Oct 15, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

By Najia Navaid

There was once a young man who was in love with a beautiful young girl in his village. The girl, known as Beauty, also loved him very much. One day, the youth embarked on a journey, and decided to bring back a white rose for Beauty, since they were rare in those parts.

On his travel, he came across a trail of white rose petals. Remembering Beauty, he followed the trail and came to a barren land. In the centre stood a humongous black castle with tall turrets and spindly towers. On either side of the gates was a looming statue, black as a shadow.

The man approached the gates warily. Somewhere across the wasteland, an owl hooted and a bat flew across the moon. Inside was a garden of utmost beauty, full of white rose bushes. It was the Garden of Temptation.

But in order to pluck a rose, he had to sell his soul, which he did readily, for the magic of the Garden was upon him. No sooner had he plucked the flower that his appearance began to change. His skin wrinkled, his eyes bulged out and darkened to yellow; his hands and feet enlarged and his nails thickened and turned a dirty yellow. When he tried to cry out, a long slimy tongue rolled out of his mouth, coated with filth and spotted green, like mould.

The youth was now trapped, he could not leave the castle. His heart yearned for his former life and for Beauty, whom he used to watch in despair in an enchanted mirror everyday.

The man wandered around as a soul-less beast. In order to keep himself alive, he devoured the spirits of beautiful maidens. He fed on hope, but it was his own hope that kept him from completely turning into a monster.

One day he decided to summon Beauty to him. He turned a magic ring thrice upon his finger. With that, Beauty became a prisoner of the castle as well. But she knew that there was something sinister within the castle, which drained her of her energy. Little did she know that it was the Beast, unwillingly feeding on her soul.

For seven days, she remained there, alone. One night she decided to search the castle. She came to a door and went inside. There was dirt on the bed and she thought she saw movement. She went closer and then choked back vomit. There were maggots crawling over the bed and on top of them lay a monster. A monster so revolting, with yellow nails and slime oozing from its body, that even from a distance, she shuddered, feeling nauseated.

She was frozen to the spot. And then... the monster slowly opened its eyes and fixed her with a stare so dangerous that she recoiled. The Beast lifted a rotten hand and touched her, and she cringed, running out of the room.

She ran to the rose garden, heart racing. She swallowed back bile. Even though she was alone, she could feel eyes on herself and an unknown threat drawing close. She started sweating and trembling.

Then she saw the monster approaching; half-gliding, half-slithering. Beauty's knees gave way and she fainted. When she regained consciousness, the Beast lay dead. An enchanted mirror lay at its side. She stood still, paralyzed.

Suddenly, in the mirror, she saw the face of the man she had loved. Overwhelming grief and bitter love rose inside her. Suddenly there was light, and the beast stirred. As she watched, with a thrill of fear, it slowly peeled off its skin, like an itching costume. She felt repulsed, horrified. The creature made a horrible gagging sound and its tongue rolled out, covered in bile and mucus. Beauty choked back a vomit for the second time. Just watching the beast made her feel impure, filthy.

Before her very eyes, the beast started to shrink. Its form became more human and its skin became smooth, the eyes receded back into their sockets. She watched in horror as the creature changed back to the man she loved.

All around her, the white roses turned red. The young man sat up in joy and Beauty ran to him. He told her that her repulsion of him had killed him. But the love that had risen within her heart for him was what had recalled him back to life.

They were married in the rose garden and lived in the castle till the end of their days. And everyday, a single red rose was found in the bedroom. Who kept putting it there, no one knew. Perhaps the castle itself was remembering its enchantments.


yusrabbasi said...

quite typical but it is a good piece of writing:)

Saniya Kamal said...

Nice work Najia!

Lynette said...

i like the way u changed the story and also the way u wrote it, da only thing is that i did not feel she that she really loved him when she saw his true reflection in the mirror...other than that its a nice story

Lamia Fahim said...

This is very well-written. I enjoyed it. :)

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