“Carabosse” was published in “Clean Sheets,” a webzine specializing in erotic fiction and poetry in 2005. It appears to have gone offline in 2017 — the last working archive of the site on the Wayback Machine is from April of that year.
I’m not sure how really “erotic” this story is. There’s sex in it, of an NC-17 nature, but I don’t know that it’s especially sexy sex. Gretchen is driven by something akin to survivor’s guilt: Margaret was supposed to be the great success, “a swimming scholarship to Northwestern, a near-perfect GPA, and a clear shot at any kind of future she wanted to have”, while Gretchen is barely holding it together. There’s a self-destructive bent to her hyper-sexual behavior, which the narrator (largely clueless) is incapable of understanding. I feel like Gretchen is still somehow competing with Margaret, in a contest she cannot possibly win.
The story was inspired in part by a friend’s anecdote (the details of which are now foggy to me). I do remember accidentally sending it to one of my friends who did a little beta reading for me, and then realizing too late that I had sent her a “dirty” story. Of course, it’s not really so much dirty as frank, and hardly titillating, but I still felt incredibly self-conscious about it. Now, nearly twenty years on, I don’t feel self-conscious at all about sharing it, as it feels quite tame. I’ve got a sexier story coming up, I think some time in May, but even that one is pretty mild.
The title is taken from Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” ballet: Carabosse is the name of the wicked fairy who curses the princess to eternal sleep, her name lifted from Madame d’Aulnoy’s “Princess Mayblossom.” Gretchen is, of course, the wicked fairy, though she has no actual culpability in Margaret’s condition.