Gretel and Hansel are two poor children living in the midst of a busy, dark and dangerous city. They live with their father and their stepmother, who has nothing but contempt for them. So when she takes them out for a family outing, the two children know that something's amiss.
A subversive take on the traditional Grimm brothers' story.
There were a lot of things in Emergan that could wake you up in the middle of the cold, snowy night. If it wasn’t a police siren or gunfire, it was the soft, graceful shattering of distant glass or the sound of squealing tires close by. Tonight, though, it was the sound of their parents arguing that woke fourteen year-old twins Hansel and Gretel from a deep slumber.
“We don’t have a choice!” They heard their stepmother yell. “We’ve barely got enough food for us until our next pay check, yet alone enough for two hungry kids!”
Since three nights ago, their hot water system had gone, cut by the gas company until they payed up. Right now, they were in danger of losing their electricity and with it, their television, their only means of escape from their lives.
“I’m not too sure about your idea,” their father responded, raising Hansel and Gretel’s hopes. “I’d feel guilty, dumping them at the train station.”
Their stepmother sighed.
“You don’t have to dump them at the station, just lock the doors to the house so they can’t get in after school. It’ll have the same result.”
To their horror, their father agreed.
“I … I suppose that’ll be fine.”
“Of course it is,” their stepmother assured him.
At this, Hansel began to sob silently. Their father was a nice enough man, but their stepmother seemed to have this unnatural hold over him. Whether it was because she earned far more than him, or if it was some other sinister reason, the twins had no idea.
Gretel moved to comfort him. “It’s okay Hansel. I’ll figure something out.”