THE CRYSTAL QUEEN
My present-day Snow Queen retelling will be the basis for this year's Advent calendar; character designs, inspiration, music, a playlist, a dreamcast, fashion...
She's walked through fire and ice in black tennis shoes, burning rubber in her wake for as long as she can remember. And why?
For HIS sake.
Life had been a bed of roses, even before their university years. Both were only children, classmates since kindergarten, so close friends that their relationship had grown strong as a blood tie.
As they sat down by the frog pond to rest after class, the lady in white, careening through campus in her convertible, looked through her bug-eyed 60s glasses at Kai, as he sat there feeding the fish and quoting Shakespeare to his sweetheart. The next day, he found an invitation in his backpack --to the new in club on campus-- Gerda told him not to go, yet her bed stayed cold and empty that night.
The lady in white was at the club right then. She laced Kai's drink with sky blue crystals that filled him with such excitement that nothing else mattered. The next day, Gerda realized he had become even more awkward, shying away from her and from the sun, from Shakespeare and Voltaire, from the frogs and fish, his ice-blue eyes glazed.
That afternoon, the lady welcomed the drugged young man into her convertible with the promise of more of the blue crystals. And he readily accepted, half in trance half unconscious.
And it was Kai's disappearance that sparked Gerda's quest.
Her time with the flower children, still living as if the revolution were going on, is already far behind her. Half a year idda-gadda-da vida, until the weed left her system and that song by the Four... in the S-Kai with Diamonds... reawoke her memories. None of the stoners could tell her anything about her beau: each of them lived in their own octopus's garden in the shade.
The next stop, at the country club... maybe the blond young man playing the mixed doubles match with that lovely and intelligent socialite was Kai? No. Not every blond tennis player is Kai; Edmund was a bit taller, more slender, honey-eyed and left-handed, while Kai was a blue-eyed righty. The reveal, having snuck in as a ball girl during the match, hit Gerda as hard as her fake prince's serve. Still, the kindness of Edmund and his Lucy, who supplied her with a golf cart and oodles of power bars, convinced her that people were good in the wide world.
However, the cart was soon overcome, and Gerda taken prisoner, by a gang of bikers. The gorilla man and the orangutan man both wanted to shove her into their sleeping bags, but the leader's mercy saved her life. Asha, tall, dark, and sadistic yet with a heart of gold, heard Gerda's story being all ears, as she enjoyed in her dominatrix fantasies with the young blonde. Asha told her of the queen of crystal, of her fortress in a railway car in the middle of nowhere, of how she herself had been a thrall to the drug but her strength made her snap out of it.
"Only you can save him. I know you will", Asha said as she gave Gerda her own motorbike, while the thugs were sleeping off their drinks.
Now, after all these trials, she is standing before the railroad car, she enters... the Queen is gone, Kai deeply unconscious, before a table in the crystal lab, vials of blue liquid suspended in his left and right hand.
Gerda calls his name, shakes his shoulders, but he does not react. Quickly, she turns the Bunsen burner on, smashes one of the vials against it, and runs out with her lover in her arms as the railway car explodes.
Kai awakens, looks left and right, is reassured by the twinkles in her green eyes. His right hand in her left, they seem to have awakened from a dream as they start southward, homeward, once more.
The tennis players are on their honeymoon. Asha wonders if Kai is really worth going to the ends of the Earth for as she looks wistfully at Gerda.
Back on campus, they sit down by the lily pond once more and finally, as children at heart, understand the words of Shakespeare:
"THERE ARE TONGUES IN TREES, BOOKS IN THE RUNNING BROOKS, SERMONS IN STONES, AND GOOD IN EVERYTHING".
And thus we leave them, in the summer of youth, as children at heart; ere disenchantment enters their lives.