Fairy Tale Friday – The Bitter Woods – Chapter 6

The Bitter Woods

by Montserrat Mendez

copyright

 

The Hunter breaks from the pack of HORSES.

INT. SNOW WHITE’S CHAMBER IN CHATEAU CHARMING — DAY

SEVEN YOUNG MAIDENS prepare the queen’s chamber. King CHARMING enters.

KING CHARMING
Where is she?

The maidens look shyly at the floor. Tercera, one of the maidens answers.

TERCERA
We do not know sire.

KING CHARMING
Leave.

The maidens, heads bowed, exit. He examines her things. Each of them priceless.

THE SECRET DOOR to the MIRROR ROOM opens.

KING CHARMING
Have you seen our sons?

SNOW WHITE
(surprised)
Husband? You startled me.

KING CHARMING
Have you seen them?

SNOW WHITE
No.

KING CHARMING
I hear they have taken your guards into The Bitter Woods.

SNOW WHITE
Yes, yes, I’d quite forgotten.

KING CHARMING
To find the girl?

SNOW WHITE
I imagine so.

KING CHARMING
(re: The Mirror Room)
You spend too much time in the company of IT as of late.

SNOW WHITE
The mirror?

KING CHARMING
I should have left it destroyed where it was found.

She walks over to him, puts her head upon his chest.

SNOW WHITE
There is something quite wrong here. Something’s being hidden from me.

KING CHARMING
What can possibly be hidden from you?

SNOW WHITE
Yet great evil hides near.

KING CHARMING
Snow, evil will exist no matter. You can’t control great evil with great evil.

SNOW WHITE
(sweetly)
Are you calling me evil husband?

KING CHARMING
The people fear you. They once loved you.

Snow draws away from him. Walking out of the BEDROOM. The KING FOLLOWS. TRACKING SHOT as they walk down a —-

GREAT STONE HALL.

SNOW WHITE
The people have nothing to fear. Everything I do is for their protection!

KING CHARMING
Your sons.

SNOW WHITE
Our sons.

KING CHARMING
If I could but call them mine. But you never let me be fatherly to them.

SNOW WHITE
You had occasion. You chose otherwise.

KING CHARMING
Are you blaming me for the mistakes of my youth?

SNOW WHITE
Youthed or aged they were your mistakes none the less.

She stops at a SET OF HEAVY WOODEN DOORS, is about to open them. He stops her.

KING CHARMING
Don’t you see. The people ought to be protected from them. It seems to me that if there is great evil to be contained it is the ones inflicted by your sons.

She slaps him.

KING CHARMING
They rape.

She slaps him again.

KING CHARMING
They kill.

She goes to slap him. He holds her hand up in the air.

KING CHARMING
All under the Queen’s protection.

SNOW WHITE
Would you do it? Would you cut them down so easily? Don’t forget that you’ve cut into my heart before and a great wrath is waiting for you where my heart once fluttered!

She flings the doors open with great violence.

INT. DRESSING ROOM — CONTINUOUS

The Stepmother works on a MANNEQUIN, Several others servant girls carry material and work on SPINDLES following the STEPMOTHER’S INSTRUCTIONS.

SNOW WHITE
DRESSMAKER!

STEPMOTHER looks up, SNOW WHITE continues the face off with her husband. Then just as magically, Snow White turns to the women in the room, and transforms herself into the girl the fairy tales tell of. SHE SEES the DRESS ON THE MANNEQUIN.

SNOW WHITE
A Wondrous dress. For me?

King Charming walks away in disgust.

STEPMOTHER
Yes, a mysterious merchant sold it to me, it was not an agreeable price, but rarely does one come upon such fine material in these parts. He told me quite the tale about its origin, made from the webbing of a dragon spider.

SNOW WHITE
Was it a tale well told? I’m sure it was!

The DRESS is much like a KIMONO, except more fluid, gorgeous RED SILK flows forward and on the BACK a DRAGON has been delicately sewn with GOLD THREAD.

STEPMOTHER
GOLD thread has been used to hem it.

SNOW WHITE
Put it on me, would you?

She giggles like a young girl as all her servants begin to UNDRESS her. She is down to her CORSET and UNDERGARMENTS. MICHAEL Enters carrying another roll of FABRIC. The MAIDENS crowd around the queen to hide her indecency.

SNOW WHITE
Don’t you know not to enter when the queen is dressing.

Michael drops the roll of FABRIC, which rolls to the foot the maidens creating a STREAM OF SILKEN BLUE.

MICHAEL
Forgive me, I was not aware.

He looks up briefly.

SNOW WHITE
Who are you?

STEPMOTHER
My son. Michael.

SNOW WHITE
Michael? Is this that fat child that once played with my sons.

He looks up. Shyly nodding his head. The queen walks through her protective shell maidens and traipses over the RIVER Of BLUE SILK and up to MICHAEL. She is quite TAKEN with his fine, feminine features. A BEAUTIFUL BOY indeed.

SNOW WHITE
I fail to see any signs of that once unsightly LITTLE boy.

She smiles. He bows.

STEPMOTHER
Son, you have much work to do.

SNOW WHITE
Listen to your mother Michael. Good sons always do.

She claps her hands and the MAIDENS speed around her once more continuing to dress her. Snow White’s gaze is fixed on Michael, with an enigmatic smile.

OFF OF THE STEPMOTHER’S WORRIED LOOK WE —

CUT TO:

MICHAEL walking through the great HALL. Hauling fabric. He stops to look at his reflection on the window.

MICHAEL
(to himself)
I was not unsightly.

Through the window, he sees into the OUTER GARDENS in front of the castle. Then from behind one of the sculpted shrubs two unsightly little boys run out. Chasing behind them with a sword and a bow are the two prince’s.

This is MICHAEL’S MEMORY. YOUNG Prince Glassister draws back his bow and arrow and —

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
Stop right there intruders.

YOUNG ALEX and MICHAEL stop and turn.

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
For your crime you shall be punished.

He shoots — swoosh….

YOUNG PRINCE BEDFORD
What are you doing?

The arrow flies in between the brothers and hits a rabbit.

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
Got him.

All four boys run over to see the dying rabbit. Alex, moves aside the brush to find five wild bunnies underneath.

YOUNG ALEX
You killed their mother.

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
So…

YOUNG MICHAEL
Perhaps we can save the…

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
You will leave them where they are. Fending for themselves will make them strong.

YOUNG MICHAEL
What would you know of fending for yourself?

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
What did you say?

YOUNG MICHAEL
I’m sorry, I didn’t…

Glassister grabs one of his arrows and stabs Michael on the shoulder. Bedford pushes his brother away and attends to the wound.

YOUNG PRINCE BEDFORD
Are you all right?

Michael notices Glassister’s threatening gaze.

YOUNG MICHAEL
It’s just a scratch. I’m fine.

But the shoulder is bleeding profusely.

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
I know what we shall do, let’s take them to see the witch.

YOUNG ALEX
The witch?

YOUNG PRINCE GLASSISTER
Yes! She roams the depths of the castle in great suffering begging for death. Come let’s see!

They run up the stairs. MICHAEL, the MICHAEL of our current story follows these ghosts of his memory as they reach the front of the castle, enter and head down a hallway. OUR MICHAEL follows down several hallways. Where are they going? With each step the passages grow darker. Then a DOOR leads them into a —

ROOM

Long in disuse. Michael sees the YOUNG PRINCE push a brick into the wall, which forces another brick to slide out, then the Young Prince reaches his hand inside, and releases a latch. The BRICK FLOOR spirals down into a series of STEPS. Glassister excitedly runs down as the other young Prince descends. Michael grabs Alex’s hand —

YOUNG ALEX
Come Michael. Let them be, we’re going home.

The MEMORIES run right through MICHAEL’S body, who now stands on this doorway, watching his childhood disperse into dusty memory. Standing in the doorway of the room he looks around, makes sure no one has seen him, and sneaks in. As a child he didn’t notice the detailed murals that once decorated this room, and which tell the story of SNOW WHITE’S ASCENDENCE TO THE THRONE. How she was MISTREATED, GIVEN an APPLE, found by KING CHARMING in a GLASS COFFIN, and then one last mural, the most disturbing one of all, shows the new QUEEN piercing the shackled EVIL QUEEN through the heart. Behind the QUEEN AND KING, stand KING CHARMING’S parents, and they too have a dark expression in their eyes, but they have been, for quite some time, dead.

MICHAEL feels along the wall for the brick that will allow him to see the stairs, if only to confirm his memories, when he finds it, he follows the same procedure the Prince followed years before. Sure enough, A SPIRAL STAIRCASE lowers.

CUT TO:

EXT. THE BITTER WOODS — CONTINUOUS

Simultaneously, ALEX, tries to descend down a treacherous side of a cliff.

CUT TO:

INT. THE DUNGEON — CONTINUOUS

Now at the bottom of the steps, Michael faces a vast dungeon sprawled out before him. He reaches the end of the PASSAGE WAY and turns.

CUT TO:

EXT. THE BITTER WOODS — CONTINUOUS

ALEX slides down and the ROCKS underneath him begin to give way.

ALEX
Perhaps this is not the way.

He turns only to find A WOLF.

CUT TO:

INT. THE DUNGEON — CONTINUOUS

Michael walks further in. A SHADOW runs near him. He catches just a glimpse! Enough to make him turn back.

CUT TO:

EXT. THE BITTER WOODS — CONTINUOUS

Alex attempts to slide away from the wolf but the rocks give way under him. He loses his footing, suddenly he FALLS! Smashing his body on the rocks below.

ANGLE ON ALEX’S LEG

Brutally twisted at the knee. He sees the WOLF still stalking at the top of the cliff. He tries to stand but this only makes him SCREAM IN AGONY! The WOLF HOWLS! ALEX looks around. He sees carcasses of other animals, human skulls. Things have fallen here before, very few have survived. She looks back up and she is sorrounded by wolves.

IN THE DUNGEON

The rumored WITCH with glassy eyes, pearl white hair and ghostly skin grabs MICHAEL. MICHAEL SCREAMS!

IN THE BITTER WOODS

The birds of the FOREST take flight escaping Alex’s cries. The wolves leap down towards her. He reaches for something to protect himself with, grabs the WOLF HEAD CANE, and its eyes GLOW, sending a beam of light in the WOLVES Direction. THE WOLVES HOWL. Alex SCREAMS!

SUPER FAST INTERCUT BETWEEN THE

DUNGEON and the

CABIN/CAVE.

INSIDE THE CABIN/CAVE

Rudolfo begins to GROWL.

INSIDE the DUNGEON.

The WITCH has MICHAEL pinned against the wall. She has no pupils, but somehow can see.

THE WITCH
Who are you?

MICHAEL
Michael. My name is Michael.

The queen transforms her face to that of Michael’s for an instant.

THE WITCH
I can smell your secret… GIRL!

MICHAEL
How could you?

THE WITCH
(smelling her)
Blood flows from your womb. Beware —

IN THE CABIN/CAVE

Grabbing the crossbow, THE HUNTRESS runs out! IN one SUPER FAST INTERCUT both the Witch and the Huntress warn —

THE WITCH/ THE HUNTRESS
(in unison)
The storm gathers.

THE CABIN/CAVE PORCH

Cinderella watches the sunset, spilling out like blood into the sky.

THE HUNTRESS
Get inside. Lock the doors.

CINDERELLA
What’s wrong?

THE HUNTRESS
Something stirs in the woods.

The Huntress and Rudolfo run into the woods. Still –

IN THE DUNGEON

Michael runs up the PASSAGEWAY and out of the room. As if by MAGIC the steps close up behind him.

INT. HALLWAY — CONTINUOUS

Michael has managed to find his way back to the HALLWAY that leads to the QUEEN’S fitting room. SEXTA, one of the queen’s most trusted servants surprises him.

SEXTA
(approaching him)
This area of the palace is forbidden.

MICHAEL
I’m sorry, I was just… I was following…

SEXTA
The queen desires the pleasure of your company.

MICHAEL
Yes of course.

SEXTA
She’s to be found in the Interior Garden.

INT. INTERIOR GARDEN — MOMENTS LATER

Surrounded by the INNER WALLS of the CASTLE the Interior Garden is ironically enough an APPLE ORCHARD. Near the center of the GARDEN stands, A six-foot tall by four foot wide circular dome of GLASS, which contains a single WHITE COBRA. Sitting atop a plethora of apples. THE GLASS CAGE itself sits in front of a LARGE POOL FOUNTAIN – with a CONSTANTINOPLE STYLE SNOW WHITE tiled on the pool’s FLOOR. ONE MASSIVE CONTINUOUS MARBLE BENCH surrounds these two objects. Snow White dressed in the Dragon dress looks upon the snake as Michael approaches.

MICHAEL
You wish the pleasure of my company.

There are fairy tale princesses and then there is SNOW WHITE in this dress.

SNOW WHITE
I do.

They sit. He is apprehensive. The snake catches his attention, as he draws nearer the snake Spreads it’s butterfly neck wide.

SNOW WHITE
It does not trust you.

MICHAEL
I do not trust it.

SNOW WHITE
And you should not for if you are bitten by this serpent would not die yet wish for death for all days remaining.

MICHAEL
What does it do?

SNOW WHITE
It will make it so that anyone you kiss would die before sundown. A person so bitten will have to forsake love forever. I prefer its poison diluted. Much like it was given to me once.

She reaches inside the cage carefully taking out an apple.

SNOW WHITE
(offers it to Michael)
Want a bite?

Michael shakes her head NO. Snow White smiles.

MICHAEL
A cage is lonely.

SNOW WHITE
Have you ever heard the tale of the snake, the woman, and the apple tree?

MICHAEL
My mother told it me as a child.

SNOW WHITE
All tales must have Good, Evil and Temptation.
(beat)
But is it a true tale?

MICHAEL
Its validity is of no consequence as long as it serves its purpose.

SNOW WHITE
What is its purpose I wonder?

MICHAEL
To show us the path to Good.

SNOW WHITE
There are many paths to good. There are many good paths. Even an evil path can lead to good.

MICHAEL
It depends on what you consider good and what you consider evil.

SNOW WHITE
And have you ever considered that evil is necessary.

MICHAEL
How is that?

SNOW WHITE
Without it, how would you know what good is?

MICHAEL
Do you believe that?

SNOW WHITE
I don’t know what to believe.

MICHAEL
Are you good?

SNOW WHITE
I was good once. Once upon a time. But that path has been hidden from me.

MICHAEL
You will find it again.

SNOW WHITE
I never said I was looking.

She gives Michael a kiss.

SNOW WHITE
(whispers)
Don’t you want to be led into temptation?

She kisses him again forcing herself upon him, Michael breaks away. Embarrased he avoids her hypnotic gaze. She suspects something, smells him, like a predator would smell its prey.

SNOW WHITE
Where have you…
(suspiciously)
You may go now.

MICHAEL
(his voice cracks)
You’re highness.

We stay ON SNOW. She is suddenly quite taken with this young man. A light RAIN BEGINS To fall. Snow stretches out her arms and welcomes it with open arms as the cloth begins to cling to her body.

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3 Responses to “Fairy Tale Friday – The Bitter Woods – Chapter 6”

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