The Fairytale My Favorite Editor Rejected

I wanted to write a fairy tale about fracking. The tale would include special creatures, frack-fairies, with seven-syllable chemical superpowers and tiny parcels of invisible frack-dust said to cover the meadows at midnight. There would be magical events, Frackfests, that occur when stars shoot up from cracks in the earth’s crust and the ground dances in happy, ragged waves. Small furry mammals and friendly reptiles would frack-a-long. The whole thing was idyllic.

Not true, said the editor. Little girls wouldn’t connect with the frack-fairies’ green teeth and gangrenous eyelids. She told me that marketing concluded little girls prefer traditional fairy guises in light pastels without oozing vessels and undefined orifices.

There was anger in my voice when I responded to the editor. I said we can’t expect the world to look unfracked in a fracking fairytale. I said you are a damned good editor and well ahead of your game. I said the time has come to embrace a world with chemical fairies and covertly-active baby cancer cells minnowing through placid streams.

The editor reminded me she had, in fact, dressed as Sexy Rapunzel last Halloween. The market for fairy tale costumes was very hot. She went to the best party, and people said she looked young for her age. The editor hoped we could strike an empowering chord with young readers, especially if that chord stayed in their hearts long enough to inspire Halloween costumes.

Alina Stefanescu

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Prize and was published in May 2018. A finalist for the 2019 Kurt Brown AWP Prize, the 2019 Greg Grummer Poetry Prize, the 2019 Frank McCourt Prize, and the 2019 Streetlight Magazine Poetry Contest, Alina won the 2019 River Heron Poetry Prize. Find her online at

Hailey Brown

Hailey Brown is a freelance illustrator born and raised in mid-Michigan. With a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology, she spent years formerly working as a field biologist. Moving across country to the east coast, she also moved from science to art and graduated the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. Hailey works as a freelance colorist and illustrator for a wide assortment of clientele including comic anthologies, fantasy authors, and Dynamite Entertainment.

First Featured In: No. 15, spring 2020

The Identity Issue

View/Purchase Magazine