The Blood Rose (A Fairy-Tale Retelling)

So my good friend R.Gowland showed me a prompt he found on Tumblr a little while ago, and the idea just stuck. The premise was this. If Snow White literally had skin as white as snow, lips as red as the rose and hair black as ebony, she probably would look quite other-worldy. She would look deathly pale, like a vampire. This idea formed in my head and just would not leave me alone, and so, this little story happened. 

Enjoy!

The full moon was high as he silently approached his prey, not his usual game, but the Queen had personally summoned him to the palace. He had retired from this line of work when he married, and initially refused her request, but he could hardly pass up the coin she offered. His wife was heavy with child and winter was upon them, the first snow having already begun to fall.

The money would see them well into next spring.

When the Huntsman came upon Snow White by moonlight, she was humming softly to herself, an armful of wild roses cradled in her arms, her gaze turned away from him.

“She sent you to kill me, did she not?” He froze on the spot, his hand hovering above the silver hunting knife at his belt. He shouldn’t have been surprised a creature such as she would hear his boots crunching in the freshly fallen snow, no matter how light he tread.

Snow White turned to him.

She truly was exquisite, but he would not be fooled by her beauty. Her looks alone were the perfect trap for men less wise than he. Her hair was as black as sin, a stark contrast to the porcelain white of her skin, and she truly did look an other worldly creature as she smiled sadly at him with blood red lips and luminous sapphire eyes.

Snow White was every bit as beautiful as they said. Her ploy was perfect.

“I am not as wicked as she may have told you, my only crime is my youth and beauty. My step-mother cannot handle that she grows older, and each year I grow more beautiful.”

She let her arms fall to her sides, the wild roses falling softly to the ground as she took a step toward him. The forced sadness of her smile faded, replaced with a seductive, yet sinister pout.

“Would you really kill me, dear Huntsman? Am I not too beautiful to be taken from this world?” She came ever closer, yet he did not move, his fist clenching over his knife and he pressed his lips together into a thin line.

He had a job to do.

“I do not make a habit of murdering young maidens, but we both know that’s not what you are, don’t we?” The creature cocked her head to the side, her eyes narrowing to mere slits, a twisted smirk tugging at the corner of her too red lips.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you speak of. My step-mother tells the most outlandish lies. What would it take for you to spare my life, dear Huntsman?” She moved with lightning speed, her face suddenly a mere hairsbreadth from his. He had almost forgotten how fast her kind could move.

Her piercing gaze locked with his and he felt her control creeping in at the edges of his consciousness.

He fought against the fog that quickly began clouding his mind. His thoughts fragmented like puzzled pieces and he groped through the haze to make sense of the picture.

“Will a kiss convince you to spare me? To taste of my lips, as you run your peasant fingers through my hair and hold me close?” Her small hands were placed against his chest as she leaned up to whisper low in his ear, their frigid iciness seeping through his clothing, chilling him to the bone and breaking her hypnotic gaze.

He would not become her mindless thrall!

The Huntsman jerked away, his legs coming up against a fallen log and he tumbled backward into the snow. In an instant she was standing over him, her doeskin boot pinning his fallen blade as he reached for it.

“Why do you run Huntsman?” She lifted her skirts and straddled his hips. “Your body betrays you Huntsman. I can hear your heart beat faster at my touch.” Her lips pressed to his throat, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t move. He was immobilised, intoxicated by her. It had been too long since he tracked a vampire, his skills were far too rusty.

“I can feel your desire Huntsman, is this what will spare me?” He couldn’t stop the groan that escaped him and the shame that accompanied it as she pressed herself to him, rolling her hips over his.

His gaze darted to his knife, still too far from his reach and a tight knot formed in his gut. His eyes darted about wildly, looking for his escape, but there was to be none. If he attempted and failed, his blood would be drenching the forest floor before he could blink.

She gripped his face, squeezing his jaw so hard he thought she might shatter it.

“Step-mother really should have learned by now what happens to those who cross me. Who is the hunted now Huntsman?” She yanked his face toward her, licking the length of his face, before nipping at his ear. He knew her next move before she made it and he braced himself for what was to come, sending a silent prayer out the gods above.

She pulled her head back, a feral grin splitting her lips as she bared her canines, her fangs tearing into the soft flesh of his throat.

The pain was like a thousand burning needles as she feasted upon his blood. He felt the life draining from him, weakening him. He grit his teeth against the pain, clenching his fists tight, blunted nails digging into his palm.

Any moment now…

Snow White tore herself away from him with a pitching shriek, spitting and sputtering, clutching at her throat.

Now he had her.

She staggered back, pale hands clamped over her mouth gagging on his blood, eyes wild as she vomited up copious amounts of the crimson fluid onto the crisp, white, snow.

The Huntsman lurched toward his fallen blade, but was forced to watch his quarry escape through dimming eyes as she fled into the woods. She has drunk too greadily, leaving him weakened, an unable to follow, however, he was certain the poison would finish the job.

He had yet to see it fail.

 

***

 

The Huntsmen stood before his Queen in blood stained clothes and frozen to his very core. The Queen’s brows drew together in a dark scowl as she questioned him, attempting in vain to smooth away the signs of aging with her thumbs, tiny wrinkles having formed at the corners of her eyes.

“Are you sure it was Snow White? Lips red as a rose, hair black as ebony, skin as white as snow?”

“Yes, your majesty. I found her, in the woods, just as you said. The eve before last. I killed her—”

“Do not lie to me.” The queen said coldly, her tone frightening loud, though he did not flinch. He had dealt with creatures more dangerous than an angry, prideful Queen “Where is her heart?”

“My blade was not what made the killing blow, my Queen.” The Huntsman reached into his shirt pocket and retrieved a small, but empty glass bottle. “Silver solution, my own recipe.” The Queen’s delicately arched brow raised dubiously.

“You expect me to believe that she willingly drank silver?”

“Willingly? No. Unwittingly, yes.” He winched slightly as he reached up and pulled back his collar, revealing the still fresh puncture wounds. They would soon scar, like the others.

“The poison will kill her, as surely as any blade would.”

“You are certain?”

“Yes.” The Queen

“Then let us discuss payment.”

 

***

 

She staggered through the blizzard, her body wracked with spasms as intense waves of pain tore through her, leaving a trail of tainted red through the fields of white. Morning would be upon her soon, the blood seeping from her eyes and ears signalled the rising of the sun.

She lurched forward, dropping to all fours to spew yet more blood onto the snow. She collapsed into the whiteness, curling in on herself, gritting her teeth against the pain that threatened to split her apart. Bloodied tears fell upon her cheeks, her senses dulling as her life rapidly slipped away and her eyes fluttered closed, ready for death to claim her.

A hearty song drifted to her ears, a merry tune that spoke of the jolly workmen’s hope for a prosperous day.

Hope.

She may yet be saved from a premature demise.

She dragged herself to her feet and shuffled toward the cheery singing, toward her salvation.

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