I was shaking with rage as I paced through the dim and dark halls of the castle; from the drawing room, to the slaughter house, up to the parapet, down again to the storehouse, out to the chapel, the graveyard, the stable, the orchard, and back into my chambers, all the while shouting, I will not take the Duke's bastard. I will not. My hair wild about my face, my feet bare, dressed only in a shift and an ermine cloak--- I looked like a witch. Possessed of a cold fury. My husband lay with his sister! And produced a child.
It was an abomination. It could not be believed. And then in the same instant, I knew it to be true. I knew the Duke was capable of anything. And now from the grave, he rises up and brings me a deranged child. I could barely stop myself from digging up his body and setting it on fire. Oh the rage! I deserved a quiet life. A life of good meals, books to read, fine young men to fuck, red wine to drink. A revelry or two on the holidays in long golden gowns. I deserved all this. I would not take the child. I would not. I would sooner jump from the tower.
I tossed and turned in my feather bed. All through that night, I did not sleep. I will not take Snow White. The crown cannot take away my properties. The Duke lawfully owned the castle, and as his wife, and now widow, it is mine. All mine. Isn't it? Who would dare deny me? Who? The sun came up on the eastern horizon. I watched it from my bed. The bed I now blissfully slept in alone as I wished, or with a partner, as I wished. The yellow light slithered through the window, across the hearth, over my dressing table, creeping, moving closer and closer until it warmed my brow, but I was not glad. In that moment, as a new day arose--- I knew the Solictor would be back. I knew the child was my destiny. The crown could do as it wished. I could not defy the Queen and live to tell the tale.
A fortnight later, as exptected, he returned with “the child,” and five heavily armed soldiers. This time when that fat ugly bastard, wearing a brocade coat over his sagging arse asked me to reconsider “my position,” I said I would. I also said I would require the services of not only a nurse, but a governess, and tutors as well. Send the very best, I ordered. I am a practical woman. “The child” was perhaps 12 or 13. It would not be long, I thought, before she is married. She will stay on her side of the castle, and I would stay on mine. She stepped forward, curtsied, and announced,
"I am Snow White."
I curtsied back, forced a smile and said, "So you have told me. Many times."
"And--- and you will address me properly." At this she looked up at me, meeting my gaze for the first time tha day. She too smiled, but it was a sly and nervous smile. Skittish. A bit mad.
"Yes, you are Snow White," I replied, quietly, "and I am Your Ladyship. Esmeralda will see you to your rooms."
The Solicitor nodded, "A very wise decision."
I wished desperately to pour a pot of boiling water over his head and blister it till kingdom come. But I couldn't. Instead I said, "I cannot call a child Snow White. Will the Queen at least give her a name?"
"She will not. She said some things should not have names."
And then I knew what had happened. And understood why the Queen sent her here. After the Solicitor left, the child was bathed and fed. Esmeralda helped her unpack in her rooms in the west wing of the castle. Later, much later, Harry crept into my room and for a few hours, we had our fill of each other. His was a delightful cock, grateful and obedient. When he came into my room that night, like all other nights, he stood shyly at the entrance to my chambers. Bashful and blushing, twisting his cap in his hands, all six foot of him; dark hair, dark beard, broad wide hands, he said;
"Your Ladyship? How may I assist you?"
I allowed my dressing gown to open, just a fraction, to reveal the still rosy thigh beneath, and replied, "Are things well with you and your family, Harry?"
He squirmed even more, desperate to reach out to me, but knowing he must wait for my word, “Indeed. Yes,” he said.
Now I pulled my gown open to reveal my breasts, “Your wife is with child?”
He whispered, his eyess intent on my nipples, "Our third."
By now he was fully erect.
"Harry?," I said, dropping the robe to the floor, standing there naked before him, dressed only in pair of emerald earrings.
"Yes your Ladyship?"
"Would you like to fuck me?," as I walked to my bed, pulled down the coverlet.
"Indeed I would, your Ladyship."
And then he was on me--- until the sun was a small distant globe of fire, now orange, then red, until my legs were shaking and his brow was covered in sweat. I did not care that he had a wife and children. It was just this I craved. Just his body, his mouth. Even the thought of that ghostly little girl could not dim my happiness. Or so I thought. I must’ve then fallen asleep for a short while--- for the next thing I knew Harry stirred next to me, a rough arm thrown across my shoulders. As if we were soldiers fallen in battle, but swathed in heavy silk and feather pillows. He opened his eyes and murmured;
“I will not be able to use my cock for a fortnight. See how it rests upon my thigh? Swollen with happiness.”
I turned to him, my breasts falling upon his shoulders, on his face, “Esmerelda will bring in a basin of warm water for you to wash.”
"I should like you to wash it," he grinned, "And perhaps bestow one last kiss."
I laughed, "Would his highness enjoy a sprig of lavender with which to perfume his cock?"
We were tussling now beneath the coverlet. His hand on my breasts, my legs wrapped around his, when out of the corner of my eye I saw the red velvet curtains stir, as if a breeze had suddenly blown up, but the casement windows were locked tight. I quickly disentangled myself from Harry’s arms, sat up straight. A terrible thought had entered my brain. I called out;
“Snow White, is that you?”
She flew out, quick as flame, like a mouse darting from its corner, and disappeared from the room.
“Who in God’s name was that?” Harry asked, clearly terrified.
“The Duke’s bastard,” I replied, “Now my step-daughter. Best for you to get dressed my love. I’ve business to attend to.”
I quickly set off in search of Snow White. I found her in her room, hiding beneath the bed. I could see her small white feet, clenched in terror, poking out from beneath the linen bedclothes. I stood in the doorway, and said, “Do you know what happens to little girls who do not mind their own business?”
She did not answer.
“It is not proper to spy on your Ladyship when she is in her private quarters. Do you understand me?”
Still no answer.
I softened my tone, “How long were you there? What did you see?” I stepped into her small room beneath the eaves of the parapet, and sat in the one of the carved wooden chairs. “I warn you. I will remain here all day if necessary. I too am quite stubborn.”
She crept out from beneath the bed. I saw a frail girl, as translucent and fragile as a butterfly, save for her brilliant sapphire eyes. She might’ve been pretty, but she was too pale for prettiness. Her gown was covered in soot, her feet were filthy. She remained sitting, cross-legged. I gazed down at her. I asked her softly,
“Why were you in my room?”
“I am bleeding.”
“Have you been told how to take care of yourself,” I asked carefully.
“Oh, yes,” and here she looked up at me, and for the first time, I saw innocence. She said, proudly, “I learned everything about becoming a woman. Everything."
“This your first?”
She nodded,“I came into your room to tell you. But that man was there. The stable boy.”
“You must listen to me Snow White." I leaned forward in my chair, “Two things. The first, you are never to enter my chambers again--- unannounced. Is that clear? The second, the stable boy is----”
“---he is your lover, Your Ladyship, she said interrupting me, “And some day I will have a lover too.”
“Yes, you will,” I said soothingly, “This is true. But for now, you are still a child. And what goes on behind closed doors is not for a child to concern herself with---”
“---I will take Harry as a lover. I will steal him away from you.”
“Oh, is that so?,” I asked amused.
"Yes,” she breathed, “I am in love with him.”
These words--- spoken with such clarity, and so unexpected--- made me uneasy. Even fearful. What was I to think of this? What was I to do with this? A 12 year old child with matted hair in a filthy dressing gown, now dotted with blood, crouching on the cold flagstone floor.
“Indeed,” I said to her, “love is a grand emotion, holding out my hand to lift her up, “But now your Ladyship requests that you bathe and prepare for your tutors. Today I believe its geometry and chemistry.”
She stood up smiling. Transformed again. A good little girl. In need of a wash. This is what I thought. But she shattered that illusion when she said, imperiously, “I will steal him away from you. I will. Because I am Snow White."
You will find all the information you need to submit a story (sidebar, just scroll down), inspiration for a story, and why we need an anthology of revisioned, contemporary feminist fairy-tales and myth (blog posts). You will also find my story, serialized, "I am Snow White," as an example of how this could work--- and I hope I find many, many dark, funny sexy stories from you. Deadline: October 30, 2010.
Nationally and internationally produced playwright, award winning producer and author for NPR and WBAI. Published in Salon.com, USAtoday.com, dumbonyc.com, by Cleis Press, Seal Press, Heinemann Press. Reviewed in NYTimes, Art in America, Village Voice, The London Sunday Times. MA from NYU.
What I'm looking for
Stories that radically revise stereotypes of "bad women" in the Bible, in myth and in fairy-tales. Stories that aren't afraid to be literary, transgressive, dark, and sexy. Think: Lilith, Medea, the Wicked Stepmother, the Evil Witch, Pandora, Eve, crones, sibyls, fates, muses. Contemporary adaptations are fine. Mythical adapations equally welcome.
The spine: We begin to see these women through another lens.
How to submit
Email story in word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org Subject line: Submission. Documents should be double-spaced, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman. Paragraphs should be indented five spaces. Bio (necessary) and contact information in the upper right hand corner. Stories should not exceed 5,000 words. Please do not send work-in-progress. Final drafts only.