Dark hair pulled up in a tight braid that clung to her head to support the weight of a crown, and pale skin, milky white due to hiding from the sun: this was the reflection she saw in my face every day she prepared to confront the morning. She took each moment as it came, but it was hardly easy for her to do.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?” she murmured softly, her hazel eyes searching past those in her doppelganger of a reflection.
“Snow White is the fairest, my queen,” I whispered back to her, loathing every word I sent through the frigidly solemn air. As she prolonged her study of her reflection, I felt a deep, throbbing guilt in my stone heart, but I could not help it; I was just a mirror. I could only reflect.
Her eyes stayed fixed as she smoothed her midnight dress to remove the wrinkles that were in fact absent. Such a dress was truly a few sizes too small, and she had to breathe so shallowly to fit into it. She did it every morning; she squeezed into a dress only the sickliest of young women could fit into comfortably.
Ever since her niece came to a suitable age, and become such a dashing young woman, the queen had watched the girl with a sad envy in her eyes. “Snow White is so beautiful,” she would always tell her reflection, “And you are so horribly ugly.”
Then she would cry.
Just to assure herself of her hopeless figure, she would ask me. She would ask me what she asked every morning, and I would reply the only answer she would believe. It was the only answer I could give her.
I would have cried with her, but I was merely a mirror, I had not the eyes to shed a tear. I was just the gift presented to her on her sixteenth birthday. Her father wanted her to have some company, even though I was such poor company. I was her deepest beliefs simply in a different voice. She was only talking to herself.
When evening came, she returned to me from the throne room to study her reflection again, trying to smooth the fat that was below her chin. There was none there though. It was only skin, smooth flawless skin. I didn’t know how she could hate it so much.
She sighed out the words she always said to me, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all?”
“Snow White is the fairest, my queen,” I told her.
“That makes no sense, Mirror…” she paused for a moment, staring past her reflection as if into that which was my sorcery born soul. Parting her thin lips again, more words came forth, “I sent the huntsman to take her to the woods. There he was to kill her.”
My silence made her frown, I was simply too taken back to say anything in return to her. I never thought that in all the years she had hated her niece, she would go so far as to rid the kingdom of her for good. Taking such drastic measures was so unlike her, she was once kindhearted. She was once open and bright, and I missed that part of her.
“What should I do, Mirror?” She murmured, “I will never be beautiful enough for the world so long as she is alive.”
“But you are beautiful, my queen,” I spoke surely.
“Mirror, I know I am beautiful, but, as you can tell, I am not beautiful enough. Is Snow White beautiful enough?”
“More than enough, my queen,” I said. I wanted to choke on those words, try to force them back down. It wasn’t my choice to choose my answers, I was only a mirror.
“I must make sure that I get rid of her then.” She turned from me to the great maple wood shelf of books against the wall, the dark folds of her dress flowing behind her steps, “I must do this myself to do it right.”
Never had I wanted more desperately to have a voice of my own. I was incapable of such things, though; I was only a mirror. I watched hopelessly as she pulled book by book from the shelf, mixing up whatever potion she could as tears slowly smeared her once flawless complexion. She would try them one by one until she came to the results she wished for. My beloved queen had been driven mad by her own illusion of inferiority and lack of beauty. She had been driven mad to the point of no longer caring. She wanted Snow White dead, done with feeling so terrible.
As I watched her leave the room the next morning with the poison apple, she paused and glanced back at me, her deformed witch-like disguise unable to hide the last flicker of her beautiful soul inside. “Goodbye, Mirror,” She murmured and then closed the door, leaving me so very alone.
That was the last I saw of her and the last I saw of the girl that had grown up spilling her troubled heart to me. If only I could have given her a real answer, the real and honest answer she needed. Maybe then she wouldn’t have died inside and left the last fragment of her once flourishing heart here as she closed the door to the room for the last time. It was all because she felt so very ugly, when she was really so very beautiful and I had loved her so very much.
In the months that came when the prince had been pronounced king with a beautiful young girl as his wife and queen, the old queen’s room became occupied again. It was cleared out and turned into the royal bedroom, me being the only piece to left hang on the wall, ready to haunt the next man or woman that looked at their reflection in my face.
The new queen was the first, and on the first day they moved in. Studying her midnight hair and snow white skin she asked me, perhaps already knowing some of the magic I was gifted with, “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” her voice trailed off as her eyes scanned over her reflection and I knew what dark things she was beginning to think over in her mind.
“…Who is the fairest of all?” She murmured, for fear someone would hear her and laugh at her concern about such a topic. She was a queen after all. She ought to be confidant.
“Your aunt is the fairest, my queen,” I told her.
“But she is dead,” the girl muttered and I felt my heart shatter like the pure glass I was made of, “My husband and I had her killed after she tried to poison me, taking my life. Mirror, are you sure? I cannot be the fairest if she is still alive; has she come back somehow?”
I hated the magic I was brought to life with. My purpose was flawed, for I could only reflect, so that was all I did. I spoke to her in my unchanging voice, wishing it could just give the slightest waver to bring my lies into the light. “She is indeed dead my queen,” I said, “but you will never in life nor death be as beautiful or fair as her.”