Prompt: In two or three pages rewrite a story you like or a novel or movie in the competing voices of two interrelated characters, ala Oates.
I live in a small cottage outside the woods with my papa and two sisters. Our mama left us for heaven sometime ago, but I like to think that she still watches over us with love. Since mama’s death, our absent-minded papa has been utterly lost, but I have taken it upon myself to look after him. My two sisters, Coraline and Griselda help out sometimes, but since I am the youngest, I’m the one who stays home and takes care of papa. I do not mind this overmuch, for my sisters are so very beautiful and they are much too busy trying to secure an advantageous match with the eligible bachelors in town. You see, we are very, very poor and Coraline and Griselda think a rich husband will solve our financial woes. But just between you and me, I do not really care if Cora and Grizzy find themselves rich husbands. Papa and I are quite happy with our current circumstance. We have a roof over our head, two meals a day… we don’t really need very much.
There was once a prince who lived in a large mansion deep within the forest. This prince was very, very beautiful… and very, very selfish. He would spend hours upon hours looking at himself in a mirror or admiring the beautiful things he owns. One dark and stormy night, an old woman came knocking at his front door, begging for shelter and some food. The prince, affronted that this ugly peasant would even dare encroach upon his charity, drove her away, threatening her with bodily injury if she didn’t leave his doorstep. The old woman turned out to be a faerie queen and punished the prince for being so very, very wicked. She waved her magic and the prince become a gigantic, half-lion, half-man thing. She told him the spell will only be broken if a beautiful, pure-hearted woman told him she loved him before the last petal of the rose falls. She handed him an enchanted rose encased in a glass and disappeared.
My clothes don’t fit anymore. Isn’t it funny that that was the first thing I worried about? Never mind that every inch of my body is now covered with course, mangy fur and a snout of some sort seem to be protruding from where my mouth used to be. Have I mentioned that I now also have claws and fangs? I seem to have also developed a predilection for raw meat. No, I am not talking about steak tartare. I mean living, breathing, bleeding meat. I enjoy hunting it. It’s rather fortunate that I own such a vast preserve where I could hunt to my heart’s content. I was never much of a hunter in my former life, but now I rather enjoy tearing into a cotton-tail bunny with my claws before swallowing it whole. A defenseless fluffy bunny… sometimes I bat it around in my paws first before I slice its neck open. This Beast thing is not as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, I’m supposed to be looking for a beautiful, pure-hearted woman to manipulate into loving me, but honestly, I can’t even muster up the care for it. Now that I’m an “ugly, horrid Beast,” twitty debutantes and matchmaking mamas no longer show up at my door unannounced. Especially since I ate the last one. There’s nothing that goes down better with a vintage Bordeaux than the heart of a virgin.
I love animals of all sorts. Once, while I was out on a picnic in a little clearing behind our cottage with a book in my hand, a little doe walked up to the stream and drank. Oh, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I was so touched by the scene that I actually found myself shedding a tear or two. But that was before a hunter had come along and shot the poor dear with an arrow right between it’s beautiful, big blue eyes. Oh, I was utterly desolate for weeks. Even the new book that Papa had brought me home from one of his travels couldn’t cheer me up. Why would the world be so cruel to such poor, defenseless creatures? Not that I don’t have enough to worry about. Papa is heading out again to sell one of his inventions in a country fair. I asked if I could go with him, but he told me no. The open road, he says, is no place for a lady. He wanted to know what he could bring back for me. Grizzy asked for a new comb, Cora asked for a new dress, while I… well, we haven’t much money, as I mentioned, so I asked Papa if he could perhaps pluck me a beautiful white rose that I could press inside one of my books and treasure for always. Oh, I do so love beautiful things.
Caught an old man today. Bit into him. Very gamy. And he smelled… terrible. Like old earth and mold. I tossed him into the dungeon and will keep him there until I decide what I want to do with him. Not that it has stopped him from caterwauling. The old bag just won’t shut up. He keeps begging me to let him go, telling me he’s got three daughters to take care of and they would be bereft without him. I asked if his daughters were virgins and he clammed up really quickly. He won’t eat, won’t drink, won’t sleep… he worries about his youngest daughter, Belle. Says she’s not as clever as his other daughters, Cora and Grizzy. I have always been fascinated with stupid females. I can amuse myself for hours from the idiocy that fall out of their mouths. I told the old man I’d let him go if he would only send the stupid daughter to me to keep for all eternity. He said he would rather die. I got angry and tossed him across the room. I left him whimpering on the floor, hugging his arm pathetically to his chest.
Papa’s horse Sebastian returned to the cottage today, but Papa was nowhere to be found. I hollered and yelled for him in the woods, but he did not answer. I’m rather worried about him. I tried to get Cora and Grizzy to help me find him, but they told me not to worry because he probably got held up in business somewhere and that he will return in a few days. Papa, after all, is rather absent-minded. No one else is town would help me, either. What if Papa is out there lying somewhere… hurt and cold? Oh, I vow I shall not think about it anymore for it only exacerbates my worry. Perhaps Sebastian could lead me to the place where he had thrown my father? I had to move quickly. My papa needed me. I packed some blankets, some food, threw a hood over my head, and hopped on Sebastian. The old nag took me through the woods and stopped before a rather grandiose mansion… only it’s not the beautiful and glorious abode that Cora had told me we will live in someday. Instead it is covered in overgrown fauna and looks rather old and dilapidated. Could Papa be inside? I walk towards the giant gates and peer through the bars. Though the gardens are wild, there are all sorts of flowers in there. Roses, gladiolas, orchids of all kinds… perhaps Papa had ventured inside in search of the white rose I had made him promise to buy me.
There is a young, dark-haired virgin standing outside. She is beautiful… a girl in the full bloom of health. I must have her. She looks remarkably stupid. Why else would she venture into the woods all by herself? She must be practically brain-dead. I must have her.
Speaking of writing, Ms. Kate Rothwell is throwing an Until Bam Returns, in honor of me and my wallet taking a sabbatical from the writing contest. For sure, I will have one next month. It’ll be good times, trust me on that.
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