Two people, a man, and a woman, were deep in the woods, running aimlessly. Sounds of the blaring sirens were still in the distance, but the despicable duo had long since abandoned their weapons in the hopes of diverting the authorities from conducting further research into their whereabouts. They were deep in the woods when the sirens faded. The two breathed a sigh of relief.
"You nearly got us caught, Gretel," the man grunted. He rubbed some of the sweat accumulating from his forehead with the back of his hand.
The woman, named Gretel, scolded her partner's shortness of breath. "Well, if someone didn't leave me behind to cut up the evidence, we'd be gone before the neighbors alerted the cops about the old crone's screaming."
Hansel and Gretel were a pair of misfits notorious for their criminal records. They were born into poverty to an impoverished shoemaker and wife. They also had a frail grandmother whom they were subsequently raised under when their parents succumbed to illness. The two constantly found themselves committing mischievous acts to alleviate their boredom like pelting woodland animals with rocks or digging deep holes to trap them inside and leave them for dead. One of their tricks resulted in the death of their grandmother. To hide the evidence of wrongdoing, they hacked her body to pieces and fed it to the chickens.
Hansel looked down at the ground, a burlap sack was beside him. Reaching into it, Hansel pulled a string of pearls from it alongside golden earrings and other jewelry. "We really hit it big, sister."
Gretel nodded. "After about 11 hits, we are on our way to being loaded for life!"
The two found themselves at the center of a string of murders each one worse than the last. Inspired in part because of their poverty, Hansel and Gretel preyed on elderly women they assumed were better off and stalk them before isolating them and hacking them to pieces to leave for the birds. By the time they were finishing up on killing their latest elderly woman, the flaring red lights and sirens indicated to them that the authorities were on them.
Gretel reached into the burlap sack helping herself to the riches they had acquired. She slapped bracelets onto her arms while additionally jamming rings and coins into her pockets. Hansel took out a few necklaces and slipped them around his bony neck. They were so enraptured by their wealth, they almost failed to realize that the sun was beginning to go down.
"What are we going to do now, Hansel?" Gretel asked. "We can't spend all night out in the woods."
Hansel looked at the diminishing sun then back at his sister. Clearly, she was right, but all they saw was the endless array of trees. The siblings gathered their riches and shoved them back into the sack. If they did not act fast, they'd be left as sitting ducks at the mercy of nature. They trudged along against the clock finding a place to stay for the night. Even something as little as a cave would suffice for the siblings.
"We've been traveling for an awfully long time," Hansel groaned. His stomach growled in anguish. "The food we've stolen from the old bat is already running thin."
"Cheer up, brother," Gretel responded, "I'm sure we're just bound to find something."
Unbeknownst to him, Gretel had grabbed a knife from the house they had stolen from hours ago and had it placed in a pocket; she withdrew it and brandished it, contemplating deeply on her next move. Before she could finalize her plan, Hansel stopped suddenly.
"Hansel? What's wrong?"
She quickly hid the knife away when he turned to look at her. He didn't immediately respond; instead, he sniffed aggressively at the air. Gretel was confused at first but shrugged. Hansel began to walk into the directions of some brushes. "Wait, hang on for me!" Gretel shouted whilst grabbing the burlap sack.
Hansel followed the scent with his nose until finally, the two come upon a house in the woods. Hansel's eyes widened as his mouth salivated for on the windowsill was a fresh pie being left to cool. He wasted little time to charge at the opportunity regardless of Gretel's screams of protest. His fingers hungrily dug into the pie, and he tore a large chunk out of it. He was going to reach for a second helping when a voice rung out.
"Who are you and what are you doing to my pie?"
Gretel and Hansel stood there still as statues. The front door was open and out of it came an old woman. She was an ancient-looking woman as old as the woods itself yet on her neck was a golden necklace. Gretel looked at it covertly. The woman spoke again in noticeable irritation undoubtedly at having her pie getting ravished.
"That man over there is my brother Hansel," Gretel answered, "and I'm Gretel."
The old woman looked at them in suspicion. Sweat beat down the siblings' foreheads at the slightest hint that the woman knew who they were or let alone correctly guessed that they were shady. A wave of relief washed over the two when the woman smiled at them. "Well, come in; there's more food for you as well as a place to stay for the night."
The two looked at each other while trying to stifle a shrill laugh at the seeming stupidity of the woman. As they entered the house, she directed them to the dining table where large amounts of food were arrayed on the flat surface. The old woman must've heard them a yard away because there wouldn't have been enough time to prepare the dishes. The two siblings started to tear into the plates of food while the elderly woman stood by. Gretel's eyes couldn't help but marvel at the necklace the woman possessed.
"It was passed down from my grandmother to me," the elderly woman explained. Night soon approached and the elderly woman bids the two siblings goodnight. She leaned on her cane to maintain her upright position.
Hansel and Gretel were alone in the dining room. Gretel's mind was still set on the necklace. Hansel didn't have to reply as he also was anticipating what she was scheming. The plan was struck. They would sneak into the woman's room and strangle her to death. When the deed was done, they would collect her necklace and possibly steal any other valuables off her before they escape into the woods.
Like mice, they slid into the woman's room. The woman was sleeping on her back and snoring deeply. Hansel walked to the head of the bed while Gretel closed the door. At the count of three, Hansel grabbed the old woman by her neck firmly wrapping his fingers around her leathery neck. The woman's eyes shot open as she glared at her attacker. Hansel tightened his grip around her neck, crudely smiling as he felt her struggles weaken.
The woman suddenly became limp. Gretel walked over to the bed and pried the necklace off her neck. "We did it, Hansel!"
The two quickly left the room. Before closing the door again, Gretel looked back at the bed to admire her work. The two celebrated their latest steal as well as the fact that they just sacked a dozen victims. They laughed maniacally at each other before deciding that it was time for them to make their grand escape. Hansel looked around the house for more valuables when a thought came into his mind: while he was busy finishing the woman off, he placed the burlap sack on the ground in the dining room. He raced back into the room only to find that the sack was gone.
"What is it now, brother?" Gretel asked.
"Our riches! They're gone!"
Gretel's eyes widened in shock. She also looked around the dining room and under the table and in the cupboards. The sack was nowhere to be found. Gretel's eyes glazed over in anger. She reached for her knife and pointed it close to her brother. Her brother held his arms up for mercy.
"You stole the bag, haven't you?" she asked.
Hansel whimpered. "No, I didn't! I-I swear."
The knife's blade came dangerously close to his Adam's apple. "You said that we were going to split the old bat's wealth 50/50; I should've known that you'd weasel your way out of this deal."
A wave of anger bubbled from the frightened Hansel. He grabbed the knife by its blade and drove it into Gretel's hand despite his keeling over in excruciation. Gretel grunted in pain as she kicked her brother on the floor and towered over him with the knife. She drove it into his abdomen without hesitation. Hansel yelled and rolled over on his side to knock his sister off. She swung at him again with the knife only for him to stop the speed of it by holding his arm up. He winced in anguish at the sickening sound of the blade piercing his flesh.
"I should've pushed you down a well a long time ago," Gretel hissed.
She readied her weapon again this time singling his chest cavity. Before the blade was plunged into him, there came a rumbling from another room. Gretel's bout of anger dissipated. Hansel's squirming ceased when he too heard the peculiar noise. Gretel stood up directing the knife towards a door. Hansel struggled to get up, and once he was, he walked towards the door as well. The door was ancient-looking being crafted from thick oak. It emitted a mysterious aura.
Gretel, her curiosity overpowering her, opened the door. The further the two siblings walked; they were immersed in darkness until they reached a certain point from which a loud clicking sound filled the room. Hansel, panicking, looked at the door to feebly run out, but the door was gone, and with it disappeared any kind of light.
"We're trapped!" Hansel whimpered, "we're trapped, what are we going to do!?"
Gretel slapped her brother and rubbed her temples. She walked straightly hitting something metallic. "Ow! What's…what is this?"
"That would be a metal cage, my dearie."
Hansel and Gretel turned their attention towards the sound of the sudden voice. As if on cue, the lights came back on, revealing the elderly woman. Hansel's eyes reacted in shock. "But I felt your life slipping between my fingers! How…!"
She laughed. "The necklace I told you two about earlier is enchanted."
Gretel looked at her in a puzzlingly. "You knew who we were?"
"The necklace bestows upon the user the ability to see people's deepest desires and their sins," the old woman explained, "you and your brother are the most sinful people I have ever had the misfortune of meeting."
"How did you survive?" Hansel asked. He was starting to freak out more than when Gretel intimidated him with the knife.
"When my necklace revealed your evil, I anticipated that your sister would kill me to acquire it. I knew that once you'd be done with me, you'd try to go on your merry way. So, I stole your sack of treasures to keep you here long enough that your sister would suspect that you stole it, and she'd kill you in her anger."
"But where does this cage come in?" Gretel asked. She tried to pry two bars apart to no avail.
"Oh, dear, when you get as old as I am, you'll always have a secondary plan to fall back on: if that failed, I would use my powers to conjure a door to lead you to a trap."
Hansel pushed against the bars in desperation. "Please! Take my sister instead of me! If you let me go, I won't tell anyone what you've done if you just! -"
The woman held her pointing finger up in front of her lips. "You're going to make your meat too loose if you keep up at that."
The next day, the woman was whistling to herself as she was removing a tray of cookies from her oven. She walked over to the windowsill to allow them to cool. As she was dragging a large sack across the floor, she noticed two children outside. She opened her door and looked out.
"Why are you children in my woods?"
It was a boy and a girl. "Our stepmom left us out here; said something about her and Daddy being unable to take care of us."
The woman scratched her chin as if deep in thought. She told the two children to wait and returned inside. She shuffled around for a few minutes before returning. The children's eyes lit up in excitement. In the woman's hands were several golden rings, necklaces, and other jewelry. She bent down and presented the children with them.
"I'm sure that this will be more than enough to cover their problems; go and tell your father to exchange these valuables for money."
The boy shook his head happily. As they turned to leave, the woman called out to them again, offering them some of the cookies she had just made. They reacted pleasurably from the buttery taste of the sweets as the sugar melted on their tongues.
"Wow, these are great, lady," the girl said. "What's in them?"
The woman chuckled. "That's a secret, sweetie. Now you two run along."
When the children were far from sight, the woman hummed to herself as she resumed her pull of the heavy bag, taking it to the back of her house to bury.
"Was that door there before?" she asked.
"I don't think so. Do you think the bag is in there?" he inquired.