Thursday, October 31, 2013

A retelling of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

This time of year people ARE always fascinated with the classic story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. Disney did a fun cartoon version of it, Johnny Depp starred as Ichabod Crane and now there is a new TV show Sleepy Hollow, starring the sexy Tom Mison on Fox. It’s an autumnal favorite, and no Halloween is complete without it.

Over the years there have been many retellings of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and many are   not familiar with the original version. In the original story Ichabod Crane is a stuffy, arrogant and stern schoolmaster living in the Colonial American town of Tarrytown, New York. He has a rival named Brom Bones, a big, strapping prankster who rides around on a giant black horse named Daredevil. Both men are vying for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the prettiest and richest girl in town. Though the two men are rivals for Katrina’s attention, it's very apparent that Ichabod is more interested in her orchards and properties than any other “fruits” that she has to offer. Brom Bones does his best to humiliate Ichabod and embarrassed him at every turn, which isn't that difficult considering Ichabod offers him a lot of material to work with. The poor sod has no chance of winning Katrina’s hand, but Brom is determined to make sure that never happens.
Now the Headless Horseman is a local legend about a Hession soldier whose head got chopped off during the American Revolutionary War and he haunts the area known as Sleepy Hollow. On the night of a quilting frolic at the Van Tassel Estate, Ichabod is not only bested with wits and storytelling by Brom Bones, but he is also rejected by Katrina. Dejected, Ichabod returns home only to lose control of his bedraggled horse, Gunpowder. The horse leads him into the ghostly Sleepy Hollow, a place Ichabod is terrified of. Here he is chased by the Headless Horseman in the exciting chase we all know and love.
The catch is that there was never a ghost chasing Ichabod Crane!
All the while, the specter was Brom Bones. He dressed up as the Headless Horseman to scare Ichabod Crane so much that the other man would disappear, and he could have Katrina Van Tassel all to himself—a plan which works out perfectly because Brom and Katrina do get married and no one hears from the poor schoolmaster again.
When the idea originally came to me to turn this classic American story into an erotic tale, my first thought was a ménage between Brom, Ichabod and Katrina where I would follow a version of the same ending and Ichabod would be run out of town and humiliated. But then I thought it would be very unfair to do that to poor Icky, and frankly the ménage idea seemed the most obvious.
So I decided that Brom Bones had a different reason for tormenting and teasing Ichabod Crane than vying for the hand of some girl. Maybe Brom masqueraded as the Headless Horseman because he had something naughtier up his sleeve involving the uptight schoolmaster. I don’t think Mr. Hawthorne intended anyone to be doing the nasty in his tale, but what I came up with doesn’t deviate too much from the original narrative.....well that is until somebody wakes up naked and tied to a bed!!!
Please enjoy this exclusive excerpt from my version of THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. I don't think you'll ever think of Ichabod Crane the same again :-)

Brom was mounted on his favorite steed, Daredevil, a creature like himself, full of spit and vinegar, and no one could ride but him. He was known to prefer vicious animals, which kept the rider in constant risk of breaking their neck. “Tell me, Ichabod, did you receive a personal invitation from the young Miss Van Tassel or the one the little houseboy delivered?”
Ichabod shifted in the saddle, for he had received a visit from the houseboy, and if one were to judge by the self-satisfied grin Brom wore, he had received the former of the two invitations. Ichabod fussed irritably with the reins and Gunpowder lurched as if given instruction to run. Ichabod may have done something to confuse the horse, but he was seeing far too much red to accept such a possibility. He was convinced the horse was friends with Brom Bones and the two conspirators only wished to make him a fool.
After containing the beast and reseating himself in a wholly ungraceful fashion, Ichabod replied, “And of what business is that of yours?”
“I shall take that to mean Katrina did not call on you?” the dark haired man deduced, and his wretched companions laughed again. The man seemed to find a perverse joy in tormenting Ichabod. His black gaze skimmed him from head to foot in a very unsettling manner and his cocksure grin slanted to the left when he smiled. “Surely, she would have paid you a call had you been wearing this, your best rusty black suit. You make quite the impression.”
Ichabod longed to make an impression of his fist on Brom’s unusually clean-shaven face. Ichabod hated himself for even noting such a detail or that his rival was dressed in his finest, his white shirt roguishly open at the collar and indecently exposing his throat and a hint of chest hairs. Brom was striking atop his devilish steed. Meanwhile, Ichabod imagined he must look like a tall, skinny clown atop a squat, haggard gelding with a rusted bridle.
Oh, should Death come swift to save me now, he thought wildly.
“I see you have even combed and styled your pretty hair, as well,” Brom went on as if with genuine approval of Ichabod’s appearance.
There was a resounding rumble of laughter and Ichabod wished he could disappear like the ghosts which haunted the hollow that vanished at the first sign of daybreak. However, now that his vicious mount had chosen to peacefully munch on the grass littering the side of the road, Ichabod felt dignified enough to rejoin with, “And I see you must have had your annual bath.”
Brom threw back his head and roared with laughter at Ichabod’s impertinent reply. “Aye,” he agreed with a wink, which discombobulated Ichabod as always. “Many thanks for noticing.”
Ichabod could not think of a reply. He usually prepared witty rejoinders and clever recitals to flaunt his vastly superior intellect over Brom. However, none of his practiced retorts were applicable at the moment, which might be for the best. For after those, albeit rare, moments when Ichabod bested his opponent, Brom Bones would retaliate the only way he could. With practical jokes.
This endless battle, which to the casual observer was carried out in pursuit of Katrina’s hand, had quickly become a fight to discover which man could come out on top. For the more Brom Bones made Ichabod the focus of his energies, the more, in turn, the schoolmaster became obsessed with besting him. The burly man consumed all his waking thoughts and also occupied a foremost place in Ichabod’s dreams. But he cared not to dwell upon that.
“Do you ever let your hair down, Schoolmaster?” Brom asked suddenly.
As always, Ichabod’s blond locks were tied at his nape by a leather thong. Such a bizarre question baffled him. “What are you asking, Brom Bones?”
He often called him that, as schoolteachers enjoyed calling students by two names.
“Do you know how to have fun,” he clarified. “You are always so dignified and reserved. I often wonder if you can drop such a façade and actually have fun. You know? Run about and howl into the night.”
At this, several of his companions proceeded to howl like wild wolves.
Ichabod made a huffing sound. “Really, Brom Bones,” he said, “only one such as yourself would find gentlemanly behavior offensive. Perhaps you should try not behaving like a wild hooligan.”
Brom laughed. The sound resonated inside Ichabod’s bones and somewhere else he wished it did not. “Spoken like the stern schoolmaster that you are.”
Ichabod firmly believed in the notion “spare the rod and spoil the child,” and his students were seldom spoiled. If only he were given a chance to use that same rod on Brom Bones. See if he liked that! But immediately upon that notion, Ichabod was assaulted with the reverse image, of being bent over Brom’s knee and paddled repeatedly. Blood and heat suffused his groin and he covered it up with much fussing with his jacket.
“Tell me, Schoolmaster,” Brom began, his dark brows low over eyes as black as his heart. “If I were one of your students, would you dare to take me over your knee until I behaved in a manner pleasing to you?”
“There is doubtless nothing in existence which could render one such as yourself pleasing to me,” Ichabod rejoined, hating how the other man seemed to be able to read him as if he were a book.
Once more, Brom threw back his head with a mighty laugh, his black curls bobbing and his eyes dancing mischievously. “Oh, we shall have to disagree on that for now, Schoolmaster.”

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