Fairy tales and heroes

When it came to fairy tales, Alessa supposed she might be Little Red Riding Hood…she certainly wasn't Snow White or Cinderella. Princes didn't rescue witches, only princesses and good girls.

But she didn't need a prince to rescue her, because she had Travis. If she was little red riding hood, then Travis would be the woodsmen, come to rescue her. (That would make her mother the grandmother, she supposed, and the big bad wolf would be the god, which made sense.)

Alessa watched as Travis fought and searched-he didn't seem to understand that she was always right beside him, never leaving him.

Travis wasn't handsome-but he was strong and he was even kind to a witch like her, searching for her when she needed help.

Alessa liked his eyes-they were big and dark and brown. Kind eyes.

They'd been so sad when he was a child though. Alessa clenched her fists as she remembered his child self, who was like her, alone and unwanted, and so sad.

If things had been different…if they had been born in the same place, gone to the same school…would they have played together? Drawn together, like her and Claudia? When the bullies and mean kids came, would he stand up for her, the way she stood up for Claudia?

Travis killed another monster and leaned back, panting.

It had wounded him, Alessa realized, worrying. It didn't look very bad… but he didn't have any bandages or anything anymore, he'd already used them all up.

Feeling helpless -what good are these powers when I can't help the people I care about? When all they do is get us into trouble? - Alessa took Travis's hand in hers, for no other reason then she had to do something and even if he couldn't see her or hear her, it wouldn't hurt.

She pressed his hand to her forehead.

Please- A thought like an undirected prayer, since the god the order worshipped was trying to eat her- please, don't take him away! Don't take Travis away from me! I need him…please help him!

His breathing eased, his footing steadied, he stood up straighter and began walking again, and Alessa, like always, followed.

Maybe she was just a little witch and he was just a woodcutter-but woodcutters, the nice ones anyway, they got happy endings. And once in a while- a long while- there were sometimes girls with magic powers, usually daughters of villains and witches who were out to get the hero- and the girls ended up helping the hero and escaping with them.

Travis had said "you're coming with me." He'd just meant out of the fire-but still Alessa can't help but hope.

She doesn't want to be here anymore.

Alessa wants to be free. She doesn't know if that's possible anymore-if she can escape.

But she clings to the stories she loves and retells them to herself, using the cast she knows so well, the cast of people around her- Claudia, her mother, Kaufmann, Lisa…Travis. Her.

Alessa skips just a bit, catching up to Travis as he opens up another door, coming closer to the truth. Coming closer to where she is.

Maybe a happy ending is possible.