The queen sat watching the snow fall gently outside her window, her fingers busy with needle and thread, when the shadow passed before the pane. She cried out as the needle pierced her flesh, too distracted by the strange image to pay attention to what her hands were doing. But the shadow was gone before she even began to bleed.
She wrenched open the ebony window frame, peering out into the snowy garden, and three bright drops of blood fell from her finger onto the windowpane, staining the pure white snow. She forgot the shadow momentarily, transfixed by the beauty of the three colors. Her heart swelled with desire for a child, a daughter with blood-red lips, hair the ebony shade of the windowpane, and skin as white as snow. She whispered almost too quietly to hear over the gathering storm, "Oh, what I would give...".
Then she shut the window, the shadow all but forgotten. Nine months later she was dead.
Her daughter, every bit as beautiful as her mother had hoped, and who came to be known as Snow White, discovered the shadow her mother had forgotten. Though this time it chose to take the shape of a stepmother, an evil creature who hated the girl with a passion. One day, when the girl was fifteen years old, her stepmother looked upon her magic mirror, demanding it tell the evil queen of her own beauty, but the mirror replied that the evil queen was lovely, yes, but not so lovely as Snow White. The beautiful young girl was taken into the woods to die, but the woodsman ordered to remove her heart could not bring himself to do it, and so slaughtered a boar instead, demanding that Snow White run away and never return.
The woodsman returned to the palace and presented the queen with the heart of a boar, insisting Snow White was dead. A dangerous look crossed the queen's face.
"This is not the heart of a young girl. It is the heart of a boar. What have you done with Snow White?"
The woodsman stared at her, terrified. "I have killed her, your majesty. As you requested."
The queen picked up the heart from where it lay in the wooden box on the table before her. She pressed it to her mouth and licked the blood from it. The woodsman cringed. She rounded on him.
"You thought I would not know the difference? Fool. Of course I do." She smiled wide, a wholly mirthless smile, revealing two protruding canines. She ripped into the heart, blood pouring down her neck, careening in rivulets down the bodice of her immaculate white dress.
The woodsman swallowed, willing himself not to be sick, and began to back out of the room. The queen growled at him, swallowing the last bit of heart and grabbing him by the neck. He cried out. "Please, your majesty! I did not know. Please!"
"Devouring Snow White's heart will transfer all her beauty, all her power to me. But since you have failed me, I shall have to settle for yours in the meantime."
With a sickening scream his body went limp, as the queen ripped into his throat and gulped down his blood, before carving through his chest cavity with sharpened nails and extracting his heart. At least it would provide her strength.
Snow White wandered miserably until she stumbled upon a little cottage in a clearing, the home of seven dwarves, who took her in and made her their beloved maid. And here she was happy for a time, before the queen found her.
Dressed as an old woman, the queen appeared at the door of her hut, while the seven dwarves were away working in the mines. She offered to the girl a blood-red apple, shiny and perfectly-shaped. Snow White could not refuse. She took a bite and choked, as blood filled her mouth.
"It's poisoned!" she sputtered, as her knees buckled and she fell to the floor.
The queen removed her disguise, looked down at her stepdaughter with malice in her eyes.
"Oh no, silly girl. You'll wish it was poisoned. You'll murder all your new friends and then they'll come for you, the small-minded, superstitious peasants. And when they do, I'll be waiting. You heat will contain much more beauty when you are a vampire, and no more of that silly sweetness. And then I shall return for it."
With that she disappeared, leaving Snow White dead-pale upon the floor.
When the seven dwarves returned that evening they found Snow White pale and shaken but still very much alive.
"I can't remember anything," she told them again, shuddering at the sight of the blood on her dress and hands. "I'm sorry."
They shook their heads, all fearful, but declared that she had better get some sleep. Head still swimming she mounted the stairs and collapsed onto her bed.
But an hour past dusk the dwarves awoke in their beds, startled by the sound of guttural growls and terrible thrashing. They flew down the stairs and pulled open the door to see Snow White crouched over the mangled body of a black bear, grasping its heart in her hands, pointed white teeth dripping flesh down her chin. Her eyes, wide and feral, held no trace of the young girl they loved. But they could not harm her. The dwarves backed into the house slowly, careful not to distract the vampire's attention away from her kill, closed and bolted the door, and wept bitterly.
They could not kill her, that they were sure of. Even if they wanted to. For now they could only leave her to the mercy of the forest. Or the forest to hers. Tomorrow they would have to begin work on something to restrain her, until they could figure out something better.
Morose and horrified, the dwarves returned to their beds, but were woken again just after dawn by the sound of desperate pounding on the door. It was Snow White, covered in blood and utterly without memory of how she had come to be out of her bed.
The dwarves were skeptical at first, but could not bear the sound of her weeping. They let her in, and saw that she was truly without memory of her monstrous deeds. With heavy hearts they told her what they'd witnessed.
"Then you must kill me!" she cried, tears mingling with the blood on her cheeks. "I mustn't be allowed to hurt you!"
The dwarves shook their heads. "You must only be contained at night," said the oldest and wisest. "We will build you a coffin to stay in. It will be strong and you will be unable to open it. It will be made of glass, for your beauty is far too great to be trapped inside of wood. Until it is constructed, we shall tie you to your bed and keep watch."
Construction began on the glass coffin that very morning, and after a few months of painstaking work and many near-escapes on Snow White's part, it was ready. They helped her inside shortly before dusk, and held their breath as the sun sank beneath the trees, hoping it would be effective. Snow White had already broken nearly every rope left in the house.
Confirmation came in the form of a hideous shriek. They watched from inside their hut as the glass coffin rattled, but remained securely shut. They sighed in relief. The next morning, when the dwarves pulled back the lid, Snow White emerged from the coffin clean and beaming, sure that she would not now be forced to die to keep her friends safe, and could live a relatively normal life.
Time passed, and life went on in this fashion until one night a traveling prince, accidentally cut off from his party, came across the little clearing in the woods.
It was late, well past midnight, and he was weary. He slipped down from his horse and made his way to the little house, hoping for entrance. He stopped when he saw the glass coffin.
The woman within it was so lovely, but so angry. She pushed, scratched and kicked with all her might, but the lid of her coffin would not move.
It was a travesty. Who would trap a woman, especially such a woman as this – in a coffin while still alive? No wonder she looked so wild, so dangerous. So would anyone treated in such a way, he reasoned.
He tried to lift the lid. It was heavy, so heavy, but he tried again. The woman seemed to understand what he was doing and helped him lift, their combined strength enough to dislodge the great slab of glass.
Snow White sat up and grinned fiendishly, and too late, far too late, the prince glimpsed her teeth, pointed and glinting in the moonlight.
In a flash her teeth pierced his neck, the warm blood tainting the clear, perfect glass. The prince's last thought, before his strength failed him and his consciousness passed, was one of pity, not vengeance. "You poor soul," he thought. "What have they done to you? Who could harm such beauty as yours?"
Snow White choked. The blood pumping from his heart, the blood beneath her lips at his neck, was full of such love, such sorrow for her plight, that it gave her pause. She looked around. She was herself again. Yet the desire for his blood overwhelmed her. She longed to rip out his heart and gorge herself on that noble selflessness, but she couldn't. Her horror at her actions and concern for his well-being were stronger. She screamed for the dwarves to help her, and together they bandaged the prince's wounds and slowly returned him to consciousness.
He did not even scream when he saw her, his blood still dried upon her face, her expression pained. "Thank you," she whispered. "For rescuing me."
He actually smiled. "It was my honor."
She returned his smile, teeth still pointed, but his shudder when he saw them was barely noticeable. And when he proposed marriage, she did not hesitate, though she thought it rather strange. I must be more beautiful than I think, she reasoned with herself. It was still a chore to keep from ripping people's throats out and feasting on their hearts, and the kingdom's livestock supply depleted far faster than normal, but on the whole, they were happy. Snow White's evil stepmother never knew what became of her stepdaughter, and supposed that maybe she should have simply poisoned the girl at tea one afternoon and had done with it. Ah, well.