insipid life

Just For One Night

The Evil Queen never met her soulmate before casting the Curse. His son, however, is a different story. Dimples Queen

Based off a scene in Maleficent.

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In a murderous mood Regina stalked the castle halls. Yet again Snow White had slipped through her fingers. She’d been so close to having her heart in her hands again. So close to ending that insipid girl’s life only to lose her in the final hour.

She was shivering with anger, simmering with rage. It boiled inside her, building and building with no release. The hem of her dress swept the castle floor as she continued to violently pace her room trying to relieve herself of the tiniest bit of tension. She needed to unleash her anger on something… or someone.

A black knight appeared at her door, timid and fearful. She glared at him.

“What?!” she spat.

“Your majesty,” he said, immediately falling to his knees and bowing his head, half out of respect and half so he wouldn’t be forced to look her in the face. She rolled her eyes at his deference and continued to pace her room.

“What do you want?” she growled in a low voice.

“I’ve come to tell you that we’ve found the bandits,” he said in a small voice.

“What bandits?” she hissed, slowing to a stop.

“The ones who have taken refuge from Prince Johnathon’s kingdom,” the knight clarified, his eyes still trained to the floor.

Regina’s fingers dug into her hips. She remembered the bandits he spoke of. They were a small band, yet capable of causing more than their fair share of trouble. They’d seeped into her forest from John’s, stealing from the nobles and giving what they took back to the poor. The nobles at court had been snipping about them for weeks now. Not that they ever took their complaints to her.

“Leave the map of their whereabouts on my vanity,” she instructed, “And get out of my sight.”

The knight laid the map where he was told and quickly disappeared from the room, feeling lucky to still have his life. Once he was gone, she took a deep breath before looking it over. Apparently the bandits had chosen to seek shelter not far from the castle. They were near the edge of Sherwood forest.

An evil smirk appeared on her face. Perhaps a bandit slaughter is just what she needs to relieve this tension.

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The moon was high in the sky when she found them. Full and bright, it casted its glow down onto the camp the bandits called home. Regina watched them from the shadows, safely hidden behind a thick tree near the edge of the forest. They seemed to be in a good mood. An ale was in every hand and laughter echoed as they all sat around a campfire. There were at least a dozen of them, maybe twenty. But that hardly mattered. She could take them all.

Her fingers curled as she summoned up the rage in her heart. How dare they enjoy themselves after thieving from her kingdom. How dare they have friendship and laughter when she was alone and cold in the castle? How dare they embrace happiness when all she’s been fed is pain?

A fire sparked in her palm. Soon they’d know the same burning misery as she did.

“Hi.”

A tiny little voice caused her to go still. She whipped her head behind her and saw a little boy no more than two years old standing behind her. His brown eyes were big and innocent. His dark hair curly and messy as if he’d just gotten out of bed. He looked up at her with no fear, only curiosity. A smile on his face as he shyly waved up at her.

Her heartbeat quickened at the sight of him. For a second her mask slips and her eyes widen. She’s thrown off by this tiny little boy, dressed in nothing but a night shirt but she quickly recovers. She has plans for these bandits and they won’t be deterred by some little brat in the forest. She straightens her back and snarls down at him.

“Go away,” she orders, in a soft growl. She hopes to scare him, to send him running in the opposite direction like so many other before him. It doesn’t work.

He steps toward her and her throat thickens. “No,” she says.

He comes even closer, curious smile still on his face.

“Go away,” she repeats her voice wavering as the flame in her hand begins to flicker.

He takes another step. He’s only inches away from her now, close enough to touch.

She shakes her head at him. “I don’t like children,” she hisses. “I don’t-”

His arms wrap around her legs and she trails off midsentence. His little giggle rises up through the night air and she feels her heart crack open. He’s hugging her. And it feels… foreign. His little fingers gently dig into her legs and his chin rests against her knee. She can’t remember the last time she’s had such open, fearless affection. It feels like a faded memory.

The flame in her hand blows out. She’s not angry enough to fuel it anymore.

His little hand starts to pat her thigh. “Up! Up!” he commands.

She swallows thickly, unable to push him away as she should. Despite her discomfort, she kneels and lifts him into her hands. She stands and holds him so they’re face to face. With only the far-off light of the campfire they stare into each other’s brown eyes. His bright with innocence and joy, hers shiny and tearful with a pain she can’t quite place.

He reaches out and brings his small hand up to her cheek. She shuts her eyes at his touch. Can he feel how broken she is? She hopes not.

Still babbling to himself he continues to run his hand over her face, into her hair, touching the feather in the cap she wears. She stares at him. So perfectly innocent. Holding him in her arms she feels an ache in her stomach. An empty place crying to be filled. A place turned barren at her own spiteful hand.

She presses her forehead against his. She’ll never have this. Not anymore.

“ROLAND!”

A voice cries out from the direction of the campfire. It’s fearful and worried. Soon it’s joined by others, all calling out the same name.

“Roland,” she whispers, staring at the little boy in her arms. It must be his name. They’re searching for him.

A part of her wants to disappear. To vanish into the night with the little boy in her arms, bandits be damned. She’d give up everything – the kingdom, her revenge – all for the chance to never let him go.

“Son where are you?!”

Another voice breaks out into the night, more worried than the others, growing more frantic. His father.

She can’t take him. She’s too broken, too damaged. She’d destroyed him.

Silently she places him back on the ground, making sure he can stand on his own before sending him off in the direction of the campfire. She watches him waddle his way back to camp, into the arms of a blonde man who immediately scoops him into his arms. He is loved.

Probably more than she could ever hope to love anything again.

With a wave of her hand she smokes away from the camp, back into her bedchamber. She collapses onto her bed, with sorrow taking the place of her rage. Tears stream down her face as she mourns what she’s never had and never will.

“Soon this delightful trip which we had enjoyed for three months would be over. The return, like the leave-taking, produces an anticipated sadness, which gives one a proof of the insipid life we lead.” –Gustave Flaubert, Over Strand and Field: A Record of Travel Through Brittany

Image: Flaubert’s notebook for Par les champs et les greves