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Hansel and Gretel- only slightly more twisted
Gretel had never fully excepted that their mother was gone. After two years, she still wouldn't except it. Their kind and caring father tried to reason with her, but she would just throw a tantrum until he gave up. Even her brother was no longer able to get close to her without having an object thrown at his head. Then, when their father announced that he had a girlfriend, her anger was boosted to an even higher level.
“How could you do this to me? You've entirely disgraced mothers spirit! Think, would she like it if you had a girlfriend?” Her face was red, for she had been screaming for hours when he told them. Hansel, on the other hand, was silently watching the argument from the corner,
“Gretel, dear, your mother is gone. She's never coming back. She's dead! I meet Jewel in the supermarket, and it turns out she knows what I'm going through. Shes helped me through this, one step at a time. And, I think she could help you through it if you let her.” She growled at him and spun on her heel, stalking darkly out of the room. Their father turned to his older son, shrugging. “I had to tell her some time. Now or later, she was bound to find out.” Hansel nodded understandingly. “You've done well, dad, better than lots of parents have done.” Their father hugged his son, smiling into his shoulder. “I'm glad one of you knows what I'm going through.” His son nodded weakly, pulling out of the embrace softly. “I'm going to check up on Gretel now.” He explained. His father raised his hand in farewell as his son wandered out.
Gretel was sitting at the foot of her bed, roughly shoving clothes into a knapsack when Hansel entered. “What are you doing?” He asked, voice high pitch with alarm and surprise. She shot him a dark look before going back to her packing. “I've got to get out of this place. I just can't stand living in the same house as him! I know your a good brother, and you won't tell on me. Will you?” Hansel shook his head, frowning. “You can count on me, sis.” He mumbled. She just grunted in reply. He laid down on his bed, humming a tune to block out the thoughts racing through his head. He couldn't give his plan away now, when it was so crucial that she not have the slightest idea.
Rain drizzled down on his head as he stood, hunched over Gretel's dirty sneakers. The can of paint was finally running out, and he allowed himself a small smile at the brilliance of his plan. She'll never see this one coming. Not from her quiet, secretive brother. He walked up to the kitchen door that led outside. “The coast is clear.” He whispered into pitch blackness.
“Thanks again for this, Hansel. I couldn't do this with out you!” She wrapped her arms around his thin waist and pulled him into a final embrace. At least, she thought it would be their last. He patted her back and handed her the shoes and a rain parka. She shrugged on the parka and slid her sock-less feet into the shoes, waving goodbye as she set off down the road. Odd, she was being a lot more friendly than usual... which got him thinking, never a good sign. He started off, following the bold prints left by still-wet paint. He smiled again, feeling absolutely genius for the idea. He stopped by a tree to exchange his bright green sweater with a camouflage jacket.
After a few miles, the prints were almost invisible. He was jogging, trying to catch up with her before she went to far and left him nothing to track her with. Suddenly, something large and bulky slammed into his chest with enough force to knock him to the ground. He wheezed and looked around for the culprit. A small petite silhouette stood in an alleyway. He coughed and sat up, causing her to scamper off a few feet. He sighed and sat cross legged, watching the figure. “Sis, you know I couldn't let you wander away like a puppy, purposefully getting lost out in this big world. Your-”
“No speaking now.” She growled, glaring at him in the faint light. He swallowed a whimper- his sister had a violent streak, and she tended to pull out the 'big guns' wen she was angry. And she was DEFINITELY angry now. “I told you not to tell anyone. Did you tell dad? You probably did. And, you ditched your jacket, a nice touch.” Her voice was venomous, and she spit at her feet before continuing. “You misplaced my trust. Now, though, I know I cant even trust family. Whats more, I cant even trust you.” Hansel scrambled to his feet and lunged at her, grabbing the tops of her arms and shaking her. “Gretel, I only want whats best for you. Please please please don’t leave me. As much as it may seem, I hate dad almost as much as you do. I don’t want to lose you, and have to face the world alone! Its scary out there, and.... And I need you, sis. Please come home.” Not all he had told his sister as true, of course, but it was what she wanted to hear, and he knew that. She blinked, surprised and started by his sudden show of emotion. She hesitantly hugged him back, cracking a sliver of a smile. He sighed in relief when he felt her arms wrap around his waist. “Now lets go back home.” She nodded weakly, and he slowly led her home.
The following months Gretel was emotionless. It hurt Hansel to see his sister that way, a cold and empty shell. Her eyes had lost their spark, and her actions were slow and muddled. When ever Hansel asked her a question she would only lift her head and look at him, forlorn. Even their father, who almost never conversed with her, could tell the difference. One day, Hansel walked up to her and pulled her into his arms. “I don't want you to be like this, sis. I want you to do what will make you happy, not what will make me, dad, or jewel happy. I take back what I said that night. Don't do this to me, Gretel! I admit it, I was wrong!” She looked up at him, her eyes sparkling for the first time in months, even if it was faint.
Gretel was more alive after that, but she kept pulling away. She was found sitting in her room for hours at a time, just writing nothing in her journal. Naturally, it wasn't really nothing. It just appeared so, because she was writing in invisible ink with a black light. One night, she didn't come to dinner. Hansel feared the worst for her, that she had run away again. But when he barged into her room, she was just sewing. He looked at her in confusion. “I already had dinner.” She said plainly. He frowned, but left slowly. As soon as the door was closed, she pulled out her journal and black light.
If you find this, I just want to remind you that its what I want. Even if I die, its not your fault. Just please don’t come after me. Live your life happy with dad and jewel. I might even come back in the future years! Then again, I might not. But I promise I will write. In fact, I'll even make it a fair game. Yes, a game does sound fun, doesn't it? I'll leave a little note somewhere or other, and you can try to track me! But, you most likely wont even read this...:(
just don't forget, I'm still your sister. And I still love you. Love me?
She lifted away her pen and frowned. Her bag was already packed and sitting under her bed. She was more prepared now- she was sure of that. She sighed and tore the page out. Taping it to her door, she shrugged on her sweater and started off. Her knapsack sat firmly on her shoulders and her heart heavy in her chest.
Hansel couldn't eat. He had a feeling something was up, but wouldn't word it to his father or
Jewel. He excused himself from the table and walked over to Gretel's room. When he saw the blank paper taped to the door, his heart skipped a beat. He tore it off and examined in, frowning when he saw no writing. But he already knew what I meant. He kicked kin her door and saw her journal sitting on top of her bed. She would never leave her journal on top of her bed. He raced out of the house like a race horse out of the gate. The soles of his flip-flops slapped noisily against the pavement as he took off after his sister.
Gretel was walking leisurely down the road, sure that Hansel wouldn't decode the paper until much later. Of course, she wouldn't put up a note. How stupid would that be? But she had told him that to keep him hopeful. She also would never write, and had no intention of ever going back to that jail of a house. When she heard the pounding of pavement, however, she was snapped out of her thoughts. She looked back and saw Hansel almost upon her. She yelped and started sprinting away from him. She would never outrun him. Her only choice was to maneuver her way out. She weaved through the well known alleys, jumping over trashcans and scaling fences. She heard him curse loudly as he whacked his shins against the metal cans and almost smiled. She felt something wiz by her ear- a rock. She gulped. Hansel as known for his throwing arm, always getting people out in baseball and making perfect throws in football. She took a sharp turn into a bakery, gulping in the warm air greedily. She heard the bells over the door jingle loudly and squeaked. When she turned around though, it was only the baker's wife. Hansel was standing outside, glaring at her through the glass window. The baker's wife took one look at her and smiled warming, greeting Gretel. “Hello, dearie. What brings you here this fine night?” Gretel caught her breath and pointed at Hansel.
“Me and my brother were playing chase, and I came in her to escape him. I guess I'll be leaving now.” She started toward the door, but felt a hand gently rest upon her shoulder. “Now, now, hon. I know a runaway when I see one. Is it just you, or is your brother also in on it?” Gretel spun and looked at her, eyes wide with shock. “Um.. I-I'm not-” She stammered. She heard the door swing open and the bells chime and stiffened. “Yes, we're both runaways ma’am,” Hansel said. Gretel noticed how deep and commanding his voice was. She shivered when his cold hand rested at her neck. He leaned in and whispered in her ear, “Calm down. I'm not going to kill you. Just play it cool, and we might get some dinner for you.” She nodded slightly, seeming to agree with her brother. She forced her muscles to relax, as unnatural as it was. Hansel walked up to the lady. “Hello. I'm Hansel, and this is my little sister Gretel.” The baker lady smiled and shook his outstretched hand. Then she turned Gretel. “You look hungry, little miss.” Gretel stomach growled in response, causing Hansel to chuckle quietly. The woman went into the kitchen and returned shortly after with a loaf of bread. She handed it to Gretel, who devoured in quickly. She looked up sheepishly, earning a grin from the bakers wife. “And what shall we call you, ma'am? You know out names. Its only custom that we know yours.”
“I'm Glenda Poole. Wife of the baker who used to work here. Now I'm a widow.” She lightly brushed her eye. Hansel frowned, mourning slightly with her. Gretel, on the other hand was trying to withhold a smile. Her stomach was warm and comfy, and she was starting to feel sleepy. When they lifted their heads, she yawned quietly. The widow noticed her droopy eyelids and clucked her tongue. “Haven't gotten much sleep, have you Gretel?” Gretel blushed lightly and shook her head. “Well, I've got a big bed and I'm not using it.” She motioned for them to follow her as she led them through her house. It wasn't as big as their fathers, but it was a good size for a widow with no children. Gretel flopped down on the bed when Glenda motioned to it. Hansel sat as the foot of the bed, unbuttoning the first button of his dress shirt. Gretel kicked off her shoes and groaned into the pillows. “Its so COMFY!!!” She said, muffled by the feather blanket. Hansel smiled and rubbed her back before getting up to talk so Glenda. “So, how long are you planning on taking care of her and me?” He asked quietly while she rolled around n the blankets, giggling. “Children need nurturing, so I guess as long as you guys want to. Its up to you when you want to leave. My only request is that at least one of you help make the bread.” Hansel nodded, looking back at his sister. “Just to keep the record straight, my sister can be a bit of a handful sometimes. Well, to be completely truthful, she's always a handful. If you want us out, just tell me and we'll leave.” Glenda just smiled and shook her head. “no, no. I'm not about to kick runaways out. I always have a soft spot for them. Can I tell you a secret? I was a runaway around her age. In the same position, but without such a caring older brother. I stumbled upon a nice lady and she took me under her wing. She taught me how to be who I am.” She smiled, looking over at Gretel who was already snoring into the pillow. “I know how to take care of children. Don't worry.” Hansel just frown and walked away. “Care to teach me how to make bread now, ma'am?” Glenda laughed quietly and followed him into the messy kitchen. She swept her arm, knocking rolling pins and the such into a basket, which she carried away behind a metal door. She came back after a minute to see Hansel getting out the flour and milk. He looked up and smiled, motioning to a cook book he had cracked open. “I found a recipe. Want to make this one?” The bread was a honey wheat, one of the beginner’s breads. She smiled and nodded, helping him get out the rest of the ingredients.
They spent the majority of the night talking and baking. It ended up that bread-making was one of the many things Hansel excelled in. but when ever Glenda complimented his dough, he would only duck his head and blush, muttering his thanks quietly. When Gretel awoke, it was a whole different atmosphere. She was grumpy and hungry again, and snatch a loaf of bread out of the basket on the counter, growling whenever Glenda or Hansel neared her. When Glenda asked her if she wanted to learn how to make bread, she just laughed. “Leave that job to the real girl here, Hansel.” He jumped out of his chair and started walking over to her, his face stormy and dark, but a heavy force pulled on the back of his shirt. He jerked to a stop, startled. He turned around and saw nothing but Glenda sat in a chair, eyes closed and hands relaxed. He glared at his sister and re-entered the kitchen, clanging the pots as he prepared another batch of dough.
She rest of the week went something like that. The one time Glenda actually got Gretel to try making dough, she threw a tantrum in the middle of kneading it and threw it forcefully against the wall. Glenda just stood in the middle of the room, glaring at her. The air sparked with static, her hair sticking straight up. Gretel's eyes sparkled with fright for one second before she got her emotions under control. “Freak,” She mutter as she stalked out of the room. Hansel peered in and saw her scraping the dough off the wall. He walked back into the bedroom and sat next to his sister. “Gretel, you can't keep acting like this. I'll bring you back to dad's if you keep doing this.”
“I'll just run away again,” she snarled, jumping up to her feet. Hansel grabbed her wrist and looking into her eyes. “I mean it, Gretel,” he warned.
“Yeah, so do I.” she responded, jerking her arm out of his grip and storming outside for a breath of air.
On Monday the next week, Hansel woke up alone. Usually, despite her anger Gretel would crawl into ed with him at night for warmth. He looked around and saw Glenda sitting in a corner, knitting slowly. The clicking off hr needles made him want to drop back into sleep, but he needed to find his sister. He grumbled and got out of bed, stumbling into the kitchen to make a few batches of bread.
After that was finished, he sat next to Glenda. “Do you know where Gretel is?” Was his first question. She simply shook her head, focusing on her knitting. He frowned. “Is she outside?” Glenda once again shook her head. Hansel was worried about his sister, that was certain. But he knew better than to bother Glenda when she was busy- she snapped more easily. Instead, he waited until she left to go to the market later that day to investigate.
When she came back, Hansel was sitting at one of tables, head in his hands. “Still worrying about your little sister, Hansel?” Glenda asked. He looked up, his cheeks tear stained. “I'm just worried that she's been hurt.” He said, his voice cracking and tar welling up in the corners of his eyes, threatening to spill over. She walked over and rubbed his back. “I'm sure she's kin a better place, where ever she is. Maybe she felt like she was invading your space or mine and she left to make us feel better?” She suggested. He shook his head, loosing a few tears in the process. “No, she's to selfish for that. She most have thought that, I don' know, she wasn't getting anything out of this, nothing but food and sleep, and she wanted something more?” Glenda nodded. “That does sound like her,” She agreed grudgingly. She got up and went into the kitchen, beckoning to him. They spent the rest of the night talking about childhood memories. “One time, Gretel and I were out in the forest, and we stumbled across an old mine. It even had fool's gold in it! We got our father's pickaxes and dug it out for days before she threw down her pick, exclaiming 'this work is to hard for a girl! I deserve to be in air conditioning!' She was so funny.” he smiled, remembering her little tantrums. Glenda watched him, nodding when he went off to bed. She steeled herself and walked out into the dark air. She cracked open the wooden door and walked down the steep stairs, finally coming to a stop and switching on the single light. The faint, flickering light bulb lit up the whole cellar. A cage sat in the corner, barely five feet across and three feet tall. A girl squatted in one of them, baring her teeth and glaring at her. Glenda cackled and crouched beside the door, smiling as she peered into her eyes. She lunged, arms flailing as she fell to the ground. Glenda cracked open the door and the girl scrambled to her feet, ramming into the door. Glenda reached in a grasped her lush hair, dragging her out. The girl was strapped down on an operation table, squirming until she was slapped, leaving a sting. Glenda pulled out a needle, laughing when the girls eyes widened. “You be mine soon, dearie.” She plunged the needle into the girls vein. She gasped as Glenda drew out blood, filling the syringe. She put the blood aside and unstrapped the girl. Dragging her back to her cage. Glenda walked back to then stairs, the blood still sitting on the table.
She waved goodbye to the girl, leaving Gretel in the dark once again.
Hansel had become something of a zombie the last few days. Barely eating, not talking, seemingly doing nothing. But in truth, he was all but inactive. He searched every nook and cranny in the house when ever Glenda was out. He was charting out other places to search. Him and his sister were everything alike, although they would deny it to the grave. One day, when he was out, feeding he dogs, he saw the wooden door to the cellar. He started walking over to it, but thought better of it when he heard Glenda start to come out of the house. He threw the meat to the hounds and wandered back in after her.
Hansel crawled out of bed before the sun. he crept out of the house, into the frosty air of winter. His feet were stinging by the time he cracked open the door, peering into the endless dark beneath him. “Hello? Anyone-” He was cut off by a blood-chilling growl. He gulped and raised his hands defensively. “I'm not here to hurt you. I'm going to help you.” He saw something glimmering in there, and it tilted to it side. “Hansel? Is that you?” He inhaled sharply and gulped, continuing into the cellar. “Gretel? Is that you in there?”
“There's a light attached to the ceiling. You can turn it on if you like.” He reached above his head and yanked on the chain, flinching as harsh light met his corneas. Gretel was curled up in a metal cage, her skin a sick pallor. He ran to her, falling to his knees at the door. “What has she done to you? No, don’t answer that. We'll get the police to lock her up for life. But first, we need to get you out of here. Come on, you must have seen her unlock this thing when she took you out. Where's the key?”
“Going somewhere, dearie?” A raspy voice echoed in the cellar, making Hansel jump. He took a deep breath and turned around, spinning onto his feet and lunging across the room to Glenda. It was so fast and unexpected that she didn't have the time to fight him off as he pinned her up against the wall. His hand wrapped around her neck as he glared into her eyes. “What did you do to my sister?” His voice was like thunder, loud and scary. Glenda smiled, showing off her browned and cracked teeth. “You can't take her with you, not without killing me first. She'd my blood servant- she can't leave a mile radius without dying!” Hansel's eyes glinted creepily.
“Without killing you, you said? Meaning that if you were to, say, be killed in the middle of the night, she and I would be free to leave?” Glenda saw where this was going and cackled.
“Boy, you can't even kill a chicken. Like you could take me on. After all, I am the one and only witch.” he was knocked off of her with a strong kicked to the chest. He went flying through the air into the operation table, where he stumbled and wrapped his arms around the syringe. “But you can kill witches almost as easily as you can kill a human, yes? A quick snapped neck is you want to be nice and humane, or something slower is you feeling especially violent.” Glenda looked at him, her eyes flickering from is face to the sharp needle he had wrapped his hands around. Her mouth had suddenly gone dry, and she licked her lips to wet them.
“Well, yes, but they can be very evasive. Like, sometimes they time-travel. Imagine how that would effect your little sister, dearest Gretel? She's actually been quite help full when she has her independence taken away from her.” he growled, making it clear that she had crossed the line.
“Don't drag her into this. Its between you and me. She's done nothing.”
“Then lets dance, Hansel.” quick as a snap, she was right next to him, breathing down his neck. He swung his arm blindly, harshly stabbing the air where she had been seconds ago. Glenda had her back against the wall. “Say, I will and you are my new servant. Gretel goes free no harm done. You win, you get to take your sister with you to where ever you plan on going, and I die.”
“We still have a home, despite how long its been away from there.” Glenda cackled and lunged at him, raking her sharp, inhuman nails across his chest. His arm twitched and he flung the syringe at her, embedding it in her back. She collapsed on the ground, more out of shock that pain. Hansel was kneeling over her in less than a second. “Evasive, you said?” he whispered in her ear, pulling the needle out and throwing it across the room. “I'd rather do the killing with my hands, the only thing I can trust here. Am I wrong?” Glenda's heart was speeding up, despite how calm her expression was. He wrapped his hands around her thin neck and gritted his teeth. Despite what she had done, he knew killing was wrong. But if he had to chose between his trouble-making little sister and this violent, evil witch, the choice was plain. After getting a better grip, he jerked his arms. He heard a sickening snap and backed off, wiping his hands on his jeans. He turned to his sister and saw her cowering in the back of the cage. “Gretel? Its okay, I'll get you out now. We can go where ever you want, and I'll follow you. Don't worry, you'll be safe with me.”
“I want to go home, Hansel.” she whispered, voice hoarse. He looked at her, eyes tearing up.
“Where ever you want, sis. But first, lets get you out of this cage.”
their father was glad to see them after a half of a year. Even his new wife, Jewel, hugged and kissed them. Gretel was uncertain at first, but when their father started shedding tears so did she. After a few hours, Hansel pulled her to the side. “Lets make an agreement to never speak of what happened there. Ever.” Gretel nodded, frowning.
Hansel had never even read her note.