An Unusual Appetite
She was alone. Gretel panicked looking around. “Hansel?” She whispered. She threw the blankets off of herself. The walls were chocolate, he had warned her. Had he had some of it? Was this her fault? “Hansel, please! I'm really scared. If you’re here give me a sign.” Gretel looked around the room in a panic. After seeing the oven from hell last night all she could do was fear the worst. There was no sign. “I'm going downstairs.” She declared with a whimper, hoping that he would come out from under the bed, or that he would climb out the window with a loud click of a plan. There was nothing. She truly was alone. Gretel could feel her eyes well up in fear as she raced down the hall. She could hear his voice. He was alive! He was- not himself.
“Burn in hell witch.” He growled. Hansel was getting emotional, anger clouding his judgement. He had hit his head, gaining a headache. He always tried not to show emotion but right now he was captive in a small space. Maud was an imposter who was more powerful than he thought and seemed to be taking pleasure in his pain. She had made her intentions clear, treating Hansel like livestock while teasing him. She had already expressed her interest in his traumas and had proudly taken responsibility for the nightmare. She had even taken responsibility for the chocolate. She had a large basket of food set besides him, giving him a hunger he couldn't explain but refused to give into. There was only one thing she failed to share and continued to ignore. “I’ll starve to death, now tell me where she is.”
Adiscordia chuckled. He liked to fight back! It was surprising he could resist so long. Was it because of his sister? “Run away Piglet, is that it? Do you really think you can escape? The more you resist the more power I'll have over you. The nightmares, the sweet drunkeness, the hunger and pain, it all depends on you.” She couldn't see his eyes, but she could see feel the rage radiating from him. He wasn't afraid! “I dont know how to explain this to you, but I like you. You’re different to my regular meat. Sit back and relax! Feast, Go back to what you’ve lost, and let all your sorrows slip away. Consider it a game. I'm offering you a chance. I, the butcher, am granting you, time. Which gives you an advantage to live and come up with one of those clever plans of yours. After all, your napping act worked so well last time.” She joked. “You'll get a chance to escape. I'll even level the playing field.” Adiscordia lowered her eye sockets as emphasis which caused Hansel to put his rage aside for a moment.
“You’re blind.” He muttered unsure of why Adiscordia was helping him escape.
“Nearly.” Adiscordia confirmed. “I hope you can offer me an entertaining challenge, otherwise...” Adiscordia stretched out an arm.
His voice was coming from a large cage that a woman, or better said girl was speaking to. It wasn’t Maud, was it? This girl was dressed in black with a large bow in her hair. Her skin was deathly pale and cracked revealing ash. Her eyes were discolored, some parts of her skin rising with bumps and rock. Gretel began to shake in fear. Her brothers voice came to mind. 'Everyone gets scared Gretel, what matters is what you do with it.’ She forced herself to be still and slowly began to approach before she was forced rapidly into Adiscordia’s arm in Hansel's view. Gretel panicked but stayed still, eyes beginning to well up again. She was frozen, paralyzed by some invisible force.
“I know how to offer some good discipline.” Adiscordia wrapped her hand around Guinniverre's throat, claws stretching out. They were so sharp!
“Sì! Sì! I’ll do it! Dont hurt her!” Hansel begged coming closer, his hands frantically trying to find a way out in a way they hadnt before. She wasn't stopping.
“Eat piglet.” Adiscordia smiled. She had rows of sharp teeth Hansel noted, it was unnatural. She was far more than just a witch- In a panic he tore into the basket grabbing a large bread roll to start off. He had wanted to try the more tasteless things first but this was coated in some sort of garlic butter. He wouldn't admit it but it was delicious. With the hunger she'd forced on him and how long he'd been resisting he wasn't sure if he could stop himself any longer. He watched her, she was stopping but hadn’t let Gretel go.
He had to make her let her go. With the warm roll beginning to soothe his hunger he felt like he was losing his control and ability to think. She remained, not moving. What else did she want from him? He fought against it- staring at her, grabbing another piece startled by how fast the first had vanished. “Let her go-” He muttered quickly between bites, purposefully going for the more tasteless things first. Hopefully he could keep himself just a bit longer. He had to stay strong for Gretel.
“Piglets don’t speak.” She watched eagerly. His resistance was remarkable, all for his sister. Why? It briefly reminded her of a distant memory. She wasn't sure why- it hurt. She sat there for a moment, wondering about the feeling. What was it? Why did it feel so important? There was something about his connection to a blood bond-
Even like this. His emotions and thoughts numbing which each bite, and his actions losing control she almost made his blood boil. She really thought this was some sort of game. At least it meant she was young, possibly still able to be outsmarted. At this point, it was clear he had the disadvantage. With his mind slipping away there was only one thing he could do to try and free his sister. If she wanted to play some sort of sick game of pretend, he’d have to impress her. Falling right where she wanted him he let himself be lost. He started resisting less and eating more, almost shoving it all in before letting out a shameful but loud pig like squeal that snapped her out of her thoughts.
Adiscordia stared at him with a different type of surprised smile. She was amused for now. “Alright piglet, you’ve been a good little hog. I’ll do as you asked.”
With that Gretel dropped to the ground. The force that had held her having disappeared. She tried to hold in the panic but scrambled to the cage, reaching for him. “Hansel! I’m sorry!” She couldn't help but cry. His destiny was obvious and she felt powerless to stop it. It should’ve been her. “I'm so sorry!” Even like this he thought of a plan for her. She couldn't do anything. Nothing without him! To make matters even worse, he barely responded, hyperfocused on stuffing himself with the foods before him. To see him like this- it hurt. Her thoughts were soon clouded in panic, fear, and anger. She couldn't run away, the only thing she could do was face Adiscordia. “What did you do to him.” It was soft, and barely a question.
Adiscordia watched the panicked girl. She was so young, and aware of her evil. She was so afraid. She loved the fear. “I’m only satisfying his needs.” She stood up but was startled as a force sent her tumbling down. The girl had turned and pushed against her quickly with a surprising amount of strength. She was bold.
“What did you do to him?” Gretel cried out. She lifted her fists, ready to release her anger. Her fists nearly touched Adiscordia before the invisible force held her wrists.
She was angry. She might've hated Adiscordia. She had stunned her and caused her to fall. It was impressive. “So bold! I think I may just include you in the game, dear. You want to save him?” Gretel stared at her, her teeth were terrifying. Hardly able to respond she nodded, fists slowly regaining control. “Well. My plan is simple.” Adiscordia stood up again. “He’s my meat, but he’s far too thin for my taste. I need a fat tasty boy, one that lasts.” Adiscordia admitted with a lick of the lips. “There's something about him and you that I have to use magic for. He resists so much.” She nearly admitted the last bit with pride. “It would be easier for me to create food with spells and enchantments to keep him like this. I cant cook much more. Like I said my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be, but If you want to try and keep up...” She paused leaving the offer in the air. “Give him some heavy dishes to feast on, and maybe-my power wont interfere with all of them.”
Gretel looked up at her. The idea of preparing her brother for slaughter was horrible, but there wasn’t much she could do with him in this state. Cooking her own foods for him meant she could make regular dishes that were filling but less fattening. It meant Adiscordia wouldn't have to curse him to eat, or cast spells on him, or worse. “Ill do it.” She agreed before being fully released. She headed to the kitchen before facing an issue. She didn't know how to cook a variety of things. For the past few years she lacked a true mother figure to teach her. She’d mainly clean and catch glimpses of various stews. Diana had helped, but it hadn't prepared Gretel to make a feast! She knew the basics but she couldn't find anything here!
“You’d better hurry.” Adiscordia chuckled. “He’s racing through them quickly.” She watched him. He was tearing through the basket like a starving animal, unaware of the outside. It looked like the spell had finally taken over.
Gretel panicked rushing through the cabinets looking for something. There were very general ingredients like salt, pepper, sugar, and a sack of flour. “How am I supposed to cook without ingredients!” She yelled. “If you want me to play the game Maud, you need to play fair!” She whined with a sense of authority.
“Very well.” With that the kitchen filled itself. Gretel remained in shock watching as meat suddenly appeared from the ceiling. The spice cupboard filled itself. Wheat and Breads appeared in a basket. Fruits and Vegetables fell and nearly overflowed from the table. Olive oil glistened in a bowl, and pots and pans were now in plain view. To further demonstrate her power Gretel was met with a loud thump. A large leather bound book had fallen in front of her, filled with recipes to try. “Is that fair enough for you Gretel?”
Gretel remained there, stunned. She stared at everything around her opening the book and quickly scanning the contents before looking up. “What are you?” She asked quietly.
Adiscordia couldn't help but beam with pride. It had been a long time since children had actually spoken to her, let alone were conscious enough to be amazed at her efforts. “Adiscordia Hex. I'm not any witch or beast from stories child. I have these powers granted from the suffering of those above us all. The curse of humanity-not you fragments. To put it simply, I’m a fallen goddess.” Gretel stared dumbfounded as the ashes from the cracks of Adiscordia, rose above her. She wasn't just human- there was something else living inside her. Her explanation suggested a greater community? And what did she mean, fragments?
Adiscordia turned to look at the boy again. “Halfway sweetie, I'd love to talk more but it looks like I'll have to get cooking.” With that Gretel’s urgency returned as she turned to the first page, rushing to grab ingredients and materials. “I’ll be back.” Adiscordia declared as she went to her room, leaving the girl to her challenge.
Adiscordia sat on her bed. This was a lot to process. She was speaking and her meat was responding. This game she had created, it granted access to not having to be alone. They were so saturated with fear, desperation, and anger. She adored it. She loved it. It nearly touched a memory she couldn't remember. Then there was their bond. Love was weakness. It always had been. She'd have to find the truth and expose it. Hansel’s resistance for his sister was impressive, and Gretel’s boldness for him was stunning but at the end of the day it was emotion. It wouldn't last. Love brought foolish sacrifice. When Hansel was burnt she’d have Gretel watch, and she’d regret it all. She’d regret not being there with him. She’d blame herself. She’d beg to be burned with him. His loss would-
Adiscordia felt a sudden pain shoot through her chest as she buried her face in her hands. Her cheeks were wet. She couldn’t remember why but she was filled with pain. Their bond was harming her by awakening something distant inside that couldn’t be awakened. The curse didn't like it. She couldn't explain it but her cries became stronger, tears welling up and burning. Her eyes were burning with emotion and loss. Why? She wanted it to stop. The pain came again to stab her, now it was in her head. “Your fault.” A voice echoed. “Whatever happens now is your fault!” It was ringing in her ears. She had to break the bond. She had to make it stop. Adiscordia threw fists at the wall to get out energy, before banging her head against the wall repeatedly. Creating holes that she would remake with more strength “Out...Out!!” Then the worst of it. A young girls voice, so pure. “Addy wait!” She couldn’t take it. It was too loud. The burning in her eyes had left blood streaming down her face. The curse hated it, beginning to turn against the vessel with some type of bond and weakness booming within. It hurt so bad, her body moving against her will in unnatural ways as Adiscordia threw herself with a force against a much stronger wall, falling to the floor asleep. The curse could take over if it wanted to, she needed rest.