Beauty and the Foe

 A single rose was just barely visible in the blankets of blinding white snow, my husband would love this. I reached down to attempt to rescue it when I heard him call out from behind me,

“Beauty! A storm is on its way, we should get in quickly!” The panic on his face was amusing, he always was so over protective, but that’s one of the things I loved about him. The wind began to pick up as I swiftly plucked the rose from its snow-covered stem then, joining hands with Beast we walked back to the castle. He took off my coat in the doorway, which was damp with melted snow, I pulled the rose out of the pocket, admiring the treasure. My husband glimpsed the rose and smiled as I tucked it into his front pocket, these simple flowers were the reason Beast and I were together.

“The storm was predicted to last for at least seven days.” He said, his eyes glazed, like they always were when his mind wandered. I frowned, I had been hoping to go to visit my father the next day.

“Then I must at least get a letter to my father, he was expecting us tomorrow.” He just nodded, still distracted.

            After I had finally got up to our room and bathed, it felt so relieving to slip on my soft silk nightgown and relax my muscles in our bed. I trained the horses most of the day, until the chill wind began to blow, that’s when I got my winter coat and sought out the rose-bush. After Beast finally got in bed beside me, I drifted off into a sweet sleep.

We shot out of the bed when the statues, who always stood still in the stone hallways, came to tell us that an elderly woman asked for shelter outside in the snow. Throwing on my robe I rushed down after my husband to the front door. The old woman had a sweet appearance, with her long white hair that flowed in the wind, her face was round and rosy with hazel eyes and a button nose, she wore a severely torn cloak over what I assumed to be a once nice gown, yet now being caked with mud, ripped on the bottom and stained from what looked like juice, it now looked more like rags.

“You seek shelter?” He asked in concern. She nodded in confirmation, shaking from her snow soaked clothes. Quickly pulling her in the statues led her up a staircase to a guest room, in which I commanded she be given a nice meal when she was bathed and clothed, and despite my arguing my husband had her door locked from the outside, not to be a prisoner, but to ensure her own safety, for wondering in this castle can be deadly.

***

“Thank you so much for letting me stay here, really…I couldn’t have survived that storm.” The woman said in a cracked voice that morning. We had begun eating our morning meal when she had been escorted by the statues to the dining table.

“Oh it is really no bother, we obviously cannot send you back out their in this cold so we insist upon your stay here until the storm has lifted.” I smiled brightly at the woman, who now looked a bit more withered than what I remembered last night.

“You are such a lovely young lady, you are a lucky man,” She gave my husband and I a smile, yet her eyebrows twitched in a way that seemed she had a hidden feeling somewhere.

“Yes, I am certainly blessed with my Beauty.” He smiled at me, completely missing the strange expression on the woman’s face.

“What brought you to these parts madam?” Hoping this question would lure some sort of information about the mysterious woman, I smiled innocently at her, quite aware of the blank stare she gave me, as if she was thinking something up.

“Well, you see, it was not an accident me coming here, I know I should have told you this when I first came but I was not sure of your reaction and I needed time to think about how I would tell you this, I am from the place which the witch who cursed you used to live,” She gestured towards Beast, his jaw clenching. “I have brought news that I only thought you deserved to know, She is dead.” A smile spread across her face as she looked at us expectantly, yet we gave no rejoice, for we were not scared of that witch, in fact we haven’t even thought about her until now…I began to question who exactly this woman was.

“Please excuse my wife and I.” Interrupting my thoughts he pulled me out of the dining room that instant, not saying anything until we were out of earshot. When we finally stopped I looked expectantly at my husband,

“What’s wrong?”I asked, although I could tell he had noticed something off about the old woman too, in fact maybe something I didn’t.

“Something isn’t right with her and I think she needs to leave.” I shook my head, although wanting her to go, I knew it wouldn’t be right setting her out in a snow storm.

“How about we just keep our distance until the storm is over? I mean it would be rude after I already told her she could stay.” Beast nodded and gave me a kiss.

***

            A few days past normally, we never saw the woman for my husband now had her meals delivered to her room, she was allowed to roam in the day but watched secretly and was told to stay in her room at night.

            It was late afternoon as the sun was just setting, when I decided to take a walk around the frozen grounds, the snow had subsided and I was excited to get some fresh air, it had taken a lot to convince Beast to let me go, he even made me take a knife to be safe. Just as I was approaching the place where I had plucked the rose I heard the sound of footsteps behind me, figuring it was just Beast following me, I pretended not to notice until a croaky voice made me jump,

“Well, how are you Beauty?” The old woman stood behind me looking like she had been deteriorating slowly, her hazel eyes were now sunken and brown, every inch of her visible skin was a greenish shade and had a moth-eaten look to it, her hair was also falling out in matted clumps. She was repulsive to look at, she even smelt of rotting flesh.

“What are you doing out here? You are supposed-”

“To stay inside the castle? Yes I know…yet I thought you and I needed a little fresh air, and then I saw you and I figured we should probably chat”

I backed up, considering running, but she was only an old woman and I had no reason to be afraid of her.

 “Haven’t you ever been curious as to what exactly happened to the witch who cursed your Beast?” She didn’t even wait for me to reply,“You see, when she cast the spell on your husband, she had no doubt the spell would never be broken from such and ugly thing she turned him into, so she thought she might as well do a double crossed curse where she attached her life force and powers onto the curse which gave her eternal life. However, when you came along, she had already forgotten about the curse, and the second you confessed your love for that thing, her powers began to weaken, and her age increased alarmingly, the spell had been broken.” The woman let out a wretched cough and blood spattered the white snow, that’s when everything came together.

“You, you are the witch.” She cackled and staggered closer to me.

“So why do you think I’m here Beauty?” She asked, wiping some blood from her chin. I shook my head in confusion, she came close as if to whisper in my ear, but I quickly distanced myself just as I saw the glint of the silver dagger she began to pull from her cloak. Widening my eyes as I whispered, “If you kill me…you get your eternal youth back.”  I backed up farther from her, and that’s when I remembered, for I could feel the cold metal against my skin, Beast had made me take a single knife…I could run or fight…this was not the time to hide, this witch needed to die…now.

            The witch cocked her head and laughed again as I began approaching her, wrinkling my nose, for that foul smell getting stronger with every step I took, the knife clutched in my hand, I reached my arm out out and jabbed her in the side with the bud of my knife, kicking her knee, expecting her to fall over, except she didn’t. She completely revealed her own dagger, raising it in the air above me, I dropped to the cold ground, avoiding her shot, taking my chances I stabbed her in the leg, she let out a shrill cry dropping to the snow pressing her withered hand to the wound after I pulled my knife out, with one hand she waved her dagger blindly at me, slashing me across the face, I ignored the pain, getting up I kicked the dagger out of her hand and she watched helplessly as it skidded out of her reach. I knelt down next to her as she tried to grab at my face but she was growing weaker by the second,

“Go to hell.” I Put the knife against her neck, her eyes softened and she began to plead, I wasn’t falling for it, I lifted the knife from her neck facing the point towards her Stomach, and with all my strength I pushed the dagger into the witch, she let out a high pitch scream that didn’t even sound human. Standing I saw my husband running towards me, when he got there he embraced me in a hug, I held him tight and kissed him, our eyes both closed.

Everything seemed to happened in slow motion.

            A Paralyzing shock went down my spine, my legs went limp and I fell to my knees in front of Beast, he dropped down by my side, tears flowing from his eyes, I reached my arm around and pulled out the silver knife I had left in the witch’s stomach from my back. I turned around and fell to the ground, feeling pain shoot through my whole body, and hot tears leaked down my face, I saw the witch with a satisfied look on her lifeless face, she was dead now, but a blood trail leaking from her Sumach revealed what she had done, that old woman still had enough life after I stabbed her, to drag her decaying over to me, pull out the knife from her stomach and plunge it into the bottom of my spine. I heard my husband’s voice seeming so far away shout my name, I could see his arms around me but felt nothing, everything was numb but the burning in my back which was also subsiding, Beast rolled me over to face him, his eyes red and swelled from crying, he pulled out the now crumpled rose I had given him, laying it on my chest he bent close whispering, “I love you Beauty.” and with my last breath I replied,

“I love you too Beast.”

“Beauty, known so well in our great land, was killed by the very same witch who had put the spell on her husband. Though there is no need for us to find the witch, for her body was found right next to Beauty’s, assumed that they killed each other. Beast (Beauty’s husband) was the only witness, yet before anyone could even ask him questions his body was found two days after the funeral for Beauty, suicide. For he couldn’t live without his Beauty”

-Grimm’s News


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