Beefcake and the Beast
“No one’s as slick as Gaston~!” The tavern sang in perfect harmony.
“No one likes dick like Gaston,” LeFou added under his breath.
I shot him a glare from across the tavern, silently screaming at him to stay quiet.
The Harlots linked arms and spun in circles around me. “No one’s as quick as Gaston~!” I winced at their obvious need for singing lessons. Or clothe gag for a quick fix.
“No one needs to get a wife like Gaston!” My mother slammed open the tavern door, silencing the singers.
I straightened my collar. “Hello mother,”
She hobbled up to me and pinched my ear, bringing me down to her level. “You’re twenty-three, Gaston! Far too young to still be single.”
“And you’re far too old to still be alive,” I muttered as I eyed her leathery wrinkles.
“Have you picked out a suitable wife?”
I wrestled my ear free, soothing it as I answered. “Yes, actually.”
“Well, you know that girl who doesn’t have any interest to marry someone? It’s her.”
“Belle? You can’t marry her! She’s too strange.”
I snapped my fingers. “Oh darn. That is such a shame because I was really feeling the feelings of… sexual attraction to women with her and all that…” I glanced away, “stuff that straight men such as I do feel… yes.” I lied as LeFou face palmed in the corner of the room. Nonetheless, I continued. “I simply cannot marry another!”
“What about these girls?” My mother gestured to the three Harlots with stuffed bras and yellow smiles.
With a cheeky scoff, I remarked. “These hoes? No way! I mean, just look at what they’re wearing! That dress is so 16th century. I won’t marry someone so tacky.”
One of them gawked at me and tugged anxiously as the ruffles of her dress. LeFou gave me a warning look. Like those dresses didn't cross the line first.
“Since when do you know about women’s fashion?” My mother taunted.
I gulped. “I don’t, it’s just—“
Suddenly—perhaps to save me from my misery—the tavern doors busted wide open, with Belle’s father, panting in the sun’s blinding light. “It’s horrible!” He gasped.
“What is it, Maurice?” My mother asked.
“It’s Belle! There’s a beast! *wheeze* He took her captive and locked her in a tower! *wheeze* Gaston! You must save her!”
“Well, I don’t know if that’s really necessary—“ I began.
“Of course he will save her!” My mother cheered. “But!” She waves a finger at Maurice. “In return, you must promise her hand in marriage to my Gaston!”
“I—I don’t know. Belle doesn’t want to get married…”
“Then I guess she doesn’t want to be saved either!”
Maurice bit his lip before saying. “Fine. If you can save my daughter, you have my blessing.”
My mother clapped her hands together with joy. “Perfect! Belle will become your wife after all, Gaston!”
Between my clenched teeth I agreed. “Great.”
My feet shuffled through the snow and I gripped my arm so tight my perfect nails drew blood. “‘Go rescue the girl’, they said. ‘Go marry the girl’, they said.” I kicked a tree trunk. Snow avalanched down, nearly burying me. “‘Go get hypothermia and die just trying to stay in the closet’, is what they should have said!”
I popped my head out from the snow pile and crawled forward. By the time I reached the crumbling castle, my skin had turned blue and my teeth were moving faster than my mother when she heard the word ‘scandal’. I knocked twice on the oak door because manners, people!
Okay, fuck manners, I just wanna get this over with. I stomped inside, letting the packed snow fall off my feet into silhouettes of my shoes on the wooden floor. “Belle?” My voice echoed across the empty castle.
As I continued to move forward, my footsteps rang across the room. That is, my footsteps and the faint sound of claws drawing across the floor. I stopped. So did the claws.
Sweat thickened on my forehead. My breath became heavy as I felt the weight of a new pair of eyes watching me from the shadows. “Hello?” I called out. “Is anyone…” I slowly turned around. “There—“
Shivers of imaginary ice froze my blood as I stared at a seven foot tall monster of a man. Unruly hair jetted out from every inch of this body. His clothes puffed out from the patted masses of his fur. “So… you’re the… Beast.” I squeaked.
He remained silent. I could only hear the quiet rhythm of his breathing. “It’s a… nice castle you got here.”
“Look, I’m just here for the girl you have imprisoned. Once I get her, we’ll be on our way and never bother you ever again. And doesn’t that seem fun? Not having to deal with people?? And being able to stay here… alone in your…” I glanced around. “Charming home?”
“You cannot take her,” he bellowed as he took a step forward—obviously invading my personal bubble.
“So, I have this whole thing on personal space so if you can just take a step back—“
“You can only take her place.”
I snorted. “You mean never go back to that homophobic, unfashionable village? Yeah, sign me the fuck up.”
Belle wasted no time in running the fuck out of the castle—and who could blame her, the place was the embodiment of human misery with its lifeless color scheme—but just before she did, she gave me on final look and asked me. “Gaston, are you sure about this? The food is bland and the sheets aren’t even a thousand count.”
“I’ll be fi—wait a minute, this place is a castle! How are the sheets not a thousand? What are we?! Animals?!” I exclaimed.
“Yes,” the Beast grimaced.
“Poor choice of words. My bad.”
“Just for that, here’s your room.” The Beast swung open a door laced with chains.
“Besides, how bad can this place be—” I gasped. “Ew! What color are those curtains!”
“Eck! That is not brown, that is the definition of disgusting.”
Belle put a hand on my shoulder. “Have fun.” Then she darted away.
I clapped my hands twice. “Alright, Beastie, we certainly have our work cut out for us.”
An hour later, I was calling the shots and a weird group of furniture followed me, completing them. “Alright, I want a new rug, new windows…” I smelled dinner. “Ugh, and a new chef.”
A table grumbled. “You try cooking without thumbs.”
“You try eating your food with taste buds,” I remarked. “Oh right, you can’t!”
The Beast snorted. “What are you laughing at, Beastie.That mess you call ‘fur’ is next.”
His jaws gaped out. “What? What’s wrong with my fur?”
I lightly touched it, feeling years of oils harass my soft skin. I know this is 1790s France, but there are still standards. “What isn’t wrong with it? Ms. Potts can you please draw a bath?” I gave him another once over. “On second thought, make that two.”
I handed the Beast a towel as he exited the bath and averted my eyes. “All of the staff are preparing dinner. I’m here to prepare you.”
“To get dressed. I’m here to help you get dressed.”
“I can dress myself,” the Beast grumbled.
“Yes, but not in style.” I held up a maroon waistcoat and a devious smile.
He sneered and thundered towards me. “Watch your tongue. I am still in charge here.”
“You say that with your lips, but eyes scream the truth…” I sauntered up into his personal space and whispered. “You love the maroon coat and curtains.”
“Why aren’t you afraid of me? Everyone is.”
“Hun, please, there’s nothing scarier than this disaster of a castle before I started fixing it. Now, take the clothes and get dressed.”
Without another word, he took the coat and threw it on. I ruffled my hands through his fur. “Now what are we going to do with this?”
“Braiding it is!”
I rested my hands on the Beast’s shoulders as he stood in front of a full length mirror. His eyes locked onto his reflection, mesmerized by his new appearance. A perfectly fitted maroon waistcoat with a tight shirt beneath told the innocent observer there was a seriously buff body underneath those hunks of hair. To manage the unmanageable locks he called ‘facial hair’ that would have—without a doubt—either winded up in the food or with food in it, I twisted it into a french braid. His blue eyes shone out from all the mud-colored fur. “Wow,” he breathed.
“I know. I know. I’m a miracle worker.” I sighed. “I’ve wanted to do something like this for so long. I should have been a hairdresser, not a hunter.” I smiled and rubbed his shoulders. “You look really handsome. Now, come on. Let’s go eat.”
After dinner, I decided to take a small stroll to help digest the first edible food I’ve had since I arrived here. Probably shouldn’t have been in the ‘forbidden’ West Wing. But then again, they probably shouldn’t have called it ‘forbidden’, tempting me like that. I mean, that’s practically a written invitation.
And let me tell you, there were too many shiny things in that wing to not not touch. Especially that rose in a crystal case.
“Woah,” I breathed as I caressed its cover. “It’s beautiful.”
“It’s not for touching,” the Beast growled from the shadows. “Get away from it. Now!”
I backed off. “Alright fine. No need to get your underwear in a twist about it.”
He growled at me and continued to march closer. “Relax, Beastie. No harm, no foul.”
His body loomed over me, his furs rustling with every breath. His lips were ajar, and his bared teeth glistened in the candle lights. “H-hey,” my voice quivered and my body leapt back. “Why don’t you calm down a little…”
“Do you know what you could have done?! You could have ruined everything!”
His claws extended from his paws. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up like even they were trying to run away from the Beast. So I did. I bolted into the forest and I didn’t look back.
My frosted breath spilled out in front of me as I charged my way past the crooked tree branches. “Jesus, what’s a guy gotta do to get a horse around here?”
Just as I thought the worst was behind me, my ears twitched at the sound of a wolf’s howl. “On second thought, can I get a gun instead of a horse?”
Their bushy tails flew behind their darting bodies, weaving in and out of their familiar territory. Oh, how the hunter has become the hunted.
Acting on instinct, I grabbed the nearest branch and whacked the first thing with eyes I saw. It was a rabbit. Damn. The poor thing was a bloody mess now. And the smell of blood only made the wolves more agitated.
The first one lunged at me. Quickly, I stabbed it in the neck and barrel rolled away. Another snapped its jaws and I jammed a rock in them. A third came from nowhere, sinking its teeth in my calf. I yelped and tried to wedge it off with the branch. Shockingly, it didn’t work. I glanced as the blood stained snow as a shadow leapt over it. It was… the Beast.
His claws ripped into the wolf's tender flesh. He tore one into shreds and threw its mangled body at a pine tree. The pack moved in sync now, all attacking him at once. One latched onto his shoulder, tearing through the waistcoat, as the Beast tried to shrug it off. “Run!” He bellowed at me.
I gritted my teeth. “No fucking way!”
I sprinted towards the rabbit and ripped it in half, letting the guts and blood spray. Waving in front of the growling wolves’ noses, I taunted. “You want it?!” I chucked it over a rotting log. “Then fetch!”
The pack dashed off towards the rabbit carcass, I grabbed the Beast’s claw and yanked him back towards the castle. “Let’s go, lesbians! Let’s go!” I screamed.
We caught our breath in the ballroom covered in dust and haunted by the spiders of webs past. “Ah ha. Ahaha!” I broke down into a fit of laughter. “That was a close one, wasn’t it?”
The Beast glared at me.
“Alright, maybe still a little too early for jokes. But not for first aid.” My eyes fixed on the blood oozing from his shoulder. “Come on, let’s get you fixed it.” I offered him my hand.
Cautiously, the Beast took my hand in his and followed me.
The next night, I sat on the steps of one of the ballroom’s twin staircases and stared at the empty, glossy floor. A cruel darkness rested over the once luminous room. The bandages on my leg itched, but I refused to scratch. I sighed as the Beast took a seat beside me. “This is depressing,” I announced. “This place was made for dancing, not collecting dust.”
“It’s hard to throw extravagant parties when everyone hates you.”
I stood. “Well, good news, now everyone minus one hates you.” I extended my hand. “And this one would like to dance.”
“No,” he stated. “Absolutely not.”
With a smirk, I said. “I think you mean, absolutely yes!” I grabbed his claws and tugged him to his feet.
One by one, the candles on the walls flickered to life as Lumiere—not one to miss a romantic opportunity—raced to lit them.
“It’s impossible to dance with this bulky body,” the Beast told me. “Plus, we’re injured. It’s not a good idea.”
“Injured, but not dead,” I corrected as gentle piano music filled the void of silence. “Besides, even being a ghost wouldn’t stop me.” I smiled at him. “So it shouldn’t stop you.”
He opened his mouth again, but I spoke in his turn. “Ah! No excuses. Just follow my lead.”
I pressed his body close to mine. His fur tickled my skin as I flung my head back and laughed. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Beast smile.
Sweet music notes lifted our heavy spirits, drowning out our past sorrows. Making us forget about curses or the disapproving world we both lived in. Nothing outside this perfect little castle existed.
I rested my head against his chest.
I think this was the first time I’ve ever… felt truly at peace.
Or in love.
Slowly, the song came to an end and we were left with nothing else to do but stare into each other’s eyes. I smiled, and I think he blushed under his fur. Carefully, I raised up on my tiptoes and placed a gentle kiss on his fluffy cheek.
In the background, there was a soft gasp as I stepped down and gold sparkles swirled around him. Suddenly, the big, hairy Beast I had come to love was watered down to a muscular man the same height as myself with a slimmer body that was much easier to hug. So I did. “Damn,” I whispered in his ear. “Just when I thought you couldn’t get any more perfect.”
It took Belle one week to collapse from guilt and return to the castle with a fresh basket of rolls. Then, it took her three double takes to make extra sure it was the same castle. I had really done my work. She handed me the basket. “So, you seem to be fitting in here. Meanwhile, they’re going crazy back in the village without you. After all, their main hobby was singing about how great you were.”
I removed the cucumbers from my me-time and gazed up at the too-smart-for-her-own-good town girl. “This place is a dream. I love it here.”
She spotted the transferred Beast in the rose garden, tending a new bush. “I’d imagine you love the ‘Beast’ even more.”
“Yes, I do—wait, how did you know I was gay?”
“Honey, it was quite clear you were over compensating for something. I just thought it was a small dick.”
“Thank you for that unnecessary detail.”
She shrugged. “Hey, it’s in the silence where the weirdest conspiracies speak. So, what are you gonna do about the rest of the town? They’re all waiting for you to return with a story about how you bested the Beast.”
“A story, huh? Well, I don’t want them to come for me. So, tell them I died.” I glanced at my Beast. “Because I’m certainly in heaven.”
This ain’t Snow White’s story.
Once upon a time, there was a stunningly gorgeous, yet jealous Queen who ruled a kingdom. One day, she waited patiently in her palace bedroom until at long last, a servant entered, awkwardly carrying a heavy item wrapped in a burlap sack. The Queen carefully pulled back the burlap to uncover a heavy, ornate mirror. Once it hung on her wall, she peered into it, asking:
"Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"
After a long pause, the mirror replied, "Um...I...can't answer that."
Becoming slightly agitated, the Queen asked, "Why not?"
The mirror hesitated before responding. "Well, what kind of pretty are you looking for? I've seen some hot princesses if royalty is what you're after. There was that redhead, that Norwegian chick who didn't mind lettin' it go, the Asian girl who liked dressing like a boy...I mean, what're you into?"
"In....into?" the Queen sputtered. "I just want to know who is the fairest!"
The mirror's voice took on an annoyed tone. "That's not really my thing. Head back to the market - there's a magazine there that lists the most beautiful people every year. It changes, though, so who knows if it's reliable?"
Infuriated, the Queen shot back, "I spent good money on you! You were supposed to tell me that I am more beautiful than my stepdaughter!"
"Ah, so that's what this is about," the mirror said. "Listen lady, if you're so insecure that you have to talk to mirrors and hate on other girls instead of appreciating your own uniqueness, then your problem is way more than skin deep."
Crestfallen, the Queen finally spoke, her voice barely above a whisper. "Then what do I do?"
The mirror's tone softened a little. "Stop staring at me hoping someone else stares back at you. Appreciate you, and forget the rest."
Which is exactly what the Queen did - except for that one time of year that magazine published a new list of beauties. That day was reserved for ice cream and sweatpants.
robin was under my hood
kissing me, robin’s lips felt so good
robin did the best he could
robin was misunderstood
robin was from the hood
if he needed to steal, robin would
oh, robin was robbing
my heart that was throbbing
if he needed to steal, robin would
before he took my heart, i told him he should
he stole from the rich and gave to the poor
he stole my heart and left me wanting more
robin was pure
robin was from the hood
robin was good...
robin was good...
Little Bo Peep
has slaughtered her sheep
and doesn't know where to hide them
so she drank all their blood
and spun all their wool
and skipped to market to buy more
Beauty, What Beast?
There was a couple who lived on the outskirts of town. They were homebodies, said the whispers that rolled around. No one had seen them together in more than two years.
The man was recognizable, that much was known. He was lean and lithe, hair cropped short. He worked the garden more often than not, but they only grew roses, which made the neighbors feel off.
“Stay away from them, they’re different from us.” Whispered the baker, “We don’t know what kind of people could they be.”
The baker’s daughter, a sprite of a girl, thought to herself on the matter of the gardener, and quietly decreed. “No one has asked, how would we know? Oh! I’ll bring them a loaf and ask of his partner!”
So she did just that, skipping up the hill. Knocked on the door, fresh bread wrapped in linen. The lithe man answered, his eyes pale blue. He fixed his glasses that had been knocked askew. Invited her in after he got over his surprise, and she entered, her questions a storm.
Inside was small, homey and warm. Pots hung from hooks on the ceiling, the walls had plants overgrown. A desk sat in the corner just off the kitchen side, laden with scattered papers, inks, and dyes. The only odd thing, and sure it was strange, was a small glass case with a rose in its cage.
“Please, have a seat.” He said with a motion towards the table.
The girl sat with a look of appraisal, setting her bread confidently aside. She jumped right into it, without preamble or chide.
“Sir, I have questions for you.” She said, crossing her arms.
He sat across from her, a laugh in his eyes. “As payment for the bread?”
“If you please,” She said, careful of her manners. “Where is your wife? Is she still in bed?”
The man blinked, surprised by her candor. He sat back and said plainly, “I have no wife, though I suppose rumors are just news in your small town life.”
“No wife? Then who do you live with?” She looked at the second chair, and pairs of shoes set by the door. If there was no other, then what were they for?
The man shrugged, glancing to the rose. “I live with my dear friend, the Hunter. He is out today. He walks the forest grounds. I stay home and tend to the garden while he makes his rounds.”
“Sir I don’t understand. Why live with a friend, and not a lover?” The girl asked, repeating a question she’d heard her father ask before.
The man shrugged; his gaze flicked to the door. “You tell me, oh wise little girl. You seem too young for love to discover.”
“...Okay fine, I know nothing of lovers.” The girl admitted, fidgeting with her dress. “I was just curious, I’m sorry if I overstepped.”
The man relaxed, a twinkle in his eye. “I have no doubt you meant your best, but perhaps more questions merit another loaf of bread.”
The girl nodded sagely, though she held up a finger. “One more question, please, and I promise I won’t linger.”
The man sighed and gave an assenting nod. The girl smiled, and pointed to the garden beyond.
“Why do you only grow roses?” She asked in a titter.
Oh the smile that lifted his cheeks was only slightly bitter.
“That is my curse, and the reason I live here.” He said. “You see, a sickness took my home, years ago. I still feel it, and sometimes it grows. Through the years I had highs and lows. Then, one day an old woman told me to tend to this rose, so that I might keep this sickness at bay. I suppose I grew fond of them, in a way.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” The little girl said. She hadn’t thought of the man being the one sick in bed. “You’re cursed still, and by who?”
“Ah, that was your last question.” The man said, his voice absent of bite. “You’ve had your fun. You must leave me to my plight. Now go on, little one.”
“Oh no, I can’t do that! We must set it right!” The girl cried.
The man frowned, his blue eyes starting to shimmer. Then there came a knock, and a hearty call of, “Dinner!”
Another man stepped into the room, laden with furs and bloody bags. He stopped short, his smile thinner. The girl just stared. Handsome as he was tall, the Hunter’s presence seemed to boom. He had marvelous hair, and his smile absorbed the leftover gloom.
“Ah, you spoke of your curse.” The Hunter said with a note of banter.
“It’s not my fault she made me blather!” The lithe man replied, crossing his arms.
“I can’t imagine you speaking more than one sentence at a time, you poor cursed beast.” The Hunter laughed, throat rumbling with bass. “Be thankful you are not deceased!”
The girl watched them, back and forth they chimed. Playing off the other as quick as a rhyme. She tilted her head, her confusion shown. “Wait, so is there a curse or no?”
The Hunter then smiled true, crows feet at his temples. “Yes dear one, but let me explain to you. My friend was cursed, this is true - though it has evolved into a riddle. He used to turn into a beast at night, filled with thirst. Now he just sits here, bemoaning his curse. As the hunter of my village, I was tasked to blood him new. But then we met, and I noticed his eyes were blue. I asked him a question, expecting nothing but the worst - and to my surprise, he burst into light, human through and through.”
“I vowed to keep an eye on him, should he ever change.” The Hunter grinned at his friend.
Blue eyes rolled, a voice with patience wearing thin. “It’s been ten years, how strange.”
“What did you ask to break the curse?” The girl asked in wonder.
The men exchanged a glance.
“That is a tale for another.” Said the Hunter.
The lithe man, (Beast, she called him) had a smile like mystery. “Perhaps a loaf of bread will earn you this history.”
Laughter filled the walls of their house, and the little girl finished her tea. She rose, bid her farewells, and let the men be. When her father asked where she had been, she grinned and had this to say:
“The gardener is indeed odd and strange, but the Hunter keeps him in line. He is a Beast, but prefers to eat bread, rather than human lives.”
Hands down Regrettable
Hansel and Gretel were troubled children. They grew up poor and mean, like a pair of street dogs. Their father was a drunk and their step-mom was a low-grade criminal, hiding out in their shack to avoid the police. No one was really surprised when the two children started showing alarming behavior in school.
They stole from, and beat up several other 3rd graders, and were even caught in a cloud of smoke down in the crawlspace under the school’s stage. Hansel seemed to be the brains of the operation, he was constantly under the principal's watch for fighting, bullying and mischief. Little did anyone know, Gretel had her own mean streak which would make Hansel look like a saint.
See, Gretel had a secret fort out in the woods beyond the schoolhouse. She would lead older boys out there and entice them to play doctor. Several of her playmates wound up with cuts and bruises to their groins, while others were landed with anxiety disorders from her ‘experiments’.
Gretel also liked to take in sick birds and hobbled rabbits. At any point in time she might have six animals all tied up and she'd bring little girls down there to show them her collection. It was a long time before they even suspected that it was she who'd poisoned the little robins and broken the rabbits' legs. She used to have all kinds of experiments for her pets. She’d shave off their fur to see the rabbits' survive a winter night without it, and cut the birds' feathers just to watch them struggle.
Needless to say, when the children were caught in their old fort, the two of them tying the knot around a bag of newborn mice, the school counsellor was asked to step in.
Upon investigating their home, Gracy Peters, a child psychologist, saw the full spectrum of their disorders. The tiny log cabin had no running water or electricity. There was a wood stove on one end of the one room home, and only one bed in the place. The children were made to sleep on the floor, although there has been further suggestion that Gretel was forced to share her father's bed. He denies the accusation, but Gretel's promiscuous personality and violently sexual behavior correlate with molestation.
There was no question that the children needed an intervention and there was only one place in the small town that was equipped to handle this situation. Mother Megdeleine's Home of Refuge. Gloria Megdeleine had sheltered more than fifty children over the years, each at different stages of treatment, be it for mental health, criminality, and/or asylum from abuse. Gloria was certain that her methods would assist the children post-haste with their troubles. She even assured the police that she would have no further need of them until the children were saved and ready for foster care.
The Home of Refuge was designed to be non-threatening in every aspect. It had a huge yard, gated with ten foot wooden fencing. There was a swimming pool and a trampoline. The house itself was decorated with layers of coronation pink plaster, shaped like flowers, and from afar, it looked like one big birthday cake.
Hansel and Gretel stepped out of the police cruiser and into the front yard. Gloria embraced them, but could feel the tension in their little arms as they hugged her. She sent them to wash up and then she set out to prepare them dinner. After years of working with children in this informal setting, Gloria mused that the way to earn a child's trust is through their stomach.
She had baked a fresh pie the night before, so she heated that up. She had boiled potatoes, so she mashed those with butter and cream. She had roasted a ham that morning with peas and carrots in the fat, and so she carved out three servings and set the table. When she called down the children, she was surprised to find they didn’t answer. Had they fallen asleep in their new beds?
Gloria climbed the steps to the second floor and peeked into Gretel’s room. The closet was open and there was an empty hanger. The little girl must have picked out a new dress and gone into her brother’s room to show him. Ms. Megdeleine checked in on Hansel’s room and found that the two children were nowhere to be seen. She panicked, but then checked herself. She knocked on the bathroom door and then opened it wide, they were not there either. She checked the playroom and then the attic. Nothing except an open window and a fire escape ladder still hooked to the sill.
It had been a long time since she’d had runners. Generally, children are brought to her with the understanding that this is the best place for them. They see the house and the yard and accept, albeit begrudgingly, the help that is given them. Still, she recognized that these siblings had been through serious trauma and it was her responsibility to help them transition into a healthy life.
Gloria called the local police, explained the situation, and awaited the cruiser that was still on its way back to town after just dropping the children off. Luckily the two police officers were within twenty kilometres of the house. They flipped around and drove slowly through the woods, looking in between the trees to try and catch sight of the children. They reached the house without any luck and so called a search and rescue effort there. In little over four hours, the score of volunteers were called off when Hansel and Gretel were picked up off of the highway. They were driven back to Megdeleine’s home and sat down at the kitchen table.
Gloria took her seat between the police officers and the children. She took a sip of her hot chocolate and encouraged the others to do the same. The officers did, but the children only stared away from the table.
Gloria did all the talking from then on. She said, “we’ll have much tighter security because of today’s incident. I don’t blame you two for wanting to escape, but you must understand this house was built to handle any and all emergencies. For the two of you, I believe we will need some serious ground rules, some trust exercises, and some incentives.”
The children listened on with blank eyes as she talked about milestones and prizes, goal setting and trust building, family games, socializing, and general home keeping skills. When we started to ramble about teaching the children to cook, Gretel spoke her first words to Gloria.
“I’ve always wanted to learn to use the oven.”
Delighted that she’d finally broken through to Gretel, Gloria replied, “Well, if you can promise to obey the house rules, then I see no reason why we can’t cook up a marvelous dinner together tomorrow evening.
The police left the residence with their bellies full of cocoa and marshmallows. The children did not wave goodbye to them, but stood watching them leave. Rather, the deputy could have sworn he saw Hansel flip him the bird in his rear-view mirror.
The next evening, Gretel helped Gloria to preheat the oven, to peel and chop potatoes and onions, and to wash and cut the chicken breast. She said not a word, but let Gloria prattle on about her own childhood and how she ended up running this house. Side by side they sliced the food, until it was time to cook it. Gloria leaned into her commercial sized oven and placed the pans inside.
What happened in that moment is unclear. It is thought that Gretel may have slid the knife across Gloria’s throat, or she may have kicked the old lady into the scorching hot oven. Those in denial about the children’s guilt say that Gloria slipped on an onion peel, knocking her head against the oven door, and lost consciousness.
All that is certain is that Gloria’s dress caught flame in the heat and she was burned up in the fire that consumed the entire house. The children escaped the blaze. Investigators were able to follow their trail back to their own home on the other side of the village. There they found their father and step mother murdered in their bed. The couple were fatally stabbed a dozen or more times.
No other traces of the children were ever found, but it is believed that they have ended their reign of terror. No other deaths have matched the ferocity of those that occurred in Spessart Forest so many moons ago. Although they were no doubt guilty of at least two counts of murder, the town tries to remember them fondly. Two local writers even rewrote their story to try to bring peace to people’s memories of Hansel and Gretel, the lost children.
Cinderella or ugly sister?
A knock at the door, you will go to the ball.
What do you do when the clock strikes 12 and you watch your self pick up your dress, turn on your heels, and run from the castle with both glass slippers still on your feet?
And you’re left with the parts of yourself that feel more like the ugly sister of the story? More like the step mother from the tale? More like the real you, now the fantasies and day dreams have gone?
What do you do when you find yourself staying up late because you don’t want tomorrow to come?
The Apple in Eden’s Garden
She lay there in the glass casket so lovingly created by her seven friends. Her black eyelashes like twin black fans contrasted with her ivory skin.
He rode up and lifted the lid of the casket. The rosy bloom of her cheeks and the ruby red lips belied everything he’d heard. She seemed full of life, and he kissed her. She choked, spat out the poisoned apple, and breathed.
.His joy knew no bounds when he saw her stir. She was truly alive again. For the first time and after a long time, the spell was broken.
He took her home to his castle. The world awaited her, and finally the price was wed with much joy and fanfare.
She took her new role seriously. She produced several heirs, started throwing her weight around. She became bossy, entitled, and insanely jealous when he looked at someone else. She fell out of favor with the mirror that once belonged to the stepmother, and she threw it out because it began to lie to her. She was still the fairest of them all.
Her nagging, ordering, temper tantrums, and critical nature got worse every day. The heirs apparent quavered with fear in her presence. She began to fly off the handle at the slightest reason. The evil stepmom began to look like she was about to win the Mother of the Year award posthumously.
He looked at her and realized something. For the second time and after a long time another spell was broken. Right there and then, he decided to put a stop to this harpy, this termagant, this....shrew. He started his quest to look for the juiciest, mouthwatering, red apple.
Oh, Cindy Cindy What Have You Done?
"Why are you so quiet? You are free!" The small mouse at her side said with a confused squeak, wiping his mouth of the grime he obtained from eating his new 'favorite' meal.
"I don't know if this is very queenly..." She says shakily, wiping her smudged palms on her bright blue gown, leaving gross angry red streaks.
"Well, too late now. The prince'll never know!" He squeaks back with a glimmer in his eye, a glimmer that Cindy knows to fear.
"Oh, Gus Gus. Just help me hide the bodies"
"One sec. Everyone! Mealtime is over! Time to dispose of em'...Well, what's left!" The mice all groan and stand back onto their hind legs, the birds are chirping angrily as well. All of there eyes are an odd red, unlike anything Cindy had seen before in her previously sweet and caring friends.
"I'm still hungry but there isn't anything left but bones!" One mouse moans particularly loud, over the roar of squeaks and complaints. "I'm still hungry!" The cry is shouted louder and louder, joined by more and more mice. His rabidly red eyes snap to her, his eyes glow with insatiably terrifying hunger.
"Gus Gus!" Cindy whimpers the words as the mice collectively inch toward her ankles, one's mouth already widening to take a bite out of her ankle.
"Ah Cindy, there's nothing I can do now. We're all still hungry... Goodbye Cinderella Cinderelli-"
Once upon a time, long ago, in a land far, far away, there lived a king and his beautiful queen. One day, as the queen was sewing next to a window watching the first snow of the season, she pricked her finger and a drop of blood fell…certainly not on the snow, as it has been reported in other sources, because really, was she hanging out the window while she was sewing? No, a small drop of blood fell upon the snowy white fabric of her gown and she said aloud, sighing, “I wish I had a daughter with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as night.” And because wishes really do come true, nine months later she gave birth to a little girl who she named, Snow White. As you can imagine, the king was not happy with the name the queen chose, wanting to name the princess after his mother, or even her mother, even his nanny, but the queen stood firm…well, that is, she did until she died after giving birth to Snow White. The grieving king briefly considered naming the child Anna, for his dead queen, but he knew her dying wish, so Snow White it was.
Finding life as a single parent quite trying despite a castle full of help, the king remarried within the year. He brought home his new beautiful queen and settled down to life as a family of three (plus 127 servants, 24 horses, 10 dogs and 6 cats).
Snow White had a happy childhood, spent largely in the company of the many servants and pets. She was sweet and kind and much beloved by all. Well, mostly all. The queen was fairly indifferent to her for most of Snow White’s childhood and the king, though he loved her dearly, really didn’t have much use for a daughter. Now a son, that would have been ideal. They could ride horses, go hunting, read history books. What did he know about embroidering and other such womanly tasks? Alas, neither of his queens provided him with a son and heir…
And the queen? Well, she was more interested in herself and the study of alchemy, than raising a child. Little did the king know her apparent barrenness was intentional. The idea of seeing her belly distended with child was anathema to her. Every day, she closeted herself in her secret chamber where she made potions – some of which actually worked hence her childless state, and asked a mirror of gilded frame, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” And she heard, “You are, my queen.” What? Yep, she heard it. I did not say, the mirror replied. The queen was certifiable. When was the last time a mirror talked to you? (If you actually answer that, might I suggest therapy?)
Anyway, all was going along quite well despite the queen’s questionable mental state (perhaps brought on by ingesting myriad concoctions to keep her young and childless…or simple narcissism), until the day her “mirror” told her that Snow White was the fairest in the land…it didn’t take a “magic” mirror to recognize the untold beauty of the kind, young princess. What to do, what to do? Ah! Get the huntsman to cut out her lungs and liver! Of course! (I know you’ve heard it was the heart, but my sources are impeccable, and it was the lungs and liver she requested.) And if you didn’t think she was not quite right in the mind before, I do hope that we are on the same page now.
So, the queen orders the huntsman to take Snow White to the forest and return with her lungs and liver. The huntsman is not one to just follow orders, but he also doesn’t want to be on the wrong end of the queen’s psychosis, so he sends Snow White off into the woods to fend for herself and brings to the queen the lungs and liver of a boar.
Not one to be hoodwinked, the queen notes that the huntsman doesn’t look her in the eye so it’s no surprise when the “magic” mirror tells her Snow White is still the most beautiful in the land. (The huntsman was found later that night by one of the grooms. Hisheart had been removed. So, there was heart removal to the story. Just not Snow White’s.)
As for Snow White, she slept on the forest floor that night and when she awakened in the morning, she was surrounded by seven men, who we have come to know as the Seven Dwarves. The thing is, they weren’t actually dwarves. It’s just that, in addition to being beautiful of face and hair, Snow White was quite the Amazon. She could have done runway modeling, no problem. But to her, they were little men, so when she told the story later on, they became the seven dwarves.
Anyway, the seven dwarves took pity on the beautiful goddess at their feet and took her to their home to care for them. I mean to care for her. Right. She took one look at the pigsty they called home and shooed them out while she cleaned. They went off to work in the mines and when they returned it was to a clean home and a hot meal. Bliss. Snow White was sound asleep curled up on a rug by the fire (all the beds were too small for her). Of course, after dinner, they joined her there on the floor rather than make her sleep alone in a strange place…
Well, this story is getting a little long so we’ll cut to the chase: The queen was not pleased that Snow White was still living somewhere in the kingdom. She sent out spies (no, it was not the “magic” mirror that told her) and found out that she was living in the forest with seven men. (What? Whore, she screamed to no one in particular.) She used her “magic” powers and created various poisons to kill her off, and on her third try (the dwarves foiled her plans the first two times), was finally successful with a poisoned apple.
The poor dwarves were bereft. (Who would take care of them now?) They lay her to rest in a glass coffin so that they could gaze upon her beauty (as her body decayed???) Lo and behold, not two days later, a prince from a neighboring kingdom happened to be hunting in the very same forest where Snow White lay. He ordered his grooms to carry the beautiful woman in the glass case to his castle. Needless to say, no easy task given her size and one of the grooms dropped his end. And a good thing it was: it wasn’t poison that kept Snow White in the death-like state. It was a piece of apple lodged in her throat. Being dropped knocked it out and she awakened. The prince knelt beside her amongst the broken glass and begged her to marry him (which would join the two kingdoms and make him the richest, most powerful king). Of course, she said yes.
The prince, knowing what the wicked queen had done, invited her to the wedding feast. For her attempt to murder his beloved, Snow White, he ordered her to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she dropped dead. Um, what? Yep. Red-hot iron shoes. I kid you not.
And they lived happily, ever after…