Hänsel und Gretel - 13

Been following TerribleMinds for a about a year now. Great stuff! And thanks to Chuck Wendig @TerribleMinds for providing inspiration with this flash fiction challenge: Fairy Tales Remixed. And so... drumroll... To celebrate my return to blogging/writing/living from the dark cold waves of my doctorate, here's my take on the 'Hänsel und Gretel' tale a la cyberpunk (thank you random number generator!). Please enjoy, comment:)

Hänsel und Gretel - 13

Ye hear them crashing through the woods? Sticks 'n branches not leaving a scratch on them new shiny bodies. I hear 'em and me heart aches. Them coming again. Ever spring they start arriving. But I’m no fool. I know me job, so I wait.

Two o' them this time. Assembled in a hurry. Odd tubes 'n wiring sticking outta milky flesh. Hear them talking: “‘Tis the house”, one says, but the other shakes its head. Them argue. I wait, I know me job. Whirring sound appears, grows. ‘Tis them, the visitors, thinking too hard. I watch them. Hey, one's a girl! ‘T least looks like the maker was going for a girl with this one: long hair in patches 'round its head, lips full and ruby. She stops mid-word, turns just a smidge and stares at the spot where me dwelling inside. Hide? I calm meself, so what if it looks like Ruby Lips is eyeing straight at me, the old Gaya, huh? She cannot see me, ‘tis not possible. I call her Ruby in me mind. She's trouble, that one, me Ruby.

They circle me lair, made them minds that ‘tis the house they were sent to after all. Uneasy, I shift inside, following them with me eye. Ruby is the leader, who knew? I study her companion. If me Ruby is mostly machine, the second visitor got more of them human parts. His hands are swingin' funny way when he walks. I watch 'em. They stop after makin’ the full circle and findin’ no door. ‘Tis time. I hurry through me lair, putting them things in order, sweeping away, pushing under covers the remains of all them others - all metal scraps and burnt plastics that the maker stuffs them all inside when he runs outta human parts.

Me Ruby is smartgirl. I begin to laugh in delight but stop meself. She commands and her companion - Hänsel Thirteen she calls ‘im - helps 'er eat their way through the walls. Them strong pointy teeth working fast.

Ruby and Thirteen explore me lair, but cannot see me, not suppose to, of course. I go along with ‘em, say me lines when I have to and me projection relays them to the visitors. 'Nother time, Ruby sends an eerie look to the corner where I hover, ‘tis like that girl can see me! But no, Thirteen pulls her away and them get back to work, to do what them came here to do. I go along, play me part, as I'm programmed.

I lock’em visitors in and power down me projection for the night. I do not sleep. I do me job. Ruby and Thirteen not talking a-while, sitting in them corners, with them chains 'n shackles on. “Think the witch’s coming back, Gretel?” Thirteen says to me Ruby. I watch ‘im. Fear in his eyes, almost human. “Think she’s gonna eat us like all the others?” The boy, he’s all but shaking, his pale arms wrapped ‘round his metal torso. “Don’t be a fool,” Ruby sneers at him, twisting her lips. “She’s a machine, like us. She can’t eat us!” I a’most chuckle at me smart Ruby. Maybe, I think to meself, maybe this time, the visitors do the right thing at last, do what them maker hopes they can do. I wait.

The new sun rises high, higher than them trees, over the all-glass roof of me lair. As far as her chains allowed, Ruby has explored me lair at night while Thirteen sulked in his corner. Smartgirl, she found them remains of the others, but said nothing to Thirteen. I wondered why she kept her pretty mouth shut, ‘tis not like them visitors were supposed to care about one and the other. I wake the rest of me up, puffing and buzzing, hoping them kids in me lair can’t hear me. Me projection returns to torture them visitors some more. Thirteen is frightened outta his wits and starts to weep like a babe. I wanna say him, them metal parts will get rusty from tears but bite me tongue. I watch her, watch me Ruby-the-smartgirl, how she argues with Gaia-the-projection, how she tricks Gaia into the oven. Done, Ruby wipes her hands off her shabby clothes. I hold me breath. That’s a first one! Me Ruby, she’s not just ‘nother mindless machine, but has evolved at last from those simpletons the maker fashioned in ‘is early days. Can’t wait to tell him ‘bout Ruby, ‘bout what she did!

The visitors leave me lair and stomp through the woods. Ruby leads the way, Thirteen trailing behind her, ashamed of his fears. Before them last steps into the line of trees, me Ruby sends me one last look over her shoulder. See me, Smartgirl? She hesitates but still walks away. The sec them outta me sight, I hear the maker’s voice, “How did they do, Gaia?”

I say the boy’s not ready, not at all. I say, Thirteen’s just like the rest of ‘em simpletons! I hear the maker sigh, disappointed. But, I go one, that Ruby Lips girl, I say, that one’s a keeper.

“You’ve done a good job, Gaia” the maker says. He turns me software off and I go to sleep. ‘Till the next batch of ‘em, improved ‘n perfected after me Ruby-Smargirl, come crashing through the woods, looking for old Gaia.  

The End.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hansel-and-gretel-rackham.jpg



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