My Snow Flower

I had to kill her. I never thought I could think such a thing. She was a piece of me as much as if she was my flesh. Hans married me for my face, another ornament for his pretty collection. Without a dowry and over 21, I was no bargain according to my eldest brother. Still I left my books and my little garden with a heavy heart. Such is the way for gentlewoman without means, governess or second wife.
Our honeymoon was brief and uneventful. Hans didn’t mention his daughter until the carriage pulled up to the manor. I suspect the toddler slipped his mind. I can still picture her bone china face with hair black as a raven’s wing peeking from behind the skirts of one of the upstairs maids.
“Rosenrot, this is Edelweiss,” Hans said. “It takes after its mother more the pity.” My bridegroom sniffed and turned away.
I bowed to the wee babe and asked to enter her home. She looked at me shyly before throwing her porcelain arms wide.
We were one. After losing three babies, I opened my near dead heart and found life with this motherless babe.
I grew to understand Hans, the old fool, despised the child almost to the point of horror. Up until he suddenly died Hans tried to turn me against his little girl. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. No bad word I could hear against her, my snow flower.
Oh my girl was lovely and brilliant. Of course she could be imperious and vain and yes a touch cruel. When I was cross with her, Edelweiss would hug me tight and all was forgiven. Yet the vicious whispers bloomed as my girl blossomed. I ignored the superstitious villagers. Ignoring my own brain, I trusted my heart. Once I saw her transformation on the full moon, once I saw her drinking from a young peasant, once I saw her red red lips stained with blood, the scales fell from my eyes. We fought. My crucifix caught the moonlight and she fled into the night.
Now I sit in my boudoir before my looking glass ugly from the blood of her victims because I sheltered a monster. I hired a huntsman to track the creature, the daughter of my heart. I hold the proof of her death in a box in my hands. I can’t bear to see it. I was a stepmother and now I am the evil. I protected the world from this abomination yet I feel her still in the room with me right behind me and though it is wrong I would give my life for one more embrace in her snow white arms.

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