Rose Red

Rose Red
AJ Mullican

Queen Rose was beloved by her subjects for her beauty, but feared for her ruthlessness. She was incredibly jealous of any other beautiful woman, and would often have other women arrested on false charges of witchcraft when her spies told her that there was a woman more beautiful than she living in her kingdom.
The irony in this was that the queen was a witch herself, though she never let even her closest advisors know of this. She kept her powers secret, for if they were discovered she would be burned at the stake.
One day, Queen Rose heard whispers of a most beautiful young woman with snow-white skin that had arrived in her lands. This woman was reported by her spies as being the most beautiful woman that anyone had ever seen. The queen was seething with anger, and ordered the woman arrested and burned at once.
The queen’s guard set out the next day to capture the woman and bring her to court for sentencing. However, they returned empty handed, and the queen was quite distressed. She demanded to know why the woman had not been brought before her to face judgment for her crimes.
‘O, my queen, I could not bear to arrest her,’ said the captain of the guard. ‘She was so beautiful that I knew there could be no way she could be a witch. Certainly the information that Your Highness received must have been wrong. This poor girl is merely traveling the lands searching for the finest of apples to bring back to her ailing mother.’
Queen Rose was furious, but she quickly thought up a plan. ‘The poor dear,’ she said to her captain. ‘Please bring her to us so that we may properly apologize for the false testimony. And have some apples brought from our private orchard. The royal apples are the juiciest and sweetest in the land, and surely her mother would delight in tasting them.’
The guards brought the girl to the queen the next day, completely unaware that the queen had bespelled an apple with a vicious poison. Queen Rose offered the young woman an apple, and the girl reached out to take it.
As soon as the girl touched the apple, it split open to reveal a maw of large sharp teeth. The teeth bit off the queen’s hand, and the queen screamed.
‘That wasn’t supposed to happen!’ the queen shrieked. ‘The spell was supposed to kill you when you touched it!’
The guards and nobles were all shocked at the queen’s confession. They watched in horror as the apple gobbled up the queen. Queen Rose screamed and cursed the beautiful girl, claiming until her dying breath that the girl was a witch who had tricked her.
Because Queen Rose died without an heir, and because the woman with snow-white skin was so beautiful and so beloved for revealing the queen’s trickery, she was crowned the new queen.
The new queen ruled mercifully, and it was never discovered that she, too, was a witch, and that she had known of Queen Rose’s deceit. She had put a spell on the apple the moment that she touched it to give the fruit the jaws and teeth of a wolf so that it may devour the queen.
The snow-white queen’s rule was long and fair, and her subjects lived happily ever after.