In Mr. Wendig’s words,
Pick a fairy tale.
I want you to pick one — I’ll let you do that — and rewrite it.
Except, wait now, hold on.
I want you to also roll to choose a random subgenre. You will then apply said random subgenre to the fairy tale you have picked for maximum awesome. Get it? Got it? Rad.
Here is my slasher inspired fairy tale.
It was a March morning when I awoke and found my husband dead in the bed we shared for forty seven years. I was seventy one.
It was an April morning when I realised that I was finally, irrevocably alone in the world. I was seventy one.
I have a very light sleep – an old woman’s sleep. Therefore I am sure that I got up within a few seconds of the noise starting. It is coming from the roof of our cottage. Somebody is up there, crawling on the tiles, knocking on them and – slurping?
I grab the gun before going out. We are all quite jumpy since the last few weeks. We have been seeing dead deer in the forest – a leopard must have come down from the hills.
I am so surprised to see the little girl standing on my doorstep that I almost forget the reason of coming out. I remember at the last moment and turn the muzzle of the shotgun up towards the roof. A boy jumps down and runs towards the girl. I start forward to get between them, but stop once I realise that the boy is snarling at me. He is actually protecting the little girl!
“Who are you?
“How did you get here?
“You better come in. Haven’t you heard about the nasty leopard?”
They come in, the girl clutching the boy’s hand hard. She seems afraid, but somehow also defiant.
“Are you hungry? Do you want some milk and cookies? Or a chicken sandwich?”
Both of them shake their heads vigorously.
“At least have a glass of milk. What’s your name, sweetie?”
“Margaret.” The girl’s reply is almost inaudible.
“What a lovely name. And you, young man?”
The boy seems to like being called a ‘young man’. “Hans.” He says. “Hans Kloos Junior.”
“Kloos? Are you the children of Mr. Kloos from the lumberyard? What’s your home phone number? I’ll call your parents.”
No answer again.
I do not want to leave my couch this morning. The children are up before me. I can hear them in the bedroom. They slept in my bed as they do not remember their home phone number. I promised them that I’d take them home in the morning.
The piercing shriek dispels the last cobwebs of my sleep. My heart was already pounding when I reach the bedroom door.
Margaret is standing with her back to the door. Hans is advancing towards her, a kitchen knife gleaming in his hand. I recognise it as one of my own. I pull Margaret through the door and slam it shut. Hans screams, a sound without a vocalisation, a primal noise.
It takes me almost twenty minutes to console Margaret. She keeps on sobbing and saying “Junior… Junior…”
Once she is a little stable, I ask her what happened. She seems to be in shock. She doesn’t remember much. I decide that it’s better to go to the children’s parents first. Then we’ll see what can be done about Hans.
I go around the back of the cottage and open the window that overlooks the forest, the one with the iron rods to prevent wild animals coming in. I leave a few toasts and some cold cuts for Hans.
It was almost eight in the morning when Margaret and I start towards their home. We take the short cut – the forest path. We walk for about fifteen minutes and reach an open area when I see Margaret glancing towards our left repeatedly.
“What happened, dear? Is there something there?”
“N-no. There’s nothing.”
Her voice catches in her throat. She definitely saw something there. Did the leopard kill another deer?
“Wait here, Margaret. Don’t be afraid. I won’t be gone a minute! In fact, you can see me from the road here.”
The first thing I see is the blood on the ground. The second thing I see is a human hand. The third thing I see, before I start walking backwards swiftly, is a blue shirt, soaked in blood.
I reach the opening after a few years, at least that’s what it seems to me. Margaret is standing there as I left her. Of course she is standing there as I left her! It has not been more than a minute! A voice screams in my head. It is drowned out by the other voice screaming about the disembowelled man I left there in the bushes.
“Did you see him?” Margaret asks fearfully.
I sit down on the ground.
It takes us almost half an hour to come back to the cottage. On our way back, Margaret tells me how Hans took her to the forest at night and how he killed the deer. How he has learnt trapping from his father and how excited he was when he caught his first deer. How he slit its throat first and let it bleed to death. How he used their fathers’ big hunting knife to slit the poor animal’s belly and pulled out the entrails. How he used shiny pebbles to mark their path so that they don’t get lost.
She tells me how he threatened to kill her if she did not help him when they trapped two deer on one night.
She tells me how last night they found one of the workers from the lumberyard, trying to extricate a poor deer from Hans’ trap. How Hans went for him and how the man ran, ran and ran till he tripped and then Hans was on him in an instant and slit his throat and slit his belly and…
She tells me that their parents are not home. She also tells me what happened to their cousin who was babysitting for two days.
By the time we come back to the cottage, I feel absolutely sick to my stomach.
I know that I have to call the police. I just don’t know what to tell them. “Yes, officer, you see, I have this crazy homicidal thirteen year old kid who is locked in my bedroom and his ten year old sister is the witness and, umm…”
A perverse curiosity brings me back to the bedroom window. The food is gone. I see Hans approaching me. “You want to eat me, witch? It will take you much longer before I can be fat enough.” He holds up something to show me. Is that a twig?
My telephone seems to be out. That is quite normal in here, but it usually gets repaired within a few hours. I decide to call the police later and switch on my oven. I used to love to bake. I even bought an industrial sized oven for it. It does not get used nowadays, but I still keep some cake mix in my pantry. Baking has always helped me in a difficult situation.
I fold in the cake mix with some milk and some cocoa. “Margaret, you didn’t tell me what Hans was doing up on my roof last night.”
“We were hungry. Hans said that this is a wicked witch’s cottage, so the roof must be made of candy.”
“And he was trying to eat it?”
My dough is ready. I get my cake tin into the kitchen. “Margaret, where are you?”
“Here. How do you put the cake into the oven?”
“See, this is the …”
I had opened the oven door to put the cake inside. Something heavy hits the back of my head. I drop the cake on the floor, dizzy from the blow.
“Good job, Gretel!” Somebody shouted. How did Hans get out of the bedroom?
I realise that my face is almost completely inside the oven. My hair is burning. So is my skin.
“Quick, Junior! Before she wakes up!”
I try to put my hands on the oven door to push myself up. Another blow to the head sends me a little more into the oven.
I feel a small body on my back. I feel a sharp, cold blade to my throat.
I feel nothing.
Hansel and Gretel killed the wicked witch on a September morning. The wicked witch was seventy three.
Hansel is a German diminutive for Hans, meaning something like “Little Hans”. I called my Hansel Hans Jr. because Little Hans sounds a little strange in English. Gretel is, or course, a diminutive for the proper name Margaret.