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Jack was more than just my husband and father to my child, he was my teacher and my friend - when I was afraid he was always there to comfort me and when I was lost his voice would always guide me.

Jack was both strong and gentle, able to inspire me even in the darkest hour - as others looked to me in fear and revulsion Jack always had a smile to give, a sweet embrace to share.. when I was with Jack my heart was no longer my own.. and I liked it.

We'd dance in the meadows and the snow, as we had done as children - chase each other through the forest paths and frighten the local cattle, much to the rage of Little Boy Blue, Mary and Little Bo Peep.

Though Jack was always the first to stop our play when someone was in distress, it was Jack who put a stop to Wee Willy Winkie and his midnight pranks - it was also Jack who exposed the true nature of the Muffin Man and drove the demon from our city, back into the wastelands were such creatures belonged.

It was Jack who saved the esteemed Doctor Foster from certain death after he nearly drowned one stormy day - yet Jack never wanted any reward for his work.. he'd just smile and move on..

That's what was truly beautiful about Jack, he never stayed anywhere for long.. always on the move.. indeed even when we finally wed Jack would often go on long trips into the forest, hillside or rivers, yet I trusted him and although the nights without Jack were often cold and lonely I slept safe in the knowledge my dear Jack would never abandon me.. no matter how far he would stray he would always return - often with a gift from some grand adventure.

Yet one winter's eve, after many stormy days, Jack was forced on an unexpected journery to collect firewood from the forest - at the time I was pregnant with my daughter Rose thus could not risk the dangerous journey.

As Jack prepared to leave I could sense something was wrong, his smile had faded and his eyes seemed grim - like a man walking towards his own death.. it scared me and I begged him to stay.. yet Jack, ever the loving hero, simply smiled to me and kissed my forehead before he assured me he would be back soon: comforted by his words I gave Jack one of our many red roses, as we had often done as children and he smiles once more and nodded to me.

I still remember as that door slowly closed..

A few hours later I rose from my spot near the fire as the sound of footsteps in the snow alerted me to an approaching figure outside - I smiled a little.. Jack always did keep his promises..

Yet my smile faded as the footsteps stop outside the door and a pounding of a fist hit the door, strange.. Jack never knocked.. it was his own croft after all.

I approached the door slowly and opened it, ready to close it at any point should it be a beggar or some other rogue.. to my surprise it was one of the uniformed guards of the Monarchy.

"..may I help you?" I enquired, my gaze going down to the guard's hands - which clutched a single rose, my eyes widened almost at once.

"..I am sorry, Red.. Jack.. is dead.. we found him in the snow.. his neck was broken.. we believe that he was the victim of a bandit attack.." the guard began, yet his voice soon became like a blur to me.

I felt dizzy, tears forming in my eyes as I collapsed - the guard catching me before I could fall on the ground, as he did that single rose fell to the ground.. and with it my hopes and my dreams..

Now, years later, I sit alone - waiting..

For something I know can never come..

Yet I can't give up..

Jack never gave up on me..

Jack would never abandon me..

So, no matter how much it hurts..

No matter what happens..

I must never abandon him..

Oh, Jack.. if only you knew..

How much I still love you.

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