Rumpelstiltskin wasn’t home. He had run out of straw to spin and gone out to the village to get some more, leaving Belle alone in the castle. Of course, she hadn’t really noticed she was alone until only a few moments ago. She’d been lost in the world of the book she was reading, having reached the climax of the story, and it was rather difficult to distract her when she was like that. Now, having finished her book, she noticed how quiet the castle was. Not that it wasn’t normally quiet, but it didn’t feel so big and empty with Rumpelstiltskin there. Now it did. Belle set aside her book and started wandering around the castle. She didn’t know why exactly, but she felt drawn to the sitting room, where Rumpelstiltskin’s spinning wheel stood.
Without him sitting there, the wheel looked so bare and lonely–almost as if it had a spirit, but that spirit had left with its master. Belle crossed to the spinning wheel and lightly ran her fingertips over the wooden parts, thinking of how calm and content Rumpel often looked when he was spinning. There were times when Belle watched him that she could swear that someone could give him a bale of straw and he could turn it into gold thread. Caught up in her imaginings, Belle didn’t notice her hand drifting closer and closer to the wheel’s spindle until the needle-sharp point pricked her finger. She gasped and jerked back, putting her finger in her mouth to suck on it until it stopped bleeding. Her finger had barely reached her mouth when she started to feel dizzy and collapsed beside the spinning wheel. Though the colour hadn’t left her cheeks, she had no breath and appeared to be dead.