The suffocating heat enveloped me as I opened the door to Ellie’s chamber. Cringing at the nauseating smell of sickness, I pushed my way through the maids surrounding the bed, and finally reached my darlings.
“Are there any improvements?” I asked, one hand stroking the hot and damp brow of my tiny daughter.
“No,” Snow White replied through tears.
I wrapped my other arm around my beautiful princess. She leant against me, chest heaving with heavy sobs, her body expressing the grief that I felt so badly but not dared show. Looking at the red cheeks of my fair princess, cheeks that have never any other colour than the purest white her entire life, I knew I needed to do something. This is not the happily ever after promised us.
Gently kissing the feverish scarlet lips of my wife, I murmured soothing words and left. Hastily pulling on a cape, I ordered for my horse to be saddled. After careful instructions to the servants that they must swear on their life to not tell Snow where I headed, I made way out of the castle towards to woods. And the mine of the seven dwarves.
I don’t know how I managed to get inside the mine. Usually it was impossible to convince any of the dwarves to let me set as much as a toe inside, because of what lies within. I’m sure you all remember the magic mirror? The evil one that answers to “Mirror mirror on the wall”? Well, that magic mirror was inside the mine. And I needed to get in, to ask this magicked thing how my daughter can be cured.
Standing before the gilded frame of the mirror, I called out.
“Mirror mirror in the mine
How do I cure this daughter of mine?”
“Put your hand against the glass. That’s it. Lean in closer now. Closer!” the mirror ordered in a mesmerizing voice.
I leant my whole body against the mirror, puzzled as to how this would help cure my daughter. And then it happened. I was being pulled, bit by bit, into the mirror.
“Snow!! Snow!!! Help me!”
But the only voice that answered me was the deep growling of the evil Faeritayl. “Don’t go calling for your fair damsel. She can hear you no more. How do you like being defeated now? Welcome to my world.”
I sat there, alone with my feverish daughter. As I finished wiping the sweat off her brow, she called for water, and I waded through the almost liquid air to pour her a lukewarm cup from the jug. She gulped at the water, and in no time at all went back to sleep. I stood up, stretching my limbs. Heading towards the water basin, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the irony of ‘happily ever after’. That’s how our stories always end, the princess happy in the arms of her beloved prince. Oh the glamorous life of a princess. Looking at myself in the mirror above the basin, I saw a red face, puffy with tears and a mess of raven black hair. What happened to the beautiful Snow White of once upon a time, the fairest of them all? And Ellie had only been sick for a week. I shuddered to think what I would look like after a few more weeks of this.
Deciding that both Ellie and I could do with a breeze of fresh air, I unlatched the window and stuck my overheated head outside. The wind caressed my cheeks, and whispered sweet songs in my ears. If only Julian was here.
The gusts of wind grew more urgent, tugging at my messy raven locks, willing me to listen to their message. I scanned the grounds before me, trying to find the direction from which their message originated. The message came from the woods.
“Snow... Snow... Help me....”
Julian’s voice. There was a strange quality to his voice, as if he was speaking behind a glass wall. My chest hurt. It felt as if someone stabbed a shard of glass through my heart.
“Mama? Why is it so hot? What am I doing in bed at midday?” Ellie’s chirpy voice said from behind me.
I whirled around to face the bed. My daughter, who was delirious moments ago, were getting out of bed and running towards me. In the bed where she laid seconds ago was a black spirit, a spirit with a deep growling laugh. Faeritayl’s minions. Hugging my baby to me, I took cautious steps toward the evil thing. It floated off the bed as I approached, and into the mirror at the water basin. Faeritayl’s wicked face stare out at me from the mirror, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. Looking into those bloodshot eyes, I knew that he was the one who made my baby sick. Anger swelled within me and I stride forward to slap his ever-mocking face. But as my hand came to contact with the mirror, Faeritayl disappeared and in his place was my Julian, my beloved. I tried to touch his face, his hair, but all I could feel was the cool glass beneath my palm.
“Snow...” he mouthed, and disappeared.
I pounded the glassy surface, harder and harder. I thought that sheer force would let me enter the mirror, to be with my love. But all that I ended up with in the end were two bloody fists.