When the wicked witch falls in love it is a slow and painful death.
She has a princess starving in a stone tower and when the prince comes to the rescue the witch devours him with ravenous eyes and hungry heart.
Sharp nails dig into the bark of the knotted tree behind which she’s concealed as prince draws emaciated princess from the confines of the prison.
The witch sees the sparkle of victory in his eyes, watches taut muscles shift under smooth skin as he lifts the dainty body onto the back of his stallion.
As they ride off into the sunset the light catches his hair and sets it on fire, all bronze and gold and burning pain for the witch, who watches and waits.
This is how it always starts.
The witch shakes as she paces in her lifeless home. Cold walls and withering grass observe silently as she smiles, screams, sobs.
The harsh edges of her face soften as a she loses herself in a saccharine reverie, then harden as she scowls herself away from such blasphemous thoughts.
She wants to be so far removed from love that she can no longer taste its heady scent on the tip of her tongue. She wants to be gone.
More than anything, she wants to be in the arms of a prince pulling her broken body from a tower. She wants to be something salvageable.
The witch studies herself in the smooth glass of a glinting mirror. She has none of the softness of princesses; there are no rosebuds in her cheeks or lips.
The gleam in her eyes is not coy but hectic,
and her hair is a sweeping midnight far removed from the cornsilk-sunflower-goldenrod masses of ringlets that she has yanked from beneath delicate tiaras.
Her beauty is enchanting and terrifying. She is no princess. She lines her lashes with spiders’ legs and paints her lips blood red.
The prince doesn’t stand a chance. She devours him, soft hair and smooth skin and warm blood and pretty, pure princess sleeping in the guest room. For a night, longing feels like love.
The prince stifles moans against her wicked neck and the witch whispers, “save me” only when she knows he cannot hear.
In the morning the prince wakes tangled in sheets, left with a longing that will always remain in the back of his mind.
When the princess marries the prince, the witch goes to the wedding.
She sets the altar on fire and smashes stained glass windows and holds a knife to the bride’s throat and whispers, “Every time he lies with you, he’ll think of me.
” It’s not love, but it’s all she has to hold on to.
It’s only a year later that the witch is storming back into the palace, drinking in the gasps of spectators as she glides towards the paralyzed king and queen and their newly christened child.
She rants and raves and curses the little baby girl with her rosy cheeks and innocent eyes and yellow hair.
She disappears in a thunderclap, leaving behind a broken and sobbing mother and a stunned father. The witch supposes this is revenge, or something like it.
She cackles dutifully, reminds herself she is wicked because she is.
But as she returns to the cold walls and withering grass, she cannot help but think of the tiny tiara and fragile ringlets and know that she has only created another princess who can be rescued.