Tyler Dunning


The first cursed with the key, poor Penelope, strolled the long passage of the lower floor, to a fastened door: the small room a secret chamber built by the lust of her future maimer. And when she spoke of these ills, giving her whole village the chills, her claims were met with a muzzling scold: What is the worth of your word when weighed against gold? So his deeds went unpunished, the burden of justice forsook, her indignity like a corpse left hanging from a hook.

The second and third too went unheard: after having witnessed the first they expected the worst, their serf silence a whetstone to the depraved nature of the groom’s throne. And when pleading their confession, they learned a heart-rending lesson, for the laughter it roared when they exclaimed to the horde: What if these wounds were corporeal and bleeding? Is that the final proof you naysayers are needing?

With the fourth and the fifth, and even victim six, the longstanding consensus started to mix: such, how could so many have this identical plea? Saying, For the sake of our young, could you please start believing me. The townsfolk, therefore, gave the heed of attention, exchanging bloody basins of truth for their condemning condescension. Meanwhile the agent of corruption continued his torture, not knowing the seventh was to become his concluding divorcer.

And so it was: Penelope, Abigail, and Anastasia, all by stepping forward, committed an act of censorship euthanasia. Prudence, Phoebe, and Eugenia the same, having been hacked up, dismembered, and cannibalized by shame. But it was Lucretia, the seventh, our canny survivor, who wouldn’t let society’s horrors deprive her. And hence the maxim learned is just like we feared: all men, even the good, have a little blue in their beard.


Tyler Dunning grew up in southwestern Montana, having developed a feral curiosity and reflective personality at a young age. This mindset has led him around the world, to nearly all of the U.S. national parks, and to the darker recesses of his own creativity. He’s dabbled in such occupations as professional wrestling, archaeology, social justice advocacy, and academia. At his core he is a writer. Find more of Tyler’s work at tylerdunning.com.