Do you remember, Brother?
If you would listen, I’d ask you,
Do you remember when we were children of the woods?
Are we still children of the woods?
Are you hungry, Brother?
Mother fed us to the forest,
walking ahead of us, her face plastered with smiles,
her hands holding ours,
forming a neat line,
as we marched into the mouth of the forest.
The roots of the trees tasted our toes.
We could hear the forest swallow.
She rested a hand on my head,
Are you hungry?
she said as she passed us each a slice of bread,
her smile widening.
We’ve been fed.
I’m hungry, you said.
I passed you my bread.
We knew the witch, we knew food.
But I was hungry.
So was I. But I fed you, didn’t I?
I gave you my flesh, Brother.
When the pangs of hunger haunted you
I let you consume me.
Watching my blood stream over your small lips,
your eyes begged me for more,
my sullied flesh was your all.
Are you still hungry, Brother?
I’m still hungry, Sister.
But we saw the gingerbread house, and I could finally be full.
That’s not true, Brother.
The sweetness wasn’t real, Brother.
But your teeth were crunching on the roof,
when its charming voice came from inside
those cinnamon soaked walls.
I needed her, Sister.
You had me, Brother!
It ran a nail down your cheek,
squeezing the meat, it licked its lips –
Are you hungry boy?
Greedy talons, down your spine,
it smelt you, grinning,
it fed you
to claim you
not to fill you
I know, Sister.
You didn’t belong to me anymore.
You ate whatever it gave you
I don’t know who you are anymore
Your veins pumped with syrup
Your eyes rolled back at the hit
Your hands clenched hers
The sting of peppermint
The rush of being full
I was stupid to think you’d choose me
over the witch’s pull
I wish the forest had consumed us then
we wouldn’t had suffered like we suffered.
You’d have no choice but to choose me
as we died in that forest,
the birds pecking at the breadcrumbs left in my apron,
your breaths swallowed by the trees,
your hands holding mine,
as the birds jabbed at our frost covered eyes.
Can you smell the pine?
My empty sockets now let me see
blood trickling over my cheeks,
still weeping for us, even in death
and I wouldn’t have watched you disappear
within the walls of that sweet house
and I wouldn’t have boiled the water,
my dear brother.
You killed her, Sister.
You killed the hand that fed me.
I did it for us, Brother.
and you came out of the cage,
a film of oil clinging to your mouth,
your voice jittering as you spoke,
What will we eat now, Sister?
I have nothing
There’s only me, Brother.
Sofie is studying creative writing at Macquarie University. She enjoys exposing the dark themes in well-known stories and is currently working on a collection of short stories that are subversions of classic fairy tales. When Sofie’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing, getting another tattoo and eating copious amounts of pineapple.