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Trees planted tall with purpose. The night was as strong as a bull. And a lively forest clustered with fireflies and animals. One animal lay the bear, who had just made his rounds from snow-white and rose-red's house. He lay calmly in his cave, returning to his humble abode after resting with the girls and their mother by their open fire. The bear remembered the feeling on his coat of the intoxicating flame. The hearth warmed his insides and he felt like his blood was melting, dripping with heat, companionship, and understanding. It was completely different from his cold, stone, and wet home. Where there was no light that encapsulated the space, and none that he could make his own, not like it mattered. The bear's night vision was exceptional there was no need for light, but fire. For all the warmth and love that came with fire, he yearned for. But instead of basking in the radiance of the girls' home, he had returned. For that evil and pesky dwarf would be back, and the bear would be ready. To return everything that was given to him, with full force. Even beyond that for all he had suffered.
 
Crows cawing and branches being cracked echoed through the tall brush. The forest had turned into a living breathing, being at night. One where if you walked without a candle you couldn't see in front of you and then once you take a tumble from a tree root and take an untimely fall, you only have yourself to blame. But snow-white and rose-red didn't fear the dangerous clutches of the entity's will. The pair of sisters traversed the forest day and night many a time with ease, this being nothing... That is what they thought. But this night in particular seemed off. The sisters held one another's hands, the cool summer air breathing down their backs. It tickled snow-white, making her jump in trepidation, the chill adding to her fear.
 
"Your hair's standing up," claimed rose-red, her hand on her sister's neck.
 
Snow-white lightly pushed her hand away. "It's just the cold air that's making me feel like this."
 
Rose-red seemed to nod, not mulling anything over as she walked with her sister, leading her along. Except down the dark trodden path laid nothing but darkness. It swirled around every piece of living and nonliving object, encapsulating it, and cutting it off from the material world.
 
Snow-white had her reserves about entering but with rose-red's insistence, the sisters persisted regardless.
 
More crows cawing in the dark ocean that held stars multiplied with the bleak pitch black. Even with a candle, that both girls held, it was feeble in comparison to the world around them. "Maybe we should head back," snow-white suggested.
 
Before rose-red could answer her sister, a strong yell was heard. "Ahhhhhhh!"
 
It resounded through the forest and even reached the bear, who lay soundly in his cave. If nothing else, then he knew that voice. And he would make sure that was the last time he had heard it. He rose anger coursing through his body and quickly trudged from his cave.
 
The sisters- one more apprehensive than the other approached the sound. Leaning in closer and further into the clearing the girls were quickly joined with company.
 
The candle quickly illuminated a dwarf's face that shocked the girls as he let out a cry of intimidation.
 
With the light being the only source of sight, it highlighted the dwarf's ghastly features. A long and pointy nose, covered with a wart or two. Wrinkled and patchy peach skin, dripping with sweat. And as a screech left his mouth, lay razor-sharp teeth in his mouth.
 
"Excuse me? Do you need help?" rose-red asked.
 
"What do you think, stupid one!?" The dwarf swiftly and haughtily replied, as if he was the one stuck in the creek the girls walked up to.
 
Snow-white began slowly reaching out her hand, nudging her sister. "The soon we help, then we can leave."
 
"Alright, got it."
 
Snow-white reached for the dwarf, who seemed pissed that the sisters were helping but nonetheless grabbed snow-white's hand. His rough-skinned hands, matching with long and uneven nails grabbed her in response, a strong pull, making snow-white fall into the lake.
 
Rose-red looked at her sister now stuck with the dwarf, and a light came to her. "I'll go find help and get a rope. I'll be right back." And ran off with the candle and any source of light.
 
Meanwhile, the bear had followed the loud screech and now berating yells of the dwarf. He said in a mighty roar, "I've got you now dwarf!" And charged into the lake where he saw the dwarf.
 
Jumping into the water began a struggle and with the bear's great vision he was sure he had swung at the flung dwarf, but there was something behind the creature. Something that went down with a loud thud. The bear perplexed walked forward to it, seeing snow-white below the dwarf.
 
He pulled the dwarf's body off, looking at the unconscious and now unbreathing body of the girl. The bear began to cry. He hadn't seen his dear friend in the water and unintentionally hurt her. As he wept for one of his friends, rose-red returned with her mother and rope, only to see the scene as daytime rose, the bear crying over her sister's body.
 
Not only was his curse unbroken but he hurt and lost a dear friend. He only wanted to be human again. What a selfish thing is a human's own intentions. The dwarf slowly made his way into the thick of the night, living another day and cursing the bear for his ignorance.

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Abigail Haworth · ago
Aw, poor bear :(