Red as Blood, White as Snow

Youíre such a pretty boy. Look at you,
Your face pale as milk, delicate and breakable
Just like one of Marlinchenís porcelin dolls.
Your father hardly speaks of your mother
(A courtesy to me, I suppose)
But she must have been beautiful. Beautiful indeed.
If only you were my child as well as his.
Pretty little thing. This house, this land
All your fatherís money will be yours when he passes away.
What will be left for my daughter?
Plain little Marlinchen — sheís quite fond of you.
If she wasnít your sister now, she might have married you.
Then all this would have been hers, and mine too.
All mine. But as it is, youíre the eldest son.
If it werenít for you...
But come, dear child. Donít just stand there
Listening to your stepmotherís musings. Come into the pantry.
Do you want an apple?
I know, the lid is too heavy for you. Itís thick bolted oak
With that rusted iron lock, sharp as a knife.
Here, Iíll lift it for you.
You want an apple, donít you?
Reach in and get one for yourself.
Arenít they pretty? Just like you are:
Red as blood, white as snow.
...Iím glad his father is gone
Or else he would have heard that noise.
The slam of the lid was louder than I thought,
And the hinges squeak.
Still, he didnít even scream.
The lock cut clean, just as I thought it would.
His body looks like a puppet with its strings cut,
Some abandoned toy.
Under the lid the apples are red as blood,
Wet and slick with gore, and his head,
Ripped off like a dollís, stares up at me
With dark, vacant eyes, frozen in horror.
I can see myself in them, like vengeful mirrors.
For the first time, I am afraid.

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