Hansel & Gretel – The Modern Version

A/N: This is an assignment that I had to write in grade 9, changing the character behaviour.

Once upon a time, around the times of level 5 water restrictions and solar panels in a suburb in the outer region of Brisbane, there were two children, Hansel & Gretel, whom lived with their very poor father and their step-mother.

Life was pretty much normal for the two siblings, however, lately, it was their step-mother who was destroying every bit of normality there was.

"Food! I must have food!" the step-mother screamed, in the midst of running around in circles and tearing her hair out. The woodchopper just wagged his finger at her, "No, dear. Remember what Jenny Craig said!" he reminded her.

"But…But…I want food!"

"Dear, if you want to loose that little bit round the stomach that you have been complaining to me about… Remember, it's all for the greater good."

"Duh, ever heard of 99 fat free?"

This stumped the woodsman; he scratched his head in consideration. "Well, I guess you're right then."

So the woodsman, grabbed his things and headed out into the woods to hunt for those 99 fat free goods, and yes…The step-mother assured him that they were in season.

However, every time the woodsman went out to find food, he always seemed to come back with logs. You see, every time he passed a tree while hunting, he couldn't resist the temptation to work on his axing skills and cut the tree down, he would then feel guilty that he had cut it down and wasn't going to use it, so he would take it home, his cart loaded up with logs, but no food.

Hansel was looking from his bedroom, which was at a safe distance away from his step-mother's ranting.

"Gret, Mum's going crazy again!" he complained to his older sister, Gretel. She was sitting on his bed, mobile phone in hand, listening to the person on the other line.

She then realised that Hansel was talking to her, so she removed the phone from her ear, "Sorry, Hans. I've just been on the phone to this guy who says that if I switch to a long distance carrier, I can save up to $100! How cool is that? And also…." She ranted on about this so called 'money saver carrier'.

Hansel ignored her, and turned back to the window that he spent most of his days looking out of.

"Hansel! Hansel! Are you listening to me?!" Gretel demanded.

Once again, Hansel ignored her comment, and said, "Gret, We've got to go out and get food!"

Gretel rolled her eyes, "We! Who said I was going with you?"

Hansel's eyes widened, "Gret, you know I…I…don't like the woods at night!"

Gretel rolled her eyes again, "Fine! I'll come with you! Only because I'm such a good sister…" it was Hansel's turn to roll his eyes at his snotty sister.

So, the pair left their house and began to look for food. Half an hour later, the sun had begun to set and with no luck finding food, Hansel had begun to worry.

"Hey Gret," he asked, looking around nervously, "What'll happen when we've found the food, I mean, how do we get our way back?"

Gretel reached into her pocket, and revealed her Samsung X-660. "Relax! I'll just call…No!" she let out a wail, tapping her fingers furiously at the phone's key pad.

Hansel's panic rose, "What is it?" he demanded.

"I've got no reception! Damn Telstra! Jasmine was right; I should've switched to Optus!" she moaned, then spun around to face her brother.

"It's all your fault!" she pointed a finger at his chest, poking him a few times.

"What!" Hansel exclaimed, shocked at his sister's claim.

"This was all your idea, to go out into the woods and go look for food! Your idea, not mine!" she continued.

"I'm sorry!" he exclaimed, "I'm sorry!"

At that moment, a thunderous sound could be heard, coming from the greyish skies.

Hansel let out a high pitched scream and ran behind Gretel, holding onto her back for dear life. Gretel shook his off, instantly.

"You're such a wimp! Get a grip of your self, NOT ME!" She then turned around and let out a surprised 'ah!" and pointed to a house that stood alone in the woods.

It had solar panels on every square inch of the house and the owner had installed a 12000 L water tank on the side. It basically looked like an environmentalist's dream house.

"Someone wants to save money, BADLY!" Gretel murmured under her breath, before grabbing at Hansel's hand and dragging him toward the house.

"GRET!" he let out a squeal, digging his heels in the dirt, "Haven't you heard of 'stranger danger'?"

Gretel shook her head in dismay, "Hansel, I'm a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, I go to the gym, I run 12kms per day and do light weights work, I think I would be able to handle it. In fact, I would probably scare the guy away!"

Suddenly; a devious, but frail voice interrupted them. "Ah hem."

Hansel screamed, and in his fright, attempted to jump into Gretel's arms.

"Get off me, you sissy!" she heaved him off and dumped him on the ground.

"Excuse me?" the strange voice asked again.

"What?" Gretel snapped, losing her temper. "Oh boy!" she added, looking down at the woman standing in front of them. She was a hunch-backed woman; she had a black pointed hat sitting on the few remaining strands of grey that was on her head. Her face was distorted, old, grey and bruised. The wart on her nose completed the look. She also held an old and tattered broom in her right hand.

"You're a wicked witch, aren't you?" she asked.

"Well, yes…But I prefer 'Alluvia', if you don't mind…"

"And you've got magical powers, haven't you?" Gretel demanded.

Alluvia looked lost for words, "Umm…No."

"You mean you can't breathe fire and smoke?"

"No. I try, but I just get nauseous."

"So, you can't summon up demons?"

"Hey, never thought of that!" said Alluvia, "Hang on, give me a second…" she rubbed her hands together, and looked gleefully up into the sky. "Hey, you demons!" she paused, "Yeah, that's right…You! Come to Mama!"

And just like that, right on cue appeared a little rabbit standing next to the children.

"Yeah! Some demon!" Gretel sneered. "Can you let us go now?"

"Sorry, no can do. You see, since the Howard government isn't doing ANYTHING about climate change and increasing energy rates, I decided to install solar panels, and I've found a secret ingredient to help increase my power!"

Both Hansel and Gretel looked interested, "What?"

"Little children! They work best."

"Yeah, right! Like your really going to do that!" Gretel scorned at Alluvia.

Alluvia just smiled evilly.

"For Goodness sake, just LET US GO!" Gretel demanded, raising her fists, moving them around in circles to make herself seem fierce. "I warned you, I am a black belt!"

"Fine," Alluvia rolled her eyes, "I'll let you go." And opened her mouth to speak, then closed it and smiled thoughtfully, as though a light bulb had gone off in her head.

"Well," Alluvia began, "I've been having a little trouble with my dress…" she pointed to the black tatters at the bottom of the dress. "You see, when I'm on my broom, since my dress is so long, it gets caught up at the back of my broom and creates snags with the fabric."

"Oh, I can fix that up right away!" Hansel squeaked.

Both Gretel and Alluvia looked surprised.

"Ahh, I was actually asking your sister…But, since you obviously know how to fix it…."

Hansel set off to work, sending Gretel off to find some sharp ended twigs and some long bladed grass to use as needles and string.

Then, Gretel and Alluvia watched in surprise and amusement as Hansel sat down and mended the dress, and in less than 6 minutes, Hansel swiped a bead of sweat of his brow as he patched up the last tear.

"Done!" he announced.

Both Gretel and Alluvia were speechless.

"What? Can't a boy know how to sow?" he put his hands on his hips.

"Uh, NO!" Gretel blurted out, unable to believe her eyes.

A voice interrupted them, "Ah, I'm just going to go now…." Alluvia said, backing away from the fighting pair and disappearing into her house.

Just then, a figure came out from the behind the trees at the bottom of the hill.

"Hansel? Gretel? Is that you?" the figure called, and when it came into the dim light, both kids saw that it was the woodchopper, their father.

"Dad?" both kids exclaimed.

"What are you two doing up here? I was getting worried."

"Well, it was all Hansel's fault! He wanted to find food, so being a good sister; I went with him….." Gretel began, until she was interrupted by her brother.

"No, that's not right; it was Gretel's fault…"


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