Mirror Mirror Part Two, Chapters Two and Three

Fiction By Clare // 6/6/2011

This may be a little intense and scary, just so you know. Thoughts?

 

Chapter Two
Hunter was a little anxious. Ever since the King’s death, he’d been a little worried about his job position, as it was fairly clear Queen Hazel didn’t care for the princess, or anyone who had anything to do with her.
So when the Queen called for him, he felt a small patter of trepidation in his chest.
Well, if she fires me, I can always get work elsewhere, he thought. But the thought came with some disappointment. He enjoyed his work at the castle; the work he’d been doing since he was twelve. And, to be fully honest, he enjoyed Snow White. It was difficult for him not to, after all those years spending days on end with her. Anyone would have.
But, no matter what, Hunter consoled himself, the worst Hazel could do was fire him.
Or…so he thought.
 
When Hunter arrived at the Royal Hall, everyone was sent away.
Every guard, every maid, every servant.
Gone.
Hunter had never been called before solely Queen Hazel before, so he wasn’t certain how odd this was.
“Hunter Forest,” Queen Hazel said, nodding at him. Her eyes were cold and exacting.
Hunter bowed low. “Your Majesty, Queen Hazel,”
She looked him up and down. “You are the Princess Snow White’s guard, are you not?” Hazel asked.
“Yes, you’re Highness,” Hunter replied.
“Six years now, eh?” Hazel smiled a little, a cold, unpleasant smile.
Hunter nodded. “Yes, you’re Highness,”
“Good.” Hazel ran her finger around the rim of her ruby-encrusted scepter as she spoke. “You will take her out into the forest. Somewhere very far, where you’re sure she wouldn’t be able to find her way back alone. Then,” She stood, and pulled something from her sleeve…a long, glinting knife, with two black jewels embedded in the handle. “You will kill her, cut out her heart, and bring it to me.”
Hunter stared at the Queen, horrified and shocked into silence. “You want me to kill Snow White!?” he finally cried.
Hazel looked down at him, her eyes cold and filled with sick satisfaction. She put out her hand, the knife lying on her open palm. “Yes.”
Hunter hung his head and was silent for a moment, stunned. His heart pounded.
“No,” he murmured.
“What was that?” Hazel asked sharply, her hand still extended towards him, waiting for him to take the knife.
“No!” Hunter shouted, looking up at her. “I won’t kill her! I’d sooner die than kill her!”
“Really?” Hazel asked, almost disinterestedly, not moving a muscle.
Hunter stood and drew his sword. No one was here. He couldn’t kill the Queen anymore than he could bear the thought of killing Snow White. His loyalty, confound it, ran too deep. But he didn’t back down. He’d cut off her foot if necessary, but he wouldn’t back down. Snow White would be safe.
“Hunter Forest,” Hazel said sharply, her voice piercing and cruel. “If you refuse, or you try to harm me, I promise you this very night your mother and four sisters will be arrested, and tomorrow they will hang.”
He lowered his sword and sank to his knees. “No, Your Majesty…” he begged. “Please! Please…don’t do this! Why do you want Snow White to die!?”
Hazel gave him a sharp look, and tossed the knife towards him. It clattered on the floor and slid, the hilt bumping against his knee, stopping it.
“I will show you.”
From underneath her throne, the Queen produced a foot-long, extremely ornate, oval mirror. But it was half empty. One half of the pane of glass was gone.
Hazel set it on the throne, and gazed into it, standing to the side so Hunter could see. Her eyes burned with such passion, hate, and desire, Hunter involuntarily leaned back a little.
“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,
Who is fairest of them all?”
And then, a face appeared in the half-pane of glass. It was only half a face. It had a face that looked like nothing and everything, infinitely weary and wise.
“Queen, you are full-fair, ‘tis true,
But Snow White is fairer than you,”
Hunter was stunned.
Hazel shook with rage.
The Mirror cleared of its cloudy faced, and Hunter saw himself reflected back in it, pale and aghast.
That is why Snow White must die,” Hazel said, her words strained, her teeth clenched together. “I am the fairest in the land! But the Mirror will not say so till she is dead! You must kill her!”
“Are you insane?” Hunter asked, feeling a bit amazed. “Snow White is beautiful, but what does it matter?”
Hazel stalked towards him menacingly, till she stood directly in front of him, glowering down on him. “Beauty is all that matters, you idiot. I will be beautiful! Do you understand!? Your mother’s life and the lives of your sisters depends on your answer. Will you kill her?” She took a step back, her face growing scarlet she was so incensed.
Hunter’s breath shook, and he swallowed a hard, cold lump in his throat.
Slowly, he picked the opal knife up off the floor, and stared down at it, resting on my palms. His heart felt squeezed and twisted. He had no choice. “I will.”
 
 
 
Chapter Three
A sharp, quick knock sounded at the room to Snow’s door.
Snow White had been sitting curled up on her ottoman, reading Lord Byron. She was rather fascinated by his seemingly deep and passionate knowledge of love, and he presented it in so pleasing and eloquent a manner. Sleep like death without its terrors and all that.
She looked up when the knock came. “Come in,”
The door opened slowly, and she saw it was Hunter, looking tired and pale and a bit anxious.
He walked into the room a foot or so, and stood there in awkward silence for a moment.
“Afternoon, Hunter,” she said, going back to her poetry.
“Yes. Afternoon, Princess,” Hunter mumbled.
“What brings you here?” she asked, smiling a little at a particularly touching passage.
“Um…I…I wanted to…would you like to go for a ride? In…the forest?” he asked.
“A ride?” Snow asked, looking up briefly, than going back to Lord Byron. “Hm. I guess so. When?”
“Tomorrow morning,” Hunter replied, sounding grim.
She looked up and gave a short laugh at him. “You make it sound like a trip to a morgue,”
Hunter cleared his throat. “Would you?”
Snow licked her finger and delicately turned the page. “I don’t really care either way. Why? Is there a special occasion?” She suddenly looked up at him sharply. “Is there an occasion?”
Hunter shrugged, than shook his head. “I guess not. Someone strongly recommended it.” There was a pause. “The weather…I guess…its supposed to be nice,” he finished quickly.
“Ok,” Snow replied absentmindedly, struck by Lord Byron’s perfect description of a beautiful girl.
“Good,” Hunter said quietly. “Thank you, Princess. Good day,” He started to back out of the room, bowing.
“Oh, Hunter,” Snow said, looking up. She gave him a wide smile. “Thanks. We haven’t done anything really fun in a while. I always love going into the forest with you,”
Hunter looked a bit tense as she said this, and he swallowed, than cleared his throat. “Thank you, Snow White,”
He quickly fled the room.
 
The next day, the weather was indeed gorgeous. Snow White smiled at the sunshine, happily anticipating her day out. Ever since Papa died, Queen Stepmother had absolutely insisted that Snow never do anything or see anyone if it could be prevented. Today, Snow would have fun. Maybe she could persuade Hunter to take her to the town where she could meet a few boys. She desperately missed the company of boys.
Hoping so, she took extra care in picking her dress for the day. She finally settled on her best riding dress, with the royal blue corset and long, pale skirt with excessive white lace. It fit her like a glove, as did all her clothes, and she looked stunning in it, as she looked stunning in everything.
Honestly, beauty was so boring sometimes. She never had any reason to look prettier or try harder.
At ten sharp, she went to the stables with her escort, eager to get going. On her way, she passed Queen Hazel, already dressed in her own finest dress, leaning on her scepter, watching Snow White approach the courtyard.
“Snow White,” she said, nodding, a broad, toothy smile crossing her face.
Snow was a bit surprised, and smiled back cordially. “Hello, Stepmother,” she curtsied.
“Going for a ride?” Hazel asked, looking supremely interested.
“Why, yes,” Snow said quickly. “Hunter is taking me, don’t worry,”
Hazel laughed; a cutting, mirthful laugh that turned the heads of everyone in the courtyard it was so full of command and delight. “Oh, I’m not at all worried, Snow White. Not worried at all. You have a good time, you pretty little thing,”
Snow smiled obligingly at her stepmother. “I will, thank you,”
Hazel smiled back, wider, happier. “I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to see you,” she said. Because this is the last time I’ll ever have to lay eyes on you again, was the unspoken following thought.
Snow curtsied once more to the Queen and hurried off, tiring of Hazel’s delirious good mood. It was almost worse than when she was in a bad mood.
 
Hunter was at the stables, one horse ready and waiting.
Snow frowned. “Where’s Ladivale?” she asked.
“Lame today,” Hunter said quickly. “Its alright…we’ll just ride together,” He tried to push back the thought that Snow couldn’t have her own horse. He’d be riding back alone.
“Oh,” Snow said, smiling a little. “Ok,”
Hunter mounted, and Snow White delicately ascended the mounting block after him, smoothing her skirts.
“Need a hand?” Hunter asked, forgetting himself and smiling at her.
“Yes, please, Hunter,” she said primly, holding out her arms.
Hunter’s heart was heavy as he bent over, firmly took her by the waist, and hoisted her up behind him. This was going to be their last ride.
“Hm,” Snow said, firmly wrapping her arms around Hunter. “I forgot how fun it is to ride together,”
Hunter put his hand over hers for a second. “So did I,” he said quietly.
Snow poked him firmly. “Get going, you,”
He swallowed, and urged the horse into a quick trot. He wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible.
 
After a while, Snow begged Hunter to slow down. Sitting sideways on the back of a saddle was hard on one’s rump when galloping. “What’s our rush?” she teased.
Hunter was silent, slowing the horse to a walk as they neared the forest on the side road they had taken a mile from the castle.
“Hey, I don’t recognize this place,” Snow said. “Where are we?”
“We’re still in Lara,” Hunter replied ambiguously.
“Oh, good to know,” Snow said. “Alright than…where are we going?”
Hunter shrugged. “Just…going,”
Snow frowned. “We’re…eloping?”
She expected Hunter to laugh, and when he didn’t, she felt bad. “Oh, whatever. So, we’re going. Can I pick where we go? Will you take me to town?”
Hunter was quiet for a minute. “Not today,” he replied quietly.
“Mean,” Snow said, putting pouty manipulation into her tone. “Please? Please?”
“Not today!” he snapped.
Snow was stunned into silence. She couldn’t recall a time when Hunter had ever used such a tone with her.
“Fine.” she said, angry and hurt.
They road in silence for a while as they passed off the road into the thick forest. The ground was covered in leaves and brush and mulch, and a sweet, earthy smell engulfed them. The cool air was pleasant after the heat of the road. Snow breathed deeply. “Can we stop?”
Hunter shook his head. “Not yet.”
Snow sighed, but didn’t press the matter. She gazed about in wonder at the forest. It was so deep and enchanting and real. She wondered that she had never been in it before…just once or twice, and only a foot or so in with her father. She held tighter to Hunter. He took her fingers and loosened her grip, which saddened her. She laid her head on his back instead, watching the world through half-closed eyes. She refused to let his odd mood ruin her own.
Word’s of Lord Byron’s came to her, and she closed her eyes all the way, savoring the cold air and the sweet sound of poetry resounding in her heart. The silence and peace of the world mingled with the sweetness, and she breathed it in deeply, letting it carry her away.
The next thing she knew, someone was shaking her awake.
“Wake up, Snow White,” Hunter said gruffly. He was looking down at her over his shoulder, nudging her. “We’re stopping here,”
Snow blinked her eyes open, yawning as she slowly awoke, and looked around.
She was startled.
It was darker than before. They were only halfway in the woods now. They had come into a very small, grassy clearing with a few large boulders. All around were trees…not trees like before. Bigger trees, thicker, and the forest beyond was darker, deeper. The sweet, cool smell had dissipated, but the quiet had remained. The only sound was wind rustling branches and grass, and the horse’s tale swishing from time to time.
Hunter dismounted, looking around. He turned back to Snow, and she was surprised by the look on his face. It was cold and resigned and…harsh. Like this whole trip, a trip he’d specifically arranged, was all a burden to him. The hurt feeling returned, and Snow stared back down at him, frowning slightly, her mouth pursed. “What’s happened, Hunter?” she asked.
He didn’t answer. He just silently helped her down and tied the horse’s reigns to a tree.
“Go ahead,” he said, his voice distant. “Walk around. Rest. I’ll be right back,” He slowly walked into the trees and vanished.
Snow looked around helplessly, not daring to wander off, but unable to see what she might do aside from relieve herself behind a tree and have a drink from the flask tied to the horse. That done, she sat down on a boulder, and, looking around to make sure Hunter was not near, she drew the Mirror from the space she’d cut for it in one of the layers of each of her skirts. Papa’s warning to never let Hazel know she possessed half the Mirror had led her to believe it would be safer to keep this precious possession hidden on her person.
She looked down into the mirror, smiling, holding it far enough away to see all of her face and the top of her dress. Then she sighed. Something felt wrong. It was Hunter. No. She pushed that thought away. What did it matter if Hunter was petty and distant with her? It had been a long time since they were young…since they were playmates. Now he was her guard.
But, answers were available, and Snow wanted them. So, taking a deep breath, she said,
“Mirror, Mirror, that I see,
Quickly, come, and answer me,”
The Mirror’s face quickly clouded over its surface, and it gazed up at her, smiling kindly. “What is it, my fair Snow White?”
“Mirror, I’m feeling confused and hurt,” Snow said honestly. “Hunter’s being silly and strange. What’s wrong with him?”
The Mirror looked a bit sad. “Yes. Very shameful. A guilty conscience weighs on him. You cannot trust him.”
Snow stared into the Mirror, shocked. Of all the things it might have said, this was not what she expected.
“But…but…not trust Hunter? How could I not? We’ve been friends for years! I’ve…I’ve always trusted Hunter,”
The Mirror ‘tsked’ sadly. “Sometimes we trust people we should not. Don’t fret, dear. I understand,”
Snow still couldn’t believe it. “Not trust Hunter. What could possibly be weighing on his conscience, Mirror?”
“Something dreadful,” The Mirror replied. “It involves you. He cannot be trusted. He cannot be trusted.” And the Mirror cleared.
“Mirror!? Mirror, wait!” Snow cried, still greater confusion seizing her heart. She was too shocked to act. The Mirror always spoke the truth. But…not trust Hunter? She wasn’t sure if she could believe it, even though she knew it was true. “Mirror, Mirror….” She began, wishing to summon the Mirror again and clarify…when out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadow.
Someone was slowing coming towards her.
They had a knife raised in their hand.
Snow let out a frightened scream, slipping off the rock onto her side. She flipped around, and screamed again, horrified as she watched Hunter coming around the rock, his face set and grim, clearly meaning to kill her with the awful, long knife in his hand.
“Hunter!” Snow screamed, scrambling to get away from him. “Hunter, stop! Hunter, leave me alone! Hunter!? Hunter!”
He kept coming.
He didn’t even look like Hunter anymore. He looked like someone else. A total stranger.
He’s going to kill me, Snow thought, shocked and completely terrified. Hunter’s going to kill me. The Mirror was right.
She screamed louder, trying to stand and run, but tripping on her long skirt.
“Stop trying to get away!” Hunter cried, his voice harsh, yet a tad hysterical, as he advanced towards her.
“No! No! Hunter, please…Hunter, please!” Snow sobbed, just as she back into one of the boulders.
She was trapped.
She looked up at her friend…her best friend. She looked into his eyes.
She didn’t know him.
She turned away, pressing her hands against the boulder, waiting. She listened to herself sob, trying to concentrate on the sound, so it wouldn’t hurt so much when…when he stabbed her. She curled into a ball, crying and crying, waiting.
 
Hunter had felt a horrific surge of power as he advanced on the princess, knowing he could kill her. Knowing he must kill her. He’d been disgusted at the feeling, but unable to stop it. The thought of his family drove resistance from his mind.
It all happened so fast. He’d felt a little bit like he was watching himself in a dream. It’s not real. I can kill her. It’ll be fine.
Then, suddenly, Snow was up against a boulder.
He stood, the knife raised, poised to strike, end her life with one quick, hard stab.
The prey was cornered.
Time for the kill.
She looked into his eyes.
She turned away, curled into a ball, sobbed and sobbed.
And waited.
The adrenaline and power left Hunter.
His hands were shaking as they still clutched the knife. His body waited for him to kill her. His mind urged him to.
His heart froze him in his tracks.
The next thing he knew, he’d sunk to his knees, and both of them were weeping in the clearing.
 
Snow looked up at the sound, and was amazed to see Hunter, his head bowed to the ground, tears streaming out of his eyes. The knife lay in front of him on the ground.
She slowly pushed herself up against the boulder, so she was half standing. Hesitantly, hopefully, she leaned forward, and placed her hand on Hunter’s shoulder.
“Hunter?—”
Quick as a flash, he sprang up and grabbed her by the neck.
Snow let out a strangled scream, and he shoved her back against the boulder. He was shaking, breathing hard, and he looked her straight in the eyes.
“Go.”
She stared at him, trembling, shaking her head desperately. “No…no…”
“Go!” He shouted, shaking her by the shoulders. “Go! Run, and run, and go as far as you can. Never come back, Snow White! Do you understand!? Never come back!”
“Why!?” Snow White gasped.
“The Queen wants you dead! She’ll do anything to stop you, because of this dang mirror!” He grabbed it off the ground where Snow had dropped it and shoved it against her chest. “She’ll be even madder when she finds out you have it! Take it and go!”
“Hunter…Hunter!” Snow cried, tears starting to trickle out of her eyes again.
Go!” he yelled, and shoved her off.
Gasping, still clutching the Mirror to her chest, Snow stumbled, sobbing, running and tripping away from Hunter, out of the clearing, away. Away. Go. Again, she was just going. But now, she was all alone.
Hunter’s cries urged her on. “Go! Get away from here! Never come back, Snow White! Never come back!”
He stood, tears trickling down his face, shouting after her, desperation and fear gripping his heart. “Go! Go, Snow White!”
Right before she vanished into the furthest layer of trees in view, he shouted desperately, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry, Snow White!” He held his head in his hands. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Go. Go…oh, just go. Never come back to haunt me again.”
She’d die in the forest. Still too cruel a fate for Snow White, but it was much better that way. She’d die in the forest. He’d never see her again.
He wouldn’t have to kill her.

Comments

I. Loved. This.

I. Loved. This.

WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! This was absolutely....AHHHH!! Clare, this was AMAZING!!! Like, I can't even describe it. It was so well written and intense and absolutely PERFECT!!! This is better than the original version of Snow White. *laughs* Anyways...

Whoa! 

Madeline | Wed, 06/08/2011

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Breathe! Breathe!

Lol...

But thank you SO MUCH! Its great to know people love what I write : ). You are pretty much my intended audience, anyway, so COOL! I wish my posting thing would reset...I just finished the next two chapters, not to mention another chapter of Sunburn and another two chapters of Where Your Story Ends....

8-I

Haha...

Clare | Wed, 06/08/2011

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