art by Seth Alan Bareiss
White as Snow, Red as Blood
by Melissa Mead
Snow woke in a glass coffin with the taste of bitter apple in her mouth and a stranger's face staring into hers. A face with alarmingly pointed teeth. She sat up, pressed her hand to her stinging neck, and stared at the two dots of blood on her palm.
The stranger broke into a smile, making those teeth all the more prominent.
"Ah, good! It hasn't been too long. How do you feel?"
"All right." Snow looked around. The moonlight seemed as bright as day. All seven of her friends watched from behind a gnarled pine tree, their faces ashen with terror.
"What's wrong?" she asked them. "Really, I'm all right."
"Actually, I'm afraid you're not," said the stranger, offering her a hand out of the coffin. He didn't look too well himself: alarmingly pale, bluish around the lips. But he moved with strength and grace, and wore a gold coronet as though he were accustomed to it. "Technically, you're dead. If you come with me, I'll explain."
Snow's heart plummeted, but she forced a smile. "At least my stepmother will leave me alone now."
Alas, she was wrong. Back at her castle, Snow's stepmother gloated over her triumph. She combed her hair smooth, bathed her face in milk, and dressed in her finest silk and jewels before sitting at her mirror and demanding that it name the fairest woman in the land.