White as Snow (Part 1)

Cerpen Karangan:
Kategori: Cerpen Bahasa Inggris, Cerpen Misteri
Lolos moderasi pada: 16 January 2017

This story is based on the beloved fairytale, Snow White, originally compiled by the Grimm Brothers. It involves most of the same elements, except that it focuses on different aspects of the story. Originally, it tells the story of a princess, an evil queen, and a poisoned apple. This story instead zooms in on the brutal murder of little Sophia Winters and her stepmother, Evelyn’s, backstory. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully you’ll enjoy my take on this bedtime classic.

Skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and hair black as ebony. That was what was left of Sophia Winters.
Her body was discovered on January 13th inside a deserted residence on Gold Mine Street, house number 7D. The first person who discovered her, the poor old lady next door, stood frozen in her steps and was unable to dial the emergency number immediately as the sight in front of her rendered her motionless, except for her shaking hands. The first thing she saw was her hand, lying motionless on the ground. Then she saw her face. Sophia’s face had been sloppily covered in what seemed to be powder, making her look like a ghost. However, as she was inspected closer, it was discovered that it was actually cold, hard, snow.

Her lips were also a bright red in contrast to her skin, the color and consistency of blood. The old woman dared to take a closer look and staggered back, seeing it was indeed blood. Sophia’s blood. Her arm had been slashed open and the blood created a puddle next to her, some of it seeping into her brightly-colored dress. There was a small paintbrush by her head, covered in the blood from her arm, and used to splatter the liquid onto her lips.
Then there was her hair. The blonde’s strands were traced with strange black pieces of something and shards of broken glass. Some of the glass had punctured her scalp and caused her blonde roots to become slightly damp with the same color that was on her lips.

This was all very disturbing, but there was something about all of this that got to the old woman. Despite her mangled and bloody appearance, Sophia somehow managed to look astonishingly beautiful. It wasn’t anything in particular, just the way she was positioned and every little gruesome detail, added to the girl’s enchanting looks. She seemed peaceful, and although she wasn’t breathing, it seemed as though she were merely in a deep sleep.

When authorities arrived after the shaken up woman pulled herself together, they were not prepared for what they saw. There were rumors that one of them retired after seeing the dead girl’s body. Investigators examined her body and the house, blocking it off with a police line for weeks. Things like this didn’t normally happen in that quaint little neighborhood, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

The case ended up never being solved and it remains an open case to this day. There were many strange rumors surrounding the murder of Sophia Winters. Some said that her body upholds its shape until now and hasn’t decayed at all, others speculating that it was the work of something unholy.

There was only one person that would ever truly know what happened to poor little Sophia and she would keep her lips closed till the day she ceased to exist. The case of Sophia Winters would be remembered for decades and remain unsettled for eternity.

Some Time Earlier…
The Winters had just moved into a grand mansion in a little town where mostly commoners resided and were watching as their servants scurried to finish preparing their rooms, having unpacked days before the family got there. At first glance, The Winters seemed to be just another ordinary family of wealth and pride, but they were so much more.
The head of the family, Kingsley Winters, had inherited his father’s wealth after he died and used the money to start his own business which skyrocketed to success, adding even more money to his name. He was quite a fit man for his age and had a handsome face that was always masked with a smile, though if you looked closely you could see his receding hairline and graying roots. He stood quite tall and always stood with his shoulders back and chin up, thinking this would make him look more intimidating. He was a pleasant enough man, always treating others with respect and being sufficiently polite, and most people liked him. He considered himself to be quite regal and walked with pride and confidence radiating off of his slightly stiff stride. He seemed to be a decent man on the surface, but Mr. Winters had always been slightly dismissive of his family and was absent from many family dinners in favor of the business meetings he attended nearly every night. Sometimes it was hard to tell whether he truly cared for his family because he seemed to be much warmer towards strangers making business deals.

Evelyn Winters had married into the family recently and was the reason they had moved. She wanted a bigger place with a room full of full-length mirrors all to herself. She was pale as a ghost with long, silky black hair, and red lipstick that was always present on her lips. She was the kind of woman you’d find in an old black-and-white movie smoking a cigarette in fancy movie star clothes. She’d always been quite fond of herself, her looks especially, and made sure everyone around her agreed that she was quite a looker. Most people —men in particular— did find her exceptionally beautiful and were drawn in quite fast, but she quickly grew tired of them. There were many gorgeous-looking men out there, she thought, but very few had the money to match. So when she met Mr. Winters, she snatched him right away.

There was something always a little off with Evelyn that had always made everyone a little bit afraid of her. Maybe it was the way she looked at you, with two piercing green eyes staring right into your soul. Her eyes were a little feline-like and the color of her eyes could only be described as the color of envy or greed. Then there were the strange nightly rituals Mr. Winters caught her doing one time. At the stroke of midnight, she would go up to a mirror and start talking to herself, exclaiming how beautiful she looked. She would do this for exactly half an hour before returning to bed. When Mr. Winters walked in on her, she whipped around as though she’d been caught in the middle of a crime, with her eyes flashing red and her body in a strange stance, like she was ready to attack whoever it was that interrupted her. After a second, her eyes softened and she gave a little laugh, said she was sleepwalking, and went back to bed. In bed that night, Mr. Winters didn’t sleep well. He had the strangest feeling that someone had been glaring into the back of his head the entire night.

The one truly pleasant person in the family was the daughter, seventeen year old Sophia. Sophia’s mother had died as a result of an emergency procedure that had to be performed when Sophia was born because there were complications and Sophia was born at the price of her mother’s life. With this constantly in the back of her mind, Sophia lived her life to the fullest and always tried to make every moment count. Since her mother’s time on Earth got cut short because of her, Sophia lived with a heavy burden upon her shoulders and tried to make up for it by doing little good deeds every day. She helped out with several chores and befriended the help though her father and stepmother didn’t care much for their employees and mostly neglected their presence. In addition to having a good heart, Sophia had always been exceptionally good-looking with slightly wavy dirty blonde hair, a fair complexion, and a thin frame. This has drawn many young men to her, but they never stayed around for too long as a result of Evelyn meddling and scaring them off.

Every time Sophia would bring home a guy, her stepmother would step in and start subtly flirting with him in the strangest way. She would act as if they were single men her age instead of young boys who were seeing her stepdaughter and this managed to scare every single one of them away. Sophia was mortified every time it had happened, but she never dared speak up about it because her stepmother had always been cold towards her and Evelyn always acted like she hadn’t done anything wrong. Her father barely ever noticed the guys that came over, Sophia guessed he didn’t even notice that his daughter wasn’t seven years old anymore, or that he had a daughter at all.
Sophia usually spent her days out in the garden where several birds always gathered to peck at the bird feed she left out each morning. Sophia wasn’t much of a people person and didn’t go out much except for visiting little cafés to treat herself once in a while. After moving into the grand mansion, she frequented going to one café in particular and started to notice the most attractive guy she’d ever seen in her life and she knew that he noticed her too.

Every Sunday she’d go down there with a book in hand and pretend to read to cover up the fact that she was watching him. She watched every little bit of him and learned things without uttering a single word the entire time. He had a sharp bone structure with high cheekbones and slightly sunken in cheeks that would’ve looked odd on anyone else. His hair was a mix of light brown and blonde that Sophia thought looked amazing and she longed to run her fingers through those tresses. Sophia dared not to approach him because of the watchful eye of her stepmother and she continued to meet with him without making a single move.

Meanwhile, Evelyn spent her Sundays polishing every single mirror she owned because they were her prized possessions and no one else was allowed to lay a finger on them. But it went deeper than just being possessive.

Deep in the night, when Evelyn went down to the mirror room, she wasn’t just admiring herself and expressing it out loud. No, she was having a conversation without someone other than herself. She didn’t know who, but she could always hear the response that was given back to her. She’d ask who was the most beautiful woman in town and she’d always hear back that she was the most beautiful, pleasing her to no end. If she didn’t have anything to say, she’d just admire the person in the mirror staring back at her. Sometimes she thought that her reflection was more than just that, that in fact this was another version of her—one that was far wiser and knew everything there was to know about this world. It was still her, but slightly distorted.

Occasionally, she’d notice her reflection looked slightly darker than her in subtle ways. The reflection’s lipstick would be slightly smeared, mascara running a little, and nails that seemed yellow and chipped. Sometimes she’d swear that when she took a one-second glance at a mirror, it was an old, ugly witch staring back, but whenever she’d take a double take it would return to normal. This was why she very nearly lost it when her husband walked in on her. Evelyn didn’t know what would’ve happened if she lost control, because somewhere in the back of her head she knew that if she kept her routine up that she’d slowly go insane. Her sane self knew there was nobody talking back to her, no witch in the mirror, no other version of herself, but she didn’t want to listen anymore and chose to ignore her sanity calling to her.

When she wasn’t spending time with her mirrors, Evelyn secretly watched her stepdaughter from afar. Evelyn knew all about Sophia’s little crush on the boy in the café and never thought much of it until Sophia made a mistake that would turn out to be fatal.

Cerpen Karangan: Sharon S. Wenas

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