Now the truth about fairy-tales that everyone seems to forget is that, just like with all stories, there is always a spark of truth within them. Sometimes this pebble is small and obscure; perhaps a moral wrapped in words to teach young children the good and honest way.
But sometimes… well, sometimes that pebble is so very much more. Sometimes the story itself is the truth. A story of faraway kingdoms and true love's kiss, that can bring someone out of even the deepest cursed sleep. A story of magic used freely by both the good and the not so, where deals were struck but always came at a price. A story of enchanted trees and inner beasts and the conscience we wish we could all hear.
A story passed off as no more than a fairy-tale even by the very people who lived it. A land and truth that had been forgotten by all until the prophesised saviour returned to break the curse… well, forgotten by everyone except me.
Because I can never forget.
That's what the doctors in this land call it. It's also been called 'Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory' but that really is too much of a mouthful for anyone to say. A chance viewing of a documentary one night and suddenly so many things about my life made more sense. However in the land I was born it was called something much, much, worse.
The sound of a wolf's howl startled me from my sleep. In the weeks that I had been in the dungeon I had not heard a wolf's cry but I was thankful for its intrusion as it had woken me from another night's fitful sleep, full of nightmares and bad memories. The last I remember was a strong hand grasping my throat as they tried to extract my memories. The face was one I had but only seen the night before…
"You. Girl. What are you here for?" The Evil Queen had asked me. I found myself looking at my feet, unwilling to even meet her eyes as she peered through the bars that were my cell.
"A group of villagers brought her in a few weeks ago for judgement" King George answered before I could speak "They claimed she had robbed them through the use of magic. Thievery and Witchery they proclaim."
"But I gave them everything back. All of it" I exclaimed rushing closer towards the cell bars not realising the danger I had just placed myself in.
As my hands wrapped around the bar the Queen grabbed my face, holding my jaw within her hand firmly so I could not move, her eyes locked with mine as if searching for something. She was an imposing figure that had me both terrified an intrigued at the same time. After what felt like an age, yet must have been only a few moments, the Queen released me and I stumbled backwards trying to regain my balance.
"There is no magic here" the Queen said dismissively to King George before looking back at me "what did you do to the villagers to warrant them dragging you all this way?" the Queen said, her voice lowering to a tone less threatening.
I took a breath before looking up "I said I could tell them their past." I admitted.
The Queen raised one perfectly sculptured eyebrow "And how did you accomplish such a convincing deception?"
"My brother would drink ale with the villagers the night before until their tales would turn to the past. He would then signal to me what tale belonged to who."
I had told the villagers this very story when they first confronted me, yet they rejected this to be the truth. I then tried to quell their anger by returning everything they had given me yet no sooner had one of the villager's yelled 'witch' than I was being tied and lead behind a cart to the King.
"Your brother would gather the information and aid you in your deception, yet here you sit, in a cell, all alone." The Queen said with a smirk.
"Yes, he ran and left me to the mob." I said, looking downwards to the floor in an effort to portray sorrow, for there was no brother but I had no desire for the Queen to learn my secret.
The Queen had left then with King George, the guards dragging a hooded figure behind them, and I was thankful that she had no more desire to question me further.
… When I heard the door swing open to the dungeon I expected it was a guard checking on me, for I was now the only one left down here but no sooner had I gotten to my feet had a figure, concealed by a hooded white cloak ran past me, heading towards the now empty cell at the end.
"Charming… Charming!" the cloaked figure called.
"Snow…" the voice of Prince James replied. I was momentarily taken aback by the sound of another voice and strained my head to see where it was coming from.
"You're… No… No… Oh, no!" Snow White exclaimed, I could just see her stumbling backwards a little as reflected light caught my eye causing me to turn away.
"The Queen took me to her palace." Prince James said.
"But, but I'm rescuing you." Snow replied, obviously both frustrated and dejected at her thwarted efforts to free the man she loved.
It wasn't until I heard The Queen's voice that I realised she had placed one of her many enchanted mirrors into the cell after she removed Prince James the night previously. After listening to the Queen's request to meet, alone, Snow White ran back out of that dungeon so quickly I don't even think she realised I was there.