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literature

how grimm, my dear

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By miistical
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The front door was open and everything was the same. It was the same door with the scratched, brassy doorknob. The same faded cream paint behind the same rounded picture frames that held the same pictures they always did. The flowers were still in bloom just as the curtains were still parted and strung wide. The keys were still in the little bowl by the door, her jacket still hanging on the hook.

But the front door was open.

“Jack?” she called. Everything seemed to pause.

“Yes?” he called back.

She let out a breath, quick and quiet. She gently closed the door and pretended not to hear a wild giggle. Her fingers tingled something familiar and she cursed silently. Her heels tapped against the wood floor and her hand slipped into her purse.

“Did you do something new, sweetie?” Her voice was casual. The grip on her knife was not. She turned and set her purse down on the table that lined the entryway. The keys in the bowl jingled.

“What do you mean?” Jack’s voice was closer now.

“I dunno,” she spoke to a picture on the wall. “It feels different in here.”

“Really? How so?” She could feel Jack right behind her.

She stared into their wedding photo. “Like a fairy tale.”

She whipped around and plunged a pure iron blade into what looked like her husband. He gasped and staggered, hands shooting up. Her not-husband hissed as his not-skin began to smoke and she lunged out of his path before he could try and grab her. “Your kind aren’t welcome here—have never been welcomed here!”

He gasped what might have been a laugh. She continued on, “Questions! All that any of you do is ask questions without ever giving any us an answer!”

"Well," the fae said, on the floor and heaving, "haven't you ever considered that, perhaps, you are just asking the wrong things?"

She kicked him in the side, right where her husband had a lung transplant, and the fae wheezed. "How's this for the wrong thing: where is my husband?"

"That wasn't very nice, you know that, right?" sneered the creature. "Come now, Sabrina, don't you—"

Sabrina stomp her foot down, her heel hitting him in the solar plexus. "You come into a witch's home and don't even think about what I could do to you? You are either very young or very arrogant."

Her not-husband spat in the direction of her other foot and she ground her heel even deeper into his chest. He wheezed for a second before his eyes flew wide open. "Wh-what? Witch?"

She hummed and ignored him. "I'll get my husband out of you one way or the other, don't you worry."

With a quick yank, Sabrina tugged the knife from his chest before plunging it into the fae's abdomen. As he screamed, she moved forward and began to tug him deeper into the house. Plucking her phone from her purse, she browsed through her contacts as one firm grip lead the creature down to the basement. She tapped the call button and waited for the line to pick up, all the while using one hand to throw the fae down the stairs.

"Hello?"

"Ella!" Sabrina greeted her old friend warmly. She took her time descending, hand on the rail. "Sorry to call you out of the blue, but I need some help."

"Oh?" came the surprised voice. "What for?"

"Something came up at work, you know how it is, and I just wanted to know if you could lend a hand or two."

A pause. "Hmm. Well, the kids haven't been as active lately - I can send them on over if you'd like. Have you asked Snow if she could spare any of her men?"

"No, you were my first call - and I'd love to have your kids over." Sabrina gently stepped over the groaning fae. She fisted his shirt and began to drag him once more. "I think I'll be a bit busy though, so if you could send her a message for me I'd be just so grateful."

Ella laughed. "Anything for an old friend! I'll send my little darlings on their way - oh, and I'll call my godmother, too."

The fae began to struggle and Sabrina reached down to smash his head into the floor. "Do be quiet, won't you?" She cleared her throat. "Sorry, my guest was being a little unruly, but you're just too sweet. Please tell her I've missed her at the very least, even if she can't come around."

"Will do! Good luck with work, Sabrina!"

"Thank you - and you have a nice day, Ella. I'll talk to you later."

Call done and phone in her pocket, Sabrina finally got around to tying the fae to the wall. The fae gasped out, "Sabrina the witch?"

She smiled. "Surprised? I keep forgetting that your kind never seem to remember how aging works."

"I am," the fae wheezed, "I am sorry - could you—?"

"Forgive you?" The question was asked with a smile, but all the fae could see was the growing number of eyes that glared at him from behind her. "I'm sorry, but you took my husband and expected me to be your prey. No no, I don't think so."

More and more eyes appeared in the darkness. A knocking echoed from the front door. Sabrina lit up and began to walk back up the stairs.

"Be a good boy now and, please, don't play too roughly with the children."

The fae tugged on his bindings, but their magical glow kept him from pulling too hard - but he kept on tugging as the hundreds of rats got closer and closer. When the screams started, Sabrina closed the door and brushed her hands down her work shirt. She walked to the door and hummed a little tune, stopping for just a second to right a crooked frame.

She looked at the picture, a snapshot of her college graduation with her surrounded by a group of classmates, before opening the door to the seven short men gathered outside. The picture looked back out, eyes tracking the witch's movement and, as one, the framed smiles grew wider.

After all, they had all been promised a happily ever after.
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