A modern fairy tale

Once upon a time, in a seaside town far, far away, there lived two sad children. Oliver and Catherine were sad because their mother had died from a smoking related illness. Their father, a FIFO worker on a gold mine, worked two weeks on and one week off. Oliver and Catherine were lonely and missed their mother dreadfully. She was loving and kind and cooked delicious meals and treats. Before long, their father, on seeing how unhappy they were, decided the children needed a new mother to care for them. He quickly married again and his new wife, their stepmother, came to live with them.

Before long it became clear to the children that their stepmother hated them. While their father was home, she was all smiles and hugs, but when he was away she made them do all the housework, and only fed them bottom-of-the-fridge salads and lasagna made with baked beans. But for herself, the greedy stepmother ordered Uber Eats and ate box after box of chocolates, but none with nuts because she had an allergy to nuts. When the children told their father how awful she was to them, he wouldn’t believe them. All he saw was how kind she seemed. One night, while their father was away, Oliver and Catherine heard their stepmother talking on her mobile.

‘I’m going to take the little shits on a picnic to a secluded beach. I’ll strangle them both and bury them so deep in the sand dunes that no one will ever find them. I’ll tell the police I went to the toilet and when I came back, I saw a white van driving away. Give it a couple of months, then you can deal with the father. Make it look like a work accident. The insurance money will make us rich.’

The children were terrified.

The next day the evil stepmother called them into the loungeroom where she was watching daytime TV.

In a friendly voice she said, ‘I’m sorry to have been so mean, and would like to make it up to you. I have ordered a hamper of delicious food and tomorrow we’ll all go on a picnic to the beach.’

The children were worried, but pretended to be happy and excited, jumping up and down and clapping their hands. Catherine was smart and had an idea about how they could save themselves.

‘Can we make cupcakes for the picnic?’, she asked.

‘Whatever’, said her wicked stepmother.

The children ran to the kitchen and got to work.

The next day they packed the car with the picnic hamper, towels, swimming trunks and sunscreen. Their stepmother drove for an hour before turning off onto a gravel track that wound its way through thick bush, ending at a small parking area. Before them was a beautiful white beach and fat rolling sand dunes. The children played in the dunes then went for a swim. Their stepmother laid out the food on a picnic table in the shade, watching with a cruel smile as they played in the water. She would kill the children after lunch, when they were full and tired.

She yelled, ‘It’s lunch time, come and get it.’

The children came running.

‘Eat, eat’, said the stepmother.

But Catherine said, ‘Please stepmother, try our cupcakes first, they are delicious.’

‘Alright’, she said, ‘but only one. I have to watch my figure.’

She took two quick bites and swallowed. Then her eyes widened, and she grabbed her throat. She couldn’t breathe.

‘That’s right you greedy bitch, peanut butter cupcakes’, said Oliver with a laugh.

The stepmother tried to reach for the EpiPen she kept in her handbag, but Catherine slid it slowly out of reach. When the stepmother was finished kicking and twitching, the children had lunch. After, they dragged the body into the dunes and buried it deep. Oliver called the police on their now deceased stepmother’s mobile to report she had been attacked by a shark while swimming. The body would never be found of course. Their father decided he needed to spend more time with his children. He quit his FIFO job and found one close to home.

The children and their father lived happily ever after.

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