Fiction by Susan Stiltner
It was an uncommonly dark morning. Snow White woke with a very eerie feeling, one like she had never before felt. As she got out of her bed she stumbled. Why did she feel so weak? She took a strained breath and continued across the cold wood floor to the window. She stopped just a few feet from her destination and listened for a moment. She had grown accustomed to the hustle and bustle of early morning in this house. When all the dwarfs were busy getting themselves ready for a hard day of working in the mines. Morning usually held the sounds of pots and pans clanging in the kitchen, the men shuffling through dresser drawers, seven sets of boots clomping about the floor of their tiny little cabin, which they had graciously allowed her shelter in.
Today however, there was nothing. Not even the birds outside were chirping. She stepped closer to the window, trying to shake the strange feeling that had come over her, then she slowly opened the curtains. She stumbled back and gasped. It was a completely black sky. There were no stars in sight. She turned to look at the big grandfather clock in the opposite corner of the room. Midnight. Why on earth had she woken up in the middle of the night? And why in the world did her stomach rumble a hunger pang that made it seem as though she hadn't eaten in a week? Suddenly, at the mere thought of food, her stomach lurched. Now she felt more nauseated than she had been in a long time. Fighting back the urge to vomit, Snow White decided to take a walk through the house and check on her friends. On her way back across the bedroom floor she passed by a large mirror that they had handmade just for her. It was then that she saw it. Her reflection! Right there on the side of her neck were two tiny puncture wounds that were seeping blood.
She brought her hand up and gently touched the holes, wincing as she did. A wave of fear swept over her. Something was horribly wrong! Rushing to the door she swung it open with such force that it bounced off the wall and almost knocked her down when it came crashing back to her. Undaunted she ran down the hall, terrified and shaken by what she had just seen in her own reflection. She stopped mid-stride when she caught an unfamiliar odor in the air. Standing in the hallway outside the room that held seven tiny beds, which in turn held her best friends, she took another staggered breath.
The door was open, the dull moonlight seeped in through a small opening in the curtains. Only a sliver of light fell to the floor, but that was enough. In that instant Snow White was face to face with her own worst nightmare. Her tiny friends lay mangled on the floor, torn to shreds by some unknown entity. Blood was covering almost every inch of the room. She realized that to be the smell she had noticed only moments before. She started to panic. Never, in all her nineteen years, had she even realized how cruel the world could be.
She had survived the wrath of her stepmother and her gang of hunters that had been sent to destroy her. One of the hunters had even caught her. It was a few months ago. He had chased her for such a long distance and she grew tired. This afforded him the chance he needed to throw his rope out and catch her around the neck. He dragged her over to his horse and jumped down onto the ground in front of her. He grabbed a handful of her raven black hair and picked her up. As her feet met the ground he drew his sword. Just as he raised the blade above his head, her favorite of the dwarfs, Dopey, who had been practicing his hunting skills, shot the hunter right in the center of his chest with a long wooden arrow. The man fell, dropping his blade and releasing his hold on the maiden. She dropped to the ground sobbing with relief. Dopey ran over to her and wrapped his arms around her, it was then that she saw his tears. "I was afraid I would lose you if I didn't stop him." he said.
Snapping back to the present Snow White was overcome with fear. What would she do without them? Who could have hurt her friends? BUMP! Something moved in the corner of the room. Was the culprit still inside the house? She was faced with a terrible dilemma. Should she run? Or should she stay, and release all the anger she felt, all the rage, on the person responsible for taking the lives of such sweet innocent beings. She decided on the latter. Gathering every ounce of courage she could manage she took a breath and stepped in the direction of the sound.
Suddenly the harsh reality of what had happened here was almost too much to bear. Looking around however, she saw nothing, except the distorted bodies of her beloved dwarfs. Thinking she had better get a closer look, for the sake of finding the answer to this riddle, she reached for a lantern that had been hanging by the door and lit it. Just as she had feared, the bloody scene was far worse in the light. Clearly a great massacre had taken place only a few feet from her own room. Why hadn't she heard anything? Why hadn't she sensed something was wrong? Had her friends perished trying to protect her?
She could no longer hold it all in, she sat down on the cold, blood soaked floor with her head in her hands, and began to cry. Just then something moved beside her leg. Startled, she jerked her head around to look. A small hand raised and touched her leg. It was Dopey. He was still alive, but only barely. She leaned over to him and touched his face softly. His eyes rose to meet hers and she saw only complete fear looking back at her. Trying to make her voice come out as soothingly as possible without shaking, she whispered to him "It's ok, I'm here now." She then asked the only question she could. "Who did this?" With his final breath Dopey answered, but it wasn't the answer she had thought she wanted to hear. Her dearest friend looked into her eyes and said "It was you!"
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