Candy 🍭 Man
A Contemporary Take on the Classic, Hansel and Gretal
The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. Gretchen, a regular traveler in these woods, scurried to her feet as night engulfed the forest when she realized she wasn't alone.
There was something peculiar about the candle in the window like she had seen it before from a faded dream.
When she started to peek her eyes inside of the window her eyes opened wide and a terrible chill came over her when she saw him...
It looked like her brother Hans who had disappeared. What is HE doing... Wait, WAIT... He's ALIVE?! No one has seen him for years, she thought. As she sat there against the cabin another thought haunted her, he looked completely at ease, no distress at all. "Is he happy? Does he miss us?"
Gretchen shook her head. I can't leave him here. She noticed a table near the other window that wasn't completely boarded up. She scrounged the area for anything to build some kind of stepping stool... She found some old wood she stacked up to help her get inside. "Hopefully this holds up," she uttered.
Inside of the cabin she was greeted with a deafening silence. The sight of her brother faded into darkness. "Was it really him?" She questioned in her mind. Around the dimly lit room she found a storehouse of arcade games. In the center of the room was a brightly lit display illuminating what looked like the latest anti-gravity chair.
"Gretchen, follow me..." whispered a mysterious voice like the walls could suddenly speak. "Who is it?" Gretchen replied. "Show yourself!"
"If you want to see your brother, follow me" as the display illuminated the seat brighter. "You are crazy!" Gretchen replied. She walked around the display. When she got around to see it fully a music video started to play. "Go on," a voice whispered around her, and "have a seat." Someone in the video looked like her brother... Hans?! Standing less than an arms distance away. She reached out to touch the glass screen in bewilderment as a tear rolled down her face. "How...?"
"Gretchen... Gretchen... Run from here," a voice she thought sounded like Hans' whispered. "No, I will not leave without you," she replied. "It might be too late," the voice whispered again. She looked around her, she saw no one.
Just as Gretchen was about to touch the joy stick and climb into the seat she noticed a winding staircase to a basement. It was dark but she was determined to find either of the voices speaking to her here. She felt her way keeping a hand on a wall and one foot in front of her at all times until she found a door knob. To her surprise it opened and she couldn't believe her eyes...
She ran inside and flung herself onto Hans' body. It was him. It's been years but he had the star shaped birthmark on his neck that they used to fantasize about. She noticed just above it was a kind of neck brace contraption that was attached to some kind of strange helmet around his head. She was so thrilled to see him... Until she realized he didn't flinch or move at all. "Wake up, wake up!"
That's when she noticed attached to the strange helmet was a thick tubing that ran to a large system of black boxes with buttons and flashing lights. "What happened here? What happened to him? What's happening here?" she uttered into a deafening silence. All she could do was hold his hand in hers and stare at the face that was once full of life. Now all that remains is this sort of human-robotic contraption of him and the holographic image of him moving dynamically on the screen upstairs.
Gretchen shed more tears down her face as she realized how little she knew about this technology. Is the brother she knew even alive at all?
...or did he become another high tech candy man?
To be continued...
Behind the scenes with the author: Danielle Deutsch
What's your favorite campfire ghost story? If you ask me, it's one where there is no clear cut antagonist which in truth reflects the state of my mental health. Furthermore the big ending is largely unknown because I'm writing from a similar place that the character Hans finds himself in. It's a half-human-half-digital robot kind of character feeling. It's going to take time to find the way back to fully human again and then write it. It cannot be rushed. I'm not a human-programmed digital app. I know that much.
I hope to start a conversation about mental health in our computer-driven society in the comments below because I believe the healthy solution is found when a number of us start talking together.
About the Creator
Danielle Deutsch believes all of us have the greatest super power ever - THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE! Some of us learn from our mistakes faster than others. Find a slower learner and give them a lift today! :-)
I always love reading a good creepy fairy tale retelling!