Vampires can creep in and scare you from just about anywhere; Neil Gaiman made this apparent in his short story titled “Snow, Glass, Apples.” I have read a lot of revamped fairy tales, pun not intended, and can easily see where vampires fit into them, —Bluebeard, Hansel & Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and others. By the way, you can read the story in various published anthologies, though I personally suggest Smoke and Mirrors. I love fairy tales, because they take you back to the more base female and male desires, to survival in a time we today can only imagine. It might be fantasy, but there are shadows of truth in all fictional literature. So maybe the appearance of a vampire in one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time casts a ripple of terror before it hits the surface of the water of our imaginations.
Once the story does make its splash, you’ll be forced to come to terms with an evil queen, who was simply “misread” by others, and the subject of evil rumors. The little princess, Snow White is actually the villain, and she isn’t the fairy tale vampire, innocent and childlike that we might imagine either. She makes Anne Rice’s Claudia, or Near Dark’s Homer, look about as unruly as the kids on Sesame Street. If you like your stories short, dark, and dirty, you’ll love Snow, Glass, Apples, because Neil doesn’t have the mind of a man who can easily censor himself to make his fiction more palatable for everyone. He plows right on through the story, spilling his dirty secrets like wine on what we’d like to pretend is the perfect white rug of our minds.
Because when it comes down to it, don’t we like to feel debauched by what we’ve read? After all, we are almost involuntarily trying to imagine what the author had in mind when he was transcribing his own imagination on the page. Maybe we’re making it more horrible than it is, maybe we can only provide pale shadows of the terror Neil had in mind. Either way, the force of his imagination is a thing to be reckoned with, and later, when we’re curled in bed, we’ll be alone with our thoughts with an instant or more, relishing the true self that gave us waking nightmares, and savoring the leftover taste of sin on our tongues.
It is excellent short story. Dirty? Hm, it was least dirty (and hands down best) story in the collection Love in vein II which was mostly garbage.