White petticoats of purity tempt the laughing green king as he buries his head under her skirts and crowns her center. Layer upon layer upon layer of never-ending white—God, she's so pure. She's so big. She's so strong. She's so brave.

She's so cold.

A small winged creature lands on her lace skirts and there its life ends. Blood seeps through and she is suddenly veined with red; red heat. Red fire.

One gossamer wing lingers on the silk; wing of angels, wing of monsters. Is there a difference? It all comes down to how many can dance on the head of a pin.

The Queen of Hearts has ordered her handmaidens painted over, waving white limbs sullied, and so her painter Death obeys. Wonderland isn't quite so full of wonders, after all. Silly Alice, why'd you have to go?

Petticoats of white fall one by one to the floor. Innocence lost as she bares her crown to the greedy green king and to the world. She is naked and she is still silky white and she glows. But…she is warm.

Last bit of fragile lace drifts to the mossy ground.

Thorns protrude from the Green King's breast as red climbs, winds, circles through; coats the daggers as he falls. She screams in triumph, raises her bare body to the heavens and maybe she's finally free, free, free…but he brings her down with him.

I'm so big. I'm so strong. I'm so brave. I'm so warm.

I'm dead.

Her crown falls on the bed of white skirts and she weeps honey-sweet tears.

There is a new bud on the rosebush, now. It looks exactly like a rosebud should; is exactly the right size with exactly the right amount of petals opening out from its tightly furled center. It emits exactly the right scent (rich pomegranate from the sultan of Arabia) and is exactly the right shade of white (so pure, so cold, this glacier white).

There is an almost invisible speck of red on its innermost petal. But no one can see it, anyway, so it doesn't matter.

A/N: The story of a rose, called 'Iceberg', and one of the most coldly beautiful I have ever seen. Can you catch the rather obvious symbolisms?