|Happily Ever After
Author: Kity92 PM
In a town by a huge dark forest, three children each set on their own journey getting drawn into an adventure and find themselves facing a whole different world of fairytale characters and discover a secret about the missing children years ago and why they were mysteriously drawn into the forest. Each child leans about fairness and how things are not always what they seem.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 10 - Words: 27,497 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 06-30-12 - Published: 03-20-12 - id: 3006883
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Outside Maplewood, A Moment Later
As Jane's grandmother stepped through the gate, there was a sense of silence that she brought with her. It was almost like she knew how to make an entrance without even trying. She wasn't exactly a very attractive person for her hair was put in one small braid that ran down her back and she wore a brown hat that made her look like a cowboy from a John Wayne film. Her face had no unique expression except that solemn look that she wore.
For a surprisingly strong woman, she wasn't very big. She couldn't have been taller than five feet and for the amount of wrinkles that were on her face didn't stop her from acting younger than what she actually was. There was something about Jane's grandmother that was different from what she had seen in the other people in town. She had a different mannerism and acted more in touch with the wilderness than some of the other people she knew. It was almost like she and the forest became one within the other.
Her wild hair and dirt-covered clothing looked like they haven't been washed in weeks. Her boots looked like they have been worn for ages and she didn't bother getting a new pair. It was going to be new experience for Jane to leave from the safety of the village into the wild cottage in the middle of nowhere that her grandmother lived in.
When her grandmother stepped through the gates, her eyes immediately locked with Abigail's. For a moment they just starred at each other. They obviously knew each other better than Abigail had mentioned. There was something in that look that they gave each other that Jane couldn't quite read. They must have quarreled or something for they looked like they hated each other.
"Hello, Abigail," Jane's grandmother said to her.
"Good evening, Laura," Abigail responded coldly.
Laura? Where had she seen that name before? Jane couldn't remember off the top of her head but she knew that name sounded familiar. It was something that she recently saw while packing her trunk. The photographs! The two little girls in the picture were named Laura and Lydia. One of the girls in the picture must be her grandmother.
"Thank you for looking after her," her grandmother said lazily.
"Well, I couldn't put her out on the street now could I," responded Abigail.
"Hmm," she said and turned towards Jane. "Well, let me have a look at you."
She looked long and hard at Jane for the longest time. It was like she was remembering something long ago although she didn't say what. She had a look in her eyes that showed true age and how she can never gain back those years that she had lost. It was almost a kind of sadness that was hard to understand unless a person had gone through it first.
"Well, I can definitely tell that you are your mother's kin," her grandmother said. "Although you're a little plainer looking that she was, you still got her eyes. You're mother always did know how to make herself look attractive without trying."
Jane didn't know how to react to this. She knew she wasn't as pretty as her mother but she never really thought it was much of an issue for she always thought looks didn't matter much. She would rather be known for her kindness that she showed people and her brains rather than her looks. Her mother always did have an air about herself that made people like her that Jane never had. She had confidence and superiority that made people want to listen to her.
Then she remembered the girl in the picture who was plain looking and sad. She looked at her sister as though she were jealous and miserable that she could never compare to her. Suddenly Jane knew which person her grandmother was in the photo. Her sister must have been the beautiful blonde girl in the cloak. Jane and her grandmother must be more in the same than she thought for that is always how she felt about her mother. At least they have one thing in common.
"Well, girl, we best not stand here gawking," she said. "It'll be nightfall soon and we don't want to be caught out on the road in the dark. That is when the wolves like to come out. Come, I'll help you load your trunk."
Jane led her to her single carpetbag and she said, "Is that all you brought?"
"I just brought what I needed," Jane said. "Most of the furniture and stuff are being sold at the sale in order to pay for my mother's funeral. I hope that is alright?"
"Oh, no problem at all, girl," she said. "I just thought, you being your mother's daughter, would have brought more things than just a carpet bag and the clothes on your back. Your mother was always such an elegant young girl growing up. She had big dreams in big places. No, darling, this will be just fine."
So Jane helped her grandmother load the small carpet bag and they both got into the wagon and drove off. Before the gates closed, she turned back to wave goodbye to Abigail but she wasn't there anymore. She must have gotten tired of looking at the family reunion between her grandmother and herself. It made her feel sorry about ignoring her to visit with her grandmother. It probably wasn't easy for her to let go. She was very much the grandmother she had never had growing up before she met her real grandmother. She was probably felt betrayed by Jane who so warmly greeted her grandmother.
Once the wagon got turned around and started heading back down the road towards the forest, the gates immediately started closing and the image of Maplewood disappeared. It made Jane feel sad in a way. It will be a long time before she would see her hometown again but in another way she felt relief that she would be able to start a new life with her grandmother who she was just beginning to get to know.
Her grandmother seemed like a very quiet person but could be very crude when she wanted to be. She was very open and honest. Whatever came out of her mouth could not always be controlled. She said exactly what she pleased and didn't care how it looked to other people. Jane figured it was because she was use to living by herself all alone out in that drafty cabin. She never thought to watch what she said when nobody was there.
"So," her grandmother began, "do you have a fellow waiting for you back at Maplewood?"
Jane's face turned slightly pink for this was not usually a question she was asked from someone she just met.
"No," said Jane. "Most of the boys in my class have either left to join the army or already engaged."
She did not know why she was explaining herself. It wasn't like there weren't any boys to court. It was just that boys were often intimidated by her because of who her mother was. They felt that she was too good for them and that they could never meet her standards. And it wasn't like Jane would actually consider courting any one of those boys. They were childish and had their head too far up in the clouds. Jane won't ever get married at the rate she is going.
"Well, boys are a nuisance anyways, trust me," her grandmother said. "They'll sweet talk you and tell you you're the only one, but really all they mean is trouble. They'll fool around with your head and you'll end up broken hearted and alone. Men aren't good for anything except a couple good times and broken hearts."
That was an awful description about love. Jane figured that she was a feminist but to have her grandmother talk about love as if it didn't exist was depressing. She didn't exactly have very happy thoughts about the subject. Jane wondered what made her so.
"Were you ever in love, grandmother?"
She thought about this for a moment before saying, "Oh yes, many times."
"How did you meet grandfather?"
After she had asked that question, she knew she had asked a hard question that her grandmother didn't really want to talk about. What is with her family that they had to carry so many secrets? Family feuds, dark secrets…what was next?
"If you don't want to talk about it, I'll understand," said Jane.
"It was a long time ago," said her grandmother. "I was in London working in a tavern. He was in the marines during the First World War. He was only there for a few weeks before going back to the sea. He took me to a dance where a fell in love with him instantly. He was long gone before I realized I was pregnant with your mother and the last thing I heard about him was that he had gone to the States and has a wife and a child."
"That must have been hard for you," said Jane. "Sounds like our family is not exactly lucky when it comes to romance. My mother found her true love but he died five years later and yours ran away to sea."
Then Jane heard the slightest laugh from her grandmother and she said, "Yeah, I guess we don't."
Suddenly up by a small clearing, Jane saw a cabin that was surrounded by the grassy greenery of the forest and had a small barn in which her grandmother must have kept her horse and wagon in. There was also a stump where she chopped wood and a small garden where she must have planted her vegetables and the outhouse was just twenty feet from the cabin. Other than that, it was a very simple place to live. There was only the bare minimum that was needed to survive.
Jane could see why her grandmother seemed like she never aged. Time didn't mean much where she lived not like in Maplewood where everyone had a watch and had a set schedule that they had to meet. Here there was no arranged plans. Though it scared Jane a bit; a person could grow old here and not even know it. They could lose time so quickly without knowing it.
"Well, here is my…our lovely home," her grandmother said. "I'm going to go and put Dollie in her stall while you can go right ahead and go inside and wash up. I'll be with you in a second."
So Jane went right on in into the cabin. She was shocked by the sight she had just encountered. It was filthy. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned in years. There was a fireplace on one end of the wall, an iron stove in the corner, and a large wooden table in the middle surrounded by dusty chairs. A small bed lay on the other corner and a latter right next to the bed that led up to a small loft covered in hay.
"How do you like it?" her grandmother said, coming through the door carrying Jane's carpetbag. "By bed is in the corner. You can use the loft above as yours. Go ahead and get settled, dinner will be ready in an hour."
Jane took her luggage from her grandmother and started climbing up the latter. When she got to the top she saw a pillow and some folded up wool blankets in the corner. A small table with a pitcher and a bowl stood on the right by the window. Jane walked over to it and dug her hands into the bowl and washed her hands and face. The cool water felt good on her face and neck especially after the hard and stressful day that she had gone through.
After she was done refreshing her face with the water, she dried off her face and walked over to the pillow and blankets in the corner and began making her bed for the night. The bed wasn't very extravagant or anything particularly special but Jane was sure that it was the only thing that her grandmother could afford. After all, she was a guest here and she couldn't be too choosy.
Finally she heard her grandmother call her for dinner and she climbed back down to help her grandmother set the table. But when she got down there, she found that it was already done for her. She smelled bacon and eggs which was an odd thing to have for dinner but Jane figured that her grandmother was use to eating whatever she had and that happened to be bacon and eggs tonight. She had it set on the table and ready to eat.
"Come and get it while it's hot," her grandmother said and they both sat down by the table. "I know it's not much. I haven't been to town in ages. Maybe tomorrow you could go for me to get some supplies. That way you can see some of your friends as well."
"I would like that," Jane responded. "I felt like all this has happened so quick that I haven't been able to properly spend time with everyone. The funeral has worn me down a bit. It was a bit unexpected. I never expected my mother to die so soon."
"There are a lot of things in this world we never expect to happen but they do," her grandmother told her. "It is how you handle it that truly matters."
"I guess so," Jane said a little taken aback by her grandmother's advice. Most people just gave her a hug and told her everything was going to be alright but her grandmother just told her to get over it. This was definitely going to be a chance for her.
Once they finished their dinner, Jane helped her grandmother with the dishes and when they were done, they headed over to the fireplace and sat down on the cushioned chairs. The fire felt nice compared to the cool night air. After her grandmother added some more wood to the fire, the cabin became even warmer.
"How would you like to hear a story," she asked.
"I would like that very much," said Jane. "I haven't heard a story sense my mother was alive."
"Good," said her grandmother. "I have the perfect one."
After she sat back down on her chair and got comfortable, she began her story by saying, "Once upon a time, there were two children, a brother and sister, named Hans and
"I think I've heard this story before," said Jane. "Except the characters were Hansel and Gretel not…"
"Do you want to hear the story or not."
"Then be quiet."
Once upon a time there were two children, a brother and sister, named Hans and Retta. They were the most spoiled children in town. They loved candy and sweets and they would eat and eat until they couldn't eat no more. Their clothes were big and tight for them and their faces looked like an overly ripe tomato. Every single day they would go out and cause the town trouble. They were little terrors that destroyed property and loved playing pranks on people.
Even though they were very bad children, their parents gave them all the sweet they wanted. It was the only way they could keep them somewhat under control. But that didn't stop them from making their parent's lives miserable. Whenever they didn't get something they wanted, they'd black mail their parents into doing what they pleased. Their parents hated them and wanted nothing more than to get rid of them somehow.
One day their parents sent them off to school with just a loaf of bread for breakfast. Apparently they had a fight with their parents and they finally had enough. On their way to school they were devising a plan in order to get back at their parent when they looked into the forest and saw the loveliest house they have ever seen. It was made out of gingerbread and candy; just the house that they've always dreamed of.
They walked up to the house and were invited in by an old lady. When they walked, in the door immediately slammed shut behind them and they were never seen again.
When the story had ended, Jane was confused and stunned. She thought she felt a breeze crawl up her back but then she realized that she was trembling. That was no story of Hansel and Gretel that she had ever heard. It was darker and sinister. It sounded more like a campfire story than a harmless fairytale.
"How does it end?" Jane asked.
"That is the end," her grandmother told her. "As for now it is."
"What is that suppose to mean?"
"Enough questions for tonight," she said. "It's time for bed. We'll have to get up early tomorrow. I'm going to teach you how to do some of my chores for me tomorrow. I'm getting to old to everything by myself. Go on."
Jane got up from the chair and climbed up to the loft and went to her trunk. She dug up her nightgown and started taking off her skirt and then her blouse. After that she pulled her nightgown over her head and took her under garments off underneath her nightgown. Even though she was at least a good twenty miles away from Maplewood, she was still shy about taking off her underwear near an open window. She got into bed and lied down and she couldn't help but to think about the story that her grandmother just told her. Then she heard the sound of a wolf howl outside her window.
"That really was a horrible story," she said before she closed her eyes and tried desperately to go to sleep.
For those of you who are familiar with the Brothers Grimm, tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and such were not meant to be read to children. They were campfire stories that adults told each other to scare one another. That was what I was trying to do when the grandmother told Jane that story. Can you guess who Hans and Retta were? I think I made it pretty obvious.
Next up is Alice and she is in the middle of babysitting Margaret and she makes a wish that changes her life.