October 13, 2010

Hansel and Grettle, Meet Ivy Thorn: Part 2

I set off following the trail of rocks, very pleased with myself. I never would have seen these stupid rocks if I hadn’t taken a nap. See—naps are awesome.

Again, I won’t boor you with the lack of details. This forest is huge. And monotonous. Eventually, I come up to a house.

Sorry, not a house. A shack. And it’s not made of gingerbread. Bummer. It’s really just a bunch of boards, barely held together. I realize this must be Hansel and Gretel’s home. And their parents, the ones that decided it would be a good idea to abandon their kids in the woods, probably still live here.

I take a deep breath to help me relax. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to punch the dad in the stomach at this point. Probably. Then I march right into the front door. Well, I march into the big gap between the boards that make up the front of the house. I assume they use it for a door.

A woman in rags pauses when I walk in. Her hand, full of grass or something, suspended over a small pot hanging over the fire. “Who are you?” she asks. “What do you want?”

Seeing her hollow cheeks and dry, thin lips makes me relax a little. There isn’t any furniture in the house. There isn’t even a floor. The grass is gone, leaving only dirt to walk on. There’s a tree stump near the fire that the woman was probably sitting on. I realize the pile of rags near my feet is probably their bed. Not taking my eyes off of it, I say, “Your kids are with a witch. There’s food there. And probably money.” I seem to remember some sort of happily-ever-after ending and the children wind up with the parents again, so I assume that means an end to their poverty. Fairy tales usually end like that. At the very least, they’ll get to eat the witch’s house.

I look up. The woman’s hand still hovers over the steaming pot. “My children?”

I nod. “Yeah. They left a trail of stones through the forest. If you follow it, you should find the witch’s house.”

Behind me, a man’s voice says, “Who are you and what do you want?”

I turn and see a man, too tall for the rags he’s wearing. I can see his narrow torso through the gaps in his clothing. He’s scowling at me. But as he takes a step toward me, he goes blurry. I close my eyes.

Everything goes quiet. I hadn’t noticed all the forest sounds or the noises of the fire, until they disappear. I open my eyes and I’m standing next to my bed. I relax, lowering my shoulders. Time for breakfast.

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