until she becomes lost in the rain forest on the island and learns the songs of the generations from a ukulele playing auntie. 

BRIDGET AND THE EGGS: Mistreated by her roommate, Bridget is taunted to go out and buy eggs for breakfast, even though the neighborhood is not safe at night; oddly, Bridget sees a neon sign selling eggs and a store open. The storeowner is even more curious with chicken coops on the roof and talking eggs.  

file8601234666615SISTERHOOD OF THE KEEP: Mysteriously drawn together to an abandoned baseball field one dark night, the ten women find themselves called to a mission by the ancient Sisterhood of the Keep. Initiated into their ranks, they must steal the Orb of Being from a greedy man who would misuse it and so destroy the balance of nature and life on Earth.

QUEST TO KAHILI: The Sisterhood of the Keep sail to the spirit land of Kahili to free the goddess Pele, imprisoned in an ancient volcano. On the way they are ship wrecked and taken captive by primitive women who enslave them. If they do not free themselves and Pele, Earth will grow cold and turn to lifeless stone.

Maui volcano scene-2

  Sample Beginnings

Lana and Lena 

Lana coughed. She was hot and uncomfortable sitting on the streetcar, squeezed between two bulky men. She hunched further into herself, pulling her plain, camel’s hair coat tighter, tugging on her itchy wool scarf. Her small frame seemed to shrink as she closed her eyes and felt the streetcar’s jerking motions, heard its metallic noises: clang, screech, bang.

At her stop, she wiggled her way to the door and jumped out, lighted on the pavement, pivoted, and dashed off. She’d always been agile, never more so than fleeing a crowded, smelly, noisy streetcar. Gaining speed, she turned the corner, spun through the revolving door, punched the elevator button, and was soon rocketing her way to the twenty-seventh floor. She quickly disappeared into a cubicle near the attorney’s office assigned to her and stared blankly at the pile of papers in her inbox.

Julie and the Beauties

She tapped the bar counter, hating those awkward moments when an online date is late or worse—doesn’t show. Distracting herself by staring at the antique mirror behind the bar, she began to assess her appearance in a silent, ceaseless commentary of self-criticism.

Why did I wear that dark lipstick color? My lips are thin enough. Gloss would’ve been better. My hair! Looks dated with blonde highlights. Who does that anymore? Can’t remember what my real hair color is. Whatever. At least auburn is better than plain. I’m getting too heavy in the hips—my job is going to kill me. No one else is wearing this much color. Here I am in a tunic of jewel tones—the textured fabric looks like upholstery. I look like a clown. Maybe I should just leave.

Carlene and the Rock Candy

She watched the dark-suited men gather around the oval conference table, straightening their ties, clearing their throats, preparing for a strategy meeting with the boss, the chief operating officer. They glanced at her in mild surprise. She’d arrived early and taken the chair opposite the COO, a choice seat usually reserved for the most senior department head. Being overtly polite, they rearranged themselves on either side of the table’s gleaming surface. Carlene smiled her greetings, undeterred. She was finally going to have her say.

 At the stroke of ten o’clock, the COO bustled in and took the appropriate alpha spot at the head of the table. No one spoke until he’d surveyed those present and reviewed the agenda his office had prepared. He fixed his steady gaze around the room, raising his gray, bushy eyebrow only slightly at the young lady opposite him.

Women Wonder Tales is a Work in Progress in the fabulist genre.