Today's Story by Alana I. Capria

Each pulled toenail was another lost neuron

Hansel Started Crying

It was gradual. The boy’s emasculation and the turn to tears. His sisters beat him with their own spines while the witch stared and prayed. She thought she would achieve transcendence through another’s pain but all she got were boiled thorns. The spines were still hard despite the high temperatures. If anything, the heat made them harder. So Hansel wandered into her pot and then into her table and finally into her bed. They ate raw sugar cane together while counting babies’ toes. Each pulled toenail was another lost neuron and the witch was reminded of the lighthouse she had dangled from by her feet as a child while her terrible mother scratched her soles and made her laugh in fear. Then, when the witch got married the first time, her husband held her over a fire and waited until the backs of her feet blistered. She felt for the apple-poisoned stepmother dancing in her iron shoes. But there was another universe bubbling beyond the forest gates and the witch had every intention of dragging the boy there.
Alana I. Capria has an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She resides in Northern New Jersey with her fiancé and rabbits. Her writing and links to other publications can be found at


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