Whispers in the Woods (A Red Snow Fairy tale)

Deep in the heart of Mendelov woods lies an evil more voracious than you could possibly imagine. Edele – an unschooled, naive girl wandered in search of the Gladerilla plant which only blooms in the shadiest, darkest parts of the forest where civilised men rarely venture. Edele was skipping along a path, singing to herself. The eyes of the nastier forest creatures watched her from the shadows but she wasn’t frightened. Mother had sent her for a Gladerilla and that is what she would find.

She didn’t stop singing until a mighty flutter of wings caught her attention, causing her to look back over her shoulder. When she turned back round she almost slammed into the tall, slim frame of a young man. He reached out and clasped her hand to stop her falling over.

So sorry,” she gasped, clutching her chest and trying to catch her breath.

The man smiled. His skin was so incredibly pale it almost glowed in the darkened surroundings. The little light that the thick forest canopy above allowed showed a soft face with perfect features. Edele blushed and began to fidget with her auburn ringlets.

You’re a long way from home,” he said. His voice was as smooth as butter. His eyes were electric. The cobalt colour of his gaze was reddened like he had been recently sick or upset.

Are you ill?” Edele wondered.

The man laughed. “All the better for meeting you,” was his reply.

Edele. My name is Edele,” she giggled. She could feel her energy burn so she swayed from foot to foot. “You are very handsome,” she admitted with a blush.

The man’s smile widened. “Thank you. My name is Julien.”

Edele clasped her hands behind her back. “I’m looking for flowers,” she explained.

Julien raised his black eyebrows. “Of course you are. I must warn you though, most of the plants here are poisonous.”

Edele laughed, shaking her head. “My mummy is sick. She says she needs the Gladerilla. It will cure her.”

Julien surveyed the perpetual child, trapped inside the body of a young woman. “Can I tell you a secret?” he asked.

At first Edele met his gaze but then she looked away shyly. She leaned forward to let him whisper in her ear. She felt one hand draw slowly across her back. His breath was cold on her neck.

Mummy is already dead,” he whispered.

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