Though her work for the company was quite pivotal, Lily found herself largely ignored there. She had worked for a number of years in accounting, but often felt she was passed over, forgotten, even taken for granted.
One day Lily decided to leave, as she wanted to work somewhere where she would be more valued and appreciated. She baked a cake for her last day of work there, to let everyone know what she thought of them. Lily believed it was her crowning glory: the cake was the shape of a large hand, with the middle finger fully extended.
The crystal had shown terrible things. The Elder came out her dwelling. She clapped her hands and the entire village looked up at her.
“Humans are coming with axes to destroy our forest. We must protect it! All remaining archers need to go to our northern border. Falnek, take the children to the sacred Bloodwood.” There was sudden activity in the village. “Aalen, when the humans are defeated come back to us.” Aalen nodded and left with her wolf bounding in front of her.
The Elder looked over the village and her people. The crystal had shown terrible things.
The days went by and more bodies began to fill the basement. With three of them now, they found it was better to invite two people over every night to feed on. Listening to both Sarah and Britney talk incessantly to each other every night, Freya was surprised that they had both attended a year of college. What sort of college was it? Freya wondered. Did their parent’s money help get them a place? Or was humanity just getting stupider?
One late afternoon there was a knock on the door. Sarah and Britney both went down to investigate. At the door was a policeman. Intrigued, Sarah opened it.
“Yes officer?” she asked.
“I’m looking for a Sarah Williams? Does she live here?” he asked.
“Yes, that’s me.” Sarah confirmed.
“A number of people have disappeared that seem to have a connection to you Miss Williams, such as a Matt Anderson, David Wilson, Zoe Taylor, Britney Evans…
“Hey that’s me!” Britney cut in. “I’m Britney Evans.”
“Oh. You should contact your parents, as they have not seen you or heard from you for some time.” the policeman told her.
“Okay I will. I’ve just been hanging out with my bestie! We’re so close she even turned me!” Britney replied as she put her arm around Sarah.
“Um, that’s nice.” the policeman replied looking uncomfortable. At that point, Freya came down the stairs and slowly walked to the door.
“So what’s happening?” she asked.
“This policeman is looking for some missing people.” Sarah informed her.
“I see. I’ll take care of this.” Freya ordered. The other two stepped back as she went up to the policeman.
“So who are you? Are you on my list as well?” the policeman asked.
“My name is not important. You will walk away from here and forget you ever came to this house. The list of missing people is no longer important to you.” Freya said to him as she stared at him intensely. The policeman suddenly looked at them bewildered and then walked off.
“Why did you let him go? We could have eaten him?” Sarah asked. Freya didn’t answer her, and instead walked quickly up the stairs. Sarah and Britney followed. Freya went into her bedroom and started packing her bag.
“What are you doing?” Sarah asked.
“I’m leaving.” Freya replied.
“Because eventually more police will come. All I did was a delaying tactic. Eventually they’ll come with a warrant and find all the bodies in the basement, and I really want to be far away when that happens.”
“So you’re just leaving us?” Britney asked.
“Yes.” Freya replied curtly.
“Don’t you have some sort of responsibility to us?”
“So what do we do?” Sarah asked her. Freya looked at her and shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t care.”
“But we could go somewhere else! We could stay at a friend’s place. There’s still plenty of people we know that we can feed on.” Sarah told her. Freya stopped and thought about it.
“Okay, maybe we could hang out somewhere else briefly, before I go.” Freya replied.
“Why do you want to go all of a sudden anyway?”
“Because once they find the bodies, that’s when the hunters come.” Freya told her.
“Yes hunters. They are skilled at killing us, and I would rather not encounter them. Anyway, do you have somewhere in mind we could go?”
“We could stay with Fat Emma.” Britney suggested. The mention of that name got both Britney and Sara giggling.
“Yeah, she would love the company!” Sara replied. The two of them continued giggling.
“And who is Fat Emma?” Freya asked them.
“Just some loser girl who always wants to hang out with us.” Sarah informed her.
“Yeah she has like a job and her own apartment!” Britney said.
“And body fat!” Sarah added. The two of them started giggling again.
“Her own apartment? That sounds promising. Okay shall we go and stay at her place?”
“Three people at her door? It will be like her dreams have come true.” Britney said. Her and Sarah started giggling yet again.
“Okay pack your things. Let’s go there before more police turn up.” Freya suggested.
A short time later they were at the door of Emma’s apartment. Sarah knocked and a woman with long dark hair answered. The woman looked surprised.
“Sarah? I haven’t seen you for ages. What are you doing here?”
“We just thought we would come over and say hi. You know Britney of course, and this is Freya.”
“Hi Freya.” To Freya’s eyes, Emma wasn’t overweight at all, it just looked like she ate food more regularly than Sarah and Britney had.
“Hi Emma. Could you invite us in?” Freya asked her.
“Sure, come in.” Emma replied, seeming surprised they wanted to visit her.
“Thanks.” Freya replied. The three of them walked into Emma’s apartment.
“Are you guys hungry?” Emma asked.
“We sure are.” Sarah replied licking her lips.
“Okay, follow me!” Emma said.
“Don’t worry we will.” Freya replied with an evil smile on her face.
to be continued…
I do feel like I’m being horribly cruel writing this sometimes…
The days went by. Gretel cleaned the kitchen, weeded the garden, and mucked out the pigs while she watched her brother slowly getting bigger and bigger. At night she had to sleep on a floor with a single blanket with one of her legs chained to the wall. One morning the woman looked at Hansel, and after prodding him again, she smiled.
“I do think you are finally the right size.” she declared. She went to the large oven and fired it up. She turned around and looked at Hansel again. She rubbed her hands together and licked her lips. “You are going to be so tasty after you’ve been roasted for a few hours.” She kicked Gretel awake. “Girl, get your brother ready for cooking, and tell me when the oven is finally hot enough.”
“But how will I know the oven is hot enough?” Gretel asked innocently, finally working out her plan.
“You open the door, and lean in to it. If it is hot enough, you should know. Check it now.”
“Okay.” Gretel went and opened the back door.
“Not that door! The oven door, you witless child!’ the woman shouted at her.
“Oh!” She went to the oven and looked it over slowly.
“The oven door is the big door in the centre! You can’t miss it.” The old woman told her in an exasperated tone. Gretel deliberately tried to open the wrong side. “The other side!” Gretel opened the door and then leaned over facing away from it. “No! Face the other way stupid girl!” Gretel turned to her left. “No!” The woman quickly walked up to the oven. “You just can’t get good help these days! Now witless girl, watch what I do!” The woman closed the door and then opened it again and then leaned into the oven. “This is how you check the oven is hot enough!” Seizing her moment, Gretel forcefully kicked the old woman into the oven and quickly closed the door behind her. The woman began screaming though the oven door.
“Is it hot enough for you now bitch?” Gretel shouted through the door. Eventually, as the screams began to die down, Gretel finally opened the cage and let her brother out. Hansel waddled out. “Let’s go! Grab as much stuff as you can!”
They took a lot of food and stowed it away in a sack, and then ran out the front door where they finally breathed in the fresh air that was overlaid with sickly overtones of gingerbread. Near the house they found a path. They followed it until they finally came out of the forest. As they walked down a road that led to the nearest town, a number of police cars with flashing lights and sirens blaring suddenly appeared.
“Hooray we’ve been saved!” Hansel shouted with delight.
“In breaking news, two children have been arrested in connection with the grisly murder of Imah Wych, a local celebrity whose charming gingerbread house is a major tourist attraction in the area. The children were also found to be in possession of stolen items from the house and they have made many unsubstantiated wild claims about Ms. Wych. Further updates to follow as more news comes to hand.”
The group trekked through the howling blizzard making for the hinterland, somewhere hopefully beyond the reach of the Ice Witch’s power. Ever since she had returned to her tower and taken control of the land from her eldritch obsidian throne, their world had become frozen.
Over the noise of the blizzard they could hear howling. The Queen’s shadow wolves were on their trail. Their only hope was to get beyond the land under the Queen’s control, but all they could see before them was boundless snow and ice.