Lost in the Woods

~ A short story ~

Finally, Wanda spots her potential meal, her first after a century. She is pretty lucky for there’s not only one but two human beings walking towards her house. Wanda grins then licks the window pane. She spits in disgust after tasting the thick dust and wonders what happened to her home.

‘Every part of my house is supposedly edible,’ she says in her wicked, hinge-like voice. She looks around the house and remembers that this is not her ginger-bread house anymore.

‘But never mind, I think I will have a really nice meal today,’ she says as she rubs her palms and her tongue licks her upper lip. She quickly heads out and stands beside the two human beings. But the two human beings, a slim teenage girl with blond hair on braids and a younger plump boy, are shouting at each other. They couldn’t care less about Wanda.

‘Ehe ehem.’ Wanda fakes her cough. The two look at a strange old granny with huge eyes and a crooked nose and then go back to their fight.

‘Who told you to keep watching Tiktok all day? And whose phone we cannot use to call mom ’cause the battery’s dead?’ asks the boy.

‘And look, who’s talking? Who told you to play video games all day? The girl asks him back.

Wanda could not understand what they are fighting about. All she knows is she is starving. It’s been a hundred years since she last feasted on a fat, fat boy. The bickering goes on until Wanda could not take it anymore.

‘Oh shut up, you two! What are you fighting about?’

Silence covered the thick forest. But it only took ten seconds before the girl, and the boy starts screaming at each other again.

‘It’s your idea to camp in the woods. It’s your idea to wander. Now we are stuck here, both our phones without battery, we couldn’t use GoogleMaps so how do you think we’re going to find our way home?’

The boy could not answer because he doesn’t know what else to say, so he just rolls his eyes instead.

Wanda thinks that these kids are dumb. Didn’t they think about dropping pebbles on the way here so they can look at them to find their way home? But their dumbness isn’t her problem. Her problem is her growling stomach. And she is already losing her calm, but she pretends to be friendly, so she could take her prey into her house.

‘Look, if you don’t know your way home, stay inside the house first until your parents find you,’ Wanda says in the gentlest way she could. ‘It’s getting dark out there.’ It really is getting really dark and spooky. Imagine there’s just the three of them in the middle of that forest? 

‘Can we charge our phones?’ the girl asks.

Wanda does not know what a phone is. ‘Why don’t you come inside first and have something to drink?’

She opens the door and motions her hand for the two to get in. Once all of them are in, she locks the door behind her.

‘Granny, why is your house so dark? Why don’t you switch on the lights?’ asks the boy.

‘Here, I will light a candle.’

‘Don’t you have electricity here?’ asks the girl. Now, Wanda does not know what electricity is.

‘How can I charge my phone?’

‘Don’t you have a fridge? I want cold water.’

‘Can you turn on the air-conditioning? It’s too humid.’

She is really losing her patience already.

‘Shut up, you two! You are my meal,’ she pointed to the boy. ‘And you are my slave!’ she pointed to the girl. ‘Get into that cage at the yard!’ she pointed her finger to the boy once again.

‘Excuse me, granny, we are in a free country. Slavery is illegal.’ The girl crosses her arms and rolls her eyes.

‘And I’m not your meal; that’s too gross of a joke, granny. I have my rights as a human. Can’t do that to me.’ The boy says as he slumps into the sofa and thick dust hovers into the air, and the boy starts sneezing.

‘And you can’t put me to jail without a warrant of arrest, granny,’ the boy says between the sneezes.

‘Granny, do you have something to eat? We’re hungry.’ The girl asks.

Wanda grins a devilish grin and thinks that finally, this is her chance. She’ll feed them and make them fat. And once they are both asleep, take them to the oven and bake them. She drools. She can already taste human meat, that crispy skin once roasted, and that juicy belly fat. She could not wait anymore. It took her a hundred years before she was able to get out of that lamp, and that’s all by luck when burglars came into this unmanned house, took all items they thought valuable but dropped the lamp on their way out. The lamp hit the floor, and the lid flew a few meters away. That’s what set Wanda free.

She takes out the cookies she baked while waiting for her prey, puts them on a platter, and brings them to the two.

‘Is this gluten-free?’ The boy asks. ‘Can’t eat it if it’s not.’

‘Does this have oats?’ The girl asks. ‘Can’t eat it if it doesn’t have.’

Once again, Wanda is lost. Are they speaking the same language?

Yes, she thinks so. But why can’t she understand them? She retreats into the kitchen and tries to put her apple pies onto a platter when she hears a ruckus from the living room.

She squints at the brightness of the room.

The girl was screaming when that thin brick on her hand glows. ‘Granny, why didn’t you tell us you have electricity here?’

Wanda thinks, why would she tell when she does not even know?

‘Give me my charger,’ the boy says in a trembling voice. He is about to cry.

‘For what? So you could charge and start playing? It’s more important for me to switch on the location to know where we are so I could call mom and ask her to pick us up.’

‘At least let me charge a bit,’ asks the boy one more time in a trembling voice.

‘For one, you didn’t even tell me that you had your charger with you, so shut up and let me charge until I have enough battery to call mom.’ The girl is really good at yelling.

Before Wanda could even think of a new strategy to entice her prey to eat her sweets, make them fat and turn them into a meal, she hears some noise outside. Those noises are screeching tires coming from three cars, two with sirens. Of course, Wanda does not know those sounds, and once again, she does not understand what is going on. There are loud knocks on the door, and a woman’s voice calls out.

‘Hans! Greta! Are you in there?’

‘Mom! We are here!’ Screams the girl who is really good at yelling. ‘Granny, open the door!’

Wanda is in immense confusion. Why are there people outside? What’s all the noise and bright red lights? What’s going on? Are these people outside going to burn her alive? At least they should let her have a good meal before burning her.

She looks around and searches for the lamp. She never believed in God, but she suddenly utters a prayer. ‘Please put me back inside the lamp. Please.’

***

If you are still here, thanks for reading my short story. This was written for the prompt: Write a fairy tale about an outsider trying to fit in.

I figured out, I am quite fast at writing funny and stupid stories.

If you haven’t figured out, this is a retelling of the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel with the addition of the magic lamp from Aladdin. Aysabaw version. You can see it’s so sabaw.

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