Fairy Tale Friday – The Bitter Woods

The Bitter Woods

by Montserrat Mendez

CHAPTER 3

 

She closes the book. Stares at the fire.

CINDERELLA
What do you read?

THE HUNTRESS
Fairy tales.

She says as she throws the book into the fire.

THE HUNTRESS
Lies.
(beat)
You must be quite the prize for so many to be searching for you so zealously.

CINDERELLA
I am no ones prize.

THE HUNTRESS
You’ll come to find that everyone is a prize to someone else.

CINDERELLA
How long have I’ve slept?

THE HUNTRESS
You were dead for one night slept for two more.

They are not alone. Next to her strange savior, The White Wolf raises his head.

CINDERELLA
You?

THE HUNTRESS
You owe him your life.

Rudolfo rises, makes his way over to Cinderella. She walks back and up against an open window. The Wolf JUMPS and Cinderella screams as she moves out of the way. But it is out the WINDOW that Rudolfo intended to go. Pulling herself together Cinderella sits by the window. The woods outside seem to CRY.

CINDERELLA
Where am I?

THE HUNTRESS
Deep in the forest, you’ve come farther than most dare.

CINDERELLA
(re: the woods)
They’re crying?

THE HUNTRESS
They fear men, and this many of them have never treaded this deep in a very long time.

CINDERELLA
Looking for me?

THE HUNTRESS
They shan’t reveal you. They have chosen to protect you.

CINDERELLA
And who protects them?

THE HUNTRESS
The wolves of course.

Cinderella gazes out the window. CAMERA TRAVELS through the Forest away from the Cabin/Cave we follow the wolves. They stop at the edge of the forest, but we continue out of the forest and into the Kingdom.

A WOODEN SIGN at the ENTRANCE reads: FEREWEIGH

IN ONE CONTINUOUS CRANE SHOT we pull up and past the sign and fly over the surrounding VILLAGE, until we reach, the —

EXT. CHATEAU CHARMING — MORNING

It is by our standards three times more grand the palaces of our history. For not only does it stand tall and beautiful, it also seems to lay out forever and stands so close to the edge of a ROCKY CLIFF as to almost fall in it. WE PULL UP the side of the structure and spy inside through the —

INT. QUEEN’S CHAMBER — CONTINUOUS

SNOW WHITE, Queen of Fereweigh, more beautiful this morning than in the stories we remember, brushes her legendary ebony black hair. The chamber door opens. She hides the mirror in a drawer, turning in time to see her sons enter. Glassister has his mother’s looks, but Bedford is rougher, more like the king.

BEDFORD
Mother…

SNOW WHITE
You have not found the girl.

GLASSISTER
We have been unable…

SNOW WHITE
Why son, it seems you have misplaced your future bride.

GLASSISTER
She’s deep in the woods.

SNOW WHITE
Where she will be protected.

GLASSISTER
Surely you may help me find her. You were protected by those woods once.

SNOW WHITE
Once. A very long time ago.

GLASSISTER
I would need knights. Just a few.

SNOW WHITE
Ask your father.

BEDFORD
Yes, well, you see…

GLASSISTER
He already said no.

SNOW WHITE
Then it seems we are done.

GLASSISTER
But mother.

SNOW WHITE
You can take my personal guards.

Glassister smiles victorious.

SNOW WHITE
And the Hunter.

GLASSISTER
But…

SNOW WHITE
He is a good tracker.

GLASSISTER
(meaning the opposite)
That is why we arrived triumphantly with the girl.

SNOW WHITE
He’s survived the woods many times.

GLASSISTER
Yes mother.

SNOW WHITE
Son, there is no need for your father to know.

GLASSISTER EXITS. Snow turns her attention now to her favorite son. She lies down on the bed. There is almost a flirtatiousness between them.

SNOW WHITE
Do you believe he’s in love with her?

BEDFORD
Love at first sight? Like you and father?

SNOW WHITE
Yes.

BEDFORD
He wants her. He will have her.

SNOW WHITE
That can pass for love these days.

Bedford looks at his mother.

BEDFORD
There was this…

From his coat pocket he pulls… A GLASS SLIPPER.

SNOW WHITE
Her slipper?

BEDFORD
A strange slipper indeed. It has quickening within it.

She takes a closer look and sees the SILVER within the GLASS. When SHE TOUCHES IT, the Design of the silver changes entirely. She is INTRIGUED.

BEDFORD
There was more. I noticed that…

As he Explains WE SEE IMAGES THAT MATCH.

BEDFORD
When she arrived she seemed to be floating.

INSERT TEASER: Guests on the ball looking at her.

BEDFORD
The guards said she arrived on a carriage all of silver and she left at the stroke of the witching hour in the same manner.

INSERT TEASER: Cinderella runs into the INTRICATE CARRIAGE and the FOUR HORSES pull away.

BEDFORD
I followed after brother so this I can also attest. But when the search continued into the night, The Hunter confided, that there were no horse TRACKS to be followed.

INSERT VISUAL: The Hunter and Bedford in the middle of the road.

ANGLE ON THE CARRIAGE TRACKS.

We can see The Hunter mouth. “No Tracks.”

BEDFORD
The Carriage tracks stopped Mid-Road. Upon which the girl’s footprints began. One footprint to be exact. Her bare foot. It was as if the horses and the carriage simply disappeared.

SNOW WHITE
This slipper is all you found of the girl?

BEDFORD
Not all, I found this.

He reveals a HORSESHOE also MADE OF GLASS, also with SILVER that looks alive within it. He places the HORSESHOE on her mother’s DRESSING TABLE then takes a JEWELRY BOX and places it over it. Suddenly, The Jewelry box floats up, the horseshoe underneath it.

BEDFORD
There was magic involved, and magic would certainly mean…

SNOW WHITE
Evil.
(beat)
Find out who this girl is.

BEDFORD
And Glassister?

SNOW WHITE
The Woods will occupy him. Go to the village and announce that all the Registered Daughters of the kingdom must try on this slipper.

BEDFORD
More than one could fit it.

SNOW WHITE
Not if it’s magic.

BEDFORD
But we know the girl is in the woods.

SNOW WHITE
Precisely, someone in the kingdom is missing a daughter. Bring that family to me.

BEDFORD
What do you intend to do?

She gives him no response.

BEDFORD
Very well.

He starts out but turns.

BEDFORD
You did believe in love once?

SNOW WHITE
Once, a very long time ago.

Snow White’s steely statement chills Bedford. He leaves, taking the shoe with him. The door is not closed for a second, that Snow White latches it and OPENS A SECRET DOOR to a room she now calls the –

INT. MIRROR ROOM — CONTINUOUS

The entire room is full of Mirrors, on the wall, the floor, stacked one on top of the other. But there is one Mirror that is hung carefully, with a large Piece of DARK VELVET CLOTH over it. She REVEALS —

A SHATTERED MIRROR.

Precariously put back together except for one large missing PORTION close to the CENTER.

Snow closes her eyes and concentrates —

SNOW WHITE
Agrah lamah turon Agrah. Agrah lama turon Agrah Sahnteon.

The shattered pieces seem to melt into each other and become a WATERY WAVE, but then it cannot complete the transition and returns to its cracked appearance. In its center, looking back at Snow is a darker version of her own face.

THE REFLECTION
A curious visitor indeed. Such a pleasure.

Snow White opens her eyes and sees her own reflection.

SNOW WHITE
You’ve changed.

THE REFLECTION
So have you. This is the first time I have been able to reflect you. The crown must be a heavy burden indeed.

SNOW WHITE
You know why I’m here.

THE REFLECTION
I see only what you want to see.

SNOW WHITE
What do you see?

The reflection closes her eyes. Her face begins to appear on the various mirrors, one by one The Reflection searches around.

THE REFLECTION
Very little. My leash has been shortened.

SNOW WHITE
It’s not short enough.

She shows the GLASS HORSESHOE to the REFLECTION.

THE REFLECTION
Ah, where did you find me?

SNOW WHITE
You tell me.

When Snow holds up the HORSESHOE to the mirror the SILVER trapped within the glass begins to pull Snow with great force.

THE REFLECTION
That belongs TO ME!

SNOW WHITE
And I shall not keep it from you.

Snow lets the Horseshoe go. It melts into the MIRROR restoring some of the mirror’s missing section.

THE REFLECTION
It’s not all of it.

SNOW WHITE
There is more.

THE REFLECTION
Where?

SNOW WHITE
A girl.

THE REFLECTION
You wish for me to find her. Well, well, well, that I can do.

SNOW WHITE
Find her.

THE REFLECTION
You must say the words, though it will damn your soul.

A STAND OFF. After which Snow raises her eyes, stares at her own reflection and icily states.

SNOW WHITE
Mirror, Mirror.

The Reflection smiles— and Snow White feels a pull of her body towards the mirror and a mist, a piece of her soul, smokes its way towards it.

SEVERAL ANGLES

The mirror scours the ENTIRE KINGDOM, we now understand how the mirror finds its targets. Through the reflections on MIRRORS, GLASS, even WATER — The evil reflection of SNOW WHITE examines each vain girl, seeing if she is the one. WE pull back to reveal the entire TOWN as the spirit of the REFLECTION moves from house to house, reflection to reflection.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE VILLAGE — MORNING

At the very center of town, there’s a GRANITE FOUNTAIN of “The Fallen Witch” with a SWORD entering her HEART, having fallen into great disrepair. People have paid it no mind for a very long time. From its center however we can see 360 degrees into the Businesses of FEREWEIGH, the baker, the Printer, and the Dressmaker’s Shoppe to which we pull closer until we’re in the—

INT. DRESSMAKER’S SHOPPE — CONTINUOUS

Sewing on a spindle in the corner is the STEPMOTHER. Her Beautiful dresses draped across the shoppe. Four village ladies shop and gossip.

WOMAN #2
If she ran into the woods, we will certainly never hear from her again.

WOMAN #1
We just may. People have survived the Bitter Woods before.

WOMAN #2
Only the queen and that’s because the king came upon her dead.

WOMAN #3
Are you certain my husband will like this?

The Stepmother is glad for this sudden shift in conversation.

STEPMOTHER
He will adore you in it.

WOMAN #2
Of course by husband you meant lover.

WOMAN #3
Don’t be bawdy.
(beat)
Leave that job to the ones with proper cleavage.

Laughter! The door BURSTS open. The ladies frozen in place as Guards enter making way for the Prince.

STEPMOTHER
Prince Charming.

The ladies curtsey. One with her cleavage in full display.

BEDFORD
Ladies.

STEPMOTHER
You honor us.

BEDFORD
(in disdain)
I am sorry for busting in on you like this.

STEPMOTHER
I am humbled, if the queen desires to see..

BEDFORD
You’ve been my mother’s Dressmaker for seven years now.

STEPMOTHER
Since my husband’s death, yes sire.

BEDFORD
Yes, well, mother wonders about the dress the girl wore.

STEPMOTHER
The girl?

BEDFORD
The one that got away. You and your sons were present.

STEPMOTHER
We were very honored to be invited.

BEDFORD
Such a fine garment. It was of your making?

STEPMOTHER
It was… not sire.

BEDFORD
You have one daughter, have you not?

STEPMOTHER
Stepdaughter.

BEDFORD
Why did you not bring her? As part of your family, the invitation included her.

STEPMOTHER
My daughter is not a handsome girl Prince Charming. Therefore I felt inviting her, well… She would have never met the courts standards. Beauty is highly regarded. I did not wish to embarrass the lass.

BEDFORD
Embarrass her you must. All Registered daughters of the land must be made available for a shoe fitting of sorts. I expect you to have yours at home when we knock.

Bedford Exits. The very moment the door closes the women chatter up a storm.

WOMAN #4
This girl must be of royal blood.

STEPMOTHER
I highly doubt that. But she was beautiful.

WOMAN #1
(secretly to Stepmother)
We both know that dress was of your making.

STEPMOTHER
Yes.

WOMAN #1
It was the very dress I rejected.
(beat)
I will keep your secret. I have a daughter as well.

WOMAN #2
My son, he’s one of the queen’s private Guards.

WOMAN #1
Is he?

WOMAN #2
Tells me they have been ordered to search the Woods until she is found.

WOMAN #3
Wolves are aplenty in those woods, and the wood’s victims cry well into the night.

WOMAN #4
If I were chosen by Prince Glassister, I would run myself, Bitter Woods or not. He’s buried a bride before. I hear he tortured her, drove her mad.

STEPMOTHER
Tales, that’s all. The Prince is harmless.

WOMAN #1
Then why did the girl run?

TO BE CONTINUED:

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