The Ones That Got Away

I hope everything is okay over at The Parking Lot Confessional. This is the second time recently that Thursday has come and gone with no flash fiction prompts. So, I’ve turned to another source for this week’s frivolity: Flash Fiction Friday. Here’s the prompt:

Genre: Fairy tale/mixed

Word Limit: 1200

Cue: Take your typical fairy tale villain or monster and make them the protagonist. Must use “something wicked this way comes” as a line in the story.

And with that, I give you this week’s flash fiction. 

the ones that got away

The room fell silent as Sigi entered the pub. She waddled toward the bar because that was the way she walked. She waddled.

Finding an empty stool, she slung a leg over it and planted her substantial bottom on the wooden seat. She signaled to Günter, the innkeeper and bartender.

He smiled when he saw her, not unkindly. “Something wicked this way comes, eh?”

“Oh, shut up,” Sigi said. “I don’t feel like putting up with it tonight, Günter. Just pour me a wormwood brandy, please.”

Günter shrugged his shoulders and picked up the nearest mostly clean glass. After filling it with Sigi’s poison of choice, he deposited the drink in front of her and retreated to the other end of the bar. He knew from experience that she could be a might nasty when she was in a foul mood.

Sigi had barely taken the first sip when Adler, the acting Grimm, burst into the bar. “Is she here?” he asked the room. “Sigi Stormcaller. Is she here?!” Günter pointed to the end of the bar and had the good sense to keep his mouth shut. Sigi took a rather large sip of wormwood brandy and waved to Adler.

“Down here, lovey,” she said.

Adler marched across the bar, the atmosphere having lost all its comfort and appeal. Two trolls near the door who may or may not have been doing business that was, strictly speaking, on the up-and-up ducked out the front door while the Grimm closed in on his prey.

“Am I to understand,” he asked with a pompous wave of his hand, “that you’ve been baking again?”

Sigi coughed.

“Pies, I take it? Meat pies?”

“Perhaps,” she conceded.

The Grimm sighed and sat on the stool next to Sigi. “Angel Tears, straight up,” he said to Günter. Turning to Sigi, he continued in a much quieter voice, leaving the room to wonder what he said. “Sigi, you cannot keep this up. The last time you baked these woods were crawling with townsmen for three weeks. My chief responsibility as Grimm is to keep humans out of these woods. Do you realize how hard you’re making that on me?”

“Acting Grimm,” Sigi said.

Adler shook his head and downed his drink in a single gulp. “As you will. Acting Grimm. No matter, I am the Grimm right now and it’s my duty to keep men at bay and maintain order here.”

“Have I broken a law?” Sigi asked.

“A law?” the Grimm said. “No. You know damn well you haven’t broken a law. But what you did could easily encourage the humans to come snooping.”

“If I’ve broken no laws, then let me be. I’d like to drink in peace.”

Adler gave Sigi a look. “Curious,” he said. “I saw the smoke from your house. I assumed you’d been baking. Did they…oh, Sigi. Tell me they didn’t get away.”

Sigi made a sour face. “Yes,” she said. “Both of them. Little brats. The girl tried to push me into my own oven.”

“Odin help us,” Adler said. “They’ll go back to the village and tell everyone.” He shook his head in disgust and motioned for another drink. “No wonder you’re in such a sour mood.”

Sigi set her drink down. “Yes,” she said. “I’m in a sour mood. I haven’t had a decent meal in months. I mean, a real meal. A witch’s meal. Those two children would have been enough to keep me satisfied for some time to come, but they are gone and with winter coming it’s doubtful there’ll be any more near enough for me to snatch for months.”

“You shouldn’t be–”

“Hush,” she demanded. “Hush you, now. I know you don’t want me snatching children, but it’s not against the law of the woods and, damn it to the four winds, I’m hungry. Adler, you’re too young to be Grimm. You don’t understand things. Please, just let me drink. My old bones needed the life and energy those two would have given me. Please, just let an old woman drink.”

“Old witch,” he said, standing up.

“Watch yourself, or you’ll be a dead Grimm.”

Adler stared at her for a moment and then thought better of it. “Fine. Odin take you.” Then he was gone.

Sigi called for Günter. “Another,” she said. “And do you have any of those fried fingers left?”

“Sorry. We ran out of those last week. I have some pickled pixies.”

“That’ll have to do,” Sigi said.

And so she passed the first evening of autumn dining on poorly seasoned pickled pixies and drinking too much brandy. From time to time she would murmur, “Damn Hansel,” or “Wretched Gretel,” and then order another drink. Günter kept the drinks coming, and tried to stay well out of her reach.