Once upon a time, in a far away land... There was a young princess who lived in a shinning castle... She had everything she ever wanted... Everything except loving parents...While she was sweet, innocent and caring. Her parents were cold, calculating and cruel often belittling and punishing not only the servants but also their only daughter.

To try and achieve some sort of approval or even affection from her parents... The princess did all she could to be the daughter they desired... Graceful, poised, did not speak unless spoken to... Even this sort of behavior didn't faze the King and Queen and they continued treating her like she was part of the furniture. ... Dejected, the princess would often barricade herself in her own room. Not coming out unless told to, or to attend her lessons... Soon she became for lack of a better word... Cold... towards everyone and everything around her... The servants found this disturbing... to see such a lovely young girl become so withdrawn... Feeling sorry for the lonely girl, they always offered their friendship should she need it... However, she always denied, haughtily stating she didn't need any of them and that she preferred to be alone... Slowly, one by one they all gave up.

The princess spent day and night...reading. She loved books... she surrounded herself within them... Drowned herself within them... Devouring story after story... Books provided an escape and a sense of protection from the everyday emptiness and pain she felt... So that was what she did for years... When the princess was eleven years old, her parents left her alone in the castle with the servants for the very first time while they attended a royal conference... The princess was naturally overjoyed. The whole castle to herself and of course she took advantage of it, roaming the hallways, exploring the supposedly out of bounds rooms, staying up late...

It was nearing midnight, one freezing cold December night, when an unfamiliar knock on the doors echoed around the castle. The princess looked up from her storybook...

"Mama, papa... they're back!" she thought excitedly. They promised they would return on her birthday... So it had to be them! Throwing off her blankets, she ran down the spiraling staircase barely able to contain her anticipation. However when the princess threw open the palace doors, it was not the King and Queen who graced her with their presence but a haggard, filthy and extremely ugly old beggar woman...

The princess stood there dumbfounded before regaining her composure.

"What do you want?" she demanded silkily, trying to imitate her mother while wrapping her dressing gown tighter around herself... barely able to stop her teeth chattering from the bitter cold.

"Please... would you provide me a place to rest for the night in exchange for this rose..." the beggar woman croaked softly her whole body trembling like a leaf.

The princess's pale face remained emotionless but her piercing gaze did soften.

"A rose?"

"An enchanted rose..."

And from her tattered cloak, the beggar woman pulled out the most beautiful red rose... Spellbound by the ruby red glow emanating from the perfect flower... the princess couldn't help but gape like a fish out of water. It was nothing like she had ever seen before... Everything about it was perfect... The size, the shape, the color even the petals... The petals... All perfectly shaped and layered over each other, glistening every so slightly almost as if made out of tiny diamonds... Finally, the princess broke out of her trance and removed her dressing gown. Handing it to the crone.

"The stables are to your left... You may use this... should the hay not be enough..."

"Child... I've been out here for days without food or water... I beseech you to..."

The princess shook her head... Although her conscious did tell her to let the poor woman in... She feared what her parents might do to her if they found out... It wouldn't be the first time the King and Queen had punished their daughter for this sort of thing...Besides... they would be returning soon...

"Either take what you have or leave!" the princess said sternly before turning away to return to the warmness of her room. However, before the princess could even reach for the door to slam it shut. The beggar woman suddenly began to glow and grow in height until she towered over the cowering princess. With a wave of her hand, the crone's ugliness melted away to reveal the most beautiful woman the princess and maybe even the world had ever seen. Her long billowing hair looked like silky strands of melted gold making the princess's own curls seem plain or even dull in comparison. Her face was deathly white, with features that would make any beauty cry with envy, her eyes were the most dangerous shade of blue... Like a sea during the storm...

Instinctively, the princess threw herself to her knees...

"Forgive me... I didn't know... I..."

" So the rumors I've heard were true... A faraway castle... There lives a selfish king... who married a selfish queen... who then went on to give birth to a selfish princess..."

"Please... I beg of you..."

"You have been deceived by your own cold heart... You know nothing of love and thus a curse upon your castle and all within it..."

Terrified beyond all measure now. The princess turned and slammed the doors firmly shut before the Enchantress even had the chance to finish... Deciding the most logical thing to do was to get as far away from her as possible, the princess ran away from the large doors only to be confronted by something far worse... As all over the castle, servants were waking up screaming and crying as they witnessed themselves and each other transform... As the princess ran past the kitchen, she saw Miss Potts the kindly old lady cry out mournfully as she held all her children tightly as their skin took the appearance of fine china... Burying her face in her hands, the princess ran up the stairs gasping in horror as Cogsworth ran past her shrieking and shrinking with every centimeter he ran... Unable to contain the creeping fear that was climbing up her spine... The princess continued running into the long corridor only to scream loudly as Lumiere the normally cheerful butler turned to face her... His face was disfigured... His features falling all over each other as if they were made of melting wax... Closing her eyes... the princess immediately turned the other way... Not stopping until she flung herself into the safety of her own room...

She backed away from the doors... Her hands over her ears... Doing the best she could to drown out the haunting screams of her servants...

"Now for you..." came a chilling voice from the balcony.

The princess spun around to see no other than the Enchantress herself hovering over her balcony, her arms crossed, a smile plastered over her face.

"Please...Please don't..." the princess begged tears rolling down her face as the Enchantress hovered closer and closer towards her...

"You shall now be known forever as what you truly are... A beast..." and with a blinding flash of light, the princess screamed as the curse took hold... Withering and thrashing with all her eleven years worth of strength. The agony itself was unbearable but watching her hands lengthen and grow thick brown fur all over them... to watch sharp claws extend from her delicate hands... to feel the large fangs sprout painfully and take up whatever space she had in her small mouth... To see her body contorting and ripping away her nightgown as it got bigger and more menacing... It made her scream over and over, thrashing and struggling against that invisible force that was gripping her... hoping, praying the Enchantress would stop and forgive her...

Finally, the agony stopped and the princess slumped to the ground shaking and shivering...Slowly, she tried to get on her feet... but to her dismay, she found out that there was something horribly wrong with her knees and there was some infuriating object that just kept getting in between her legs. Frustrated, she reached out to tear that object, whatever it was; off only to roar in pain realizing it was a tail... Her tail... A chill went down her spine...

"No..." the princess whispered before cringing at the distorted rumble that escaped her throat... Hesitantly she pushed herself up only to drop down on all fours...

"No..." she begged looking at the loathsome paws that had once been delicate human hands... Scrambling wildly, the princess managed to lumber herself to a mirror… Hesitantly, she raised her head... And she could barely stop herself from screaming at the sight of her hideous reflection...

"NO!"

Hours later... The King and Queen finally returned to their castle. At first shocked by the sheer emptiness of the castle... Their shock was quickly replaced by all consuming fear when they entered their daughter's bedroom. Instead of the beautiful, charming princess, widely known across the seven seas for her beauty... There stood, in her place... A terrifying, monstrous beast...

"Mama... Papa..." it had growled before reaching out with its dangerous clawed paws...

Repulsed by the sheer thought that this monster before them could be their daughter, the King and Queen fled... Never to be heard from again... Rumor has it that they had drowned in a shipwreck set for the Netherlands... But it no longer mattered to the princess...

Frightened and repulsed by her new monstrous form... the princess went off to destroy every mirror, every painting, and every portrait of her and her parents... Just looking at them made her feel... monstrous ... An abomination... A freak of nature... By the time she was finished, her paws were soaked in blood from smashing so many mirrors... Her throat hoarse from her screaming…. Tired, she retreated back to her room and when her privacy was assured, she rested her head on a stone table and to cry her heart out before a flash of green light caught her attention. There... on her bed lay a hand held mirror the princess had no recollection of ever owning... As she bent over to examine it, she couldn't help but recoil from the hideous image that was reflected on it… Enraged, she picked it up, ready to fling it out of the balcony and into oblivion only to stop when a familiar icy voice emanated from the mirror.

"Don't be foolish..." the commanding voice of the Enchantress warned. The princess looked into the mirror only to see the Enchantress's face staring back at her.

"What do you want... Haven't you done enough? " The princess growled bitterly.

" Don't make me regret the pity I feel for you child..." the Enchantress warned icily before continuing.

"It may seem child... I've judged you too harshly for you have indeed shown me a shred of kindness..." Without warning, the nightgown the princess had handed to the crone materialized onto her bed.

"For that one act of kindness... I reward you this mirror... It will show you anything you wish to see. Your window to the outside world... I also reward you with this rose... It will bloom until you're twenty first year. If you learn to love someone and earn his love back in return by the time the last petal falls... The enchantment will be broken... If you fail... You will be doomed to remain a beast for all eternity..." and with that, the enchantress disappeared leaving the princess to once again stare at her beastly reflection...

Years passed... and the princess fell into despair, losing all hope for a man to fall in love with her... Her parents' abandonment was enough to prove to her that no one will ever want her... For who could ever learn to love a beast...