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Hans and Gretel

by baranaxoy


Dear reader, you have most likely read the tale of Hansel and Gretel. However, few people know that the most common, traditional version does not reflect the reality. Now, what we will tell here may sound unreal, nevertheless, they are, indeed, the genuine facts. We assure you that the story told below reflects the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

Once upon a time, there lived a gay couple; their names were Hans and Gretel. They had first met each other in Los Angeles where they had both come to spend the summer. Hans, a German immigrant was studying law in New York while Gretel, who was born and raised there, had chosen to go into business after High School. Both living in the same city, they had decided to move together. Hans was brilliant, caring, and handsome whereas Gretel was poetic, cautious, but quick-witted. They formed a perfect couple. They usually spent their time watching series on Netflix.

Well, you are probably thinking that this is complete nonsense and that we are making up the whole story. However, the truth is that, the Brothers Grimm were mere frauds and tricked the entire world to believe that their story was real.

Every now and then, they liked to go outside at night and hang out in some nightclub in Downtown New York. The couple usually drank until they threw up and danced until their feet were bleeding. The blinding lights that would shine in these clubs would color the lives of these two young men. Hans and Gretel perfectly knew every location in this big city. It is no doubt that they knew how to have fun, they would always go back home exhausted.

This careless yet entertaining lifestyle did however not persist. The coronavirus pandemic struck the United States badly, and many jobs were lost. The Americans found themselves amid a financial crisis, and so did Hans and Gretel. They had to abandon their central though expensive apartment in the heart of Manhattan, and move to the outskirts of the city, to New Jersey. They were not accustomed to such an environment, the rushed and noisy life that they were used to, was vanished, and they were left with a suburban, calm and relaxing lifestyle. Gross. They felt as if they were stranded in the depths of an unknown and uncanny wood. They had nowhere to go. They were lost.

Therefore, they had to explore the nightclubs around. Although, the town was rather quiet and still, it contained a couple of bars and clubs dispersed all over the area. On their first night, while wandering to find a place to have fun, they came across a bar named “The Big Bad Wolf”.

“Weird” said Gretel to his boyfriend,

“Well, what do you expect from a couple of small-town folk?” he replied. They were really, the type of adults that looked down on people from outside of the big cities.

The Big Bad Wolf was a cabaret-like place that was founded by a former mobster that had ruined many lives but wanted to redeem himself by putting an end to committing crimes. The bar was ornamented with LED signs, all over the building and an ever-lasting line waited at the door. Hans and Gretel were amazed by the amount of people expecting to enter but they themselves were not in the mood to spend hours being patient. Hence, they kept on walking.

As they strolled, they could not do anything but to notice that the streets were full of businesses with strange names. A diner named “Ashella”, a bookshop bearing the name “Bella’s Beast” and a drug store called “Aurora”. In addition to that, for the upcoming mayoral election, many campaign posters were up on the walls. The two men were a bit shocked:

“This Perrault guy looks familiar,” said Hans

“Does he? I was just about to say the same thing for Grimm,” answered Gretel, in a surprised manner.

They were still walking but everywhere looked the same in this little town called “Taleborough”. Two-story buildings that resembled each other until the smallest detail covered the entire area. Hans and Gretel felt disorientated, off-track, they did not know what to do, and they could not see any other café, diner or nightclub. The streets were dark and calm, too calm perhaps. Yet, they continued to patrol with the aim to find somewhere to have fun. At this point, they had begun to repent their decision and not queuing, nonetheless they did not lose their hope to find a nice bar or club to drink and dance and drink again until they forgot everything.

They were discussing to go back home when they saw a dim light coming from the end of a narrow street, they had just entered. Thus, they slowly advanced until they had reached the doorstep. It was a bakery. “The old Blind’s Bakery”, to be precise. It was possible to see the inside through the showcase. The shop was filled with all kinds of Danish pastries, gingerbread cookies, chocolate cupcakes and all sorts of blueberry muffins, pumpkin pies, as well as lemon tarts. It seemed cozy, and homelike, the pastry shop had a fireplace. The warmth, it released was being felt from the outside. Hans and Gretel were looking at each other, as if they were communicating through telepathy. Right at that moment, they noticed that an old, white-haired lady grimly grinned. It was making them feel irritated and ill at ease; something was wrong about her, they did not know what, though. Despite this uneasiness, Hans asked Gretel:

“I know, we were looking for a bar or a nightclub, but I am exhausted. We will search that another day. However, before returning, a cup of coffee along with some pastries has never done any harm. Shall we go in?”

“I was just about to ask you the same exact thing” gave Gretel as an answer, “You read my mind!”

Hence, the two men opened the door and stepped in. As they did so, the bell, attached to the entrance rang. The noise, it emitted was rather displeasing. It was so shrill, so high-pitched that it would have given anyone the goosebumps.

“Hello”, the old woman grumbled.

She looked pretty odd and chilling, maybe like a witch. Her nose was curved and dysmorphic. The face was full of warts. Her hair was barbed wire around her head. Her rotting black teeth looked like crooked gravestones. The entire appearance of the lady was enough to frighten people away. No wonder that the place was empty. Who would possibly eat in the presence of such a ghastly and eerie being? She was, nevertheless, quite kind.

“I was about to close, so I can only serve you warm milk or some chamomile tea”, she told them affectionately “and of course, a pastry of your choice.”

They both ordered a cup of chamomile tea along with a piece of pumpkin pie to share. As the witch-like woman brought their order, they instantly finished their teas and the pie. Except, they both agreed that the pie tasted strange.

Hans. Gretel. Asleep. Sedated. She did. The woman did. Did she? Of course, she is a witch. Is she? Unfathomable. Questionable. What did happen? Why though?

Gretel and Hans opened their exhausted eyes in the midst of a dark yet sweet-smelling room. They were lying on the ground. It looked like the kitchen, the backside of the bakery. The woman, however, was not there. The kitchen was unexampled, big. Stillness reigned in the vast room. A subtle light and heat came from the oven. Hans noticed that a red-ish liquid was spilled all over the countertops.

The strongest fear is the fear of the unknown, and the boys did not know what had happened nor when it did. The last thing that they were able to recall was that they were in a bakery, in the presence of an elderly woman. Hans was speechless. The fright could be seen in his eyes. He kept lying on the ground aghast, crying. Gretel stood up and sought a clue that would unravel the things they had undergone. He was scared but kept his calm.

The lights turned on. And the pitch black eyes of the wicked shone in the presence of evil and maleficence. Gretel tried to act, yet he could not. He felt paralyzed, as if he were dead but aware. The woman kept her mouth shut. She did not speak.

The sorceress bent down to gently squeeze and analyze Hans’ fingers. She curiously looked at them one at a time. Then, she proceeded to interrupt the uncanny silence between the four walls, by mumbling some words:

“This one is not fat enough; I would have to swell him up, in order to be able to add him to my pumpkin pie”

The anthropophagus being went out of the kitchen, while the two men were filled up with fear. They could not speak – obviously, they are paralyzed – but their minds was not able to think anything but their imminent fate. Who would have known that the Parcae had some unforeseeable events planned for their dooms? Their insignificant lives were to end in the stomach of some vicious woman. No one was going to, perhaps, even remember their very existence on this Earth.

The sinful came back with a petrifying syringe in her hands. It contained an ungodly blue liquid that would maybe start the end. Slowly walking, her broom-like hair swept Gretel’s tears on the way. She unhurriedly kneeled and ruthlessly injected the medicine in the body of the unprotected man lying on the floor. As the “potion” entered his body, his limbs began to swell. The magnitude of his belly was akin to a pregnant woman’s. The once skinny boy morphed into a creature swollen by Lucifer himself.

As the body stopped inflating, life was not present inside the corpse anymore. Hence, the happy devil stood up and took a knife. She, then, began to dissect the boy into small parts. Gretel watching the events happen from the beginning was horrified. His woe was ripping his heart and putting it back. All the good memories were to end in such a manner. His dearest friend had left this world to serve the malicious purposes of a witch.

The woman approached the oven, burning hotter than the fires of the Kingdom of Hell. She proceeded to unworriedly put one by one the remains of the corpse into the blazing oven. She was watching and being proud of her work, cooking.

The forlorn Gretel was being filled with sorrow ad wrath passing through his veins. He had to fulfill his duty and avenge the memory of Hans. He could not also perish in the hands of a Satan’s apprentice. The dejection and indignation reigning in his entire body liberated him. As the woman was looking at the cooking body, he pitilessly pushed the woman in the oven and watched her burn.

Everything turned blue, then red, then purple and then pink. The world was shaking. Everything was blurry and Gretel did not know what was happening. He relentlessly tried to perceive what was going on but could not achieve. Blue. Red. Purple. Pink. Shaking. Blurry.

As the effect of the LSD, they had consumed slowly vanished, Gretel woke up in the middle of their new living room in the suburbs. A romantic movie was playing from Netflix on their television. It was loud and disturbing. Gretel’s head was aching as if it were about to blow up. He thoroughly looked around himself to fathom what had in fact happened. He probably hallucinated due to the heavy drug they both committed the mistake to take. He worried for nothing. Everything seemed perfectly normal. He was in the living room, lying on the couch. No witch, no bakery, no oven, no wickedness.

Yet also no Hans. Hans was gone.

All the monsters we have created in fiction […] represent our own evil. We create them so we can kill them off, thereby justifying ourselves – it is a kind of penance, self-exorcism.

-George A. Romero 


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184 Reviews


Points: 602
Reviews: 184

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Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:25 pm
MissGangamash wrote a review...



Hey, I saw this in the Green Room so I thought I'd come and check it out. Also, I love fairy tale retellings so I was intrigued.

It seems odd that you shortened Hansel's name to Hans but kept Gretel's name - also because Gretel is the girl so it seems more relevant to change that name.

The interjection of the first chapter being 'nonsense' is really odd because all that is mentioned at this point is that there was a couple that had similar names to fairy tale characters and had a pretty chill life. What's so crazy about that?

Now that I've finished the story, looking back on the fourth paragraph, I can see the links there with the coloured lights and the exhaustion. I like that but I think it needs tweaking a bit. Especially 'The blinding lights that would shine in these clubs would color the lives of these two young men.' It just sounds a bit clunky and when I first read it I was like 'wtf this makes no sense.'

Seeing as this is amid the pandemic, seems weird that you're mentioning clubs and bars. I don't really know what is going on in America to do with the pandemic but here in the UK, clubs and bars are either closed or really aren't what they used to be with no dancing or mingling.

'They had to abandon their central though expensive apartment in the heart of Manhattan' - central though expensive? Central apartments are expensive and that is pretty much the norm in a city.

'She looked pretty odd and chilling, maybe like a witch.' - this is very on the nose. I can't really grasp a good sense of the narrator, but if the narrator is omniscient they should just straight up say she was a witch, or mention that the men just thought she was odd.

'The woman kept her mouth shut. She did not speak.-' - you don't need both sentences.

the flipflop between describing them as 'boys' and 'men' is confusing. When you start referring to them as 'boys' I thought the witch had somehow de-aged them but then you call them men again.

All the different names for the witch is also really confusing. Just stick to one or two. You seem to refer to her as something else each paragraph.

'life was not present inside the corpse anymore.' - this sentence doesn't work. You mention that he's lifeless and also a corpse. You don't need to use both.

All in all, the story could use some fixing up, and the ending is a bit cliche. I hope my review helps!




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31 Reviews


Points: 1612
Reviews: 31

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Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:40 pm
omer wrote a review...



Hey baranaxoy!
This is an amazing piece of work, I had so much fun reading it. Here are my notes:
Glows-- or, my real astonished reactions:

1. The first paragraph is well-formatted and written. It's dramatic and intriguing, and when I was really curious, there comes the sentence that made me burst out laughing:

Once upon a time, there lived a gay couple;[...]

I love it.
2.
Well, you are probably thinking that this is complete nonsense and that we are making up the whole story. However, the truth is that, the Brothers Grimm were mere frauds and tricked the entire world to believe that their story was real.

This is pure humor. I really laughed there.
3.
The shop was filled with all kinds of Danish pastries, gingerbread cookies, chocolate cupcakes and all sorts of blueberry muffins, pumpkin pies, as well as lemon tarts. It seemed cozy, and homelike, the pastry shop had a fireplace. The warmth, it released was being felt from the outside.

She looked pretty odd and chilling, maybe like a witch. Her nose was curved and dysmorphic. The face was full of warts. Her hair was barbed wire around her head. Her rotting black teeth looked like crooked gravestones.

I like these detailed descriptions!
4.
“Hello”, the old woman grumbled.

I don't know why, but it made me laugh out of fright.
5.
Hans. Gretel. Asleep. Sedated. She did. The woman did. Did she? Of course, she is a witch. Is she? Unfathomable. Questionable. What did happen? Why though?

A-m-a-z-i-n-g.
6.
Yet also no Hans. Hans was gone.

OH MY GOD.

Grows:
1.
Both living in the same city, they had decided to move together.

When I read it I felt like there is a gap in the plot. They met -> they moved in together. This change happened just a bit too quick, in my opinion, and I'd add more about what happened in between. Perhaps you could write more details about their relationship?
2.
Hans, a German immigrant, was studying law in New York, while Gretel, who was born and raised there, had chosen to go into business after High School.

“Weird,” said Gretel to his boyfriend,.

“Well, what do you expect from a couple of small-town folk?” hHe replied. They were really, the type of adults that looked down on people from outside of the big cities.

The bar was ornamented with LED signs, all over the building, and an ever-lasting line waited at the door. Hans and Gretel were amazed by the amount of people expecting to enter, but they themselves were not in the mood to spend hours being patient.

The two men were a bit shocked:.

“This Perrault guy looks familiar,” said Hans.

They were discussing to go back home when they saw a dim light coming from the end of a narrow street, they had just entered.

The warmth, it released was being felt from the outside.

As they did so, the bell, attached to the entrance rang. The noise, it emitted was rather displeasing. It was so shrill, so high-pitched, that it would have given anyone the goosebumps.

“I was about to close, so I can only serve you warm milk or some chamomile tea”, she told them affectionately, “and of course, a pastry of your choice.”

As the effect of the LSD, they had consumed slowly vanished, Gretel woke up in the middle of their new living room in the suburbs.

Check out the bold-text and strikethrough changes I made, mostly about punctuation^. I'd suggest you'd zoom in your screen to see it better. :)
(, means to remove the comma, , means add a comma, and so on)

3.
As the “potion” entered his body, his limbs began to swell.

Why is "potion" in quotation marks?

That's it! As you can tell, I really enjoyed your story. I hope some of this helped. You're very talented, keep up the good work!
Omer.





It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.
— Edgar Allan Poe