It’s my pleasure to thank Priceless Joy for this photo prompted Flash Fiction challenge (75 – 175 words). And a big thanks to Vanessa Rodriguez for the second photo. This is a continuation from last week’s prompt, but both pieces can be read as standalones.
I Can Fix This . . . (Hansel’s POV)
I’d truly believed life would only get better when Gretel and I returned to our cottage with the witch’s fortune and found our wicked stepmother had passed away. But our papa wasn’t the same man we’d known.
One week, two weeks tops. That was how long I was giving the brute to drink and gamble the last of our pearls and stones. Gretel tried to convince me that things would get better someday. She’d even had the nerve to whisper that when Papa threw us down into the cellar and locked us in the darkness. She could lie to herself, but I’d sensed that she’d finally given up hope, too. We should’ve left a long time ago. It was my fault we hadn’t. That’s why I have to fix this. That’s why I have to kill Papa.
What’s Eating Hansel? . . . (A time skip to Alice’s POV)
Hansel would come downstairs the day Gretel assigned me to towel duty. Blushing, I managed another sloppy folding as Hansel limped onto the stool on the opposite side of the counter.
That nasty wound on his forehead still looked red and swollen.
It’d been a blessing when these siblings moved into my neighborhood and needed any help they could get. But they were strange. Unworldly. Too secretive.
“Y’re doing it wrong,” Hansel croaked.
I gaped. I’d never heard him speak before.
“Are you that incompetent?”
My lip curled. I opened my mouth but then noticed Gretel hanging in the doorway, wide-eyed.
Hansel frowned and looked over. His expression fell flat.
He pushed off the stool and headed for the stairs, gripping the edge of the counter, then the stair rail for balance.
Gretel followed him, whispering fiercely. He jerked away from her and stumbled a step. Gretel gasped and caught his elbow.
No “thank you.” The jerk just yanked his arm from her hold and glared.
I rolled my eyes when he slammed his bedroom door like a child.