Little Slice of Terror

Sweat sprinkling my brow.

The oven is off.

Folding, mixing,

whisking, whipping

mindless thoughts, rapid

fire sparks of pain,

liquid sugar hitting skin

again, 

again.

Everywhere to go, nowhere to run.

 

Fear, only half the cake.

Burning molasses, frost-wisped

ice cream, rising, falling in equal measure.

Ghostly sickness invades my batter. 

This is what

the recipe calls for?

 

No cookies aflame.

No custard curdling.

Desperate need to run wildly, but 

nothing burning,

the soufflé not falling.

 

Am I breathing?

Starving breaths,

oxygen cravings unquenchable.

Did I preheat the oven?

Skin bubbling, the oven mitts off. 

Store-bought will never 

be homemade.

 

Is the kitchen spinning?

Sickly sweet laughs and 

dark chocolate glares,

throwing icing knives.

Fight or flee? Cake or pie?

“You don’t have all the ingredients,”

the timer screams.

 

Old Poetry: Classically Trained

Light fade out, smug chatter patters.

Night lasts but for a moment.

Shadows pass by from above;

silence wails

anticipation loud and clear.

Crystal chandeliers hang, diamonds stream the aisles

The stage ignites in an instant, legacies sealed.

 

Cello, violin, viola, bass

Monocle, binoculars, Lasik,

spectators at the scene of the crime,

counterfeit interest.

Ears open for phantom mistakes

Vivaldi, a fraud, an imposter.

 

Voluptuous wooden hourglasses 

blow imagination,

inspiration,

motivation in gusts.

 

Royals watch Jokers blankly.

Oxygen pumped in, 

nymphs and elves flit about. 

As folk tales remembered,

the deaf only listen.

 

Children play 

in a dome of 

fantasy. Reality

waits in shelters,

while empty bellies wait for 

the next performance.

Sleeping Princesses (Part 5)

Snow looked out through a small hole in the leaves and sticks hiding the small cave they were enclosed in.

Even with the stars the only thing lighting up the sky, she could still see the smoke billowing above the trees.

They were far from the flames, but if you looked up high enough, the grey clouds could be seen from the next kingdom over.

“How did you know about this place?” a voice whispered behind her.

Aurora.

Once they gathered their things, they flew as fast as they could through the forest, following the other woodland creatures through the trees over streams and across open fields.

After what seemed like hours of running, Snow grabbed Aurora’s hand and stopped her to take inventory of where they were.

After walking a few feet, Snow saw familiar spots in the dirt and on the trees. She had walked most of this forest as a child, dreaming of getting away from her stepmother and the dwarves had taught her even more.

She knew where they were and where they could hide.

 

“I used to hide and play in this cave when I was younger,” she responded. “I’d pretend I lived in the woods with the animals and that all my problems were just a bad dream.”

She smiled, sadly.

Aurora grasped her hand and squeezed.

“That dream came true.”

Snow nodded. “In a way…but it’s still hard to forget the bad or think of it as just a dream.”

Snow watched Aurora’s eyes turn to the ground.

“But it gets easier. People aren’t all bad. And when they show you what kindness is, what love is, it makes the memories easier to forget.”

Aurora looked back into her eyes. “I hope so,” she said, letting a small smile break through.

Snow squeezed her hand but quickly turned her head back to the cave opening.

She could just hear the sound of feet stomping on twigs. Whispering followed.

“Dopey! How many times do I have to tell you? Watch where you’re going! We don’t want those guard following us!”

Snow ripped away the sticks and leaves from the cave’s entrance and rushed out.

“Doc!” she cried as she rushed to the dwarves standing just feet from where they were hidden.

“Snow!” the dwarves replied together.

As Snow reached where they men had been hiking through the woods, she embraced each one of them.

“How did you find us?” Aurora responded as she followed Snow to the clearing. Dopey quickly ran to her and hugged her tightly.

“We’ve lived in these woods for years, my girl. We learned to track different creatures and know what footsteps look like long ago,” Doc replied, smiling.

Snow grinned. “I knew you’d find us.”

But her smile soon waned. “I’m afraid to ask what the forest looks like.”

Happy stepped forward, looking like the exact opposite of his namesake.

“The cabin is gone. Only black ash left. We thought…”he coughed. “We thought you both might’ve been in it when it burned but then we saw the tracks.”

Snow put her arm around his shoulders.

“We will rebuild. But we have to get justice first. We might have thought Aurora’s…Prince Philip would forget, but obviously, he’s still holding a grudge.”

Snow tried to send some strength to Aurora through her gaze.

“I won’t run from him again,” Aurora stated, her posture straightening.

“But…it’s not just him, Snow,” Doc said.

Snow whipped her head around.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s both of them,” Sleepy replied.

“Both?” Aurora and Snow asked together. Still clearly confused.

Doc looked over his brothers and nodded and Snow followed his gaze.

“Wait…

Where are…where’s Grumpy and Sneezy and Bashful?!”

Doc looked up at her with the darkest eyes she’d ever seen.

“When we got to what was left of the cottage, the guards were there waiting for us. We ran as fast as we could, but…” he paused, swallowing. “They grabbed them.”

“Philip’s guards grabbed them?” Aurora said.

At there nods, her hands turned into fist, her knuckles turning white.

“We must get them. I won’t have you losing those you love because of me. After how kind you’ve been, I—”

Doc shook his head.

“No, my girl,” he interrupted. ” Not just Philip.” His gazed moved to Snow. “Charming too.”

Snow’s gaze turned blurry. The dwarves and Aurora multiplied in front of her.

“No,” she whispered.

“Why now?”

She felt a warm grip on her hand and then her shoulder, but she ignored is.

Why now? Why did he want her back after she’d been gone so long? Why did he need to possess her when he never showed her an ounce of love once they were married?

A voice broke her from her thoughts.

“Snow?”

And when she turned to look, she saw a burgundy cape over blonde hair and blue eyes filled with an emotion she’d never known from another person.

Like what she saw in the dwarves eyes when they looked at her but different.

More.

It warmed her and brought her back to the present.

“Snow,” Aurora was saying. “I don’t know what I can do. Hell, a month ago I could barely plant a rose. But I will get your friends back.”

“No,” Snow said.

Aurora’s eyes flashed with a weariness Snow hadn’t seen for weeks.

Snow would make sure that if they made it through this, Aurora would never have cause to feel that way again.

“No, “she repeated, “we will get them back together and will will make Philip and Charming pay.”

Snow heard the shouts and cheers of her friends around her, but all she could see was Aurora. It was clear she was still surprised by kindness, but that shock soon turned into a smile.

And Snow couldn’t resist anymore. She had to do what she’d been thinking about, yearning for since that night in bed with the pie.

She pulled Aurora close, tentatively moving her face closer. She didn’t know if Aurora was ready for this and she didn’t want to scare her.

Snow hadn’t been through what Aurora had. The cheating was bad enough, but a heart could harden even more when the one who was supposed to love you hurt you.

But she was willing to try. She hoped Aurora was too.

She heard Aurora gasp when she realized Snow’s intentions.

“Is this okay?” Snow whispered.

She could see and hear Aurora’s breath quicken.

“Now? Is it an okay time for…? When so much bad has happened?”

Snow pressed her forehead to Aurora’s.

“If we wait for everything to be perfect, we’ll wait forever. And, I don’t know how you feel, but if you feel anything close to what I do for you, I can’t wait that long.”

Aurora breathed in a laugh.

“How could someone not feel everything for you, Snow?”

And then, before Snow could reply, Aurora pushed herself forward and pressed her lips against hers.

Needy

You can feel the string.

The one connected to you and them.

They’re tugging at it.

Maybe a pull

maybe a yank.

But they’re tugging

and for the first time in awhile,

you realize the string isn’t connected to their heart.

It can’t be

if they’re trying to pull it free,

take it back.

.

Do they know it’s connected to yours?

That every time they grab, another tear falls down your cheeks,

another rock is swallowed by your stomach

and it steals your smile

steals your better

steals your recovery

steals your mindfulness

steals the mood you thought,

hoped,

begged

to be your normal.

.

The roughest part is

you’d been outcasts together

you’d been others together

you’d been weird and off and wrong.

And now they’re using it,

shaping it into something for profit.

.

But at the same time,

they’ll never know

because you’ll never tell them.

Maybe you’ll cut the string yourself

Because isn’t that easier?

(Is it?)

Isn’t it better

they don’t know how much you can hurt?

How much you can cry?

Isn’t it better

they don’t know their power?

.

Or would showing them their destruction

be your ultimate revenge?

The Sleeping Princesses (Part 4)

But life could not go on so happy forever. Even good things come to an end eventually.

It all began with a rush of energy past the cabin. The dwarves had gone to work for the day, and Snow and Aurora were planting and weeding in the garden.

They had just dug a small hole for a new purple flower when they felt a breeze whip passed them followed by a rush of brown, white, and black.

Deer, rabbits, and birds were fleeing like mad through the forest.

Running for their lives.

If anyone knew what that looked like it was Aurora and Snow.

But what was the matter?

In the chaos, Snow saw Rusty, a young deer she was familiar with. She signaled to him and he trotted over.

“What’s going on, Rust?

“Haven’t you seen, Snow. The forest…

it’s burning!”

Rusty’s eye shifted back and forth, clearly looking for the closest exit.

“Burning?!” Aurora gasped.

Rusty nodded. “Yeah, a group of men with the royal crest on their armor showed up with torches. We’re all going to higher ground.”

He looked behind him at the rush of his fellow animal friends.

“Why would they do this?”

Snow and Aurora exchanged a glance.

“He found me,” Aurora whispered.

Her knees buckled and she dropped to the ground.

“But how? He doesn’t have control over this kingdom.” Snow scrunched her brow.

But if the animals were fleeing that meant they must as well. If they were really looking for Aurora, they wouldn’t stop at the edge of the forest.

Snow grabbed Aurora by the waist and hauled her up.

“We have to go,” she whispered as she held Aurora’s face in both hands.

Aurora’s gaze looked lost, but then something in her blue eyes snapped.

A spark.

She nodded and they both headed for the cabin to gather what supplies they would need..

The dwarves would understand and find them. They hadn’t failed Snow yet.


As they gathered the last of the supplies, the door to the cabin burst open and seven men stood into the entrance.

“Snow!” Grumpy shouted, “Are you alright? We saw him as we were leaving the mine.”

“We’re fine. We were just getting ready to leave…” she stopped, holding her bag full of things in midair. “Who did you see? Philip?”

“No,” Doc came forward. “Charming. He’s at the head of the brigade burning the forest.”

Snow dropped the bag to the floor.

Things fell everywhere.

“No,” she muttered. “Why now? Why come after me now?”

A thick, cloudy silence filled the small cabin.

Only broken when Aurora spoke.

Her voice shook.

“It’s Philip. It has to be,” she closed her hand into a fist.  “He must have realized I fled our kingdom and contacted Charming.

Philip wouldn’t stop just because it’s been a couple of months.

He’ll never stop.”

No one moved for several moments. Only the sound of the animals running past the open door filled the room.

“We run now. Get to safety and then  we fight. I will not have Charming take away our home so easily. Not this time,” Snow said.

Her face had turned hard. Her jaw set.

She moved her eyes to look at everyone, finally landing on Aurora.

Snow raised her eyebrows in question.

Aurora’s eyes were not the soft, quiet things they’d been in the garden.

She was not the woman Snow first met that day in the cabin.

They were blue fire. And Snow had never seen anything so beautiful.

Aurora nodded.

“I will never go back.”

Snow grabbed her hand and promised herself she’d never let go.

And then.

they fled.

Alternative

Sometimes the worse thing you can do  is cry.

Let them feel what they did to you.

Let them see it.

Show them your humanity.

 

Sure,

you want to rip them apart with ice and fire,

watch an icicle carve their hearts out and fire burn away the rest.

You want to stab them sharp words that cut their throat and their heart open

but sometimes

letting your tears wash away your rage and

letting them drown until they fade from existence

is the only way.

Until their presence causes only shrug

and a smile can appear once again.

 

Dodge their petty and their silent treatment you were raised on

and throw it in the trash bin where you’ve learned to put it

years before they even knew how to wield them for themselves.

Let the light of the fire inside your smile

blind them until they must turn away.

Passive-Aggression

I’ve learned from the best.

From the only school that starts you off truly early.

The parent.

The slamming doors without words.

The cold, thick weighted air.

The dead-eyed stares it took years to stare back into.

 

And yet…

 

And yet, you try to play me

like I’m not a pro,

like I’m an amateur who doesn’t know

every play in the book

and made up

some of my own.

 

My emotions are hidden below the surface.

You’ve not seen my panic

Or my gasping, watery cough

Or my shaking limbs

I try to control.

You’ve never seen the rocking on too rough floor

wishing a forest would appear

and everyone

and everything

would vanish.

 

And yet you try to play the game I’ve won two bleeding fists in,

the one I’ve torn vocal chords for

the one I’ve risked my life for

like you’re any match for me.

 

Oh darling.

 

You’ve no idea what my skin holds back,

the storm brewing

even Mother Nature can’t tame.

But if you poke,

I’ll gladly turn into the beast you’ll never forget.

 

Maybe,

finally

the spoiled child will be scared

out of you

and you’ll finally see

everything you’ve been missing all along.

Are You There?

Does anyone lay in the dark

waiting for me?

Or do my tears really fall

for no one?

Do my silent gasps really reach no ears?

Or is there someone out there waiting to soothe them?

Did the light I see mean something?

Was that why I didn’t wish to turn it off?

Did I sabotage us when I finally turned it black?

Where are you?

Where have you been?

If you exist, why must I wait any longer?

Have I not proven worthy enough?

Have I not suffered and broken apart enough to finally deserve a hand that’s only mine?

The person I never have to find a mask to please?

Have I not endured enough blank stares and forced laughter?

Am I close to the finish line?

How many more pillows must I drown before I feel your hand on my shoulder?

Until I feel arms that don’t hold too tight?

Until I run and someone follows all the way home?

Or are we one of those stories?

The ones where they don’t meet this time?

The one where they miss each other?

The universe where we suffer alone?

Or is it the story that isn’t long enough?

Do we meet the day,

the week,

the month,

the year before our deaths?

Were we always meant to be tragic?

Those of us drawn to the dark and the ones they love?

Or is it just me?

The Finale

My emotions are big.

Too big.

Too big to do nothing.

They are the giant bouncy ball in gym you never thought you’d ever be bigger than.

They are too big for me to fold my arms around.

And if I don’t let some out,

if I don’t let that wild kinetic energy fly,

it’s going to overwhelm both of us

and I cannot hurt you more than you’ve already been.

So, this is what’s going to happen

 

(hypothetically):

 

I’d shoot out his kneecaps.

One and then the other.

10 minutes in between.

It’s what my dreams have been made of since you told your story.

And then I would creme brulee the torn skin to perfection.

He might scream but so did you.

He doesn’t get my courtesy.

And then I would turn that blue-embered torch to his feet.

If he can form words, he might say stop,

but you can’t remember how many times you said it,

so I ignore him too.

 

This isn’t an eye for an eye.

This is a woman scorned.

This is a witch burned.

This is all the history of male cruelty summed up

into 1 hour.

This is the calluses we got when we marched

and the bruises on faces for centuries.

Cent-

ur-

ies.

And it doesn’t stop with him.

This is just the beginning

 

And this is the end.

For I know there is no sequel to this story.

Revenge

and vengeance,

and rage bring nothing but death

but perhaps someone will live through this to see a new day,

to see the clear campfire sky when they open their eyes,

and realize that our fire finally went out because there was no one left to burn.

 

I would be silent.

My only concession to what they want.

Words stopped working long ago

and I’d rather keep mine for something good.

For you and me in the quietness of the night and the morning.

For strategizing with the others.

For trying to say the words about how much you mean to me.

 

I would shake their safe house like no thunder they ever could have thought up.

My cold smile showing them Thor had nothing on me.

 

Next, comes the ice.

Sure, fire is good

but sometimes ice is better,

hurts more.

And when pain is the only currency they understand, you make them rich with it.

They’ll get what they deserve and we’ll get what we were always owed and then

well, then it will be done.

For good.

 

They’ll either realize we never needed them

or they’ll be blown out like the flame they tried to take

from too many of us.

Say hello, boys.

Your time has come.

The Sleeping Princesses (Part 3)

And so Aurora stayed and life went on as it should.

The dwarves went to work whistling, Snow White worked around the house, and now, with her new friend, Aurora, had someone to talk to.

And they talked for hours. Sometimes the dwarves would come home to no food to eat because the two friends had been chatting all day. Luckily, one look from Snow and they knew not to say a word.

They had Twirly Bird delivery service deliver take out meals on those days.

(What? You don’t think the Enchanted forest has take out? Come on. It’s not that impressive. It’s just a couple of birds with a couple bags full of food that they get from the local taverns. No biggie.)

And Aurora’s long-dormant confidence was allowed to shine. How could it not with so many caring and accepting people around her?

Even Grumpy was starting to warm to her.

The nights were still troublesome though. While Snow always had friends to stand beside her, Aurora had been alone for quite some time. She hadn’t seen her fairy mothers in years. The nights brought out her fears.

Fear of Phillip coming to find her.

Fear of being punished.

Fear of being abandoned even though her new friends showed no sign of leaving her.

It was one of those nights when she laid awake tossing and turning and trying her best to stifle the sound of her tears when she felt the bed press down behind her.

When she looked over her shoulder at who it was, she saw Snow White in her white cotton night gown holding a plate with the leftovers from the apple pies they made. With seven men and the two of them, they had to make a couple, and there was just a quarter of a pie left.

Snow White gently laid the plate on the bed and put her hand on Aurora’s arm.

“I get nightmares too sometimes,” she smiled a little.

“It was worse when I first came back here, after I left,” she cleared her throat, “Charming but the longer I’ve been away, the fewer I’ve had.”

“Would you like to talk about it? Even if you don’t we can still have some pie. It’s better than trying to make yourself fall back to sleep, I’ve found,” Snow shrugged a bit self-consciously.

Aurora could hardly believe it. Snow had been so nice to her. Something she really hadn’t experienced since she was growing up with her fairy mothers.

She had been looking back a lot lately and wasn’t even sure if her memories of the early days with Philip were as good as she once thought

She took a deep breath and turned to sit up, her back leaning against the wall her bed sat next to.

She would trust Snow but she wasn’t sure she would survive if she turned out to be wrong about her.

But she had to take this chance.

Snow crawled up beside her, balancing the plate to make sure the pie didn’t fall, and sat down next to Aurora and handed her a fork.

They both dug in, the sweetness on each of their tongues distracting them for a moment.

“Damn, this pie is good,” Aurora whispered.

Snow could not have looked more shocked.

“Don’t you think so?” Aurora muttered.

“Of course. It’s my mother’s recipe and she knew how to cook like nobody’s business but I…I just never expected any kind of swear word to come out of your mouth.

Aurora giggled and Snow soon joined in a moment later.

“You’re right. I usually wouldn’t. My fairy mothers never liked it and Philip didn’t either. But, I’ve found over the years that some of the less lady-like words have their uses,” she grinned and plunked her fork back into the pie for another bite.

Snow finally got over her shock to say, “You can say that again.”

They ate a few more bites each before the air seemed to change, as if some force was pushing them to the conversation they knew was supposed to happen.

Snow slid her fork from her mouth, setting it softly on the plate next to the bit of crust the was still left.

“What did you see? In your dreams?” she whispered.

Aurora’s hand stopped midair, her grasp tightening around the fork she was just going to place down on the plate.

“You don’t have to say but I think it would help.”

Aurora nodded and placed the fork on the plate, trying for gentle but the fork ended up scraping over the plate and falling on the blanket covering her feet.

“Philip,” she whispered around the knot in her throat. “I always dream about Philip. Hurting me or doing worse things than he ever got the chance to do.”

Aurora could feel her skin buzzing with the hyper-awareness. Like it used to in the castle. Because if she wasn’t constantly vigilant, something worse than what was already going on would happen.

She didn’t realize how fast she’d been breathing until she felt Snow’s hand touch hers.

She turned her head down and bit her lip ashamed.

But not for long.

“Don’t do that,” she heard Snow say and then felt her chin being tilted up, her eyes meeting Snow’s.

“Don’t feel bad for sharing what happened. I may not have experienced what you’ve been through but that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone. If the dwarves have taught me anything,” she smiled a little, “it’s that we are all in this together and we don’t have to share our burdens alone.”

A tear fell from Snow’s eye and Aurora watched as it slid down her cheek before she moved forward and wiped it away.

Her hand lingered just for a moment near Snow’s face before she slowly put it back in her lap.

Aurora took a breath, ready to say something, but the words got stuck.

Her mouth wobbled, opening and closing a couple times before the words finally settled in her brain.

“The last time…The thing that made me leave was…I was baking. I love to bake,” she smiled, “I’m so glad that’s not something I’ve had to give up here.”

“Me too,” Snow replied.

“But, I was baking in the castle kitchens and was feeling like myself for once. Then Philip came in, he looked at the things I had made, asked if I had baked them, and when I said I had, he…slapped me. Right in front of the whole kitchen staff who I considered friends, who I respected.”

Snow grabbed for Aurora’s hand again and held it tight. Aurora grabbed hers back.

“It wasn’t…I knew he was awful but I never thought he would do it in front of people,” her voice trembled as she shook her head.

Aurora went silent after that. The only noise in the room was one of the dwarves snoring and Aurora breathing deeply, sniffling every now and again.

“You didn’t deserve any of that, Aurora.”

Snow’s vehemence makes Aurora’s head shoot up.

“You didn’t and I’m sure if they felt they could, the people in the kitchen would have tried to help you.”

Aurora smiled sadly.

“They tried. The cook gave me food and water when I left but they need the work, I know. I would never blame them.”

“Of course not,” Snow smiled. “You have a good heart.”

Aurora could feel her cheeks heat at the compliment.

“So do you, Snow.”

The two women looked at each other,

just for a moment

before they both jumped.

One of the dwarves (probably Grumpy or Sneezy) let out a particularly loud snort.

After a momentary fright, they both broke out into almost silent giggles and rolled onto their backs on the bed with their laughter.

“Ohhwww” Snow yawned once their giggles subsided.

She tried to cover the sound with her hand but her jaw cracked with the force of her yawn.

“Oh, I should head to bed. Goodness, it must be later than I thought.

If you need me, don’t be afraid to wake me up again, ok?”

Aurora nodded.

“I feel a lot better now. I… I’m so glad I found you all,” she said.

“Me too,” Snow responded, squeezed Aurora on the shoulder, and then slid off the bed and headed to her own.

Aurora sighed and wondered how the night could have taken such a good turn.