Snow Bite

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Deep in the woods, a woman with pale skin and ebony hair watches as seven little men do her bidding. They tidy their disgusting little hovel and cook her bland meals which she eats, but that do not fill her. Had she been the Snow White before her Turning, she would have helped. She was not Snow White anymore, and the puncture marks in each of their necks meant they served her, not the other way around. She could not drink from them. Their blood tasted of dirt and ash, and if she drank from them fully she'd lose her servants. She would much rather be in the village, feeding off of the people there. Their blood would taste sweet. It would fill her. She would feed and feed and feed until she hungered no longer. Or until she ran out of people and moved to the next village, whichever happened first. But as the queen's stepdaughter, she was too recognizable. She could not go to the village now. Her eyes were too dark, her skin was too pale. She'd have to slowly force her way back in. Turn a villager here, a villager there, until enough of them were loyal to her that they wouldn't stop her from going after their pets. Their children. Them. She was willing to wait. After all, vampyres have all of eternity at their bidding.
 
〰〰〰〰〰
 
The queen was still sitting on the edge of her bed when the huntsman knocked. She allowed him into her quarters, waved the maid off, and looked out her window. The sky was painted with the colors of dusk. "You arrived just in time. It's almost nightfall," the queen said, her voice edged sharp with worry.
 
"The great Brinn, queen of this land, fears the dark?" the huntsman asked.
 
"I fear what makes its home in the dark, huntsman. You know as well as I that there are creatures that stalk the night in this kingdom. In this village, no less." She waited for him to nod, to sigh, to do anything that showed he agreed. When he didn't, she asked, "Have you reconsidered your participation in my task for you?"
 
"I have not."
 
"I will double your pay. Triple it, even. You're the best huntsman in this kingdom. I need your help. The kingdom needs your service."
 
"M'lady, the pay is not the problem. I will not kill an innocent girl."
 
The queen ground her teeth and clasped her hands together in her lap, knuckles white. "And if I could prove to you she wasn't an innocent girl?" 
 
"If you can prove to me she's not your stepdaughter anymore, I'll do it," he agreed, shaking his head, "I will kill Snow White." 
 
The queen stood, her skirts whistling as they moved. She walked over to the walls of books on the far side of her chamber. She ran her hand along the cracked spines until she found the one she was looking for. She pulled it from the shelf and tossed it at the huntsman still standing just inside the door. "Read." 'The Vampyre: Dark Ones Among Us'" I've bookmarked the page." The huntsman flipped through until he found the passage she'd marked. He read it quietly, quickly. "Do you not see? She was Turned early this Spring, before she got sick. Before she moved into the woods." 
 
〰〰〰〰〰
 
As the sun set over the mountain, Snow White let the dwarves fall into their beds. Each one snored, filling the small house with thundering noise. Snow White clamped her hands over her ears and went outside. She could barely tolerate the seven creatures as it was, and their constant noise made her want to end them before her plan was complete. Night had fallen fully, and the forest was shrouded in inky darkness. Snow White could finally eat something that filled her. The dwarves insisted on making her meals, wasting resources and time. They would not last much longer, she decided. They were too much of a thorn in her side. Seven thorns, actually.
 
She took off away from the hovel. Vampyre speed had its benefits. Her dark eyes scanned the forest floor, searching for movement. They landed on a small rabbit, chewing grass in front of a large tree. She sniffed at the air. She could smell the blood pumping through its little body, keeping it alive. She pounced, snaring the rabbit between thin, white fingers. She severed the vein in its neck with her fangs, letting the hot blood pour down her throat. She drank until the rabbit was limp and tossed the carcass aside. Starving, she searched for another. 
 
〰〰〰〰〰
 
The huntsman stood at the edge of the dark forest. His queen had given him information – just enough – that made him believe her claim. Snow White had been Turned, and she was preying on animals in the forest. It was only a matter of time until the creatures of the forest couldn't sustain her anymore and she began hunting in the village. The book Brinn had given him had explained that Turned vampyres fed as often as they could to sate the bloodlust that filled them, and that it was during this time that vampyres were the most dangerous. They would stop at nothing to get their next meal. His hunting knife was heavy on his waist. "The only way," the queen had said to him before he left, "to kill a vampyre is to cut out its heart. She will be faster than you. Stronger than you. Prettier than you expect her to be. Do not falter." 
 
〰〰〰〰〰
 
Light, bright and painful, found its way through Snow White's eyelids as she cracked them open. She was lying somewhere soft and cool. The last thing she remembered was leaving the cottage to hunt and finding a rabbit. She hadn't gotten enough to eat last night, and her pathetic dwarves hadn't awoken to find her. The pathetic lot probably didn't even realize she was missing. The sun burned and crackled against her pale skin. She hissed, and tried to move. Someone had tied her hands behind her back and her ankles together. Above her stood a man with broad shoulders. He was in a simple brown tunic. He jerked his head back when she shifted, and she could see the blood pumping through his jugular vein. She was so hungry, so in need of blood. One rabbit would not be enough. She was starving, and he, whoever he was, was right in front of her. He was big. Tall. She could drain him and be filled for tonight. Tomorrow night, even. Snow White's lips curled involuntarily, revealing her fangs. 
 
"She was right. The queen was right." The man before her spoke, his voice shaking. He reached for the sheathed knife at his waist.
 
"The queen was right? About what?" Snow White asked innocently, pulling her lips into a saccharine smile. "What did she tell you about me? I'm sure she was lying," she laced her voice with the same sweet venom that had rendered the dwarves senseless.
 
The huntsman's eyes shuttered, eyelids fluttering. He was fighting to keep them open. He felt suddenly dizzy. His hand slowly slid away from his knife. "That you're a vampire."
 
Snow White feigned hurt. "I'm no such thing. I'm just a poor little girl. My stepmother hates how beautiful I am, that's why she told you those lies." She met the huntsman's drooping gaze, batting her eyelashes. "I haven't done anything wrong. Have I?" The huntsman paused. Snow White could see him thinking, could see his mind trying to fight against what she was doing to it. He wasn't looking away from her eyes. She knew he couldn't, not now that she had her claws so deep.
 
"No, you haven't done anything wrong," he answered finally. "Could you help me up, please? And cut these ropes."
 
"Of course. My apologies." The huntsman bent down and sliced through the ropes binding her wrists.
 
Once freed, Snow White reached her hands up, cupping his cheeks. "Thank you," she said, before jerking his head to the side and sinking her fangs into the pulsing vein on his neck.
 
She bled him dry, letting his blood coat her throat. She licked her cracked lips when she was done, smearing the leftover blood across her mouth. The remains of his empty body she left splayed on the ground, pale and unmoving. If her stepmother wanted her dead, she would have to do better than a lone huntsman. After all, Snow White was a vampyre, and she would not be so easily killed.

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Image of Abigail Haworth
Abigail Haworth · ago
This is a cool inversion of the original story! I like how you made me actually root for the queen, though you have to appreciate Snow Bite as well! The poor huntsman was no match.
Image of Rebecca Horwittt
Rebecca Horwittt · ago
Great title, and a fun re-imagining of the story!