The pitter-patter scatters around hand in hand with a nipping breeze, entering the barracks intrusively through the firm curtain thatís held instead of the door Rose shattered. It bites when touches the skin. Little pieces of the door, that hand couldnít pick, still lay around. Cinderella's been playing with her claims from the bodies that were left after the slaughter. She intently makes effort to handle them with the softest touch. They are pretty fragile and can be damaged with a single stroke. White orbs with narrow red vessels like a farm carelessly furrowed through all directions, a circular portal each differently colored, leading to somewhere so dark. She gently lifts one and gazes into the dark entry of it. Itís not clear where it leads or ends to. She only knows that a man used to see things with it. So many things, so many events. And suddenly one day it stops. She holds the eye between her gentle fingers and gawks at it. She wonders if it still contains all that was once seen with it. Her bowl of clayed eyes picks Snow attention. She has no interest to concern herself with Cinderella and things she likely enjoys. But itís hard to ignore her with those eyes she got. Washing the dried blood from the walls and floor never used to be her kind of job. She never even thought of this day to come. The cut on her face still irritates a bit. It feels like a thorny thread that she wants to remove from her face. It didnít just cut her skin. Her beauty is harmed in a way that can never be repaired. Even time cannot heal this wound! Water and blood drip from the dark napkin as she holds and inspects Cinderella. She puzzles her mind. How can a girl be so crazy enough? She thinks and keeps scrubbing the wall with the napkin. Rose thatís been gone for a while now just enters. She comes to Snow and stares at her in the back. She looks like a beggar on the street who got paid to clean. Her dress has become but a cloth of dirt and dried dust. The brilliance in each single hair of her is devoured by the mud thatís left over her. And she just keeps washing up the wall, sweeping it harder and harder.
"Cinderella, go play with your toys." She says to her.
Cinderella just takes her bowl of eyes and leaves them without any question. Snow can be certain that she is cursed like her too. But she doubts it as well. Because Rose saved her, she is enslaved by her kindness. And so she obeys her with pleasure, not by some means of magical force. Snow keeps pushing hard on the wall as if she means to pick it off with the stains.
Rose rests a hand on her shoulder and whispers. "Enough."
Even if she doesnít want to, it makes her stop. Snow slowly lowers her hands and turns to her. Rose can feel her scar like it lays on her own face. She draws her hair back and mildly forces her to look up by putting a hand under her chin.
"What happened? Why did you end up here?" She doesnít ask her really, only repeats whatís up in Snow's mind.
"Does it hurt?" Rose asks again, and she means something rather than just the cut.
Snow keeps quiet and prevents from replying with any gestures either.
"Come." Rose grabs her hand and says.
Her eyes fill with tears and she lightly shakes when Rose drags her hand to go. She just feels the entire anxiety that takes over her from that touch. Snow becomes as scared as her color changes. She thinks that Rose is finally going to sacrifice her.
"No... no. Hold your tears. Itís not what you think." Rose says and gently wipes her tears. "Donít be afraid, Snow. Come with me."
Though Rose is not hiding any evil motives behind her words, yet Snow canít quite calm down. She brings her to the dress rehearsal chamber. Aside from mirrors and dresses and beautification stuff, thereís a girl in the middle of the room who catches her eyes immediately. She looks strange. But more than that, she looks immobilized. She is a young one, standing tall and quiet. She doesnít even look up when they come in and just remains there like a sculpture, but a breathing one. Thereís a tub that can fit for a man. Snow quickly begins to conclude things for herself.
"This is Gina, and sheís going to help me heal you." Rose says and smiles.
For sure Gina is not a medic. But she is cursed too. Rose guides her to the tub and sits her beside it. Then she invites Snow to come with a look. She moves down the room beside them with an eccentric mind and sits. She takes the other side of the tub and glances at the girl. She looks as dried as a log of woods. No will for any motion in her body, simply because she doesnít move unless Rose wants her to.
"Youíve been curious. Iíll show you." Says Rose.
Instead of the girl, Snow begins to show something of a panic. But she tries to hold and remain calm, just wondering, until Rose hands her the knife.
"Hold this." She asks her.
Snow grabs the knife. She almost chokes when she swallows. It tightens her lungs and hardens her chest, a commotion that fires in her chest.
"I want you to look and listen carefully." Rose says and adjusts the girl's hair out of her face and the way of her throat. "Can you see the softness in her, the gentle and fragile elegance? Go ahead and touch it. Donít be afraid."
Snow lifts her hand up very slowly and reaches for the girl's skin. She barely touches it with her fingertips and satisfies to that.
"You must be able to feel the life that lives under her skin. It smoothly flows through her. Itís the same as flows through you and I. Itís gentle, itís inestimable, extremely potent. And itís always pure before it is corrupted by one's malevolent acts. When youíre about to take someoneís life you should know these things." Rose says. "It is no such thing as being serene. Murderers donít take lives, they destroy it. I take it! Itís way too much precious to be wasted over the ground. Thatís the most sinful act I know."
Her soft and distant tone of voice brushes her serenity away. Now that she refreshes her sights, she sees the softness that the girl has in her. It is as potent as Rose says. Her hand reaches for her face by itself. And she discovers what she didnít feel before. It is conveniently warm. The blood-flow feels through the nerves in her fingers.
"Do you feel it? How can you destroy such a delicate thing?" Rose asks her, then puts a hand on the girl's forehead and bends it back. "Put the knife on her throat."
Snow holds the knife to her throat as also scrambles not to. A mild shaking in her hand, a glint of distress in her eyes.
"You are afraid." Rose says.
"I donít want to kill her." Snow anxiously replies.
"Really? I donít believe you." Says Rose and looks at Snow with a suspicious look. "How did you kill so many people before?"
"I didnít kill people for my amusement. I never held a knife on anybody's throat."
"But you gave the order."
"Thereís a huge difference between giving the order and doing it." Snow nervously yells.
Rose stays quiet for a moment, then says. "The only difference is that you didnít feel it. Now you do."
The moment Snow realizes the dripping of blood from the girl's throat, sheís already gone. She drops the knife and jumps back. She didnít even recognize the process. Rose lifts the girl's head down into the tub and lets the blood stream inside it. Snow is fallen over the floor in agitation. Thereís a tenseness to her muscles that makes her shudder. Rose was right. She never felt it before. She is surprised how easy it is done and how difficult it is to handle. In the conflict between confusion and stress, a little push and she is dead. She never felt crumpling under the guilt. It was like a chore to her and she might had taken a little pleasure in it too. But now it terribly hurts. Unlike her, Rose seems to be used to this as it doesnít even tingle her guilt or conscience. Neither she looks pleased. Itís just the same senseless look.
She leaves he girl over the tub and gets up, "now you know how it feels." She says. "Take off your clothes. You need a bath."