A Vampire White as Snow
Molly E. Hamilton
A slender woman, draped in silks and furs, stepped out from her carriage. She squinted her golden eyes and held her headscarf, which was dripping in jewels, onto her head as the harsh wind blew against her face. Before her waited the new castle. It was large and bleak, but this was Germany. This was King Philip the Good's castle.
"Welcome to your castle, Queen Danica, daughter of Radu the Third," said the head knight, offering his hand to steady the Queen as she started down the carriage steps. She took the hand with a squeeze.
"Voivode Radu the Third," she whispered, wincing at how foreign her Wallachian accent had become.
But, none heard the Queen's feeble correction. Even if they had, all knew that her uncle, Vlad the Third, had taken over as Wallachia's warlord to rule with spears and blood.
"Does it remind you of home, my Queen?"
Danica looked at the knight and swallowed. She held her head a little higher and strained a smile, "I hope it does not," she said. Silence followed.
"Tonight, you shall meet the little Princess SnowWhite," the knight said. His voice became deeper and his words came quicker.
Danica cleared her throat to speak in her best voice. "Children should sleep at night."
The knight dared to look the Queen in the eye. His chainmail clinked as his body tensed. "The princess does not sleep at night. We do not ask why," he said.
The newlycrowned Queen looked to her redhaired maid, who was exiting the carriage. "Gemma, I will need my mirror here, too."
The wind scraped icy crystals into a hiss.
When evening fell, Princess SnowWhite did not meet her new mother. The King had an emergency meeting to discuss the trouble with France and England, and the Princess couldn't meet Danica without the King. So, Danica sat in her chamber, looking at the mirror Gemma brought in. It was a breathtaking heirloom. Large, circular, and framed with silver flowers made with petals of pearls, opals, and diamonds. It was the mirror that revealed what Uncle Vlad really was.
Danica shuddered and threw a fur blanket over the mirror. "No," she told herself. She was just being paranoid. Was it that unusual for a child to sleep during the day? Danica climbed into her bed, but still, her eyes fell on the covered mirror. What if the PrincessDanica shook her head. She pulled up blanket to her chest and tried to distract herself with thoughts of her new husband and her coming wedding night.
Still, Danica looked towards the mirror.
"The Princess will rise once the moon rises," Agnes, a maid, said. She was careful to keep her sleeve over her wrist. The dark, ugly stain on it gave away what was hiding: blood. Danica wanted to ask, but she feared the response. So, she only nodded. The occasion was supposed to be a happy one. Agnes was preparing Danica to be presented to SnowWhite. It had been a week, and she was finally permitted to meet the Princess with the King. Agnes had started the preparations once afternoon tea finished, and, already, the sun fell behind the mountains; darkness filled light's absence, and the castle was still.
"The Princess will be delighted to have a new mother," the maid said. She was combing Queen Danica's hair one last time. "It's been challenging for her. She nearly perished last winter. Only a healer from the forest could save her; he said she'd be," the maid paused, "changed."
Danica glanced at her face in her mirror and shifted her eyes to Agnes. As she stroked the comb through her hair, Danica could see flashes of the injury: an inflamed circle from a little mouth.
1 2 3 4 5