The Land of Stories: Gleefully Ever After

The Mirror of True Love

In which we get a glimpse into our characters’ hearts…

The Evil Queen strode over to the wall and pulled aside a faded tapestry, revealing a full-length mirror with an ornate golden frame. For a moment, the mirror reflected the room she was occupying, along with her four prisoners – Chris, Darren, Kurt, and Rachel – and her two henchmen – Will and Santana. Then the surface of the glass began to ripple, swirling with an otherworldly smoke.

“You may have heard of my magic mirror,” Sue began, with a tone that immediately commanded the attention of everyone in the room. “But no one knows how I came to possess it. Let me tell you a little story…

“When I was a young girl, I didn’t see much of my parents. They were famous dragon hunters, so they didn’t have time for mundane things like raising kids. My sister, Jean, and I were left to fend for ourselves.

“Jean was the kindest, most wonderful person in the world. But because she was special, because she didn’t look and sound just like everyone else, the villagers ridiculed and tormented her. The older we got, the more it broke my heart to realize that no one but me could see how truly amazing Jean was.

“So I asked my old buddy, old pal, old friend the Enchantress for help. I begged her to cast a spell so that everyone would be able to see Jean the way I did. … Well, let me give you all a little piece of advice. Never trust anyone who calls herself ‘The Enchantress.’

“She cast a spell all right. But it was more like a curse. She told me that all my life I’d only ever seen Jean as a reflection of the best parts of myself. So she trapped Jean in this mirror, where she’s been doomed to spend eternity. And every little bit of kindness or love or compassion I may have ever felt has been trapped with her.

“That’s how I became the Evil Queen, and my sister became the Mirror of True Love. I no longer have a heart, but she can see into the hearts of everyone who gazes into her eyes.”

As she finished speaking, Sue took the mirror down from the wall and carefully propped it up in front of each member of her audience in turn. When she reached Chris, he was fascinated to see the smoke on the surface of the glass part to reveal Jean Sylvester, looking exactly as he remembered her from Glee. As he gazed into her kind, knowing eyes, Chris felt a strange frisson of fear.

Sue leaned the mirror up against the table on which the Wishing Spell items – minus the tears of a Warbler – were laid out on the black cloth. For several minutes she appeared to be holding a wordless conversation with her sister. Finally she said aloud, “Well, Jean, this next part might not be pretty, so why don’t you go have a little nap?”

The smoke swirled more heavily for a moment before the mirror once again simply reflected the room around them. As soon as her sister was out of view, and presumably out of earshot, Sue reverted to her Evil Queen persona.

“Well, well, well… Who wants to know what my sister told me about you? Hm? How about you, Porcelain? Apparently your true love is a hobbit who’s clearly overcompensating for something by toting around a big ax.”

Kurt merely rolled his eyes at this, but Rachel (the only one of them who had been gagged, for reasons that were immediately clear to everyone present) let out a furious stream of muffled complaints.

“Oooh,” the Evil Queen cooed mockingly. “Does Wittle Wed Widing Hood have a pwoblem with that? Well, I hate to break it to you, granny’s girl, but you and that hobbit were never meant to be. In fact, your true love is an overgrown amphibian. The mirror never lies.”

As Rachel’s eyes widened in horror, Sue turned her attention to Santana. “And what are you smirking at? Your true love is some kind of fish – in more ways than one. You’ll make a perfect pair – Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Fake-Boobs.”

“Don’t talk to my daughter like that,” Will said, finally showing a tiny hint of backbone.

Sue just laughed in his face. “And you! At least your true love is ostensibly human, but she’s got a bird-like pelvis, the eyes of a bush baby, and hair like one of those little mop-dogs that I thoroughly enjoy kicking. So good luck with that.”

“And now we come to the fun part,” Sue smirked, bringing out four wide black scarves, with which she blindfolded and gagged Chris and Darren. “Are you familiar with the saying ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil?’ Well, we’re going to have to settle for two out of three right now, because I definitely want you to hear what I have to say.”

A feeling of dread washed over Chris. This was not how he wanted Darren to find out about his feelings.

“Your psychosexual derangement would be fascinating if it weren’t so terrifying,” Sue continued, obviously delighted to be the bearer of uncomfortable news. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like it. For as long as Jean has been the Mirror of True Love, she’s always shown me two people – no matter how misshapen or undeserving – who were meant to be together. So this is something new.”

Chris flashed back to Kurt’s reaction when Burt introduced “the sex talk.” What he wouldn’t give to be able to put his fingers in his ears right now and chant “La la la la…” But sitting there – bound, gagged, and blindfolded – he was literally at the Evil Queen’s mercy. And, unfortunately, she didn’t have any.

“Imagine my surprise when I saw that you’re in love with this idiot, who’s sitting right behind you, who could never love you back.”

Chris could feel the fingertips of Darren’s bound hands reaching out to him, but he pulled his own hands away, curling in on himself protectively. At this moment he just couldn’t bear the thought of Darren’s pity.

“So here you are, deluding yourself into thinking that maybe someday this could turn into something more than friendship. And you know what the ironic thing is? Now that he knows how you feel about him, he won’t even want to be your friend any more. ‘Cause he’s never going to be able to look at you again without seeing your pathetic, hopeless, one-sided love. Like I said, the mirror never lies.”

Chris felt the sting of tears, and was grateful for the blindfold that hid his eyes. He wished in that moment that his own heart was made of stone, so he wouldn’t feel it breaking.

Cackling in triumph, Sue whipped the blindfolds from Chris and Darren’s eyes, casting the scarves down onto the table with the Wishing Spell items. Suddenly, a golden light began swirling above them. The Evil Queen had activated the Wishing Spell.

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