“I do not believe it,” the rabbit said, twitching his nose.
“Suit yourself then,” his wife replied, smacked her back legs against the ground and vanished into the burrow with a white flash of her tail.
“Do not believe what?” the prince asked politely.
“That there is a fo – fo-fo-fo-fo-fox!” the rabbit screeched, and after turning around in a few frantic circles, he too vanished down the burrow.
“Ah well,” the prince said, philosophically stroking his long whiskers with a forepaw. “There goes another lunch. One of these days, my manners are going to be the death of me.”
The snow kept falling thicker and thicker. Whirling, blowing, biting, cutting. Clinging to his whiskers, to his eyelashes, to the hair on the side of his face. His nose and cheeks had grown numb, his fingers so cold he could no longer bend them. When he tried to raise them to his face to brush the snow out of his beard, they felt like hard claws on the end of big, clumsy, fur-covered paws; claws that had no feeling in them and could not move to his will.
He tried to climb up the side of the ravine, reached for a snow-covered branch. Could not close his hands on it—where were his thumbs? He staggered on his clumsy legs, then dropped down onto all fours.
Like an animal.
Keep reading this story on Enchanted Conversation Magazine
I wrote this last November during NaNoWriMo, when I was doing a retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red“. It was sort of a prologue to the story, the moment when the “prince” turns into a “bear” – except in my adaptation, he’s not a real bear, just a very hairy guy (and he’s not a prince either, being an ordinary 21st century Canadian). But then it occurred to me that this could work as a standalone Flash Fiction, a regular adaptation of the regular fairy tale, so I sent it to Amanda at Enchanted Conversation. And here it is.
You can decide for yourself if you want to take the transformation as an actual guy-turned-into-bear thing, or keep it metaphorical. I’m not entirely sure yet which one I prefer.