We call them fairy tales. Many of them even were, once upon a time. Now they are the forms on which some of us stretch our own stories out. This story by Rachael Acks is one of those.
Red and round and perfect on a low stone wall, the apple wobbled in the chill breeze. It was cold in my hand, colder still against my teeth. But the taste: tart enough to make the lips numb, sweet enough to fill my mouth with flowers.
I did not eat the apple because I was hungry; I was returning to my hotel after dinner, tongue thick from too many drinks and stomach curdled with gravy. No one who isn’t desperately hungry eats food they find on the street, left waiting by chance.
No, it was that same urge we all feel for the split second we look out over the railing of a bridge and wonder what it would be like to jump and fly away. I was never brave or mad enough to fly from a bridge. I should never have been mad enough to eat that apple.
The Huntsman finds me in my hotel room, his breath hidden in the hiss of the radiator. Snow swirls against the window.
He straddles my hips and kisses my neck with cold lips. I smile at him, fingers winding up my sheets.
He cuts out my heart.