The holidays are upon us! As a little (early) gift, I have a short story for you: The Witch, a w/w fairytale retelling with a sprinkle of horror on top of it. It’s the fairytale Penelope reads in Penelope’s Choice: A retelling of Hänsel and Gretel with a twist (and adult protagonists, in case you’re wondering). But I must warn you: There’s explicit content ahead (I mean, what else do you expect from erotica, really), and a little bit of gore.
The witch didn’t have a wand. She wielded her magic with wooden spoons, with kettles and knives. The air inside her little house was thick, heavy with the scent of herbs and spices. Greta’s mouth watered when she entered behind her brother, and hunger wrung her insides like a fist. She hadn’t eaten in days.
The deal was struck quickly. John shoved her in front of the witch, his hand like iron at her back.
“She makes a good maid,” he said and counted her virtues down on grubby fingers like she was a piece of cattle on the market. Clean and hardworking, bright and loyal. He didn’t look at her as he praised her. Greta avoided the witch’s keen gaze and her brother’s face, flushed with the eagerness of a peddler. It became hard to keep her eyes fixed on the ground when the witch stepped close to her and clasped her chin, lifting her face up into the shine of a yellow lamp.
John fell silent while the witch examined her, and Greta wished he would never say a thing again. Father and Mother had decided that she had to go, but he was the one who carried out their decision. His betrayal hurt worse than being sold.
The pause stretched on. Her brother became uncomfortable. He shuffled his feet and kneaded his pants against his thigh. He started picking at the little blue bird Greta had once stitched onto his pocket when she’d darned the trousers for him. “We’re poor. No one’s marrying her because of it. It’s time she earns her keep for herself…” He talked as if she wasn’t even there. The witch looked at him sharply.
“Who decided to sell her to me?”
Now it was John stubbornly looking at the floor, and it was on Greta to answer. “I’m too old to remain at my father’s house. They can no longer support me. John will get the farm, but I can only be a maid.”
The witch tapped her wooden spoon to Greta’s chin and nudged her face up. “No one wants you, huh? Well then, I’ll take you.”
Greta’s skin still prickled as the witch lowered her spoon again. She swallowed and pressed her lips into a line, refusing to watch as money changed hands. John patted her shoulder before turning away and Greta shrank from his touch. The witch cocked her head.
“Now that that’s done with, young master, will you help me with something else?” There was an edge to the witch’s voice, but John nodded. At his age, he had no mind for the subtle dangers hiding behind a pretty face, and it wasn’t his mind doing the thinking. “Good. I need help with slaughtering a pig.”
John followed the witch outside and to her barn, without looking back at his sister. Greta was left to wait as the door closed behind her brother. She stood motionless, lost. A sharp twinge raged in her chest, but she didn’t move to look out of the milky window. The little house was a maw, with crystals and candles filling it like teeth, glinting in a deceptive smile. Greta almost wished the witch would come back already and save her from being devoured.
When the witch returned, her skirts were adorned with dark stains, and her hands were red from blood. Dark red droplets glittered in her lashes like rubies, turning her into a terrible beauty.
“Prepare me a bath, Greta, while I prepare the roast,” the witch said, slapping a large piece of raw meat onto the cutting block in her kitchen.
Greta’s stomach grumbled and growled as she set to work. She heated water on the stove and poured it into a small copper tub before the fireplace. The witch seasoned the meat and stuffed it with herbs and vegetables. Greta grew ravenous from the scents filling up the house. At last, with the roast in the oven, the witch stepped to the tub and shed her clothes, and Greta’s hunger took on a new edge.
The witch was breathtaking, tall and sharp and graceful as she climbed into the tub and washed off the blood.
“Wash my hair, Greta,” she said. Greta’s hands trembled as she knelt behind the tub and scooped water over the witch’s golden curls. They coiled in the water like snakes of brass.
Greta’s cheeks warmed when the witch let her head fall back into Greta’s hands. She hummed while Greta massaged her scalp and worked soap into her hair. Droplets of water pearled down the arch of her throat, and Greta followed their path with foamy hands. Down to the clavicle, and farther still, until she felt the witch’s heart beat under her fingertips. Her fingers itched to slide across the witch’s breasts and her dark, pebbled nipples. Instead, she pulled back, biting her lips and reaching for a small bowl to rinse the witch’s hair.
A witch’s hair is a magical thing, and Greta was already becoming entangled, bound by a spell she couldn’t resist.
The witch stood. “Now dry me off.”
Under her hands, the witch’s body was firm. Greta longed to place her lips over her nipples to suck them deep into her mouth, as if that would quell her thirst and sate her hunger. Her brother and parents already faded into a pale, hazy memory.
When she was dry, the witch dressed, and a mad rush of jealousy surged through Greta as the witch’s silken skin was covered up and hidden away. Her mistress noted her sullen look and laughed.
“You must be hungry,” she said, beckoning Greta to the stove.
The heat before the oven was so rich with the scent of roasting meat that Greta could almost taste it. Her belly tightened.
The witch reached for a jar holding a golden liquid and opened it, her teeth glinting as she smiled. “Open your mouth and show me your tongue,” she ordered as she dipped two fingers into the liquid and scooped it up. It was thick and slow, and Greta was too fascinated by its golden sheen to wonder over the witch’s strange command.
Yet when she opened her mouth and stuck her tongue out, she blushed, taken aback by the embarrassment of her grimace. For a short moment, as the witch let the fluid trickle from her fingers down onto Greta’s tongue, the uneasiness of her obedience stifled her. Then the sweetness and sharpness of the syrup flooded her senses and surged through her in a burst of bright warmth.
“Hold still,” the witch murmured, for Greta wanted to suck the syrup into her mouth. The witch’s sticky fingertips came to rest against Greta’s tongue and the liquid trickled onto her chin and ran down her skin. Greta’s limbs turned so heavy and languid that she couldn’t move. As the witch traced her prickling lips with wet fingertips and coated them with syrup, Greta stood in a daze.
“It’s called Aphrodite’s kiss,” the witch whispered, then bent over Greta and licked the last remnants of syrup from her tongue. A sound broke from Greta’s throat, and liquid heat pulsed between her legs as the witch swept the hot, wet tip of her tongue along her lips. Her head fell back. The humming tension coiling between her bones accumulated in a deep groan as the witch brushed her mouth down her neck. She kissed the dip between Greta’s collar bones, then licked up her throat, ending just below her ear.
Greta shook, tingling all over, and she wished she could give in to the pull of her thrumming blood. She longed to dip her fingers into the hot, slick depth between her thighs.
“Do you want me?” the witch asked, cupping Greta’s face and resting her sticky fingers once more against her tongue. The only answer Greta managed was a nod, her need so great that she couldn’t form the words to give voice to her desire. Moving her tongue to speak seemed like disobedience, like sin, for it meant closing her mouth to the witch and denying her what belonged to her. The witch’s smile was feral. “Then suck my fingers clean, sweetling.”
Greta closed her lips around the witch’s fingers, sucking them hard and deep into her mouth. Her body swayed with the waves of want coursing through her.
When the witch pulled her fingers away and stepped back, Greta became aware of her own hand pressed hard against the aching softness between her legs.
“Naughty girl.” The witch clasped Greta’s wrist and pulled her hand back. She stumbled as the witch led her to a shelf where she picked something up and presented it with a wicked grin. “Lift your hair.”
In her hand, the witch held an iron collar. Greta didn’t hesitate to follow her mistress’ order. As the collar clicked shut around her neck, a new wave of lust surged up inside her and Greta’s nipples hardened against the coarse fabric of her bodice. The witch picked up something else.
Greta’s heart raced as her mistress fastened an iron rod to the back of her collar, with manacles on either end. She mewled, a useless sound of no consequence. She didn’t resist when the witch shackled her hands to the ends of the rod. The collar bound Greta and forced her into posture, with her arms spread wide like wings.
“Pretty.” Slowly, with hunger in her eyes, the witch unlaced the front of Greta’s bodice and bared her breasts. She circled and pinched each nipple until Greta whimpered. It was more than pain. The insides of her thighs were slick, and her flesh throbbed.
“Time to eat.”
Like a lamb, Greta followed her mistress as she led the way to the table and made her kneel beside the only chair. She had no hunger left for food, but when the witch brought the roast to the table and sat down to eat, the scent of it pulled at Greta like the current of a stream. She groaned. The witch cut the meat into small bites, and Greta gobbled them up, plucking each from the point of the witch’s knife. The roast was so tender it all but melted on her tongue. It added fuel to the fire smoldering between Greta’s bones.
It was as if with every bite, her craving only grew, until at last, it swallowed her. She was no longer Greta then, but pure, carnal desire.
“Good girl,” the witch hummed at last when the plate was cleared. Her smile was sharp as a blade. Greta trembled at her feet.
The collar around her throat seemed to tighten and grow heavier, like a weight that belonged there. The witch reached down and cupped her naked tits, massaging them, before she flicked her fingers against Greta’s nipples. Then she stood.
Greta was beyond words, reduced to whimpering sounds as the witch placed one foot on her chair and pulled up her skirts, baring her sex before Greta’s face.
“Have you ever tasted a cunt?” she asked, gently spreading her folds. She spread the wetness of her entrance on the pink insides of her slit and circled the pearl above the opening with glistening fingertips. “You don’t know until you do that you’ve been thirsting your whole life to drink from this well. And only after you’ve tasted it do you learn that your thirst can never be sated. It will never be enough.”
The witch dipped two fingers into her cunt, coating them with the juices of her flesh before she offered them to Greta. And as before, Greta sucked them clean, driven by an insatiable need to please. Her mistress raked her fingers through Greta’s hair and pulled her face between her legs.
“Lick here,” she ordered, pulling her fingers from Greta’s mouth and pointing at the nub above her entrance. Her voice was hoarse and gritty with need.
Greta pressed her face against the witch’s cunt, inhaling deeply, and obeyed. She licked the slick, succulent folds until the witch writhed and shook in pleasure. Neither the pain in her knees nor between her shoulders nor in her jaw could stop her. She could have gone on indefinitely, but the witch came with a throaty cry and yanked Greta’s head away.
Greta kept her mouth opened wide, offering her tongue and sticky face as an altar to the witch’s kiss. The kisses were ravenous. The witch sucked on Greta’s tongue and licked the stickiness from her cheeks. She sank to her knees and forced Greta to arch up and expose her throat by fisting her tangled hair. She planted a trail of wet kisses and painful bites down Greta’s chest, until she reached a nipple and sucked it deep into her mouth.
Greta sobbed as the roiling tension between her hips coiled tighter and tighter. She would burst and shatter like glass under the witch’s mouth and seeking fingers as she bunched up Greta’s skirts and found her wet, aching cunt.
The witch slid her fingertips through her folds and parted them. Greta keened as she caressed her clit with slow circles of the heel of her hand, sending streams of liquid heat through her body.
Greta wished her hands were free and she could press the witch’s head harder against her breast. But her posture forced her into helplessly accepting what her mistress gave her. She rolled her hips, grinding against the witch’s elusive hand, until finally — oh, finally! — the witch slipped slender fingers into her cunt and worked them against the spot inside Greta that pushed her higher and higher. For an endless moment, she floated in the blackness of the night sky, suspended in breathless, bone-melting heat. As she came, glowing dots flickered along the edge of her vision, like fireflies lighting up the night.
Greta was only slowly sinking back to earth. She hardly noticed when the witch freed her from her collar and manacles. Her arms flopped down, useless for a while. How she got into bed, she couldn’t say.
The witch held her, snuggling against her back and fondling her breasts while peppering kisses to the sensitive spot below Greta’s ear. She whispered something, but Greta couldn’t make out the words. She drifted to sleep with the witch’s lips pressed against the nape of her neck.
It was dark when she awoke. At her back, the witch breathed deeply. Greta slipped out of her embrace, following the call of nature. The sky was bright with a full moon, and Greta didn’t need a lamp to find the way to the outhouse across the yard. On the way back to the house, Greta hesitated. The barn door swayed on its hinges, moaning and creaking. She should close it, lest a fox find its way inside and steal some of the slaughtered pig.
It was silent as Greta walked towards the barn. There was no sound except the creaking door swaying back and forth, beckoning her closer. Her legs were still weak from her earlier exertion and they grew weaker with every step she took towards the barn. Her stomach roiled as she reached for the latch. She had to check if there were already scavengers inside. Her heart pounded in her chest as she pulled at the door, and she held her breath. Something lurked in the darkness of the barn. She could feel it like the touch of icy fingers as something watched her every move.
The air inside the barn was thick with the coppery scent of blood. It laid itself onto her tongue and drowned out the memory of the witch’s cunt and of the tender roast she’d eaten earlier. The foul, wet taste of death filled her skull.
Something sat on the chopping block, unmoving, watching as she approached. The thin streak of moonlight coming in through the door caught in its eyes. Greta stepped closer, her blood thrumming in her ears like the thunder of a waterfall. Still it didn’t move. Greta’s shadow cut off the light, and she cowered down to face the thing that sat there with the stench of blood surrounding it. She pressed her hand to her mouth and swallowed the sound swelling in her throat.
From the chopping block, her brother’s blank gaze met hers, his mouth gaping in a dreadful grimace. Blood trickled down from the gash where his head had been severed from his body.
Greta returned to the house carrying emptiness inside her. On the stove, the roast still sat in an earthen pan. The large knife the witch had used to carve it lay across the pan’s edge, the blade dull with meat juice. Greta crossed the room and took the knife, then slipped into bed, nestling against the witch’s back.
The witch hummed, half turning, a slow smile on her lips. She froze when the cold steel of the knife grazed her skin.
“What did you do to me?” Greta rasped, her throat so tight that the words came out like shards of flint.
“I saved you. I made you a witch. And did you not enjoy it?”
Greta closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. She could no longer look at the witch, for if she did, she would want to kiss her. As she opened her eyes again, her heart was cold as the knife in her hand.
When morning came, Greta slapped a piece of fresh, raw meat onto the cutting block. She seasoned it with spices and herbs and made a roast of her own. Because that’s how witches are made, isn’t it? They gobble up their love and wield magic with their knives and spoons.