by Christine Anderton
In that instant, the sheer force of power emanating from the mirror knocked the gathered crowd off their feet, and my hands went up to shield my eyes from the flash of blinding light. I blinked hard to clear my vision. Around me, people were beginning to stand. I stared into the mirror, horrified and disgusted by what I saw. At the sight of glistening teeth, the townspeople screamed, in fear for their lives. She was quick to correct them. “Kind and gentle,” she said. I leaned in to get a closer look.
I recognized the mirror. I had seen it once before, the night we fled. I stared at the image before me, familiar dishonest eyes glaring back at me in a challenge.
And suddenly I knew. Memories flooded back, pounding me, one after another. Years of being second best. He had always been the favorite, never mind how he had tormented me when they weren’t around.
That night years ago, he had behaved as usual, without thinking about how his actions would affect anyone else. Because of him, my life had been taken away from me. He had selfishly ruined everything, and I felt no pity for him. He deserved such a curse. Since then, I had worked hard to become an expert huntsman and had actually made a name for myself.
I pulled my eyes away from the mirror and studied her. Her feelings were obvious. The way she looked at him, the way she cradled the mirror, the way her voice changed when she spoke about him. Kind and gentle? I knew what she didn’t. I knew what he was really like. And now he had my girl.
She would marry me. I had asked nicely, but she refused. I wouldn’t give up that easily. She just needed a little persuading. I had come here tonight prepared to take either her hand or her father – the decision was hers. Now I realized that something more stood in my way. I would have Belle for my wife yet, even if it meant killing my brother.