The further adventures of Hansel and Gretel
| Do you ever wonder what happened to Hansel and Gretel after the witch died? They didn't become witch hunters, but something curious did happen. When the witch's body was committed to the flames of the oven, she passed her magical powers onto Hansel and Gretel. It wasn't the only thing they acquired. The witch had thick tomes filled with magical recipes.
The pair of young german teens came up with a plan. One that ensured they wouldn't have to return to their idiot father and murderous stepmother. They moved to Frankfurt and started a bakery. People came for miles around for the tiniest of crumbs of their baked treats.
Hansel loved their business and rose every morning to greet the day with a smile and a fresh batch of bread and muffins. The blacksmith's daughter Brunhilda fancied him, and her father approved of the match. Life was good for Hansel.
The magic changed Gretel. It stole her ability to have children and filled the teen with a deep desire to see how powerful the magic could become. She had something for everyone. From love potion infused muffins for the unrequited, anti-aging lemon tarts for those in their golden years, and ginger warriors designed to increase battle prowess.
Hansel was a little jealous of Gretel. His baked goods only brought people through the door, but they stayed for Gretel's magic delights. Like all good things, the shop wasn't long for this world. The Witch Hunts began.
An incident with an escape gingerbread man brought the Grand Inquisitor to their front door. He searched for magical ingredients, tested pastries for charms, scoured recipe books for spells, and found nothing to incriminate the pair. He promised to keep a close eye on them.
"We are so lucky he didn't look beneath the floorboards, or we would be the ones cooking on a stake in the town square," Hansel said as he peered through the window. "The Grand Inquisitor will never stop until he proves our guilt. We have to move."
Gretel shook her head, "Where are we going to go? Isn't leaving an admission of our guilt?" She asked.
Hansel pulled on his thinning hair, "Ms. Pumice was burned for making a simple healing tonic for the carpenter's arthritis. Your need to experiment with magic will get us caught, sister of mine."
"What of the Blacksmiths daughter? She will be heartbroken if you leave." Gretel said.
The magic baker loved Brunhilda, almost as much as his sister. After everything he and his twin sister had been through, he couldn't leave her alone. "She will die for being associated with us. They'd try us for starting a coven with intent to curse."
Gretel looked through her spellbooks for a solution. Her brother had worked hard to build his life from the ashes of their old one. "He shouldn't lose everything because of my mistake. She felt her brother's hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry, brother. I should have been more careful."
Hansel sat next to her. "The move was inevitable. We haven't aged since the witch died, sooner or later, people would start asking all sorts of questions. Which means there is time to build a good life elsewhere."
The pair fled to New York and set up shop in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. The bakery's fame spread quickly, and soon Hansel and Gretel found their coffers overflowing and an ever-expanding client base.
Then in the year 2010, something peculiar happened. Hansel woke up one morning and found the computer logged into a web site called thenibble.com on a page with the history of biscotti. As a baker, Hansel gave it a read. "Biscotti was carried by the Roman legions because of its long shelf life. Biscotti means twice baked, or twice-cooked, and is the secret to its longevity. Italian Chefs believe Vin Santo and Biscotti are the perfect way to end a meal."
Hansel didn't think anything of it. Gretel was probably looking to add it to the menu. When he reached the kitchen table, Gretel was staring at the tablecloth with a listless expression. Hansel waved his hand in front of her eyes, nothing. He tapped and shook her, nothing.
His eyes were grabbed from their sockets by a newspaper headline that read, "The Biscotti Strangler Is At large."
"Police have linked four murders in four different precincts, to one killer. The victims were all felons awaiting trial. They were found dead in their homes with stomachs bursting with biscotti and strangled with a tie."
"Did we do this?" Hansel asked.
"I'm not sure I found a few spellbooks out in the open the other day. The website made me question a thing or two." It was a relief to hear Gretel speak.
"Yeah, it was interesting until I saw the headline."
"What do you want to do?"
Hansel took a moment to contemplate the problem. "What's your theory?"
"I'm worried our magic is involved. We still don't know the full extent of our power. We could be accidentally using it in our sleep..." Gretel put her face in her hands. "I am never going to sleep again."
Gretel had a point. Hansel never liked the witch's power. It came from evil and therefore was evil by design. He never considered the power could connect with his dark thoughts while he slept. The prospect chilled the bone and rattled the mind.
"I have an idea. We will set up cameras around our home and above our beds. One way or another, we will get to the bottom of this," Hansel said.
So the pair closed the bakery for the day to solve their problem. "Hansel, what are we going to do if it isn't us?" Gretel asked as she wired up a camera and pointed it at her bed.
Hansel's hands clicked and clacked over the keys. "We have eyes in your room now." He said in a happy tone. "We should deal with our problem first, and we'll save the world later."
The twins were exhausted by the end of the day. Sleep came to them like an old friend waiting with a warm hug. Hansel fell into its gentle embrace. He awoke the next morning refreshed and rested. He walked out to the computer, Gretel was there going through the footage.
"Sorry, I woke up early. I had to know it wasn't us. I found something, take a look." Gretel zoomed in on the floor, and a gingerbread man scuttled across the floor.
"Isn't that the one who got us burned in Frankfurt? I thought the fox killed him," Hansel said. "What spellbook was he looking at?"
Gretel left the room and returned with a couple of books. One was titled, "The pastry Golem and You, the do's and don'ts." She sniffed the pages and caught the scent of gingerbread near the tomes center.
Gretel took a few moments to read the page, "Listen to this. Your pastry golem may try to transcend his physical form by becoming a witch. The pastry must kill seven evil beings by the seventh day of the seventh month, and then kill its creator by the ninth day."
"In our case, it is the creators plural. I mixed the dough on those batches." Hansel said.
"Nine victims by the ninth day I shudder to think what that dastardly delectable is doing. Did you find anything in the other books?" Gretel asked.
The old dusty tome hit the designer coffee table, "One page was torn out of breaking culinary enchantments. My guess is how to disenchant pastry golems. I will assume he's done the same with the other book."
Hansel paged through another leatherbound volume. He found cookie crumbs on a page marked, to create endless hunger. "This spell can be used on any food, why biscotti?"
"Biscotti is a type of unleavened bread...didn't we use bread crumbs to try and find our way back to dad?" Gretel asked.
The book clattered against the wall of the house, and Hansel stood in place seething with rage. "He's messing with us. We have to get ahead of him."
"Which would be great if we knew how to disenchant him," Gretel said. "We need to find another book on disenchanting."
Hansel looked at the calendar "Less than a week, till the ninth. Given how old we are, and the books probably predate the Ginger Witch, we may be looking at an impossible task."
"Maybe if we poked around a Hungarian neighborhood, we could find someone versed in magic. We can't be the only witches on earth," Gretel suggested.
The pair went to see a genuine gypsy magic practitioner. "What brings you two into Madame Ivette's humble place of business?"
Hansel rubbed the back of his neck and laughed nervously. "You don't happen to have a book on pastry golems or a spell to stop one, do you?" He asked.
Madame Ivette looked at Gretel. "I need the whole story to help you."
Gretel told their tale with conviction. Ivette was captivated by it. "So our spicy friend is going for the big prize. We want to stop him before he gets any further."
Madame Ivette looked around and reached under the table with the crystal ball and pulled out a battered leather book. "Sometimes standard spells don't work and you have to cobble spell..."
"Cobble spell?" Hansel asked.
Madame Ivette shook her head. "You are the worst witches I ever met." She took a deep breath and said, "A cobble spell is mixed and matched spells put together to accomplish a specific task."
"Like ingredients to a recipe?" Gretel asked.
"Yes," Madame Ivette said. "We must first consider the magic we are trying to dispel. In this case, its a gingerbread golem bent on becoming a witch. As you both know, its sustained by an enchantment baked into the dough. Which means?" Madame Ivette pointed to Hansel.
Hansel sputtered and went red in the face, "Our cobble spell has to include a disenchantment?"
"Yes, but a disenchant may not be enough. Your gingerbread man knows how to read magic. Chances are he knows how to use it as well. Your cobble spell should include some ward removal," Madame Ivette said. She looked at both of them the way a teacher does their students.
"Will our spell, need to be baked into a recipe because the original spell was?" Gretel asked, her face lit up with hope.
Ivette paused for a moment, "No. Your gingerbread man isn't eating his victims, but he is stuffing them to death. Do you know why he is choking them? Never mind it doesn't matter in the end."
Hansel rubbed his chin and scratched his head. "What if we made the biscotti this time?"
Gretel glared at her brother. "We are trying to stop it, not encourage it's killing spree."
Hansel chuckled and laid out his idea for the other two in attendance. Madame Ivette gave Hansel a look of approval. "A mixture of the modern and the ancient blended deliciously. Can I help?"
The gingerbread man returned to make his biscotti. He was surprised to find it premade and ready to go. Hansel and Gretel watched it on camera. "He's hesitating. I don't think he is going to go for it," Gretel said.
"Have patience, sister. Let's hope his need to complete his ritual is more important than the baking." Hansel felt confident the gingerbread man would take the bait.
The gingerbread man took the biscotti in the end. Hansel turned on the GPS tracker. "This should make it easy to find."
They followed the signal to a Judge's house. The gingerbread man had the former lawyer tied to a chair. A long pastry knife to the judge's throat ready to strike. "Eat as fast as you can. You can't prove it was me, because I'm a gingerbread man."
The judge took a bite of the biscotti, and thanks to Hansel and Gretel's plan, he felt full and couldn't eat another bite. "No, your death has to be by pastry, or the magic won't work."
"Thankfully, our magic does," Gretel said. "Run, run, as fast as you can. None can escape fate, little gingerbread man. May your buttons melt like chocolate cooked on high, and your icing is left cracked and dry. May you find your place in the deepest pits of hell, as your end comes with the end of this spell." She chanted the cobble spell at the end of her verse.
There was a bright flash, and murderous treat blew apart on the spot. Never was the gingerbread man to threaten a life again.
What happened to Hansel and Gretel? Well, they got a call from Simple Simon, who met an evil pieman, who accepted souls for his wares. They left the bakery behind and spent the rest of their lives chasing evil magical confectioners. And they lived Adventurously After