A/N: Some Evil Queen/Regina speculation. I very much want to understand her. Enjoy!
"Where are we going, Mama?"
"You'll see soon, Regina, hush."
Regina tucked her legs underneath her seat on the carriage and looked out into the dark night filling the spaces between the trees. It was a spooky night tonight, she decided. There were no stars to point to where you are. And there were probably evil things in the forests now like witches and goblins, because night time is when they came out of their hiding places. Regina shivered and stopped looking outside. She didn't want to be scared, she wasn't some little kid afraid of the boogey man underneath her bed.
She looked over at Mama and frowned. Mama was dressed nicer than usual. Her hair, normally tucked in a braid, was neatly curled and shiny. Her face had paint on it, like the doll she had been given as a baby. The doll was in her bag next to her now. She thought it looked pretty, but she didn't know if she wanted to look like a doll too. Mama also wore her best dress. The one she wore when they went to town to get new supplies. It was a deep purple, and soft and velvety with vines embroidered on the sides. There was a purple jewel on the belt, although Regina knew it was made of glass. Real jewels were much more sparkly. She had seen them before on noblewomen.
She wondered why she wasn't wearing her nice clothes too. She was just wearing her normal clothes. Brown and boring. And her hair was curly and unruly, just like always. She frowned again. Regina considered herself very smart for a five year old, and things just weren't adding up right. She had been awaken by her mother much after she was told to go to sleep and put on a carriage, and now they were in a nice carriage that was painted with gold and silver and were in a spooky forest. She wished her Mama would tell her things.
With a jolt that made Regina almost fall off her seat, the carriage stopped.
They were still in the forest.
A bolt of panic and fear shot through Regina, but she pushed it away because fear was very childish. Mama had told her that.
Mama was looking out the window. She had the strangest expression on her face, like someone had just taken her favorite rabbit away. Which didn't make sense because Frederick was in his pen. Regina had fed him that morning. She snapped out of it quickly and flashed Regina a smile.
"Come quickly, darling, we don't have much time." She held out her head.
Scrambling off the seat, Regina took it.
They had been walking through the forest for hours. The later it got, the tighter Regina squeezed her mother's hand. Eventually her mother had pried her hand out, snapping that she couldn't concentrate. The lantern Mama held wasn't doing much good, it seemed that the night persisted through anything. Regina had thought about making her hands shoot light or glow, like she had figured out she could do, but she knew Mama would only get mad. Regina knew her special powers scared Mama, so she pretended they didn't exist. Oh how Regina wished there was a moon tonight. She looked for the sliver beyond the tall shrouding trees. It was there, a flash of light in a bleak foggy sky. She held onto it in her heart, tightly. And once again, she pushed her fear away.
Realizing she had been daydreaming, and that her mother was no longer near her, she cried out, flailing her arms in the search of velvet.
"Regina! I'm right here. Stop yelling, you'll wake the wolves."
Now that didn't make sense.
But then the wolves howled, and Regina rushed toward the direction of her mother's voice.
Someone was approaching. Regina could hear their footsteps. They were approaching slowly, matching the thumps of her heart.
"Be good, darling. Be brave." Mama squeezed her fingertips tightly.
Regina hid in her mother's velvet skirt and looked up with curious eyes at the hooded figure talking in sinister sounding tones to her mother. The light from the lantern did nothing to illuminate her face. She shivered.
"I have the rest of your gold, dearie, just as you've requested." The woman rasped, handing a pouch to her mother with gnarled fingers.
Gold? Regina furrowed her brow.
"All of it?" Mama quipped.
"Yes, you can check if you would like."
Regina heard her shaking the pouch and examining it. Why did her Mama need gold? What was going on?
She nestled further into her flowing dress.
"Alright, now that we've got this settled….where is the girl?"
Regina felt that stab of panic again. Surely she couldn't mean…
Suddenly Regina felt her mother pull her from the safety of the velvet, and shove her forward towards the hooded woman. Fear gripped her heart as the woman's hands, those frightening hands with yellow nails reached toward her. She started to shrink behind her mother again, but was stopped with a familiar, "Being afraid makes you weak, darling. You mustn't ever be afraid." Mama pushed her back toward the woman, and as hard as she could, she couldn't stop feeling afraid. She could feel the sheer wretchedness of this woman, beyond her appearance. It was as if her whole soul was crying out to stay away, that this woman would take away all the happiness ever to exist in the world. In the farthest corner of her mind, the place where her special powers lay, she saw darkness pooling from the surroundings of this woman in tendrils. Sheer darkness. And in darkness, no light was possible. Not even a little bit.
Mama pushed her even a little more forward.
Why was her mother pushing her toward the darkness? Weren't Mamas supposed to protect you from it?
The woman's hands settles on her shoulders, and Regina felt the dark stronger than ever. She could see the woman's face.
It was as gnarled and wrinkled as her hands, her eyes mirroring every bad feeling Regina was feeling, her hair thin and stringy. The woman's face was a smile unlike one Regina had ever seen before. It was mocking her entire existence.
Her whole face together looked like everything her Mama told her to be afraid of.
"I've heard, child, that you possess magickal powers unlike any other. Would you care to show me these powers?"
Show her the powers? Mama always said no one could see her powers or they would lock her up. Her powers were bad. Her powers were evil.
"Go on, Regina. Please show the nice lady your powers."
She turned to her mother and saw her encouraging smile, something Regina hardly saw. Mama was almost always stern. With that little bit of strength she drew, she forgot about all the evilness. She lifted her hand, and a sphere of light formed in her palm. She took away her hand and started shaping the sphere with her hand, making it into the shape of a bright red apple. The apple grew and grew until it cut through the night.
"Wonderful, wonderful dear. She'll make a fine Keeper of Magick. A fine witch."
Immediately the apple vanished. That silly fear was back. Witch? Regina wasn't a witch! Witches were evil, they only came out in the dark!
The dark that was everywhere around her now.
"The agreement is set, then."
Regina was focussed on making the light reappear. She didn't want fear to win. She wanted the light to win. Blue was starting form. It was brighter than red. She didn't notice her Mama's sad smile that quickly turned into into tears as she reached for her daughter's curly hair. Then quickly draw back, as the sobs came.
Regina only noticed when the light was gone, and her mother was too. The last thing she saw was the velvet dress in the distance, swaying as she walked further. Away from her.
She kept walking. Why wasn't she turning?
Be good, Regina. Be brave.
She tried for her Mama. Really she tried. She'd been the bravest five year old ever, she made sure.
The trees had swallowed her up.
"Yes, a fine witch indeed."
The lantern was gone. It's light with it. Bravery was all she had against the dark. Because being a afraid was weak, and weak was something Regina was not. But Mama was gone. Mama took the light. She was left with a witch, a dark witch. And now she was a witch too. Mama was always afraid of her powers, afraid of the dark, but she told Regina to be brave. Where was the fairness in that?
The lantern was gone.