Reaching #Writephoto

photo copyright Sue Vincent

Black limbs jutted from thick boles. Their skeletal twigs clawed at her clothes, snagged her hair, and scratched her arms. She’d lost her way in the twilit forest but didn’t dare turn back. Couldn’t surrender. Not after coming so far.

She pushed forward, stumbled over gnarled roots that writhed from the earth like snakes. Her imagination ran in wild spirals and panic stole her breath. Soon darkness would filter between the boughs and force her to stop, at the mercy of the autumn cold, the hunger coiling in her stomach. Wolves roamed the uncharted terrain.

Why had she fled with so little preparation? Had she made a mistake? Could she have endured her troubles a little longer? Even as a child, when her mother died, she’d dreamed of flight. Her father had fallen prey to a widow’s deft manipulations. He’d fawned over his new bride, unable to acknowledge her cruelty, terrified of the truth, of his grief.

Until he too rested in the graveyard.

She tripped over a root and pitched to the ground, bloodying her palms and gouging a knee. Lips pressed between her teeth, she brushed pine needles from stinging hands and slowed her pace. Animals rustled in the underbrush, and an owl hooted overhead. She cringed and stepped gingerly between the trees, outstretched fingers snapping the dead twigs threatening to blind her.

Despite her resolve, her current situation elicited a muttered curse. A year ago, she’d made a poor choice, but the only one her naive desperation had conjured. She’d fled her father’s home, a decision well and good, but she’d charged straight into a debacle with seven other men. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

She’d escaped a life of cruelty for one scarcely better, one where safety had depended on servitude. She’d slaved for them: cooked, cleaned, laundered. They’d expected cheerful smiles, merry entertainment, and endless doting from a paper-thin woman without a heart or soul or choice. They hadn’t allowed her beyond the garden, scared her with threats of wild beasts and dangerous hunters, of being murdered. And all the while, their own faults had gone ignored. They were lazy slobs, grumpy and witless. Even the happiest among them didn’t lift a finger.

The sun was losing its battle with the moon. Spindly shadows lengthened as night crept through the canopy. When her endurance dropped through the soles of her shoes and trudging onward seemed pointless, she crested a hill and gasped. The forest parted. Beyond the last filigree of barren branches, the day’s final rays graced a serene valley. Twilight reached over the distant hills in a ribbon of golden hope. Snow White smiled, free to chart a new path. She squared her shoulders and set out for a future of her choosing.

**

Oh, it’s so fun to be participating again in Sue Vincent’s Thursday #Writephoto challenge. Happy Writing!

137 thoughts on “Reaching #Writephoto

  1. Sarah says:

    Awesome retelling of a classic fairy tale, Diana! I had to smile when I realized halfway through the story where this was going. 😄 Incidentally I just finished reading the Grimm’s Fairy Tales retold by Philip Pullman -which was great btw – so this was a special treat for me. 😊 It’s also funny since I never read them myself before but remember vividly having been told them a thousand times when I was a kid. Some stories stay with you others don’t but Snow White’s definitely one of those that stay. And yay to your Snow White for quitting work for those lazy dwarfs. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hee hee hee. Yeah, she’d had it with those dwarfs. Time to strike out on her own. I’ve never retold a fairytale, but it was pretty fun. Thanks for the recommendation of Philip Pullman’s retellings. Sounds like entertaining reading. 🙂

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  2. acflory says:

    Lovely twist at the end! An inspired retelling. 🙂

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  3. Ah, yes, Snow White and you made it so much your own I didn’t recognize it. Well done, Diana. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a few weeks late getting to this story, Diana, but short of a little Washington Irving or Edgar Allan Poe, I can’t imagine a better yarn to usher in the gloriously gloomy delights of autumn! Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha. Thanks. It was my women’s liberation story. Poor Snow White needed a new ending. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it, Sean. It’s fun to be getting back into writing again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love revisionist fairy tales; I’m working on one myself. Agreed: Nothing so joyous as finally getting back to writing fiction! Enjoy it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • And what’s the news on your finished book? Will it be available soon?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve been shopping around the novel-length m.s. I wrote last year (EFRI), and over the summer I finished a new novella — a supernatural coming-of-age adventure in the vein of Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night and Robert R. McCammon’s Boy’s Life (or, if you prefer television, Stranger Things). I want to show the new m.s. to some contacts, and then I’ll make a decision in 2020 about how and when I want to publish these materials. But I definitely want to get the ball rolling soon; I put so much work into writing this stuff, I’d like to see it out there! In the meantime, I’m outlining the next full-length novel…

            I wish I had more time to devote to my fiction writing, but the blog and climate activism and kitten fostering all compete for my attention! But how can I complain when I have so many wonderful commitments to occupy my time?!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Jina Bazzar says:

    It seems like I’ve been amiss around here, Diana.
    I like the new twist to Snowwhite – glad she found her freedom!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is great, Diana! When I read “seven men” I knew it was Snow White. This is probably closer to the Grimm version than the Disney one, all dark and spooky (Disney like color and fun 😀 )

    Liked by 2 people

    • I haven’t read the Grimm version, but I never forget in the Disney version when she’s lost in the woods and the tree branches are clawing at her. 🙂 The photo reminded me of that. I had to give the poor girl a better ending than drudgery. Lol. Thanks for reading, Julie. Hope you’re getting to write today. 🙂

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  7. inese says:

    Brilliant, Diana! I didn’t suspect anything until the ‘seven men’ were mentioned 🙂 Then I put two and two together. Such fun 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. J.D. Riso says:

    Gorgeous dark imagery. And all of it inspired by a photo. So lovely to see you back here with new writing, Diana. Hope you are well and enjoying these very last days of summer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by to read, JD. The climate here is being odd this year. Summer ended a couple of weeks ago, and it seems we’re skipping autumn. The rain has already started. But all cozy and ready to write. 😀

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  9. I loved how vividly you brought her journey through the forest to life 😀
    Great to have you writing again!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. They were really all named Lazy. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh, it’s so fun having you back here in your blogging haven. I enjoyed this tale of Snow White – and what she REALLY thought about those seven dwarves. Just hope she doesn’t take an apple from a stranger.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Pam. Do you remember the piles of dishes and laundry from the Disney version? I’d have a fit. It was fun turning the story around and giving SW some backbone. 🙂 Happy Writing, my friend. ❤

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  12. Sue Vincent says:

    Loved that twist at the end, Diana. I can sympathise with her wanting to escape housework. I only enjoy it when it is done 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Spooky! Nice interpretation of the photo to go so dark.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Jennie says:

    I loved this, Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Jan Sikes says:

    This is SO creative, Diana! And you wrote it with such passion and descriptive phrases that I was right there with her, stumbling, falling, picking myself up and losing hope only to find it! Great job!!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Mae Clair says:

    Wow, what an interesting and unexpected spin. Bravo!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Beautiful writing, intrigue, and a surprise ending – Snow White.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Ha ha, absolutely brilliant!!! Excellent writing as always 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. It’s sooo good to read you again! Boy, I’ve missed your words 🤗❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Solitaire says:

    Enjoyed very much🎐

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Love it, Diana – especially the character reveal at the end. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. dgkaye says:

    You are amazing at creating such deep stories from an image Diana! Kudos my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Amazing imagery…not a surprise coming from you, Diana! Grimm’s fairy tale can’t hold a candle to this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ha! I always thought there had to be more than anybody let on about those 7 guys… no way that could be a good place. 😉
    Diana, even if this was just you participating in a prompt, it’s so richly done. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. What a poignant story–that horrible past weighed against an uncertain future. I’m with your young girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Steven Baird says:

    I love reading revamped fairy tales, particularly when they’re menacing. This put me in mind of “When the Clock Strikes” by Tanith Lee… the story of Ashella (in place of Cinderella). You did a wonderful job here, Diana. Great to see you back! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  27. At first I thought you prepping a new chapter but quickly caught on – fabulously done 🙂 It’s nice to be reading with you again Diana ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Theresa Everton Pulyer says:

    Love your attention to detail. It makes me look at the picture in a whole new way. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Theresa. I don’t know if you remember the old Snow White cartoon movie with the tree branches clawing at her in the woods. That’s what the photo reminded me of, and the rest followed. I’m glad you enjoyed the story! Have a great day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. michnavs says:

    Wonderful story Diana…and i would love to know what happened…

    I am glad to see you write here again.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Erik says:

    So nice to see you writing again, Diana! And a wonderful return here. Have you ever read the original? Or did you catch the 1997 film Snow White: A Tale of Terror? Your scene here is more in keeping with these. And, as always, your “poetic prose” is epic.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much for the visit, Erik. It’s just great to see you back in the blogosphere. I haven’t see the more recent versions, just the one from 1937, which is pretty awful by today’s standards. The silhouetted branches made me think of that one, and the story followed from there. I’ll have to see if I can find the 1997 version. 😀 Have a wonderful week, my friend.

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  31. “Twilight reached over the distant hills in a ribbon of golden hope.” – love the image and word choice. (You do a lot of fabulous verbs everywhere. Nice)

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Sadje says:

    A realistic take on Snow White.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Oooh, Diana, this is a most entertaining take on Snow White.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Wonderful and exciting tale Diana. So good to read you. ❤️

    Like

  35. Teri Polen says:

    When I read seven other men, I figured it out. Wonderful, Diana!

    Liked by 3 people

  36. balroop2013 says:

    A dark description of this breathtaking picture could only be done by you Diana…I waited with baited breath to see whether you mention the beauty and “the ribbon of golden hope” did flutter! Lovely ending. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  37. I enjoyed this Diana! Welcome back. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  38. babbitman says:

    A wry smile stretched across the reader’s lips… “Nice,” he murmured. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Delightful story Diana. I am captivated and wanting to know what happens next!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Violet Lentz says:

    Oooo this is excellent. The way you write draws me in no matter the subject matter. I love this play on a classic tale.

    Liked by 5 people

  41. Loved the reverse take on this Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

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