A more modern, urban, gritty retelling of the German fairytale Snow White and Rose Red. How it would go down if happened in modern day Los Angeles.
The day had been a long one, she thought as she slid onto a well worn bar stool. She’d had enough of the glamour of Hollywood and the straight-laced motif of the business district downtown. As soon as time permitted, she’d crept into the seediest establishment she knew of, where there was no chance of running into a celebutant or business mogul wanna-be.
Al’s place was her favorite place in the world, even better than her own home. Here no one pretended to be something they’re not. There was no need for pretenses when you knew nobody was watching you. This was the kind of place you came to disappear. The lights were low, the music was loud, and the air was filled with a thick cloud of smoke, despite California’s laws against smoking indoors. The rules didn’t matter at Al’s place.
“Looking good pretty lady” a familiar voice crooned from just behind the woman. She turned the corner of her berry stained lips up into a half smile. She shoved her auburn tinted locks into a ponytail in a huff, revealing the tattoo of an apple on the chocolate toned skin of her swanlike neck. The apple looked real enough to bite.
“I’m off the clock.” Her voice was dripping with venom, as her affronter suspected it might. She didn’t want to be bothered with work, not even for her closest friend, if he could be called that.
“You know there is no such thing as off the clock for us.” The man joined her in the nearest bar stool.
“The usual please Al” she called out to the bartender.
“Sure thing Snow,” a petite blonde covered in a mural of tattoos answers with a wink. In moments two Ice cold beers were slid in her direction across the bar.
Snow heaved a weary sigh before turning in her seat to address the large burly man, built like a line backer. The man, code name Bear, was a site to behold. Bear was easily 6’8, and near 280 pounds. His five O’clock shadow stayed on his face around the clock, and he was easily large enough to frighten people by mere appearance alone.
“What is it now?” She crossed her lengthy legs covered in black leather. Her deep-v cut red top left little of her ample curves to the imagination, beneath her fitting leather bomber jacket. Not much other attire was fitting for someone who primarily got around by Harley.
“We’ve got a bad guy that needs attending to, and it has to be tonight. That’s all you Snow, as usual.”
She rolled her eyes at the moniker she’d been given. The people she worked for and with, The Unit, had no real names, only the one’s assigned to them. She’d been deemed Snow White. She found it very ironic considering she was a black woman, by all accounts. She was private paranormal special intelligence whose only job is to make drug dealers disappear permanently once they became too much for the locals to handle with the usual methods of law enforcement.
A very secret and small branch of law enforcement had been created to dispatch of such problems when they became more than just people hurting people. Everyone had a specialty. Hers was releasing the spirits of darkness often attached to manmade drugs to make them more addicting and more lethal. If people only realized that they were inhaling, sniffing and shooting up real, living, darkness, the world would be a far cleaner place.
The fact was, they didn’t know, so people like her with very special skills and temperaments were brought in to at very least, slow down the threat. For her initial trial, she’d released a swarm of darkness of from a single key of cocaine. It went up like a powdered explosive. That was how she garnered her moniker, code name: Snow White.
She was a bounty hunter of sorts, the kind that no one knew or wanted to know really exist.
“Fine” she sighed “Let’s lock, load and blow some shit up.”
Bear grunted at her response. “Not so fast Snow, we’re going to need your sister on this one. She’s been assigned this case too.”
“Great, all I need to better my mood is Red.” Snow mutter s curse beneath her breath.
Bear offers her a wide smile, plastered across his perfectly tanned skin, his blues eyes sparkling beneath tufts of shiny blonde hair. “Then get ready to get happy. Your sister’s outside.”
“Damn it” she exclaimed, pounding her leather glove clad fist into the bar. She was in no way happy to see her sister. She never was.
Begrudgingly, snow sucked down her beer and stomped out the bar in her riding boots. Idling next to her Harley was a pristine white Mercedes with windows tinted black. Red always had to be so demure. Snow rolled her eyes, yanked the door open and flopped onto the leather seat. Bear made haste to climb into the passenger seat, opposite the chauffer before the vehicle took off. He didn’t want to be within clawing distance of the two women.
“Snow” an ice cold voice cooed addressing her.
“Rose” she replied equally as cold. Had they have addressed each other any colder, the windows would have frosted over.
Rose barely turned her eyes in Snow’s direction. She already knew the woman would be dressed like a biker. Her long auburn hair probably smelled of liquor and cigarettes, and somewhere her smooth brown skin was likely diminished by yet another tattoo. They were never obvious to the plain eye; that would be no good for undercover work. Still Snow always found a way to get a new marking.
Snow was a rebel. She and Rose couldn’t be more opposite. Red had long blonde hair; blunt cut at the ends with equally blunt cut bangs that hung like wisps just above her slanted brown eyes. She was Japanese. Snow had learned that by gauging the particular slant of her eyes, not by friendly conversation. They never had friendly conversation.
Rose Red was adorned neatly in a stark white business suit. Code name Rose Red dealt in death, thus the moniker given her. Anywhere she was assigned would soon run red with blood. Rose Red was an assassin’s assassin. She’d trained in everything from poisons to explosives. Snow had even seen her kill a man with a bow and arrow. It was as if the woman lived for death. No one did it better than her.
Snow was the bruiser. She kicked ass, blew off faces, and blew shit up. She was particularly skilled at coaxing the very uncooperative in to singing like stool pigeons. She and Snow had been deemed sisters because wherever drugs were present, death was close behind. The two went hand in hand, like sisters.
Snow eyed the large white guitar case sitting between them. Even it looks haughty and pretentious to Snow, much like its owner.
“You have a show tonight?” Snow asked sarcastically.
“As a matter of fact I do. I’ve gotten you front row seats.” Rose smiled ruefully at her would be sister. “I imagine even you can enjoy a good piece of music.”
“Here’s the story ladies,” Bear began after a short moment of silence, indicating their verbal sparring had ended. “We’ve got a very rich old man who has made a lot of money off filling the streets with poison. We’ve got human sacrifices and all types of mischief tied to this guy. His place is like a fortress. He’s been off radar for a while, but he became priority number one today when a a very high ranking government official who was in his purse strings discovered his niece had become a ritual sacrifice in exchange for his business.”
“Another troll, huh?” Snow remarked.
It was any agency wide slang for rich old men gaining their fortune in very bad ways. Red frowned; she hates trolls as much as Snow did. It’s one of the few things they had in common. She wondered occasionally if Snow even realized that more often than not, the perpetrator was a real life troll. They were tricky to kill because they had a knack for running and hiding.
“Not just any troll girls,” Bear says in a reserved voice, “my troll”.
Both women looked up at the man with an equal amount of concern in their stark opposite faces. Bear tried not to look affected by the softening of their usually hard expressions. He was just another henchman who was left for dead by this guy once upon a time. Worse yet, he’d been addicted to his high-end poison and had completely lost control of his life. He’d screwed off his family, friends, and everything he’d ever cared about to stay connected to the source of his addiction.
Bear’s life was in complete turmoil when the sisters approached him. He’d become a mere shell of the man he once was. He’d lost his dignity, his pride and his soul to the troll. He’d tried to remain loyal to him for the sake of his addiction, even after discovering the horrifying truth about beings other than men really existing and running the organization.
The sisters offered to pay Bear very well to be their informant on his troll and that was his ticket out of the nightmare. He’d refused the money. Bear only asked that they help him get cleaned out for good. There was more to those drugs than he wanted swimming around inside of him. Some things were scarier than the thought of withdrawals.
The girls took care of him, got him the help he needed and even landed him a job with their agency. They missed catching his troll while he was in rehab, but it didn’t matter to the sisters. Since then, there was nothing either sister could ask that he’d refuse them. They’d saved his life and treated him like family, even though he looked very well like the enemy.
“You can handle this Bear?” Rose Red asked gently, far more gently than was her way.
“I got your back ladies, as always” Snow nodded her assurance. His word is all she needed.
”Good,” Rose said in a quickly detached tone.
“Once you two cause a commotion in the building, our troll will be moved out quickly. The most likely escape route is to his helipad.” She flipped her touch screen pad to show them both the schematics of the building. “You two will go in through the employee only elevator to the penthouse up top. Do what it is you two do to make people run screaming. That’s where I come in.”
Snow nodded in understanding. She flushed out the bad guy, Red took him out. She was one of the few skilled enough to go in against a hoard and come out without a scratch. She could smell a drug stash from miles away and could kill any creature she’d ever faced. Bear would be her back up. His job , as always, was to keep her focused and not allow her to get until a full battle rage. That could be dangerous.
“Snow,” Rose said as calmly as she could manage. “Stay off the ceiling. I don’t care if you think you’ve got a bead on the guy. Stay out of my way.”
Snow sneered at her would be sister, “yeah, sure.”
The Benz pulled into the downtown Los Angeles district, nowhere near where the troll would be. Distance was not an issue for Red. She grasped her guitar case and stepped into the street silently. She offered Snow White a small nod before slipping on her sunglasses in the light of the moon and walking towards the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The vehicle took back off and didn’t stop again until it is in front of a skyscraper in the center of downtown.
The building loomed high into the evening sky of Los Angeles. As expected, there were suitcases in the trunk with all the supplies they’d need, including detailed instructions. If nothing else, Red was organized and efficient.
Bear and snow stood out in the pristine office building. They were the only two not wearing pinstripes or some variation of business suit. Before they could get three feet into the building a pretty red head sitting at reception greeted them nervously.
“Can I help you with something?” Snow glared at the girl. She was human, but she obviously worked for the troll because any normal business would be closed at this hour with no need for a pretty receptionist. The girl had clearly been marked as the next sacrifice; Snow could see it in her aura.
“No” she states flatly, daring the girl to speak again. She didn’t. “Put your hands on the desk.” Snow ordered without so much as drawing a weapon, and the girl complied. “Bear, frisk the girl, take her keys and her phone and lock her in a supply closet.”
“I’m on it Snow” The girl didn’t put up a fight or lodge a complaint. She knew that hostile takeovers were a career risk when you work for a drug dealer. If they let her live, she was getting off pretty lucky and she knew it, especially since she’d given herself to darkness in order to succeed.
Once the girl was secured, Snow and Bear waited patiently at the employee only elevator for its arrival. Once inside, both suitcases provided by Red were opened and six hand guns each were sprawled out on the floor. Bear smiled.
“Your sister packed you your Ingram’s.” Snow couldn’t help but smile as well. Rose Red knew that her weapons of choice were dual Ingram’s. She loved the way the bullets exploded from the barrel once charged with her energy. That was awfully thoughtful, especially for a cold, stuck up bitch like Red.
By the time the elevator paused at the top floor the two and heavily armed and ready to roll.
“Are we going slow and easy or hard and heavy?” Bear asked before the doors slid open.
“Let’s take the subtle approach this time”. Snow suggested in tone too cool to be truthful. Her trademark sarcasm never failed, not even on a mission.
The moment the doors slid into the open position, Snow pulled her Ingram’s and blew twin holes through the head of the first guard waiting at the door clad in an Armani suit. A momentary hush falls over the room as his body dropped to the carpeted floor and dissipated into smoke. She could feel the shock run through the room. Some of these guys were human. This was going to get messy.
“So much for subtle.” Bear remarked.
Snow shrugged, “We’re hunting Trolls. No time for subtlety. Besides, I got new guns”
In mere seconds the room erupted with gunfire. There were at least ten armed men waiting in the room, obviously preparing to escort the troll to his vehicle downstairs, and ten more who were God knew what other types of creatures, ready for just such an occasion. Snow and Bear took quick cover behind an antique shelving of some kind. The massive metal case shuttered as it took several rounds of bullets.
“You think that was enough to get him running?” Bear asked over the exploding gunfire. It never took much to get a troll on the run. They were only there for the money. They never stuck around for the dirty work.
“Of course, but let’s get a couple more, just for sport.” Snow smiled like a school girl on Christmas day.
Before Bear could object Snow was leaping over furniture and shooting dead aim into drug henchmen in Armani suits. She was only this happy in the midst of complete and utter chaos. Blood and goo spattered the room as she and Bear mad a massacre of the troll’s security detail. They didn’t know if this was the type of distraction Red was looking for, but she was going to need a hell of a cleanup crew when they’re done. Snow put a bullet between the eyes of the last henchmen standing before taking off towards the ceiling exit.
“Wait!”Bear called out, physically stopping her in her path. “Red said stay off the roof, remember?” The two could feel the slight vibrations and hear the whirring or propellers above them. There was a dull glowing behind Snow’s eyes. Bear recognized that as a very bad thing.
“So what? They haven’t taken off yet Bear. We can get this guy ourselves. Come on! We earned the take down!” Bear didn’t move an inch, though he realized that he was no match for Snow White. She swore and pushed passed the giant of a man, who was obviously not buying her reasoning. She just wanted to piss off Red; More than that she wanted something else to smite.
Just as she begun to open the door to the ceiling exit, she heard a familiar humming sound. For a moment Snow’s face contorted in disbelief. Red wouldn’t do that, would she? Not over downtown Los Angeles. The humming sound got closer and her suspicions were confirmed.
“Hit the deck!” Snow screamed as she slammed the door shut, leapt from the steps and plowed bear to the ground just in time to hear and feel the explosion rock the building. Glass windows shattered everywhere. She shielded the man from the glass shrapnel as best she could, taking the majority of the cuts and burns. The two looked out through the penthouse where windows used to be and watched as a ball of fire that was once a helicopter plummeted towards the ground in colorful flames. It would dissipate before it ever hit the ground. The Unit would make sure of that.
“She used a bazooka?” Bear asked in disbelief. When Rose Red wanted somebody or something dead, they definitely died one way or another. Most beings could be killed by fire. Snow white could only shake her head in utter amazement and slight envy. Killing trolls by bazooka was very cool.
Snow felt a vibration in her back pocket and yanked out her cell from her place on the blood covered floor. It was a text from Rose on her department issued cell.
“I promised you front row seats. I hope you enjoyed the show.”