BRET EASTON ELLIS’ QUEEN
The mirror loomed before her, decorated with gold leaf framing, inlaid with jade and ivory. It cost a small fortune and necessitated bribes to customs officials on both sides of the ocean. Polished every day by servants, using carbonic cleaning fluid and wiped with non-scratching isometric polymer fiber cloth, it is quite a thing to behold.
The Queen, formerly a breathtaking spectacle, removed all of her clothes revealing a body losing a fight with age. Her once perfect figure now gave in to gravity’s beckon much as she tried to fight the good battle against it. Her daily nutrition regimen and fitness routine would put to shame the most ardent Royal Marine.
First, she ingested a handful of herbs ground down into a fine powder. Originally, she chewed these supplements but found snorting them into the mucous membrane sped up the process; these are said to keep her metabolism akin to an Iditarod sled dog. Next, she applied a dry rub liniment on her face and chest which discolored liver spots and replenished dead skin cells. She scraped the viscous sediment from her skin, showered, and applied a seaweed and kelp infused wrap. Finally, she rubbed in a dermabrasive™ cream followed by an exfoliating gel scrub.
While still fully nude, she gripped the sides of the mirror’s frame. A symbiotic connection fully established, the mirror’s surface fogged over, and the outline of an androgynous face appeared.
“Mirror, mirror,” The Queen began. The question is always the same. She waited for lavish praise to fall upon her ears. The mirror’s hesitation caught her off guard, and she lost focus.
“My Queen, you are the fairest in the land. That is true.” The Queen felt her skin tighten like leather left out in the rain.
“But Snow White is one thousand times more fair than you.” The Mirror’s words stripped The Queen of her dignity as the ointments had her dead skin.
ABEL FERRARA’S HUNTSMAN
The Huntsman watched as the young girl tripped and crashed onto the forest floor. The smell of pine accented the air, and a flurry picked up. She no longer spoke in complete sentences but whimpered like a whipped dog. Occasionally a scream would generate and shake the limbs of the trees.
The ax blade already stained brown dangles loosely by his knee.
“Please,” she said again. Her jet black hair outlined a face of pure innocence.
The Huntsmen was plagued by lurid images of the girl, which threatened to drive him into a frenzy. The Queen’s missive had been brief: take the girl to a remote region for slaughter and return with her lungs and liver. Watching her shiver in the shadows, however, he is suddenly overwhelmed with grief, and he can not bring himself to summon forth the execution. Quite easily, he could kill her; the ax blade could sever the meats from the organs, and he could deliver the choicest cuts to The Queen.
Done with his task, he’d return to the lodge and dance with smokable cocaine.
Getting closer to the girl, weapon outstretched, he felt overcome with guilt and fell to his knees like a wounded drunk.
“I’m sorry!” He wailed, “I’m weak. I’m so weak.”
At the change of her fortune, she crab walked away before she finally stood.
“Get out of here,” The Huntsman spat forth in between long sobs. He watched her disappear behind a copse of evergreens. Later, he found a young boar whom he butchered and presented the prize to the Queen.
DAVID CRONENBERG’S SNOW WHITE
Crippling pain caused Snow White to double over. Wracked with fever and stomach cramps, it’s unlike any pain she’s ever had. Mortified, she watched her belly contort and protrude through her frock in what appeared to be the shape of a tiny fist.
She lost consciousness and regained it hours later.
Her dress split open from the pressure, the stitches unable to hold. From her stomach now pulsated an egg sac about the size of a watermelon. Covered in a slimy afterbirth, she screamed and passed out again. Inside the creature took shape, swimming around in amniotic fluid, breathing in the young girl’s air, taking sustenance from her fear and hatred.
She awoke again a changed person.
Memories of her escape from the hunter, his motives revealed during a lengthy and slightly incoherent diatribe asking for forgiveness, revealed his role as a pawn for The Queen. Malice and rage filled Snow White until each nerve ending is sizzling. The creature, a product of parthenogenesis, an immaculate conception, driven solely by anger like a golem of lore, burst one hand through the gelatin structure. Collapsing the membrane like a balloon, it emerged into the open air covered in slickness.
The girl cleaned her offspring like a lioness would its cub.
Naked, the dwarf shivered and sneaked closer to her for warmth. Together they ventured deeper into the forest before finding refuge in an abandoned hut. In the end, she gave birth to six more. Each of them resembled her in some various malformed way. Coming up to her waist, adorned in knit wool caps, which she has made for them, their beards flowed down to their silver belt buckles. Nothing is spoken outwardly. A psychic connection with her exists, and they act upon her bidding.
She gave them names coinciding with their most defining attributes. Armed with rock hammers and pick axes, they left under cover of night to do her bidding, revenants ready to kill.
The Huntsman, naked, stumbled around the dimly lit room. Hands quivered while holding the pipe, and he breathed in the elixir, the kind nepenthe which eviscerated his rational thought. Assuming a Christlike pose, he imagined the small man he saw before him a hallucination. Quizzical at first, suddenly the man multiplied until seven of them stand before The Huntsman, cast in shadows and flickering light of the candles adorning the walls. It isn’t until the first dwarf ran up and buried a mallet into his quadricep does The Huntsman fully grasp the severity of his situation. Grunts accompanied the rhythmic chanting of “Hi Ho,” as the rock hammers descended. Afterward, when his body is found, the rumors circulated whether his death was a result of unpaid gambling debts or Machiavellian tactics employed by The Queen.
The Queen prepared herself to connect to the mirror. Already, she can imagine the sensations of narcissistic joy she’ll feel when the mirror confirms her suspicions she has once again regained the mantle. Walking through her antechamber, into the bedroom, passing by marble sculptures depicting busts of her likeness, interchanged with commissioned acrylic portraits, she entered her walk-in closet; all the clothes are organized by color and designer. Multitudes of cerulean, nimbus, teal, frame her in an elegant rainbow until finally, she came to the mirror.
The curse barely escaped her mouth as she discovered the mirror shattered, shards strewn about on the floor. She called for her guards ready to bury them with ferocious ardor. Nothing, there is no response. Instead, from within the shadows and behind the furniture, emerged seven creatures unknown except to the most devious imagination. She turned to flee adrenaline taking over. She felt them claw at her legs, and she’s tripped up. The Queen relinquished a scream which is soon drowned out by their envelopment of her. Underneath their pile, she begs. Blunt instruments strike at her, and soon cogent thoughts ceased to form in her head.
The dwarfish brood returned to the forest carrying with them trophies of the day’s conquests, while they chanted in unison. The woodland creatures in their path dashed for safety. Coming to their log cabin, they hesitated when they saw the door ripped off its hinges.
Inside, the table is overturned, broken dishes decorated the floor. They crossed the threshold and stopped. Weapons fell to the ground, and the silence was marred by the sound of flesh torn from limb. A giant gray wolf fixed his gaze upon them; upper lip pulled back. Blood stained canines revealing, as the growl formed. The look on his face did not suggest any kinship, understanding, or mercy; only the overwhelming indifference of nature. Beneath the wolf, the remains of Snow White’s body are a series of parts with no discernible characteristics. They crunched under his paws as he readied himself.
Before the dwarves can organize, the wolf was upon them.
Later the wolf took his time stripping each bone until nothing was left but the skeletal remains. Once finished, he bounded out the doorway thinking nothing of what’s transpired. It was simply his basest instinct for survival. Before leaving the clearing, venturing deeper into the recesses of the forest, Werner Herzog’s Big Bad Wolf stopped and howled.
Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. Currently, he teaches in Virginia. His work can be read in Bartleby Snopes, Necessary Fiction, The South Dakota Review, and FLAPPERHOUSE, among others. His website: asdavie.wordpress.com
Artwork: Leslie Ann O’Dell, Erosion