All Stories, Fantasy

Mercy by Martina Braunegger

The slippery slipper slipped from my hands. The glass leaving its bloody traces; a path of dark red leading to absolutely nowhere. Straight into silent nothingness. How fitting! My vision blurred, my skin scarred and my life shattered into tiny pieces. Every time I tried to pick them up, to put them back together, they cut me again and I could hear the devil’s familiar laugh paralyzing my everything. My life rejecting me. Still, I was weirdly proud that I did this all to myself. All by myself. I didn’t need a Prince Charming to do the shattering. I was perfectly capable of ruining my own life.

We were all going to die anyway. Nobody remembered the bad guys. Nobody cared what happened to us after the eyes get picked out by birds, we’ve been thrown off our thrones and deprived of our happily ever after. Who’s to say whose dreams are more valuable? Who’s to say what’s good and what’s bad? And who’s to decide when mercy is right and when cruelty is actually fair? Fair… I certainly wasn’t. No need to lie about that. Bad blood running in my veins and the devil speaking through my eyes. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Being good didn’t guarantee you happiness. At least I knew why I was here. The fairytale had spat me out like a bitter pill. Death wouldn’t part us after all. The good were stranded just as much as the evil ones were. We were all here at the border of death. All going to the same place after that. I was certain. But I at least knew how to look after myself.

The good ones were the first to break. Always. No stamina. Their faith in fairness drowning their brains and softening their hearts. After all, they’d been told to wait for the prince to smile away their problems. When I closed my eyes, I could still see her. The blond one with the fair dress. Barefoot. Poor fool in the middle of the road. This blind trust in fate. Nobody had told her that the world wasn’t simply black and white. I didn’t think she had seen the truck coming. And if she did, she was even more stupid than I could have imagined. As if a dancing prince could stop a speeding giant!

They can call me crazy. And they’d done that a lot. But who was to decide what was real and what wasn’t? Nobody can truly know the world we live in. So, don’t call me a liar just because I see the world as a colorful shadow of my imagination. Because I don’t trust unicorns and prefer the night over the day. Just because my skin is scarred and my heart bleeds darker blood, doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to be here.

She was still standing over there. Staring into the thick fog, not moving, apart from the tears that kept carving their way down her cheek. Poor thing. Her clothes torn in various places, hardly covering her bony body. And completely still. I wasn’t moving either. Just staring back at her from inside the fog. When I blinked she blinked. Weird. I felt sorry for her. Poor thing. Dirt all over her skin. And those eyes. Bloodshot and somewhat dead already, but still fixed on something I couldn’t see. Something or rather someone.

At least we were free. Somewhat free. Broken free. Nobody was ever going to put us in white cages ever again. No more treatments, no more painful medicine. No more others looking down on us, restraining my wings with the chain of so-called justice and sanity. No more. Just me. The way I was supposed to be. The way I wanted to be. Finally. So what if they were afraid of me! I wasn’t particularly fond of those rosy-cheeked weirdos either. And from now on, I didn’t have to pretend ever again.

My world was a strange place to be in, I admit. It could be a miracle wonderland one day and a dark graveyard on the other. It was haunted. Haunted by memories, broken dreams and unfinished stories. Haunted by us. Creatures roamed in it that were desperately searching for their promised happily ever after. Princesses and witches alike chasing a cruel lie. Pathetic, really, this blind faith in something that wasn’t even there. Like puppets dancing for my entertainment. I liked the queen the best. Always proud, always straight, but just as much lost as everybody else. Sitting in her castle, ignoring its decay and denying the fact that technically she was already dead. Funny creature desperately holding on to broken glass, trying to find a way to put everything back together. And always screaming at a reflection that wasn’t hers.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

It was sad. Really. And truth be told, I wasn’t all that different from them. What do wings matter when there was nowhere to go? We were all trapped in an illusion and I still hadn’t figured out whose it is. It was all a bit like a game. Didn’t know the winner yet, but there sure were a lot of losers already. Take the pretty one in the tower, for example. Gorgeous girl with hair to die for. And die she did. Exhausted from all that singing for a prince that never showed, she broke down right next to the open door strangled by a delicate chain holding a rusty key. The queen’s screaming at least made some sense. This girl was just pathetic.

Would you eat the apple? Just one bite and your life would never be the same again. Just one bite and you’d be free. Trust me. It’s the sweetest thing you’d ever taste.

At least in this graveyard of broken dreams I didn’t have to hide. I could love the bloody witch, admire the foolish coward and hate the naïve princess and still be right. I could be grumpy, happy, bashful and dopey all at once. Nobody could force me to choose. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling at home. It had always been like that. The only place I truly felt safe and at home was in my head.

She was still there. Staring and murmuring. Her whole body was bent in that wrong way that made you just know that she was in agony. Poor thing. I could see her hands shaking from a far distance. Who had done this to her? Who could hurt such a sweet, tiny creature?

The sound of her voice broke my heart. Its echo hissing through the hollow of my bones and paralyzing me. I could see the other one now.

“Go away! You make me sick. Just go….please” Nothing. And she was screaming by now. Carrying her heart on her tongue and using it as a sword. Slicing through thick air and getting burned over and over again. She did not care. All she wanted was for it to be finally over. To be finally free. She slowed her breath. Tears waiting in the corners of her eyes. Waiting for the next round to begin. When screaming didn’t help, tears usually did the trick. She could almost hear the bell. Next round.

“It’s over. Can’t you see that?”


“I can’t live like this anymore. Just let me be. I’m begging you. It hurts…”

She was on her knees… crawling; her hands heavily interlinked as if in a prayer. The tears were running as fast as they could, leaving slimy traces on her broken skin. Weakness pouring out of her eyes.

“I’m begging you… Leave me alone,” it was merely a whisper that got lost in the emptiness of everything.

Nothing followed. The same nothing as before. The same nothing as always. Her shaking hands were dancing in the realm of silent nothingness and no one there to take them, to hold them. Nothing.


Her voice clear and no curtain clouding her vision anymore. She did not even blink. All the strength she had left, she had put into that one word. Go. Hoping for mercy.

Nothing… I was a fool to expect mercy from a mirror.

I was trapped. No matter where I turned, I couldn’t get rid of her. Maybe I had been the predator all along… the broken one after all.


Martina Braunegger

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5 thoughts on “Mercy by Martina Braunegger”

  1. Hi Martina,
    I’d love to see Disney try to happy this up!
    It was beautifully dark. The cynicism of the recognisable tales was inspired!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi,
      I’d love to see that too! Thank you so much for your comment. It really means a lot to me!


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