A/N: Requested by Resmiranda on LiveJournal, drabble post 9/28/09.
Disclaimer: I don't own the original work this is derived from. This work is complete, and its brevity is intentional.
memories of knives
Today they have bread.
Against the sharp darkness of the late autumn evening, the smoke of their fire curls ghostlike into the sky. Hansel slew a buck at noon. Its meat drips and chars over the flames, and when it is finished, they will put it on the bread and eat until the echoing caverns beneath their ribs are filled.
Hansel's hip-knife is older than he is. Its long, clumsy blade is riddled with nicks and pocks and ancient stains no amount of scrubbing can ever remove. It is an unremarkable dull grey and its pommel is wrapped in untidy leather scraps. It is not beautiful, but it is old, and it knows many things.
It is very familiar with the slippery toughness of flesh, and the grate and snap of brittle bones, and the rasp of hide. It knows the delicacy of whittled pine and tearing cloth, and the feathering fray of hair. It remembers the snapping roots of herbs, crunching apples, the soft iron of tree trunks and the simple sigils it carved in them.
It has known bread, but never bread so fine as this.
Hansel slices it with a quiet air of reverence, even and sure and careful. This is the reward of their chosen path, the fruit of a tree grown from bones and blood and reeking rot. Perhaps it was the wrong path, but it seems almost disrespectful to regret it now.
Wordlessly, he pulls the meat from the fire and lays the tenderest bits between two slices for his sister. She smiles at him, her face inhuman in the stumbling red light, and lets the juices run down her chin.
Tomorrow they will hunt the sun.