Author's Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the production of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, living or dead, business establishments or events is purely coincidental and certainly not meant to be offensive. The author has also claimed writer's privilege and while some place names and locations can be found in the real world, creative license has been taken with geographical facts. However, when at all possible actual statistics have been used.


Fairytale, or is it? Once upon a time there lived a family with a father, a mother, and five children. They all got along together and lived relatively comfortable, if not terribly exciting lives. The family members, while not especially handsome or beautiful, were well enough. The kids were smart and well mannered, and they had smart and well-mannered friends. They lived in a house and had two cars. They owned their own business and an in-ground swimming pool. In fact they had many of the creature comforts that were part of the American Dream. The husband and wife were of that group of people from humble beginnings who had made good and felt, though their lives weren't perfect, they certainly felt above average. And then one day ...

Once upon a time. Isn't that how all good fairy tales begin? But what if a person was just trying to write a story, knowing that the story might not have a happy ending? What if the story was written to inform, educate, and maybe even encourage people to take some type of action?

So maybe you don't have a fairy tale after all since you don't know if the story will end happily ever after. Maybe what you have is a fable or a tall tale. Both fables and tall tales usually have some kind of moral to the story, maybe even a grain of truth to them. But some people don't want there to be any truth to this story. They'll say you are a scare-monger or someone just out to get attention by frightening people.

So then is your story a dark and terrible fantasy spun out by a disturbed imagination? You don't want your story to be a grade B horror flick. You don't want people to be so scared or intimidated that they can't see what you are trying to say; that they never finish reading the story.

So maybe you'll just call your story … well, a story. But, what the heck, we'll start this story off with once upon a time anyway. After all, just because you don't know whether your story will have a happy ending or not, doesn't mean it can't have a happy beginning.

Once upon a time there lived a family …