THAT RISEN SNOW: A SCARY TALE OF SNOW WHITE & ZOMBIES
By Rob E. Boley
THE CURSED GIRL NAMED Snow has slept for many moons, but it’s the dwarf renamed Grouchy who’s been dreaming. Today, he fears his dream will die.
He stands now at the bottom of the grassy hill with his six dwarf companions, yet he has never felt more alone—even when he was trapped in the bowels of Planchette Prison. He hides his anger in clenched fists. When he opens his hands, his fingernails have cut bloody crescent moons into his palms.
“Happily ever after, my hairy ass,” he says.
“Grouchy,” Merry whispers, “the Prince will hear you.”
Grouchy gestures rudely toward the Prince. “Balls.”
“That’s enough,” Bones says—his first words to Grouchy since the night before. Unlike the younger dwarfs’ high-pitched voices, the elder Bones’ deep voice commands respect, even from Grouchy.
Prince Mikael strides up the hill toward Snow’s bed, dead leaves crunching under his boots. Upon the hillside, birds twitter and woodland creatures chatter. The dew covering the grass sparkles like the diamonds in the mine.
Bones removes the Prince’s gloves from his shoulder where the young Prince draped them moments before. The ocean-blue gloves match the Prince’s cape and leather boots, so bright and clean compared to the dwarfs’ mining gear. About halfway between the hill and the dwarf Collective’s cottage, the Prince’s horse, also clad in blue finery, whinnies and tugs half-heartedly against its rope.
Atop the hill, the Prince leans over Snow’s silver bed. Grouchy can barely watch as the muscular human hoists the bed’s glass lid onto the ground.
Blushful lifts his pickaxe over his burly shoulder. “What think you, Dim? Is he really Snow’s true love?”
The mute Dim shrugs in response, rubs his palms together, and wiggles his fingers.
“What’d he say?” Grouchy says.
Bones nods. “He says our Snow has been asleep for too long.”
On the hillside, the Prince runs his fingers through Snow’s hair. He leans over to kiss her, to break her curse.
Grouchy spits. “He’s human. A swob. And a royal at that. How can we trust him with all that they’ve done to dwarfs? Don’t forget—that wench Queen Adara wants Snow dead. How do we know he isn’t in league with her?”
Merry smiles. When doesn’t he? “Well, the Prince struck me as a cordial gentleman.”
“Well, he struck me as a damn—”
An unmanly scream from the hill interrupts Grouchy’s insult. The Prince struggles with something atop Snow’s bed. Grouchy cranes his neck to see, but the bed topples to the ground, taking Snow and the Prince with it.
Grouchy yanks his rock chisel out of his boot and charges up the hill.
Above, birds fill the sky like a thick dash of pepper blocking the sun—all fleeing as if their feathery asses were on fire. In the periphery of Grouchy’s vision, the assembled foxes, chipmunks, raccoons, and other critters scamper into the woods.
When Grouchy reaches the hilltop, the Prince is straddling Snow and pinning her shoulders to the ground. She flails beneath him, her faded yellow dress and periwinkle corset now stained with grass.
“Well, I’ll be cored,” Bones says from behind Grouchy.
“Leave her be, ass-muffin.” Grouchy slams the blunt end of his chisel into the Prince’s head with a dull thump.
At the same time, Snow lunges upward and bites a generous hunk of flesh away from the Prince’s cheek. He jerks backward and clutches the wound, blood spilling between his fingers.
Grouchy’s broken heart trembles in his chest. He tackles the Prince onto the slippery grass, and the human gasps under his weight. When he looks to see if Snow is okay, Bones is standing over her with an outstretched hand. Except Bones’ bearded mouth falls open.
The Prince’s gloves spill from his hands and clap limply together in the grass.
Grouchy hoists himself to his feet to get an eyeful of his blood-splattered Snowflake. Her eyes—usually sky blue—are now black pupils floating in twin pools of blood. Her lips twist in a sneer. She spits out the Prince’s flesh, bares her teeth at them, and hisses. Without further warning, she lunges at Bones and buries her snarling face into the crook of his neck.
When Snow jerks her head away, strands of Bones’ beard stick to her blood-smeared face. The elder dwarf collapses with a grunt. Grouchy shakes his head. The old witch with the apple lied.
Snow came back, but she didn’t come back right.
About the Author:
Rob E. Boley grew up in Enon, Ohio, a little town with a big Indian mound. He later earned a B.A. and M.A. in English from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
He’s the author of The Scary Tales series of dark fantasy novels featuring mash-ups of classic fairy tale characters and horror monsters. His fiction has appeared in several markets, including A cappella Zoo, Pseudopod, Clackamas Literary Review, and Best New Werewolf Tales. His stories have won Best in Show in the Sinclair Community College Creative Writing Contest and the Dayton Daily News/Antioch Writers’ Workshop Short Story Contest.
He lives with his daughter in Dayton, where he works for his alma mater. Each morning and most nights, he enjoys making blank pages darker. You can get to know him better by visiting his website at www.robboley.com.