There is nothing safe about the woods. They are the deepest secrets, the most guarded truths, and our most obdurate confessions. The woods were lonely, dark and deep and they had a promise to keep.
She had asked me to save the boy, the boy who had struck her down without remorse – she had it coming. All those years he had been wandering the timbers, hiding from sight, consumed by the tale, and always waiting for the moment when he would have his revenge. I had watched the final scene unfold and had not raised a question. Perhaps it was my inherent belief that girls were guilty, had always been guilty since they tasted the apple. Boys were driven by unrefined instinct and a sense of fair-play whilst girls had to overcome bigotry and had to plot to gain their freedom. And, if I had been her, would I not have taken the time to plan for my own welfare? The boy had been blessed and he had not realised the depth of his obligation to her. She was the one who could save him. She could open the oven door and free them both. But boys were not only selfish, they never saw what the world was and never realised that their play had a price and had to be paid for.
I liked Gretel even if she had played a part in my suffering. She was the type of person I recognised in myself, the type of person who housed an unresolved issue, a deep pang for justice. And yet I had allowed the boy to kill her off, right in front of me. Surely there must be some redress. Again, I was confronted by my desire to own the narrative, but the truth of it was that my characters were empowered, they were self-directed and believed that my guiding hand was not needed. I was aware that there were real writers out there, in the real world, who believed that fairy-tale characters were nothing but names and genders to pin plot upon, but mine were bucking the trend and taking me to book. I wanted, more than anything else, to apologise for that which I had set in motion.