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Rose Whyte: Part 1 - The Huntsman's Trail

Rose Whyte: Part 1 - The Huntsman's Trail

A Story by HoWiE

The first of a 5 part re-imagining of the Grimm's fairytale 'Snow White' and forms part of my 'Grim Tales of Vertigo City' mythos, each part is narrated by a different supporting character...


-The Grim tales of vertigo city-


The First Part

The Huntsman’s Trail


            The moon was bone white and leering in a cloudless sky when the rapping came at my door.  I eased the knife from the sheath at my side and pressed my face up against the cool wood, through the spy hole I saw two dark suited men, impassive and pale faced against the night.  One leaned forward, his features bending in the fish eye.

            “aDiva wants to see you Cutter.”

            I stared at my feet and realised that they had noted my movements flickering out at them from beneath the door, I cursed under my breath: betrayed by my shadow and my own stupidity.

            “At this hour?”  I was stalling and they knew it.

            “She was most… insistent.”  Regardless the matter was settled, I’d not sleep tonight.


A short car journey later, we arrived at the Vertigo City docks.  The night was crisp and still, save for the gentle lapping of the waters at the pier-head.  Our breath curled away over our heads and was swallowed up by the night.  I stared out over the bay at the bejewelled horizon beyond, the blinking lights and furore of distant city life.  So many came here seeking a better life and new beginnings, so many finding little but pain, poverty, pushers, pimps, paedophiles and prostitutes; it was a sentiment I knew all too well.  Few were those who could not just survive this cesspool but thrive enough to float to the surface and make good.  I sensed movement behind me and turned, the thought striking me that I had considered myself as ‘making good’ sticking in my craw.  I was alive and that was enough for the moment.

            aDiva Whyte cut an imposing figure, striking in appearance, fierce, aloof and beautiful.  Of Jamaican origin, her steel and drive elevated her quickly above her peers in the Yardie gangster syndicates.  It was as if her features were carved from flawless ebony and her curves had been contrived by August Rodin on acid.  Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Playboy, you name it; she even made the cover of Sports Illustrated for Christ’s sake.   Her much publicised marriage to billionaire business mogul Victor Whyte following his first wife’s tragic death, further consolidated her stranglehold on the city’s underworld and media limelight.

            “Mr Cutter... it’s been a long time,” she purred by way of greeting.  I inclined my head respectfully.  “You’re looking well, Ma’am,” I said watching my manners.

            She smiled, her teeth pearly white against the taut ebony of her skin.  “I have need of your talents.”  She lit a cigarette and watched the twisting blue smoke.  “I need somebody to disappear.”

            “Of course.”

            “This will be your last job.  After this you will disappear, you will be paid and you will be paid well.  You will leave the country. You will not come back.” She stared directly at me and I could feel her dark eyes piercing my flesh and raking my soul for indecision.  “You will not return to your home tonight, Joseph has your tickets and he will drive you to the airport.  Your flight leaves at 0925 tomorrow.”

            “As luck would have it, I travel lightly.”  I answered smoothly and flashed a smile.  It is not easy to unsettle me, but this did and I tried not to show it.  aDiva had used me for a number of high profile contract killings in the past and paid well, but clearly, this was something different.

            “If you don’t think that you can handle it, then you walk away.  I will reward you for your… reticence.”

            She was being way too careful; this I did not like.  In my experience there was only one way you could guarantee somebody’s reticence.  I could almost feel the cold presence of a Beretta PX4 pressed against the back of my head.  I stared her down.  “You know me better than that.”

            She smiled though there was little humour behind it.  “Of course.”  

aDiva motioned and Joseph handed me a newspaper, I notice he made little play in discreetly palming his Beretta PX4 into his shoulder holster.

            I unfolded it, my curiosity piqued.  I stared at the front page and faltered, blinking in spite of myself.

            This was a problem.  This was a big f*****g problem.

            “This will not be a problem,” I lied.

            “What do you think, Mr Cutter?”  She was playing games now and I felt the proximity of the gunmen to my rear and sides more prevalently now.

            “What’s it to me if you want your step-daughter dead?  I do what I do and I do it well.  I’m not interested in the whys and the wherefores, just the money.”

            “You’re not intrigued, Mr Cutter?”

            “No.”  I could guess.  Intrigued gets you killed where I come from.”  She laughed at that.  I didn’t even need to hazard a guess; the paper presented the perfectly twisted motive in black and white.  Vile b***h.  Foxy, vile b***h.

Heiress Upstages Glamorous Step-Mum in Versace Race.

Rose Whyte, heiress to billionaire magnet Victor Whyte’s fortune, scored yet another popularity point over celeb’ step-mom aDiva yesterday when she was signed up as the new face for the late Gianni Versace’s advertising campaign.  This follows on from last months snub at the Academy Awards ceremony when the aspiring 16 year old actress was asked to present the Best Actor Award ahead of the 36 year old former Playmate of the Year whom had be richly tipped...


Mirror - mirror on the wall,

Who’s the sickest b***h of all?


Jealousy, embarrassment and social standing, nothing more.  A sad reflection of the society in which we live, I thought to myself.  There were times in which my job gave me no pleasure at all.


            An hour later I pulled up in the Limousine outside the aptly named Goth-Rock haunt ‘Club Hel’ and waited for Rose Whyte.  The whole idea left a foul taste in my mouth and my heart thudded in my chest.  Her Father had employed me as one of her bodyguards for the first seven years of her young life.  I’d grown fond of the girl and found it difficult not to follow her career with a degree of pride.  It seemed ironic that the man entrusted with her life during that first decade would see it ended it in the second.  I attempted to shake myself from my reverie.  I tried to comfort myself with the thought that I really had little choice.  Her or me... It was her or me.


            “Hey dumb-a*s!”  A sharp rapping at the car window caught me unawares and I started. “I’m freezing my puppies off out here you know!”  Rose Whyte flashed me a leering grin and poked out a pierced tongue.

            I climbed out of the driver seat and let her into the back; she gave me a knowing wink and scrambled inside.  I found that I could not return her smile nor make eye contact and at once began to regret my decision to undertake the task.

            “Wow! That place rocks!”  She expounded.

            I said nothing.  I gunned the engine and pulled away from.

            “Where’s Ticco?”  She asked.  The heavyset Hispanic had been driving Rose around for the past two years and never missed a night.  We’d worked together a couple of times, he was a good man.  On reflection I suspect that it was now a case of, ‘he had been a good man’.  I reckon the police will be dragging his badly burned corpse out of this very car some time tomorrow.  Driver goes nuts, kidnaps heiress, kills heiress " sets fire to himself in car.

            “Night off.”  I lied.


            “I guess.”

            Rose Whyte put on some music. “Hey I know you… Cutter isn’t it?  One of Dad’s bodyguards.  Jesus you guys know how to f**k up a child’s sense of fun.  Is it any wonder I turned out like this?  Can we drive around a bit?  I wanna smoke some draw before we go home.  Dad will freak if he catches me doing it in the house again.”

            “Sure.” I stopped short of telling her that smoking would kill her.  Nine Inch Nails throbbed discordantly behind me and Trent Reznor’s earthy lyrics cut through the turning whorls of marijuana smoke.  Rose began to sing along with it.  “I wanna f**k you like an animal... I want to feel you from the inside...”

            I snatched a glance of her in the rear view mirror.  She was beautiful; there was no doubting that, even under all that make-up.  Her dreadlocked hair was ebony and threaded with scarlet silk, it framed an elfin face, pretty and pale as cocaine.  Her full glossy mouth was blood red, her lower lip seductive and pierced with a single silver ring.  Her kohl smudged, almond eyes were deep ochre, the iris ringed with copper.  I immediately saw her mother in her and it was like a stone in my chest.

            I had known Athene for years, even before she fell in love and married Victor.  I had acted as escort to her on many public occasions and we became close. Close enough for me to fall in love with her and I think, her with me.  I asked to be reassigned two days before the family took a yacht to the Bahamas. Her tragic death in that boating accident was like a dagger thrust to the heart. Speculation surrounded her demise and even Whyte was quizzed by the authorities. Had I thought that he had engineered her death, I would have killed him myself.

            We arrived at the waste-ground sooner than I wished and I ground the Limo’ to a halt on the river bank.  I tapped the steering wheel with my fingertips and stared out over the black waters.  It was time.

            Rose jumped as I opened the rear door, her eyes were glazed. “Hey, you’re letting the heat out!”

            “Out of the car please.”

            “Is this a bust? Narc’ entrapment is illegal you know.”

            “Out of the car.”

            She stumbled from the smoky interior and out into the crispness of the night. I stared dully at her for a second and slowly withdrew two shining blades from my side. Her brow creased slightly and the bleariness in her eyes began to dissipate. We regarded each other for a second or two, my heart was hammering against my rib cage, and I felt sick. “I’ll make it quick, you won’t feel anything.”

            To see the realisation dawn on her face all but tore me in two. Her lip trembled and wetness cast her eyes with a glassy sheen. A solitary tear spilled forth and rolled down her pale cheek leaving an inky streak. I should have lunged forward at that point and opened her throat.

            I didn’t.

            She didn’t beg nor fall to her knees like so many others had. She steeled herself and I saw defiance flare in her eyes, she tilted her head in an impetuous manner and set her jaw. In that split second I saw an inner resolve, a strength that mirrored my own and I knew with certainty that I wouldn’t kill her. My arms hung uselessly at my sides and I lowered my eyes, unmanned.

            “I suggest you leave.”


            “Run away. A contract is out on you, if I don’t kill you, someone else will. Get away from here and hide.”

            She stared at me for a moment and then turned on her heels and fled.  Only when she thought that she was out of earshot did she allow the sobbing to start.  I watched her go, taking with her my own chances of survival.  I tucked away my knives and drew a trembling hand across my face.


            I found the girl on the borders of the waste ground slouched in a bus shelter, an empty bottle at her feet and a burned out crack-pipe between her grimy fingers.  Only this would buy me time.  It was her or me...

             I drew the knife swiftly across her throat and bled her silently in the stinking shelter. Rolling her onto her back I went to work, drawing out of her what aDiva had ordered.  Her blood was black and sticky on my hands in the darkness of pre-dawn.  I did not look at her slack, pallid face as I worked... I could not.

            I hate myself.


            aDiva’s glee was both sickening and palpable as I delivered the steaming contents of the box to her. She was visibly shaking with excitement as she lifted the lid off and feasted her eyes on the viscera within. She licked her lips.  A briefcase was pressed into my numbed hands by a faceless aide and I was ushered outside.  Not before, though, I heard the sounds that will, I fear, live with me unto my dying day.


Mexico: One month later.

            A sultry dusk cast a purplish hue over the room as I reclined in the chair and switched on the TV with the remote.  I took a long draught of my cold beer and flicked leisurely through the channels thinking to catch up the news in the real world.  As I surfed the channels, a face briefly pockmarked the myriad images.  The beer caught in my throat and I choked.  Shaken to the core; I cycled hurriedly back, my thumb stabbing frantically at the button:


            “Missing heiress Rose Whyte was spotted yesterday in downtown Vertigo City, stepping out to a club with singer Johnny Deformed, front-man with US Punk outfit Se7enth Adversary.  Friends and family had feared for her safety after she failed to return home from a city nightspot, almost a month ago-”


            “Jesus Christ...” My mouth went dry.  Christ, if this was yesterday’s news...

            I was galvanised suddenly into action, I had to get out of the hotel and into hiding now.

            I reached for the leather case beneath my bed when there came an abrupt rapping at my door and an all too familiar voice.

            “aDiva wants to see you Cutter...” 



Part 2 - The Musician's Ballad - coming soon....


© 2009 HoWiE

Author's Note

You will notice that these stories are told by different supporting characters rather than 'Snow White', hopefully this helps to build a fuller picture of the fairytale and lend it more gravitas... what do you think?

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Featured Review

Fantastically woven. This retells Snow White's story in a fashion very similar to Frank Miller's Sin City. This paints a visceral, grimy image of the criminal intrigue and deceptions. Descriptions like this "pretty and pale as cocaine" add to the authenticity of the narrator, using imagery he's grown familiar with in his city of decadence. It is an awesome angle to a child's fairy tale, making it a very real, very adult story, yet with all the remeniscent elements. Excellent job.

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Fantastically woven. This retells Snow White's story in a fashion very similar to Frank Miller's Sin City. This paints a visceral, grimy image of the criminal intrigue and deceptions. Descriptions like this "pretty and pale as cocaine" add to the authenticity of the narrator, using imagery he's grown familiar with in his city of decadence. It is an awesome angle to a child's fairy tale, making it a very real, very adult story, yet with all the remeniscent elements. Excellent job.

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is an interesting take on things. I really, really enjoyed this piece, and I don't say that often. I do have a few small critiques, though, that I think will make this work really shine.

The old mantra "Show, don't tell." Is a good starter. LIke your first paragraph. You tell us what it's about, but you can have us see what's happening through the character's eyes. It allows us to get to know the characters better and let's us know the happenings of the story.

Also brush up on the use of commas. They're tricky little b******s and I even go "wait, huh?" sometimes, but they're really useful in writing.

Again, I really, really enjoyed this. You've got something good here.

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on December 22, 2009
Last Updated on December 22, 2009
Tags: fairy tale, Vertigo City, Snow White, Brothers Grimm, Rose Whyte, The Grim Tales of Vertigo City, Huntsman



Plymouth,, Devon, United Kingdom

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