“Mother will be alright,” the woodcutter stated, gently patting his daughter.
Gretel wiped away the tears in her eyes. She told herself that she should stay strong, at least for her father. The maid ran out of the room, her hands covered in blood and an apparent worry glooming like the storm clouds outside. She whispered something barely audible and her father rushed in.
He came out carrying a child in his arms but tears were dripping out of his eyes. Father handed her Hansel as he tried to tell her what happened. Gretel understood and accepted it as fate (better than most kids her age would have done). She felt the warmth Hansel radiated, the very heat that kept her woe at bay.
That was 4 years ago. Gretel had now grown into a beautiful teenage girl. Her golden hair that fell like curls around her face and the mesmerizing pair of blue eyes she was enough to sweep any guy off his feet. She had a cruel, evil woman for a stepmother now. One night, Gretel woke up to the sounds of her parents shouting at each other. She took care not to wake Hansel up as she slipped out of the room as quietly as a mouse.
“We can’t just abandon… I can’t bear to say it! My blood and flesh, wandering all alone in the woods. You know the story of my sister and I,” the croaking voice of her father replied to some anonymous question.
“Don't remind me of that cock and bull story of yours. The dwindling amount of food supplies says differently. Our neighbours have resorted to a far worse fate. They killed and fed on their children. We’re much better than those monsters! At least see some reason in what I have to say. What will you do when we have no food, no money?”
“But she’s the only-“ Father wanted to say something but decided against it.
“Your only daughter? BAH! You can have many more children with me after this famine is over… Listen to me! You will do as I say tomorrow morning. You know the tree stump at the heart of the Forbidden Forest. Leave your little treasure there,”
Fear gripped her heart and instinctively she bolted for the door but to her dismay, she found them locked. Curse the wolf month, she muttered under her breath. The door is sealed from the inside so nothing got in. And now, she couldn’t get out. She walked back to her room and curled up next to Hansel, praying that when she woke up she could simply dismiss it as a nightmare.
But truth be out, reality never works that way. And seemingly, the fates were never in her favour. She was dragged out of bed mid-sleep and given a bath, or so she assumed. Her mind was bursting with ideas on how to find her way back. As she walked out of the house, she spied shiny white pebbles and bent down to pick them up but was quickly scolded by her stepmother.
“Those will ruin your clothes. Trust me you don’t want them ruined,” she laughed before re-entering the house.
Father smiled at Gretel, a look of disdain shimmered through his expression momentarily. Her stepmother...