It's me, Kate. Deborah is working on a new book--so I am still stepping in for her. But she did want me to thank all of you readers for the lovely letters and emails about Jane in Bloom. She is so grateful to all of you.
I have been telling you about my adventures in fairy tales. Specifically, my adventure as Gretel. Yes, that Gretel.
I was just at the part where I heard the stepmother telling the father she was going to take the children into the woods and lose them forever. Why would a father allow his wife to do such a thing to his own children, you might ask. I asked the same question of Hansel that night. I had fallen asleep. I woke in the blackness of night. Hansel was sleeping next to me in the tiny bed. I could hear him softly snoring. It was comforting, that sound. Like the purr of a cat. It almost lulled me back to sleep. But then I heard arguing. It was coming from downstairs. The voice of the stepmother was raised. "There isn't enough food for all of us," she argued. "We have to get rid of them."
"I love them," the father said. "I know we can figure something out."
"We've already tried that," the stepmother argued. "And we are out of time. They must go. You will do as I say," she finished in a dark tone.
After that, the house was quiet. I shook Hansel gently, whispering. "Hansel, wake up. We have to get out of here. Hurry."
By the time Hansel opened his eyes, I was already out of bed. "We are in danger here. We cannot stay another moment."
I told him what I had heard. And I finished by asking why his father would do such a thing to his own children.
Hansel answered me. Though not in the way I expected. "He has changed, Gretel. Ever since mother died. He is different. I can see it in his eyes. It's like he's under a spell. And he doesn't remember. Anything from before."
Well, whatever the reason, I knew one thing for sure. We needed to escape. Now.
The only problem was how....