This is a story I wrote several years ago for a fairytale themed project. Please ignore the silly plot line…
Gretel squatted, skirt skimming the grass, behind the dustbin. She gripped the edge for balance, carefully placing her hands to avoid touching the sticky red goo that ran down its sides. She raised her head, sniffing the air. It was sweet and caught in her throat like a syrup.
“Gingerbread,” she muttered. “That bitch.”
It had been his favourite. Gretel remembered the summers they had spent in their kitchen, making poorly constructed gingerbread houses, and the joy of tearing them apart afterwards. When confronted with such a strong smell, like this one, Gretel wasn’t surprised he had been caught.
She moved slowly, eyes darting everywhere. She moved through the pictureque garden and the dark, dangerous looking trees, until she reached the front door. It smelt strongly of biscuit; cookies and shortbread. Gretel looked away, disgusted.
She reached into the pocket of her green jacket, his green jacket, and brought out a compact mirror and some smelling salts. She sniffed once, menthol replacing gingerbread. Her eyes began to water immediately. She checked herself in the mirror, then knocked on the door.
“Oh, you poor child. Poor, pretty little child. Come, come, sit down my dear.”
The inside of the house was just as sickly. The table, a wafer, was held up with lolly sticks, the floor was made of lovehearts. The only thing that stood out was the ugly metal oven at the end of the kitchen. Gretel knew what that was for.
The crone came running over with a plate of pancakes and a hot chocolate, her dirty shawl in disarray. Her tongue was poking out of her mouth slightly, like a hungry animal that had just smelt blood spill.
“Eat up child, it’ll make you feel better,” she cooed. “Come tell me whats wrong. Go on now, I’m not going to bite.” Gretel felt her stomach churn. That sick witch. What did she do to you, Hansel? Clenching her fists, Gretel faked a wail. The crone, the witch, placed a thin claw-like hand on her shoulder.
“My… my brother!” Gretel choked, hiding her tear-less face in her hands so the witch wouldn’t see. “I was… was walking in the woods with him and…I… I lost him! Now I don’t know my way home and I’m scared.”
Gretel forced her body into the crones waiting arms, crying real tears of disgust as the witch stroked her dark hair. She couldn’t take much more. She needed to find him.
“Oh you poor dear. Lost in the woods, and at such a young age. You can’t be little over fifteen, yes?”
“Well,” the witch continued, “ you stay here as long as you like! You aren’t the first to come wandering here so I keep a spare bed upstairs. I’ve just had a little guest so the room shouldn’t be too unlived in.” This was all Gretel needed. All patience was washed away, replaced by blazing anger. Quick as a cat, Gretel drew the kitchen knife she had stolen from her mother. It found its place against the crones throat.
“Where is my brother?” She asked calmy, staring the witch dead in the eye. The witch however just cackled.
“Ah, I know you now. You are Gretel. Yes, he told me about you. Oh, your brother is dead. D-e-a-d, and d-e-lishious by the way.”
Gretel’s hand trembled.
Dead? He can’t be! I’d have felt it, felt him… no!
“You’re lying.” Gretel spat, digging the knife in deeper. Blood trickled down the knife, slowly. Gretel had no doubt that it would be just as sticky as-
“The dustbin.” Gretel finished aloud, shaking all over now. The woman cackled again.
“What deary, you didn’t look in? You want to? I’m sure there some of his head left -”
Gretel shrieked and cut the crones throat. It made no mark, and the previous blood had vanished. Gretel began to ran. She knew what she had to do.
She darted away from the witch, towards the metal oven. She pulled on its handle desperately.
“Open you son of a bitch! Open.” It did and she climbed inside, pulling the door shut behind her. Crying, Gretel reached into her pocket and pulled out the last object. She swallowed it all. Then Gretel began to laugh, tears pouring down her face. She didn’t scream as she burned.
Later that night, two police officers, after following a trail of gold coins through the woods, came across the sweet smell of gingerbread and a strange house. On entering the house they found an old woman, dead, at her dinner table. Autopsy revealed the woman had been poisoned. There were no guests at her funeral, save two children, sat on the wall of the churchyard. They kicked out their feet and laughed while snapping apart a gingerbread witch and throwing it to the ground.