“Tighter, I said tighter Mary Ann.”
“But M’lady, she’ll not be able to breathe.”
“That’ll teach her not to eat too much,” replied the bride’s mother. “I still remember the day I walked down the aisle, with gleaming eyes and a big smile. My world had shifted when my eyes met Elizabeth's father's eyes. Oh my child, you’ll experience the same.”
Elizabeth looked up to her mother with hope, “Is he nice?”
“Nice? My child, he swims in riches. Gems, jewels, you’ll be showered in it all!”, her mother exclaimed with joy.
“But-” she tried to explain.
“Hush hush now, women of the White family don’t ask too many questions. This marriage between our two families will be highly beneficial for your father. Look at the greater good.”
She looked at herself in the mirror, wearing an innocent white gown. She found herself looking like a queen but wondering why she didn’t feel like one.
As the bride’s father let her hand go, she heard all the purple and blue shades inside her heart. As her mother wept and said, “You are a woman now,” she sensed the grey and black in her mind.
As the groom grabbed her hand he said, “You know why I choose you as my bride?
She looked up with her eyes brimming with the tears of self doubt and asked “Why?”
For there is no crueler tyranny than that one which is perpetuated in the name of perfection. Rule besides me, become my queen as we together spread our names beyond lands, as haunting as black shadows that never go away.” he whispered.
“But why do you think I would indulge in such evil?”
“Aren’t you tired of being in this hopeless situation of trying to make everyone happy and still not being enough? For my dearie, evil isn’t something that strikes one immediately, it has a long prehistory in childhood and always originates in the desperate fantasies of a child.’’
When he lifted up her veil, she felt like her mother. Her eyes gleaming bright with expectations unshed and her smile as fake as her precious jewels. She welcomed the wisps of his black soul in her white soul, now stained green.
“I do,” He said.
“I do,” She replied.
And can you guess what her first words as the queen were?
“Off with their heads.”
Author: Anubhi Srivastava
Editor: Charu Sabharwal