I must be one of the few people in the world who would rather take the stairs than the elevator most of the time. I mean, except when I’m feeling tired or downcast. But since I mostly have a happy-go-lucky disposition and an energetic, lively demeanor, I can often be seen running up and down the stairs whenever I want to get somewhere. It’s not that I’m in a hurry or anything. It’s just that sometimes it’s like I have these outbursts of energy, instances when I have this urge to just spend energy in any way I can. Like I’m overcharged or something and I can’t just sit still. Is it just me? Maybe it’s because of all the sugar I ingest. Could I be hyperactive or something? I don’t think I am but some people have already asked me whether I was. I don’t think that’s exactly the case… I mean, I can restrain myself and there are times when I’m in low spirits and feeling tired and dejected, forlorn by the world. I guess…I think it’s a good thing that I don’t fight back tears. Whenever I want to cry, I just do it. Privately naturally, but I don’t see it as a sign of weakness. If anything, it helps me get some anguish and sorrow off my system, and I regain some strength afterwards. But I guess it’s the same way with everybody. Though I don’t cry nearly half as much as I used to nowadays. I was such a crybaby growing up. I remember I would cry every other week, sometimes even more than once. Once I cried because I had heard from someone that my teacher had been crying and as it turns out she hadn’t. I can’t recall what I was thinking, but I felt sad and sort of guilty for some reason. I was so helpless. So stupid. But I don’t think I was a bad child. I had my moments of cruelty… Looking back, I kind of regret them. But I was immature, so I guess it can’t be helped. Things are different now. I still tend to shed a few tears if I’m feeling depressed but some parts of me have gotten numb. It’s like they don’t get to me the way they used to. I can’t tune in to other people’s suffering the way I was able to. I want to help them but instead I just spout some blunt and direct remarks. I was much softer. Now, people’s suffering gets to me, but in a different way. I seldom wish they’d grow some balls if they can’t seem to stop whining. But who am I to talk? I do the exact same thing. One could argue it’s hypocritical of me to say that, but I still think no one judges me as harshly as myself. Still, I’ve gotten better. These days I can recognize my own merit and qualities, even if a few say otherwise.
Anyway, all I wanted to say, before turning this into a 500-word passage, is that I prefer taking the stairs. It’s healthier and it burns more calories so there!
Recognising that looks do matter doesn’t mean you will actively discriminate against ugly folk or needlessly objectify the beautiful, it just means you are aware that you unconsciously judge others based on what you see, no matter how that conflicts with your moral code.
Sometimes suffering is just suffering. It doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t build character. It only hurts.
The Fairest of Them All
(An alternate ending to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
After the Evil Queen, disguised as an old peddler, poisons Snow White with the infamous apple, she tries to escape the wrath of the seven dwarfs. Except this tale will not have a happy ending, for the Evil Queen successfully takes the lives of the seven jolly dwarfs. There’s no hope for Love’s First Kiss either, as magic can vanquish even the purest, most powerful forms of love, and replace it with unholy feelings of lust and subservience. In the end, the Evil Queen triumphs, taking for herself the affections of the young prince, Snow White’s love interest.
EXT. FOREST - NIGHTFALL.
The sky has been recently overcast with heavy clouds that enshrouded the once sunny, pleasant day all of a sudden. Rain is pouring down and thunder roars in the darkened sky, and barely anything is visible in the dimmed woods. The trees look frightening, big and small alike, with their thin, bent branches resembling menacing talons who would like to snatch a passerby away to a world of unearthly torments in their hollow insides. An old, hideous hag, dressed in a black, hooded robe makes her way through the woods with all the speed that she can possibly muster, for she is running for her wretched life. She shows more vigor than would be expected for someone looking so very aged. Not too far from where she’s currently at, a group of seven little men, mounted on deers and accompanied by the woodland animals, chase after her bellowing with anger and sheer hatred. One of them, called Grumpy cries out to his companions.
GRUMPY – (Scowling.) After her! She’s getting away!
The old hag desperately tries to keep her distance but they are slowly catching up to her. She grabs onto a rock and starts climbing up a cliff, quite weary and drenched in raindrops and her own sweat.
OLD HAG – (Panting.) Those fools… I cannot… They… I won’t let them… catch me… (Restarts climbing up the mountain with redoubled efforts.)
By then, the dwarves have also started to climb up the hill.
HAPPY – (Looking around him.) Where could she be?
DOC – There she is! (Points his pickaxe at the evil hag.)
GRUMPY – Hurry up you morons! (Takes the lead. The dwarfs follow after him, swinging their sharp, sturdy blades and shouting imprecations.)
The witch at last reaches the brink of the cliff and is unable to move forward. The dwarfs have gotten her cornered. Two grim-looking vultures with bloodshot eyes, who had been on the lookout from afar, watch gleefully as the pursuit unfolds before their eyes.
SNEEZY – Now she can’t go anywhere!
BASHFUL – (With tears in his eyes.) You’re gonna pay for what you did to Snow White! (The dwarfs are nearing the mountain’s edge, threateningly yielding their pickaxes.)
GRUMPY – You’ve got nowhere to run! We’ll get you!
OLD HAG – (Assuming a defensive stance.) I’m trapped… What… What will I do?! Those pesky little cretins! (Glancing sideways in a panicky manner, she notices a large boulder and a stick with which she can propel it forward. With restored hope and a renewed smirk she grabs the stick.) No! I’ll get you! (The dwarves’ faces are horror-stricken as they notice the huge boulder right in front of them.) I’LL CRUSH YOUR BONES! (She is pushing the boulder using the stick, pressing it onwards.)
GRUMPY - LOOK OUT! (The dwarfs now turn back, trying to save their hides from being squashed to a pulp. The witch cackles triumphantly.)
OLD HAG – Victory is mine! (Thunder strikes not too far from where she stands. She is finally able to move the boulder from its spot, and it starts rolling downwards.)
The dwarfs try to steer clear of the rock’s collision course, but all for naught. They meet an instant but gruesome demise as the boulder squishes the seven dwarves’ blood out of their now mangled bodies. All the while the witch keeps laughing in utter derision. Meanwhile, the vultures fly down to what’s left of the seven dwarves, their beaks soon to become stained with blood.
INT. MIRROR CHAMBER – MIDNIGHT
An elaborate ornamented oval mirror hangs on the wall, overlooking a dimly lit chamber, its surface reflecting the silhouette of a slender figure that draws near. A beautiful, regal queen with an icy stare, elegantly dressed in a royal attire, dragging its long, dark cloak along the floor, stands before the mirror and raises her arms.
QUEEN – Slave in the magic mirror (She folds her arms.) come from the farthest space (She once again raises her arms, unleashing a strong gust that makes her clothes flutter.), through wind and darkness I summon thee. Speak! (A lightning bolt flashes across the mirror’s surface and fire seems to consume its other side.) Let me see thy face.
The flames subside and quickly vanish, revealing an expressionless face bearing a resemblance to a mask colored in green and lavender surrounded by smoke.
MAGIC MIRROR – What wouldst thou know my queen?
QUEEN – Magic mirror on the wall, do tell me, now (Adding emphasis to this word.) who is the fairest of them all?
MAGIC MIRROR – Snow White lies dead, and dead shall remain. Thou my queen are the fairest in the land once again.
The usually composed queen is unable to suppress a devilish smile that disfigures her otherwise flawless countenance.
INT. THRONE ROOM – MORNING – THREE MONTHS LATER
A sumptuous room decorated with splendid, lavish tapestries, curtains and a large, richly hand-woven rug. The Royal Crest of the kingdom hangs above the queen’s throne, where she tends to her royal duties. The throne itself is shaped like a peacock, intended to represent the queen’s unparalleled beauty. There she sits, Queen Grimhilde, beautiful, regal, with an icy stare and an even colder heart, elegantly dressed in a royal attire. She gazes at a handsome, young prince from a faraway land who kneels before her grandeur. She takes a liking to him, but his heart belongs elsewhere.
QUEEN GRIMHILDE– So, to what do I owe the honor of this visit, prince Ferdinand?
FERDINAND – (Lifts his striking blue eyes to meet hers.) Your Majesty, I came from far and wide to seek the hand of the young, fair maiden I have come to meet many fortnights past. A most lovely servant girl I presume. I was hoping to find her within these walls by the wishing well but, alas, nobody has any clues to her whereabouts. (The queen looks displeased. Her eyes graze upon the young prince who nevertheless seems oblivious to her irritation.)
QUEEN GRIMHILDE – What is so special about this… (A brief moment of hesitation.) maiden? If she was but a mere servant girl, there are bound to be many others who will please you, and most certainly more fair than her.
FERDINAND – (Shakes his head vehemently.) Oh no, Your Highness. It must be her. (He stands up and places his hand upon his chest.) There’s no one like her in the entire world. Her fair skin, dark hair and blood-red lips… Her cheerfulness and sweet demeanor. Her singing voice… one that has haunted me ever since… (The queen grips the throne’s arms so tightly her fingertips turn white.) I cannot love another one but her. She’s truly… The fairest in all the land.
The queen’s expression remains impassive for some time. After a while, she smiles sweetly and beckons the prince to come closer, which he does out of respect. He bows down to her once more when he reaches the throne.
QUEEN GRIMHILDE: (Softly speaking.) My dear Ferdinand (The queen lays her hand on his shoulder. Ferdinand can’t help but shudder.), I will personally see to it that you find this maiden you seem so fond of. But perhaps, you will be so kind as to have one single glass of wine before you go. (She produces a golden chalice filled with wine which she hands to the prince. He takes it, gets back on his feet and after eyeing it for a brief while, takes a sip out of the chalice.)
He is overtaken by a sudden quiver and spills a bit of the chalice’s contents, but quickly regains his composure, and following a minute of quietude and apparent apathy, his eyes are filled with warmth the moment he takes notice of the queen’s presence once more. All of this she observes with a smirk dancing on her lips.
QUEEN GRIMHILDE – (Gently speaking.) Can you hear me, my dear?
FERDINAND – (He smiles tenderly at her, like a little child would.) Yes, my beloved queen?
QUEEN GRIMHILDE – You will go beyond the seven hills, to a cottage where seven little men used to live. In this cottage, you will find the body of a young maiden with skin as fair as snow and hair as black as ebony. And once you find her, I want you to rip her heart out (She produces a small, embellished wooden box from underneath her cloak which she gives to Ferdinand) and bring it back to me in this case. Dispose of the body as you will. Do you understand me?
FERDINAND – (A prompt reply.) Yes, my beloved queen. (He bows to her feet and kisses her hand.) And after that, my dear, beautiful queen, you, who are the fairest in all the land, will we join our hands in holy matrimony? Will we marry?
QUEEN GRIMHILDE – (Smiling wickedly.) Yes my dear. Yes we will.