Title: Ready or Not! A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups
Author: Nancy Brashear
A psychological suspense short story for adults inspired by the fairytale, Hansel and Gretel. When college girl Gretchen takes on a babysitting gig to help out a friend, she expects to earn an easy hundred bucks for just a couple of hours of work. After all, how much trouble can such an angelic-looking four-year-old cause? After Hans sprints into the thick woods surrounding the chalet and Gretchen is forced to chase after him, she becomes disoriented in dangerous territory. Forced to confront her deepest fears of abandonment, hypochondria, and alcohol poisoning, she must dig deep for self-understanding.
(Back matter includes the original Grimms’ fairytale version of Hansel and Gretel, which is the original creepy tale.)
Her hand grazed her wrist, and she realized she’d lost her bracelet during her race through the woods. Her father had given it to her when she was nine years old, and she wore it almost every day. Her favorite charm on it was the compass, which he’d promised would bring her home to him. Now it was gone! That figured. That just figured! Without it, she felt helpless, lost, and adrift.
She forged ahead recklessly, hardly noticing the direction she traveled or that her pedicure was getting wrecked and that scratches on her legs were bleeding.
Again, she thought she heard a giggle, almost out of hearing range. What was that? On the ground to her right? A candy wrapper turned somersaults in the mild breeze. Hans had offered her a sucker, wrapped in cellophane, and she had turned him down. That must be his!
Suddenly, nothing seemed more important than touching that elusive gold, yet each time she was close enough to snatch it with her fingertips, it skipped out of reach. A gust twirled the dancing paper around and around until she finally pinched it in mid-air. She stared at it. Yes, she was sure that this was his candy paper. Gold and empty.
What did this mean? Was it a sign? A clue? An enticement? Was he doing this on purpose with diabolic intent?
She ordered herself to take a steadying breath, her emotions tumbling like the candy wrapper had. Disoriented, she turned around in a full circle and found herself hemmed in by a scratchy thicket.
Breathe! She swallowed a deep mouthful of air.
“Hans! Come back! Come ba-a--!” Her voice caught on a dry patch at the back of her throat. She coughed and heard an echo. Hers or . . . his? She inhaled quickly and coughed again. Had she swallowed a bug?
She ran her dirty finger along her tongue, gagged, and spit on the ground. Wiping her hand on her jeans, she felt defeated. She’d probably only been wandering here in the woods for a few minutes, but it seemed like hours. And she was exhausted. She needed to find the kid and get back to the chalet. ASAP. She spit again.
Why did I agree to cover for Ali? This was the worst idea ever! I should have worked an additional shift at the coffee shop to pay for the water ski trip during Spring Break instead of doing this. And something’s happening to me. I’m sick! And what if I’ve lost him? And have to report him missing? What was he wearing? The red pants and . . . what color was his jacket, anyway?
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
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· (Amazon) Ready or Not! A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups. Kindle and Print
· (Goodreads) Ready or Not! A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55715744-ready-or-not
What makes your featured book a must-read?
This twisty, retold fairytale is set in modern times with a college girl and young boy taking on the roles of Gretel and Hansel. Going directly to the hearts and minds of readers, Ready or Not! A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups begs them to dig deep into their own phobias and come away with self-understanding that fortifies them for the “real world.”
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Nancy Brashear lives in San Clemente with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls support her writing. She began her teaching career as a credentialed k-12 teacher and reading specialist and ended as a university professor. She has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters, and educational website content. Ready or Not! A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups (a short tale) was published in 2020. Gunnysack Hell, her debut thriller inspired by a true-crime event, was published in February, 2021. Flashes from the Rock, a short prequel to Gunnysack Hell, is her latest published work this year. She won first place in Casa Romantica’s poetry contest with “Time and Time Again: A Mermaid’s Rite of Passage.” And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child. Please sign up for her occasional newsletters and blog at her website: https://www.nancybrashear.com where she looks forward to getting to know you.
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