This was written primarily for my A-level course, but I thought I would put it up so that I could have some responses from other writers rather than my snotty-nosed teacher that doesn't like anything I do.

Just as background -- I wrote this after being inspired by Angela Carter's book of short (and twisted) stories that were based on fairy-tales -- The Bloody Chamber.

I really hope you enjoy this. And please please please review it, even if you hated it, anything's more useful than my useless teacher.

Kate.


Everybody that wasn't housebound or truly cold-hearted searched from dawn until dusk from the day she left to the day her father returned. Every alley was checked, every door knocked upon, and every available surface plastered in posters depicting Rosa's face. Everyone that knew the girl agreed however, that the mere photographic record of her features couldn't possibly condense the spirit that made her truly recognisable, the flame that kept her little soul alight was the real reason that she was the most beautiful that most people had set eyes upon.

"Please," repeated Rosa's pleading father, "don't summon her here, trap her, don't keep her in this terrible house." His glance at the buckling walls of the once grand and enormous dwelling did not go unnoticed. The Beast growled a chuckle and his mouth twitched with malicious pleasure as he closed the door on the whiny man and saw that all hope for negotiation had now flickered and faded in his bespectacled eyes.

Rosa glanced at the note again, it was unmistakably her father's scrawl that begged her to come and collect him from the house whose address was written at the bottom of the scrap. Sure enough, it was mirrored on the slate plaque before her. She had been distressed by her father's disappearance three months ago, but she could never have guessed he would end up in a place as obscure and peculiar as this.

"Rosa, no!" Her father wailed when heard the knock and the slow creek of the old hinges as the monstrous beast opened the door that would, he knew, never be open to her again. His heart tormented him with hope once again, that his beloved daughter would run as fast as she possibly could, far from this hell and its devil, far from her chance to free him in exchange for her imprisonment.

The beast observed the slight girl of barely eighteen that stood before him, calm and unafraid seemingly oblivious of her father beating against the walls that contained him. His muffled cries, though the words were unintelligible, a clear warning that she was in danger.

Rosa's heart beat quickly as she stared determinately into the face of the man that she realised now, would be her captor – she would take the place of her father. An exchange. Though her heart thudded against her ribs, she was aware that her limbs were steady as she stood before him and that her gaze was strong and never strayed from the golden eyes that were fixed on her own silver ones.

"I am yours," she declared firmly, and the beast noted with interest that her voice never quavered, "Now let my father go."

As the beast turned, key in hand, Rosa was finally able to blink, and as she did so, a single tear escaped her eye. She allowed it to run its course over her cheek and fall from her chin, savouring the feeling, before she wiped her cheek clean.

A six whole months had passed and Rosa heard nothing from outside the ground of the house. In this short time, so much had changed that she scarcely recognised the fear she had once felt when she stood close to him. Instead, now she seemed sure that she loved him, a man of few words but with a heart that longed to love someone. His tender gestures startled her even now as he would stand, huge and imposing with a fierce quality that never left his eye, presenting a rose clutched between his mighty fingers, plucked from the carefully tended rose garden that had been shown care that the crumbling house had never known.

Against his will, Rosa's father had been forced away from the beast's house; his heart broke when he thought of his daughter shut away a darkness so saturated by fear and uncertainty, that hope quickly becomes impossible even for the strongest soul. The towns people of the little town needed very little encouraging from Rosa's father. Hearing of the brutal hate that dwelled in the soul of this beast, they were quick to send their strongest fighter to bring her back to the place of her past.

In the moment she began to fall, the air seemed to suddenly escape the beast's lungs. She appeared to pause in the air for an impossible second, as if gravity was giving him a gift; a last glimpse of her before she lay broken and bloody on the marble floor. The beast's heart, so close to being thawed, suddenly blistered and tore through his chest as though on fire.

The fatal lunge of the stranger's sword, intended to pierce the beast's heart, was instead thrust deep into Rosa's. A helpless onlooker, she had seen the inevitable outcome of the jab from the violent intruder, and in a second of pain Rosa felt the loss she would endure if she had not intervened, and dived whole-heartedly on the blade of the sword.

She choked helplessly, stretching out her hand – grasping at the hope of a last breath. It was only at that eternal moment, that the flame in her eyes was extinguished and the beast realised how impossibly brightly it had burned.