The Grims

What would be more obnoxious than a happy girl, running through the forest, with 7 really annoying midgets of the most awful misdemeanours? Nothing. With the exception of the chirpy, talking animals in Oz. The mere thought of that striking red hair revolts me. And it’s even more infuriating when every one of my efforts of dispatching her to the netherworld has been thwarted by heroic princes, over zealous godmothers or even once by the most simplest of lucks. As I walk today, through these mists of hatred, I am plotting the most devious of all my plans. Ah, the sweet thought of all her dastardly dwarven companions lying lifeless, with her weeping over the prone, pale bodies, brings tears of joy to my eyes. But wait, I thought, as I halted before the lonely house deep in the gloom of the forest, what if I fail again? Aah, these self doubting thoughts often come to me of late. Ever since that damned prince showed up at my doorstep, with that shiny, shiny sword, I have been ever doubtful. He didn’t catch me, no he didn’t. He was too blind to see the deep shade of green hiding in the shadows. I was all spent that day, what with the brewing of the potion meant to be coated on the apple for her. That hour of hiding cost me the potion. He left as he came, on his mighty white horse. Oh, did I mention he fell into the gorge that suddenly opened up beneath him? I didn’t? Well, Old Man Oak is still on speaking terms with me. It’s wonderful how his deep roots can crack open the earth when he wants them to.

But still, would it be wise for me to even come here? At this hour? She is not around, yes, I saw her skipping off with the lunch basket. I suppose it’s safe enough. After all, I am only going to drip a few droplets of nightshade into their well. What harm could come to me?

I approached the well. It was gleaming, whitewashed and scrubbed. I wish it was like mine, grimy, all covered with moss. I hate to see anything so scrubbed and clean. Holding on to the edge of the well, i thrusted out my vial and let drip a few precious drops. I heard the plinks, and I smiled as the lovely stink of nightshade rise up in tiny wisps and dissipate. I backed up slowly, looking around just to be sure no one saw me.

“Do you mind telling me what you are doing over there, my dear lady?” I stopped. Frozen. That voice was awfully familiar. Syrupy and sticky. “Gaston?” I inquired, turning slowly to face the most idiotic of young men anywhere. He was standing in the “I am going quarter you with this here sword” stance. His grin was still the same, though there were a few more wrinkles lining his upturned mouth. The years after Belle had not been kind to him. “I was delivering some gut filling, lung clearing, muscle building supplements to the sweet dwarves, if that is any of your business, Gaston.” His brow wrinkled. Sentences with more than 5 words took time to be processed in the pea he called his brain and sarcasm flew over his head. “Oh…that should be alright then.”, he grinned lowering his sword. And he was still stupid too. He stood back, lowering his eyes to the vial in my hand. “You wouldn’t have any left, I suppose?” he asked, a little sheepishly. “What? This?…No, this is not for the likes of you. I mean…this is for dwarves…it…it’s only for them small tummies.”

“Oh…”, he lowered his head, disappointed. “What’s wrong with you, sonny?”, I moved closer, still keeping my eyes on his sword. It shone bright in what little light there was in the gloom. “I…I…”, he stammered. “Not the beast again? I thought you were over that.” “Well, it’s not about Belle, if that’s what you mean.” he looked up almost smiling. shyly. I kept looking at him, shocked at an embarrassed Gaston. “Then, what is it?”, I could not contain my curiosity, though I wish I hadn’t asked. “Well, it’s the queen, you see…” “The queen?..Are we talking about the Red Queen?”, I was still in Oz. “Who? No…No… You know, Snow’s stepmom…”

I suppose even the birds were so quiet at this point that you could hear a worm farting. “The queen…” I repeated to myself. “Well, you know how it is. Everyday walking with her through the woods. With her all downcast and depressed that she’s still not the fairest in the realm. All she needed was someone to talk to. And with me around the castle all day…” his voice trailed off. “And what were you doing there, Gaston?” I inquired, not really wanting to know where all this led. “After the Belle and Beast thing, I lost my job and she was kind enough to let me be her…er…chamber maid kind of thing…” “Chamber boy, you mean.” I was trying not to imagine him in frocks. “Yes, well, one thing led to another and…”, his eyes were still looking at the mossy forest floor. “And…?”, I shut my eyes. “And, I think she’s pregnant…” The worms are definitely noisy at this time of the year. Must be the compost.

I didn’t know what to say. The queen. She practically tore people in two for even looking at her. How did this happen? I opened my eyes and Gaston had a smirk on his face. That weird smirk that says “I am Gaston and am stupid enough to get the queen pregnant.” “But she’s THE queen.” “Yes, that’s why she sent me to look for you.”

“Why?” Now I was getting interested. “She doesn’t know what to do with it.”, he was nervous when he said it. “What do you mean she doesn’t know what to do with it? She’s pregnant. She would know how to get rid of it if she wants to!”, I snapped. Gaston jumped and almost tripped over a root. “That’s the problem. She doesn’t have her powers anymore.” More worms farted. “Take me to her.”

“Plausible denial …” I muttered to myself as we trudged along the lonely path. My mind kept wandering back to the nightshade dissolving in the well. “If anyone suspects me, that is …No, denial won’t work. Everyone knows I despise those nasty dwarves.” “What is plausible?” I jerked out of my misery. Gaston towered above me staring down at my wart. “It’s a type of chocolate. Now, just you walk on. Don’t you mind me.” Those roots are really putting a number on my poor back now. I’m not exactly a bouncy 70 year old. Being older than old man willow didn’t help my confidence neither. 300!, the dumb cake screamed. My sisters graciously decided to remind me last spring. Coming down the mountain was a once a decade affair for them. They never really liked the plains or the forest. Too much green they said. Not enough rocks they grumbled. But came they did. Just to cackle at my ever growing wart. But they were the only family I have. Which is why I really need to get rid of them once I’m done with the dwarves.  I hate my brain. It keeps darting back to the well. Just to keep it from worrying, I tugged at Gaston’s sword, which was swaying on his hip belt. “Here, sonny.” He stopped and looked down. “I am still confused as to how the Queen was … er … enamoured of you.” He looked puzzled. “Attracted to you.” I decided to make it simpler. His brow knotted. “Went to bed with you”. I was getting exasperated. This boy is so simple. I wondered where he got his fiendish plan to try to kill the Beast before. He blushed again. “Forget it. I am hungry. Do you have anything to eat?” He looked relieved, then started to rustle his bag. And brought out a lump of what looked like bread. If bread had the hue of   wilting barley.

“Oh … come to think of it, I’m not that hungry”, the words shot out before Gaston could extend the molting lump to me. I turned to look around for anything edible on the forest floor when the world switched off the lights for me.

They say you see a white light just as your life leaves your body. “They” as in the people who never actually died and came back to life to claim that but rather woke up from  a coma to a blazing torch in front of their eyes. There was nothing for me. No light. Not even a glimmer. I wasn’t sure I was dead but I was convinced I was not in the enchanted forest anymore. I could hear voices speaking about things I didn’t understand. They were uttering sentences such as “Someone call an ambulance” and “I know first aid. Let me at him”.

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