After dropping a full cup of coffee on my laptop, I had to buy a new one. Even after hours of work, the IT God (aka Mr. Stone) couldn’t get it to work. I had killed it. (not the first time). Now I have my new one up and running. I started going through my files to clear out ones I don’t need anymore- but I’m a .doc hoarder so I got rid of very little. I came across some stories I wrote for one of my creative writing class in college a few years back. Thought you all might get a kick out of seeing some early unpolished work of mine. I’ll warn you- it’s not a romance or a happily ever after of any kind…. enjoy.
Beyond the edge of reality lays a kingdom where Princess Snow once lived with her Father, the King. Snow’s mother, and the King’s greatest love, died during the princess’s birth. Snow resembled her mother in every way. Her stark black hair contrasted her albino skin, and her electric blue eyes mesmerized all that should look upon her. The King missed his wife greatly.
After many years of sleeping alone and wondering if he would ever again hold love in his heart for a woman, the king found a new queen. She was younger than he, almost as beautiful as his daughter, and cunning as any fox he had ever hunted. He was in love. Snow, happy to see her father find joy in his life again, welcomed the new queen. The new Queen, however, did not welcome Snow so easily.
“How can you ever expect to meet your Prince if you spend all of your time helping those villagers with their little lives?” The Queen asked during dinner. The Queen often rebuked Snow for the amount of time she devoted to the people of their kingdom.
“Your mother is right. You must marry.” The King’s voice bounced off of the royal walls of the grand dining room.
Snow looked at him in disbelief.
“Father, I am only seventeen. Surely, I can wait to marry for a few more years?” she protested cautiously. Her father had changed since his marriage to the Queen, but surely he still loved her. She was his daughter, after all, and a father’s love can’t die.
“We will discuss this further at a later time. Leave us now to our dinner.” The queen waved her regal hand towards Snow, dismissing her from her own dinner, as she often did. Snow bit back her retort and paused in her obedience only to kiss her father’s cheek before departing.
“Perhaps she’s right.” The King said as he tore the meat from his chicken. “She is only 17, her mother was nearly 20 when we married.”
“You still love her, your wife, your first queen.” The Queen accused in a soft, tearful voice that grabbed the King’s attention. “You will never see me as your wife, your queen.” She turned away from him. He grasped her hands in his.
“No, you are my queen, my wife, my love. No one means more to me than you. No one.” He reassured her, as he did every day. “Snow’s mother is in my past. You have my whole heart. I swear it.”
“You love Snow more,” she whispered, still not looking at him.
“She’s my daughter. It’s a different love that I hold for her.” He patted her hand and sat back in his chair. “She will marry, and we can focus on our Kingdom.”
“The longer she remains, the more she steals your people’s loyalty. They will never see me as their Queen as long as she is within these walls. You cannot rule them if they hold no respect for us as King and Queen.” The Queen snapped. “She looks so very much like her mother. I am forever to be in her shadow.” She softened her voice and reached out to touch his hand.
“She will marry. I promise, my Queen. She will be gone soon enough.” The King reassured her.
“Very well. So long as she marries soon.” The queen smiled brilliantly at him once again. “Soon.” She nodded and reached for her wine glass. “Else we will try another way.”
Snow endured meetings with Prince’s from the three neighboring kingdoms for several weeks. Each was pleasant enough but just as young as she. Their apprehension about marriage mirrored her own. The Queen blamed Snow for not being pleasing to the suitors, and she was losing patience.
“Snow!” The king entered her quarter’s one evening looking panic stricken. “Snow, my daughter!” he rushed to her side.
“Father, what is it? What’s the matter?” she asked.
“The Queen! Oh. My daughter. I am sorry!” Snow focused on his words as they dashed from his lips. “She wants you to be gone from her. She fears you, loathes your beauty and is envious of the love I have for you. You must leave.”
“But, where will I go?”
“You must go, else I fear she will do something horrible to you.” The King clasped her hands in his grip, his hands cold, shaky. Snow looked at him with wild surprise.
“Can you not do something? You are king!” she whispered, afraid the queen’s guard may be in the hallway.
“She will not listen to me.” He shook his head. “No, there isn’t time. You must flee!” he rushed away from her when she tried to protest again. “There is a trail behind the castle. It leads into the woods. There is a small village on the other side; you’ll find comfort there. The people are very loyal to me but are not within my kingdom. Tell them who you are, they will give you shelter until I come for you.” He found her warmest cape and threw it around her shoulders. “You must go now.” The urgency in his voice gained her obedience.
“You’ll find me. You’ll find a way to fix this, I know it.” She soothed him as she followed him down stairs and out of the castle. He paused a moment at the hidden doorway to look into her jeweled eyes. Before sending her away and with a tenderness she remembered from her childhood, before the Queen, he kissed her brow. She pulled her wrap tightly around her body as she ran from her home and into the darkened woods.
It was not long before she found herself desperately lost. The trails wove into each other, bringing her back to where started. Frightened by the sounds of the animals, cold from the chill in the autumn air, and exhausted from running, she sat down on a large boulder beneath a leafless maple tree.
“Who’s there!?”She heard a male voice demand from behind her. She looked around, but the darkness veiled him from sight. “Who are you?!” his voice came again.
“I’m Princess Snow.” She whispered into the dark. She jumped in surprise when a man, who reached her hip in height, stood before her holding a small lantern. Had it not been for his beard and wrinkles, she would have thought him a child.
“The Princess?” he questioned, raising the lantern to see her better. She wanted to smile in greeting, but the feat was too exhausting.
“Yes. My father sent me from the castle. He said to hide away until he came for me, but I cannot find the village he spoke of.” She explained, rubbing her arms.
“I know what village you mean, but we can’t go there in the dark. Come with me. You may find shelter with me and my brothers for the night. Then we will deliver you.” He grunted and turned before she could respond. She hurried to keep up with him and followed him to a small cottage. Two men sat under the torches burning on the porch smoking pipes; they looked every bit the brothers of her guide.
“Stay here.” He directed and went ahead to speak to his brothers. She watched their expressions transform from confusion to surprise, to something like excitement but darker.
“Princess Snow, welcome!” The tallest of the group raised his hand in greeting, beckoning her forward. She smiled with relief and stepped up onto the porch.
“Thank you so much.” She took a deep breath. “I was becoming so frightened in the woods.” She followed them into the small cottage.
The men ushered her to a rocking chair near the fireplace to warm herself while they fetched her something to eat from the iron stove. If she thought their cottage to be crude in its appearance, she was polite enough not to mention it. There was a string of bones drying over the fire.
“A deer we had for dinner last night.” Her guide, named Gramps, explained when he caught her eyes wandering to them. She nodded, accepting his answer. She didn’t question the other strings of bones that lay in a pile beside the fireplace, the odd looking pelts on the walls, or the strange smell of the cabin.
“Here, eat this. Chip is our best cook. He made this soup special, perfect to take away your chills.” Gramps handed her a small bowl of soup. Hungry from her adventurous evening she ate it quickly, thanking them between bites. They watched her intently as she ate it.
“Gramps, help us bring the table from out back. She’s sound asleep.” Chip instructed his older brother. Snow rested her head against the back of the rocking chair, her lips parted in deep slumber and the half eaten bowl of soup fell to the floor.
A pounding on the door interrupted the brothers’ breakfast. Gramps swung the door open to find the King standing before him. He bowed his head in greeting.
“Did she find you?” he asked gruffly, stepping into the cottage. The strong metallic odor hit him as he entered, and he tried not to show his disgust.
“Yes, Your Majesty.” Gramps closed the door. The Kings stood before his daughter.
Snow laid on a large wooden table, her hands folded neatly on her stomach. Her black hair fanned out around her head. Her once white skin had turned a cold, dull gray. The King walked to her side and lifted her lifeless hand from where it rested. He traced the jagged raw cut that ran across her wrist with his finger and looked to Gramps.
“Did she feel pain?” The king asked, a hint of worry in his voice.
“No. The soup put her to sleep before Chip did his work.” Gramps answered solemnly. The King nodded and put Snow’s hand back, noticing her other hand bared the same cut. “Is your carriage outside? We will carry her out for you,” Gramps offered motioning to his silent brothers.
“No. The Queen only requires her heart.”
Gramps moved the two large buckets of her blood from the table to the floor and retrieved a small jeweled box which he handed to the King. The King surveyed the cabin on his way to the door, not looking back at his daughter. “You may have the rest. Reward for your work.” The king stepped outside before Gramps could thank him for their feast.