“I’m hungry,” she wailed, as she flung open the gilded doors of the queen’s chamber. Her black kitten heels clicked on the marble floor, echoing wildly around the dark, open space.
Her breath was shallow, desperate. The flesh stretched across her face was pallid, made more so by her onyx-black hair. The candlelight revealed a pea-green hue beneath her reddened eyes, and the skin below her left one drooped as if it were terrified and scattering—wax running from a flame.
Ruby lips shouted once more, “I’m hungry!” as she shuffled around the queen’s quarters.
The queen lifted her head, cloaked in emerald, and peered at Snow White over her bubbling, iridescent potions. “I can see that,” she said coolly, “but you’ve eaten every ounce of flesh in the castle’s stores.”
“Then get more,” Snow White said as she leaned into the warmth of the fireplace.
“Princess, you eat ravenously. Each time you eat, an innocent must die. Can’t you go just a while longer without?”
Snow White swung around, her brilliant, blue dress catching the light of the fire. “No!” she wailed. “Look at me. If I go any longer, I’ll be nothing but a puddle. I’ll be hideous. I simply must eat. Send your huntsman to collect. The people know what the castle requires.”
The queen’s face was ice as Snow White rolled, like a thunderstorm, from the room slamming the chamber doors behind her. She breathed deeply and exhaled, knowing she was bound by duty to guard the wicked girl left in her care. The dying wish of her husband, Snow’s father, was that she’d watch after the cursed girl—feed her, protect her, care for her as if she were her own. But Snow White’s destruction was her own doing, and the queen had grown tired of putting innocent people to death to ward off an unrelenting appetite.
Ten years had come and gone so quickly. Snow White would never aged past sixteen. The girl traveled through the dense wood that surrounded the castle, alone. Fallen branches cracked under her shoes which reflected the full moon in their glossy, pointed toes. Leaves of vibrant, dazzling colors drifted from overhead as she trudged through the forest and to the rippling spring where she intended to ask for eternal youth.
Snow White had watched her mother die—she’d grown weak, dull, tired. Snow had seen the signs of age begin to mar her father’s once handsome face. As she gazed upon her own reflection—delicate and beautiful—she feared those approaching years. She felt the terror well up deep within her, churning like lava inside her, and it made her desperate enough to do anything to stay young and radiant.u
Now, on the night of the harvest moon, Snow White sought out the black fairy. She’d heard tales of her granting eternal youth to those who could make a good bargain, and Snow had gold. Her short, fat heels poked through the mud surrounding the spring. The water glowed in the moonlight, tinkling like carnival music.
“Oh, Black Fairy, hear my call—” Snow began to bellow as she dipped a fingertip into the frigid water. It rippled into infinity. “I’ve come to offer you a bargain. It’s Snow White, the princess.”
“I know who you are,” a lilting voice called down from the glittering rocks.
“Dark one!” Snow White curtsied.
“So formal,” the fairy hopped down into the mud. “What exactly is it you’re after Princess? You’re already royalty. Your kingdom is strong, wealthy. I can’t bring people back from the dead. You’re beautiful. Ah! A prince is what you’re after?”
“What then?” the black fairy asked as she circled Snow White.
“You say I am beautiful, but beauty is fleeting. I want to be fair forever. Eternally young.”
The black fairy shuttered and turned her back to Snow White. “You don’t know what you ask. This isn’t a spell, but a curse.”
“It comes with the requirement to do awful, unthinkable things. Beauty everlasting has a steep price, one that not even all the kingdom’s gold can accommodate.”
Snow only considered the warning for a moment. Young and foolish, she was willing to sacrifice everything she had to ward off the invader called age. “I’ll pay the price. Just preform the spell.”
“The curse,” the fairy corrected.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Snow White, you won’t age, it’s true, but—”
“Do it, fairy!”
The black fairy swallowed hard, manifested a shimmering, black wand from thin air, and twisted and twirled it in the moonlight. Snow White didn’t understand the words that the fairy chanted as her wand began to radiate an odd purple aura that encapsulated Snow and cooled her body, as if it were encased in ice. The princess’ form began to pulsate faster and faster, colder and colder, until she shivered so violently she thought she would shake right out of her skin, leaving her flesh a puddle of ivory on the mud. Then, everything stopped.
“You’ll need to eat,” the fairy grimaced.
“Fine,” Snow smoothed her dress. “I have a castle full of truffles, pastry, roast. I can have anything my heart desires.”
“From now on, the only thing your heart will desire, is the flesh of the innocent.”
“No, Snow White,” the dark fairy scolded. “You’ll eat only human flesh, eternally. That is the price. If you fail to do so, your own flesh will deteriorate like that of a corpse.”
Snow White’s crimson lips parted, allowing a choked gasp to pass them. “How? I couldn’t.”
“That’s the price, Princess. I tried to warn you.” The black fairy was gone.
“Your majesty,” the huntsman murmured as he entered the queen’s quiet chamber. He was a tall, muscular man. He looked wild, untamable, with long golden hair and a scruffy beard, wrapped in animal pelts.
The queen stood, gazing out her window at the village that stretched beyond the castle walls. A thick blanket of snow covered the crooked rooftops. Streams of gray smoke rose from chimneys, swirled about, and dissipated into the falling darkness. Innocents, all of them, and they were all fated to be fed to a starving, vain princess.
“Thank you for coming,” the queen turned.
“Another life for the princess?”
The queen moved across the room to warm herself by the orange flames lapping at the chilled green marble. She closed her eyes. “Huntsman, I need a heart.”
“That will hardly be enough to appease her, Your Highness.”
“I need the heart of a young girl,” the queen turned. “With hair as dark as coal, skin as pale as moonlight, and lips as red as a rose. Do you know a girl like that, Huntsman?”
His eye were large, black pits, “I do. The fairest in all the kingdom.”
“I can’t watch my subjects die for the greedy whims of a hungry girl any longer. You’ll take her into the forest, and you’ll cut out her heart. Tomorrow.”
to be continued…
#HumpdayHorror Copyright 2018 Kira McKinney
Welcome to my blog. Sit back and enjoy a short story, a poem, or some flash fiction--whatever I have recently cooked up. I will post a new piece as often as possible. Check back once a week to see what's new.