Midnight in the enchanted forest and four fairies, who knew they should be fast asleep, sat around the campfire telling stories. Whether it was the darkness of the woods or the influence of the spirit realm, the conversation soon turned to scary stories. And then the slightest chance of sleep was long past and four fairies huddled by the fire deep into the night.
Once, there were two German elves who lived in a lovely forest; a boy named Hansel and his sister Gretel. The two elves made lovely wooden toys and sold them in the town. Now they must have made this journey many many times without any trouble at all but one day on their way home after a long day Hansel persuaded his sister to take a shortcut and well.. it was not much of a shortcut.
The two elves were lost in a part of the forest they had never been before. Gretel was very nervous because it would soon be dark and it was getting cold. Hansel kept a brave face but he too was starting to worry until they saw a light up ahead. When they were close enough they saw that the light was a house and they were glad of somewhere warm to rest. When they got closer still they saw that this was not just a house but a gingerbread house. The whole house, the walls, the windows, the roof was all made of sweets, candy, chocolate and delicious gingerbread.
The elves were so hungry but of course they knew not to take without asking. So they went up to the door and knocked.
Knock, knock, knock. No answer. So they knocked again. No one was home.
So hungry they both were. And it was cold outside. Surely no one who owned such a beautiful gingerbread house could be a nasty grinch. They wouldn’t begrudge them a bed for the night. So they went inside.
The house was dark so they found a candle and lit it. They saw a table full of delicious goodies; caramel chocolates, sticky lollipops, creamy buns, sugary donuts and chocolate muffins. Oh, it was heaven. They could pay the owner back so they helped themselves. When Gretel was full she took herself to bed but Hansel, who was bigger than his sister, carried on eating.
He had a mouth full of caramel, when suddenly, poof, the candle went out. In the darkness, he thumbled around. But in a flash, the fireplace came to life, and then he saw a hideous witch. She grabbed him before he could flee and hauled him into a cage. Hansel was terrified as the witch studied him, poked him with a fork, licked her lips and said
‘Hmm. You do look tasty. So plump and juicy.’
Gretel was woken by Hansel’s screams. She crept downstairs and almost screamed herself when she saw the horrible witch. The witch was busy in her cookbook so Gretel tiptoed over to let Hansel out of the cage. But the floorboards creaked and the witch turned and caught her.
‘What have we here? Another one? But argh.. no you are far skinny and bony. You won’t be a very nice meal at all. You shall be my servant.’
Gretel didn’t want to be the witches servant but she couldn’t leave her brother be eaten. So she followed the witches commands and she cleaned the kitchen. She polished the silverware. She swept the floor. She scrubbed the witches oven. Whenever she went close to Hansel’s cage the witch glared her beedy eyes at her.
‘Is that oven ready yet? I’m hungry and want my dinner.’
‘It’s too dark to clean’ moaned Gretel.
‘Nonsense. You’re doing it wrong. You’re stalling.’ replied the witch.
‘No, I can’t do it. You’ll have to show me how.’ feigned Gretel.
The witch was so hungry and she was impatient so she pulled Gretel from the oven and leant in to clean the oven herself. Gretel saw her chance. She did a run up and with all her might pushed the witch head first into the oven and slammed the door shut behind her. She freed Hansel from his cage and the elves ran into the forest.
‘That was a great story, Lolly’ said Pebbles. ‘And set in a cold, dark forest just like this one.’
‘A little too much like this one. I’m glad we have the fire to keep us safe’ said Flick.
‘And to keep us warm’ said Lolly. ‘It’s very cold now. Look at the frost on the trees.’
‘How beautiful’ said Snowdrop. ‘I love this time of year. I can’t wait for the first snow.’
‘I can. I don’t really care for the snow. Or the cold.’ said Flick. ‘Speaking of which, here’s my story…
It was a bitter Winter’s day. The snow was coming down fast. A beautiful and smart fairy was holding up in her fairy home with enough food to last the Winter. She lived at the bottom of a lovely garden of a friendly home where children lived. They had left her food and warm clothes and other presents all through the Autumn to help her survive one of the harshest Winters ever expected.
The fairy looked out at the garden and wondered if the green plants and beautiful flowers would ever return. The whiteness went on forever and she could no longer see the big house where the children lived. She fixed herself some cocoa and sat by the warm fire.
Later she heard children laughing, which pleased her so she went back to the window. But what she saw then was not pleasant. A horrifying monster sat just feet away from her house; a big white ugly monster. It had twigs for arms, a crooked pointy nose and a wicked smile. The monster had stolen some of the children’s clothes. The poor three children would freeze to death as they run around the garden, obviously terrified. Well they didn’t seem that scared to tell the truth but the poor fairy was very scared.
The children went inside. The monster didn’t move. She watched for hours and eventually she fell asleep.
She was woken by a scratching noise. She opened her eyes. The monster had gone. She looked out on the garden, searching for the beast. It was now dark. But she could see a light on at the big house. However, she couldn’t really see the garden.
There was another scratching noise. From the roof. Was it the monster? She kept as quiet as she could.
There it was again. Oh, go away monster, she pleaded.
Tap! Tap! Tap! A different sound. This time from the window. She didn’t dare look but… Tap! Tap! Tap!
She slowly turned to the window. And cautiously she approached. She looked out and up and there he was with a big grin… and waving. Smiling at her.
‘Hello’ said the monster. ‘What’s your name?’
‘I… uh.. I’m fl.. Flora’ said the frightened fairy.
‘Nice to meet you, Flora. Do you want to come out and play?’
The fairy shook her head. ‘No it’s far too cold outside.’
‘Then can I come in?’ asked the monster.
Well, I’m sure you’re thinking exactly what I was thinking when I first heard this story; what Flora was thinking when the monster asked. How on earth could he fit inside the fairy’s little home? There would be no room for anything else. The poor fairy would be crushed. But this snow creature was magical and had all sorts of powers. He shrunk himself down to the size of a fairy and knocked on Flora’s door.
Flora was still slightly scared and didn’t know if she could trust the monster but she was also polite and usually brave. So she summoned up her courage and let the mysterious stranger into her home. He turned out to be a very friendly chap. He took off his hat as he came in and shook her hand politely. They chatted and found they had much in common for a fairy and a snow creature. They sat by the fire telling stories sipping cocoa until they both fell asleep.
When Flora woke, her new friend was gone. How odd to leave without saying goodbye, she thought. And then she saw the damp sofa and the puddle on her floor.
‘Oh no’ she cried. Maybe she could fix this. She ran outside to get some snow to build a new body. But all the snow had gone. Only slush remained. It turns out that Winter would not be so harsh after all. In fact it was one of the mildest on record.
But fortunately the Spring brought a late flurry of snow and Flora’s friend did return briefly. From then on Flora always looked forward to snow.
‘That wasn’t scary’ moaned Lolly.
‘No it was a nice story’ said Snowdrop. ‘Does you mean you actually like the cold after all?'
‘Well, Winter isn’t so bad’ replied Flick. ‘There are some nice parts to it.’
‘Well, I for one prefer Summer.’ said Pebbles. ‘There’s nothing better than a warm sandy beach in Summer. That’s where my story starts…
It was the end of Summer and a warm wind blew in off the sea. A group of friends sat on the beach waiting for two more friends to come in on their fishing boat. Peter, a young man of fifteen years and his girlfriend Alison, tossed a Frisbee back and fore, without a care or fear in the world. Sasha, their friend, lay on her back sunbathing. Eventually, Bobby and Mike, sailed into the bay on their boat and called for a hand to drag the boat up the beach.
It had been a lovely day and the evening looked to be pleasant so the friends stayed a while to make the most of the late sun. But as the sun set, a chill, strange and unearthly, suddenly came upon them. They decided to head home.
But within minutes a spooky fog came rolling across the sea. Peter had never seen anything like it. A yellow tinge made it look like something from another world. A trick of the sun over the horizon perhaps. But Alison did not like it and wanted to leave.
Bobby tried to get a photo of the bizarre image but couldn’t quite capture it. The two girls insisted he hurry up so they could get out of there. But the fog was coming closer and that eerie chill got ever more stronger. As they reached the top of the beach, it was Mike who turned to have one last look, and spotted it.
‘There’s a ship coming in. Look. It must be dangerous in this fog.’
Sure enough there was a ship. A very large ship. If it kept coming it would run aground on the beach. You could just make out it’s enormous sails. As they watched it became clearer by the second as though the ship was coming in at an incredible speed.
‘Shall we call the coast guard?’ asked Sasha.
‘Wait. It’s turning.’
‘Let’s get out of here.’ pleaded Alison. She wasn’t sure why but everything about this gave her the creeps.
‘Hang on. Pass us the binoculars.’ said Mike. Peter was often mocked for his binoculars but enjoyed watching the ships out at sea. Before handing them to Mike, he took a glance for himself.
‘There’s a boat.’ he said. ‘They are rowing ashore.’
Again, Alison begged that they all leave but the boys were all curious. So they waited and watched. Eventually, the small boat could be seen with the naked eye, although the fog still obscured the occupants. The fog was now on the beach itself and the teens could no longer make out the ship or much of anything else.
They could however hear the sailors talking.
‘Well, what are you waiting for. Start digging.’ they heard a voice say.
‘You heard the Captain. Dig boys. Dig!’
‘Aye. And you an all.’ said the Captain. ‘Lets bury this treasure as fast as we can.’
‘Aye, aye captain.’
‘Buried treasure’ mouthed Peter to Bobby.
‘You think they are smugglers?’ asked Sasha.
‘Not smugglers. Pirates!’ whispered Mike.
‘Let’s get out of here.’ said Alison. ‘Call the police.’
They agreed to leave. But decided not to tell the police or anyone. Instead, it was decided, mostly by Peter and Bobby, they would come back the next day and dig up the treasure. Peter borrowed his uncle’s metal detector and Bobby ‘borrowed’ his brother’s car.
The next day, Peter, Bobby and Mike scoured the beach but found no signs of what had happened the previous night. Mike, eventually gave up, and left the other two boys to search alone. By the time Alison arrived, they were both exhausted but they were determined not to leave empty-handed, despite Alison’s protests.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, Peter was about to suggest they all go home, when suddenly there was a ‘bleep’. Could this be it? One last dig, they all agreed, hoping for no more rusty nails or loose change. The boys dug while Alison watched so naturally she saw it first.
‘The fog.’ she warned. ‘It’s coming again’
‘It’s just fog. Don’t worry’ reassured her boyfriend.
‘It’s not normal. It’s really weird. I don’t like it.’
‘If you want us to be done faster, you could help’ offered Bobby.
So Alison grabbed the spare spade and they all dug. Even still they had to dig for a while and by the time they hit what they were looking for, the fog had once again reached the beach and completely surrounded them. Peter and Bobby hauled something big out of the sand; it was a treasure chest. It was locked but they could worry about that later; they had to get home and they struggled carrying it to Bobby’s brother’s car.
Once it was in the boot, Peter remembered. He had left his uncle’s metal detector on the beach. He’d have to go back and get it.
Alison told him to ‘Hurry!’. She really didn’t like staying here a moment longer. She watched Peter disappear into the fog. She didn’t like that either. Then suddenly she heard Peter shout.
‘Get off me!’
‘Argh. What’s this? Is it a thief?’ roared a voice.
‘He’s taken our treasure! Where’s our loot, boy?’
‘Please, let me go’ begged Peter.
‘Not on your nelly’ said another voice. ‘We’ll take him on board. The captain will want to see him.’
‘No, wait’ cried Peter. ‘I can get your treasure. Please. It’s not far.’
But the pirates did not listen. Peter’s cries grew quieter as they dragged him into the distance.
‘Quick. Get the treasure chest’ cried Alison. ‘We need to give them the treasure back to save Peter!’
‘Maybe we should call the police’ suggested Bobby.
‘Now you want to call the police?’
The pirates dragged Peter screaming down to their boat. They tied him up and rowed him out to sea. On their ship, Peter met their captain, a monstrous man with a great dirty beard. He was every bit the pirate Peter imagined but more scary than anything in the movies. Peter pleaded for his life. But the pirates only seemed to enjoy his distress. Eventually the captain made a decision and that was for Peter to walk the plank.
Peter wasn’t a bad swimmer but in the thick unworldly fog he had no idea, which way the beach was. The water would be cold and rough. This would be very different to swimming lengths in the pool. The ship swung around and suddenly he was falling. He hit the icy cold water and had never been more terrified. He forgot that he had to swim to land.
A minute might have passed but it felt longer. Suddenly he was grabbed. Someone was helping him up into a boat. It was Bobby. And Alison. They had come to rescue him. He was safe.
‘Look out’ shouted Bobby. They were not safe. Peter turned and saw the big pirate ship heading right for them. He could make out the figures standing on the deck looking down. This would be the end.
Then, in the distance, there was a light. Sunlight. It was dawn. Already. The yellow glow of the fog turned to a red as it swirled around like a living spirit. The fog rose up and engulfed the pirate ship and then in seconds it was all gone. The fog lifted. The friends could see the horizon and the beach. And the ship was gone. They were safe.
‘We’re safe’ shouted Peter.
‘And rich’ said Bobby.
But the treasure chest they had dragged into the boat was also gone. Everything about that night was soon a distant nightmare.
‘That was a good story’ said Lolly.
‘It was so scary’ said Flick. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever go to the sea again.’
‘It’s just a story’ said Pebbles. ‘It’s not real.’
‘Argh! Who says we aren’t!’ came a voice.
Lolly, Flick and Pebbles screamed in unison. Snowdrop turned and frowned.
‘Bramble, you nearly scared us to death!’