Category: Fairytale Collateral Damage


Lily carefully tucked a fresh clean dishcloth over the basket-full of freshly baked muffins and headed out the door.

“He had better be there this time…” she grumbled to herself. The last three times she’d casually dropped by the bachelors’ home, they’d either been out, or otherwise preoccupied with their royal guest.

“Don’t know what business a princess has interfering in the lives of common folk anyways…” she grumbled again. A squirrel chattered at her, and he took it as the chastisement it was. She knew Snow White was in hiding from the evil queen. She knew the young princess wasn’t to blame. It was just so… insulting. Seeing all seven of them so discombobulated over her.

Lily was ruminating over how Gil had used to get all tongue-tied and flustered every time Lily smiled at him. But an evil cackle from somewhere ahead of her carried over the wind and through the trees. Furrowing her brow, she came into sight of the secluded cottage just in time to see a hooded figure scurry away down the path that led to the castle.

The cottage door was open. Gil and the others never left the door ajar; the squirrels would eat them out of house and home.

Lily hurried to the cottage, and gasped when she saw the young princess sprawled on the floor, a bitten apple in her hand.

“Oh, no… no! Oh, what has happened?” Lily rushed to the young woman, patting her cheeks and trying to get her to wake up. But it was no use; she was ensorcelled. Two very guilty looking squirrels looked on, glancing from Lily to Snow White. One of them sniffed at the apple, but Lily shooed them away.

“No… don’t touch that! It must be poison.” She explained. The squirrels managed to look sheepish.

Lily sighed. “Well, she might be Snow White, but she’s not so bright.” The squirrels nodded agreement.

As carefully as she could, Lily wrapped the apple and hid it in a pot. She  wiped the princess’ lips clean, but the beautiful young woman still did not wake. It took her twenty minutes to tug the comatose princess fully into the cottage so she could close the door. She did her best to make her comfortable, and went in search of Gil and his friends.

There was nothing they could do. Helpless, they encased her in a glass coffin, and the seven of them took turns standing guard over her.

Lily couldn’t help but feel guilty about her jealousy. Each day, when he was done guarding the enchanted princess, Gil sought out Lily. But the attention he paid her seemed like a shallow victory.

“Oh, Gil… if I’d only got there a few minutes earlier, the poor young thing wouldn’t be lying in that coffin, cold as death!”

But Gil would have none of it. “No, Lily, no. It’s not your fault. If it hadn’t been the apple, it would have been something else.” He squeezed her, and smiled, but he never tried to kiss her anymore.

She missed fending him off. She missed those few times when she’d let him succeed in stealing a kiss.

“Lily dear…” said her mother. “Why don’t you go spend a few weeks with your Aunt Agnes? Her herb garden was quite productive this summer, and the poor dear really could use the help.”

Lily knew her mother wasn’t suggesting the trip for the sake of “poor old Aunt Agnes.” Her mother really wanted her to get out of the house for a while, and stop waiting and wondering when Gil would get tired of mooning over the princess and come back to her.

Aunt Agnes was indeed glad to have Lily come for an extended visit, and soon the two of them were knee deep in lavender, gathering it to dry.

“Tomorrow the apothecary is going to come by and see what we have for him to purchase.” Aunt Agnes said with a gleam in her eye. “It’s important we look our best. He’s a very important client!”

Lily had no idea why she should look her best for their visitor, but she put on a nice, freshly pressed dress and a brand new white apron.

Then she realized the truth.

It wasn’t the apothecary who was visiting, it was the apothecary’s son. And he was handsome, and charming, and sweet, and flirted shamelessly with her.

Just like Gil used to.

One afternoon, the apothecary’s son brought news. “Did you hear that the queen was actually an evil witch? And that Snow White didn’t die in a tragic accident after all… the queen tried to kill her!”

Lily turned deep red from head to toe, but only Aunt Agatha noticed. The princess had been a secret of the forest folk. If the city was hearing about it, something huge must have happened.

He went on “Well, the evil queen is gone now. Dead or banished, I’m not sure which story is true. But Snow White and her handsome prince are now ruling over us, righting many of the wrongs that the evil queen has perpetrated over the years.”

“Huzzah!” shouted Aunt Agatha. Soon she was chattering with the apothecary and his son, hypothesizing about all that had and might still happen.

All Lily could think of was Gil. How long ago had the prince rescued Snow White? If Gil and his friends no longer had to guard her, then…

There was a soft knock at the door, even though it stood open.

It was Gil.

Aunt Agnes drew herself up to her full height (which wasn’t much, but it was imposing nevertheless) and addressed the young man. “Why, hello there Gil. What a nice surprise to see you here! I’d thought perhaps you might come by for a visit sooner, but apparently you’ve been… preoccupied.”

Gil shrank. He was holding a pretty bouquet of lavender, but upon seeing the flower everywhere in Aunt Agnes’ cottage, he hid it behind his back and shrank even more.

“Is Lily here?” He asked. His voice was almost too quiet to hear.

“I’m here.” Lily said, stepping out from behind the apothecary’s son.

Gil’s eyebrows raised as he watched the apothecary’s son subtly raise his arm and put it around Lily’s shoulders. “Who’s this?”

“This is Mr. Wagoner, the apothecary, and his son,” said Lily, ducking carefully from her new suitor’s arm. Really, who did he think he was? Not even two weeks of innocent flirtation, and he thought he could put his arm around her so possessively?

“Hello Gil.” Really, she didn’t know what to feel. Her heart was leaping to see him there… but her head reminded her that he’d all but abandoned her while the princess was around. Even when Snow White was comatose, Gil couldn’t stop talking and worrying about her.

“Why don’t you and Gil go take a little walk? See if you can find any more of those mushrooms I need.” Aunt Agnes actually gave Lily a little shove towards the door.

She led him off down the path towards the edge of the woods. “I went by your parents’ house when I couldn’t find you. They told me you’d come here to visit Aunt Agnes for a while.”

“Well, yes. I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now. Did it really take you that long to figure out I was gone?” She tried not to sound petulant, but wasn’t sure whether she’d succeeded.

“Aw, Lily, don’t be mad!”

“Mad?” Lily gave him the sweetest, most innocent smile she could muster. Yes, she was mad! And hurt. But she didn’t want to let him know that. “Why should I be mad? My life doesn’t revolve around you. I’m not sitting at home waiting for you to come around.”

“No… you’re staying with your Aunt Agnes, and flirting with the apothecary’s son.” Gil’s tone was pathetic. The jealousy in his voice made her smile, and she hid it by turning away, supposedly to see if there were any mushrooms in the shade of a great oak.

“Aunt Agnes needed a little help, and I had the time. And what if I do flirt a bit with that nice young man? He’s very sweet. And attentive.” With that last remark, she made direct eye contact with Gil. His lips drew into a tight line, and he looked down at his feet, shuffling them in the dirt.

“Lily…” he paused, even though she didn’t interrupt. She simply regarded him with a patient glare. “I’m sorry I haven’t been as… attentive as I used to be. I’m sorry I was so caught up in Snow White’s predicament. I’m… sorry. About everything.”

She tortured him by not answering. Instead she busied herself with picking the mushrooms she’d found and placing them gently in her basket.

“Um… is there anything I forgot?” asked Gil.

Lily laughed. The poor young man seemed so forlorn, so lost. “Oh, my poor sweet Gil,” she turned towards him and closed the distance until only the basket was between them. “I think “everything” covers it nicely.” She leaned over the basket and gave him a quick, sweet peck on the lips.

Gil grinned. “I… I… I… ummm…”

Lily took him by the hand. “Come along, sweetheart. I’ll let Aunt Agnes know that you’re walking me home.”

There are two previous stories under “Fairytale Collateral Damage.” Sleeping Cutie, and Cutie and the Beast.

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James had never dared cross his noble employer. Never mind that the man was a beast… literally, ever since the evil so-and-so put a spell on him… the Prince’s disposition had never been exactly pleasant even before the transformation.

The beast was in the garden, holding their guest in a death grip.

“How dare you steal my precious roses after accepting this castle’s hospitality?” he roared.

One advantage to being an invisible servant was that in order to seem… er… invisible, as servants should be, it didn’t take much effort. James crept up quietly, whispering in the Prince’s ear as the poor guest groveled for his life.

“My Lord, please listen to him. He has daughters, and is only thinking of them. He did not know the flowers were forbidden…”

The Prince hesitated, but then released the gasping man. “Go then. But your youngest daughter must come to me of her own free will…”

James rolled his eyes. Yet another advantage to being invisible.

The worst thing about being invisible was not seeing her. His Mary, the sweet young thing he’d been working up the nerve to talk to before they all became enchanted.

All those meaningful looks across the crowded room, the smiles they’d shared, all were gone in the blink of an eye.

Being enchanted was not all it was cracked up to be.

As the man scurried out of the garden, back to his home and daughters, and the beast slumped sadly back to the castle, James felt a tickle of breath at his ear.

“That was brave, what you did. Standing up to him like that.” It was Mary… and she was talking to him! To him! She noticed him after all… he’d thought she forgot he existed the moment all the servants became invisible. “James… I… I just want you to know… I’m proud of you.” The sweetest lips caressed his cheek, lingering longer than would be deemed proper if anyone could have seen them.

Perhaps their flirtation was not at an end after all…

This little story was written for two prompts. Well, one actual prompt, and another whim. The prompt was from Write on Edge Red Writing Hood “This week we’d like you to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about a time someone crossed a line, legally or ethically.” In only 450 words (my story is actually only 350, woot!) it’s very hard to go too in depth, but I like this little piece. The other inspiration was that I’d been toying with the idea of “Fairytale Collateral Damage” as in what happened to all those other people who got caught up in the enchantment while the main characters had their story. The first one was Sleeping Cutie. (Addendum… I wrote another Fairytale Collateral Damage called Snow Bright.)

Oh, and this one is dedicated to my parents, James and Mary. If I am ever to write a story giving characters those first names, it absolutely had to be something short, sweet, and innocent lol!

The shortlink to this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-gX

Altes Wasserschloss. Öl auf Holz

Roses were hard to come by, but Maude liked the pale blue wildflowers that grew high in the hills. If he hurried, George could make it up there and back to the castle before dark. Maude would still be serving ale until late into the night, but if he stayed out of sight of certain housekeepers with rather strict ideas about where stable-boys belonged he could steal a few moments with her, perhaps even a kiss.

Luck was with him and no one saw him sneak from the stables to the castle proper. He even found a wild rose growing in a shaded corner where no roses should be able to grow.

He cut the deep red bloom from the thorny vine and looked around to make sure no one saw him.

There wasn’t a soul in sight.

Anywhere.

In fact, the castle seemed entombed in an eerie silence. The usual bustling and raucous laughter that should be filtering down to the courtyard was conspicuously absent.

George looked at the rogue rose vine. Three more blooms had appeared even larger than the first. As he watched, the vines expanded everywhere, covering the castle walls.

He hurried away from the enchanted vine, only to find more of them everywhere he looked. Clutching the precious wildflowers to his chest, he dove in the nearest door, certain some strange enchantment was afoot.

Still, not a soul was to be found anywhere. Usually the castle teemed with activity, even late into the night. This night in particular, being the princesses’ birthday, the nobles should be busy celebrating far into the wee hours.

He carefully made his way up one of the back staircases, and had to climb over a sleeping guard halfway up. At the top of the stairs there were more sleepers… guards, maids, knights… all fallen where they sat or stood.

George hurried to the kitchens. The fires that usually blazed high and bright were banked and dying. Even the cats were asleep. He found Maude, slumped in a corner, a pitcher of ale spilled beside her and her mobcap falling at an odd angle, unable to contain her bouncy curls.

He stifled a yawn. She looked so adorable  there. It would be so nice to lay down beside her, to rest his head in her lap.

A loud crash behind him brought him to his senses. The baker had been rolling out dough when he fell asleep, sprawled over the heavy table. But he must have squirmed in his sleep, and eventually rolled and slumped to the floor.

George scooped the sleeping maiden into his arms as another crash sounded. This time, it was a vine snaking in through the window. His eyes went wide as more roses bloomed and the sleepy smell grew heavier.

Carrying his ladylove, he ran back down the stairs. The vines were taking over the castle, and the thorns tore his clothes and rent his flesh. His vision blurred, but he plowed on, his feet remembering the path from keep to stable and out into the forest.

Once he was outside the castle, his head cleared. He turned and looked back towards the castle. The vines entwined every tower and covered every wall, growing thicker and thicker every minute. Maude still slept.

Not knowing what else to do, he carried her to his parent’s cabin. His father was a woodcutter. George could only hope that whatever enchantment was taking over the castle would not extend too far into the forest.

“Oh my goodness! What happened?” his mother exclaimed, rushing out of the cabin to meet him.

“The castle! Some kind of enchantment.” he gasped, carrying Maude into the tiny cabin. He set her down gently on his parents’ small bed, and she immediately snuggled deep into the pillows and blankets.

George’s mother shook the young woman gently. “Maude… Maude! Wake up, child!”

But Maude simply sighed in her sleep.

She did not wake that day, nor the day after that. When George tried to get to the castle to see if all the inhabitants were still asleep, he could not even get close enough to see the outer walls. Although the forest near his parent’s little home was untouched, the closer he got to the castle, the denser the underbrush became. When he cut his way through the underbrush, he eventually was faced with a thicket of vines so thick and so strong that he could not cut through them, even with both him and his father working with the biggest, strongest axes they had.

“Georgie, dear, what shall we do? I love dear Maude as if she were my own daughter, but I can’t take another night sleeping on the floor. I’m an old woman!”

George wrung his hands, pacing back and forth in the tiny cabin. “Well, there’s one thing we haven’t tried yet…”

“What Georgie? We must do something. She’s enchanted, just like the castle. And her parents too, are surely asleep with the rest of the castle folk.”

George knew his mother would not approve of the idea. But he needed her support… in case things went badly. And they could go very badly if he was wrong. “Well, I… you know I love her, Mother…”

“I know you love her, sweetheart. And she loves you.”

“Well, I… I was bringing her flowers, and I hoped I might steal a kiss–”

“Georgie! Bite your tongue! How could you think of stealing a kiss from dear Maude? She’s a good, sweet girl! She deserves to be treated with respect, not… not…”

George took over the conversation again as his mother sputtered. “I want to marry her, Ma! I wouldn’t be kissing her if my intentions weren’t honorable. You raised me right, and I’ll treat her right.”

His mother just looked from him to the sleeping maid, then back again. At first, her gaze was lost and helpless. But then a smile crept onto her face. “Well, it’s about time one of my children made me a grandmother…”

“Ma!” Georgie exclaimed, his jaw dropped at the suggestion. Of course, once they were married they’d have a dozen kids. Maude had hips made for birthing babies. He’d often admired them. “One thing at a time.” He took a deep breath. “I think I should kiss her. Isn’t that how spells like this are broken? By her true love’s kiss?”

“Oh Georgie, are you her true love?” his father asked, chiming in after following the conversation in silence.

Georgie didn’t have to think about the question. He knew the truth in his heart. “I love her, Dad. And I know she loves me too.”

With that, he approached the bed, sitting gently on the edge. Maude rolled slightly towards him as his weight bent the bed. Gently, he rolled her so she was on her back, then he leaned in and placed his lips over hers.

At first, he simply brushed her lips gently. He was afraid she would suddenly realize what he was doing, and give him a tongue-lashing or worse for taking such liberties. But then he pressed harder, turning a simple touch into true love’s kiss. A tiny noise escaped her throat, and he tilted his head slightly, enjoying the softness of her mouth.

She began to kiss him back, and when her hand reached up to touch his cheek, he knew that he had broken the spell.

“Oh Georgie…” Maude said breathlessly. She kissed him again, pulling him closer. When he pulled away to take a breath, her eyes fluttered open. “Georgie?” she asked, looking around her, confused. “Georgie!” she yelled then, shoving him away. “Oh, George, how dare you? Just because I gave you a peck on the cheek in the back stairway last night, you think… you think you can… oooh!” She was working up into a rage, continuing her chastisement as she scooted off the bed and away from him.

Fortunately, his mother smoothed things over. She caught the young woman in a motherly embrace, holding her and shushing her. “Oh, my darling girl, something terrible has happened! The castle is enchanted. All the folk are asleep, and the entire place is caged in vines. Georgie just barely rescued you… he was almost trapped himself!”

“The castle? Enchanted?” Maude blinked, and turned away from the older woman.

George was on one knee, a bouquet of blue wildflowers in his hand. Maude’s eyes softened, her initial offense having cooled. “My dearest Maude, I have loved you since the first day I saw you. Please, my darling, will you be my wife?”

George’s mother gasped and cooed, then wept outright as Maude went into George’s arms.

“Oh, Georgie! I love you too!” she exclaimed.

And they lived happily ever after.

 

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