Hansel and Gretel

It was a beautiful summer day, when my kids, Hanseland Gretel, came up to me. "Daddy, daddy, tomorrow we have summer break", they said. "What are we going to do tomorrow?" I thought about that for a moment. I had absolutely forgotten about their break. It had just been so busy at the office. When I looked into their excited little faces, my brain started working in hyper speed. What did they say they wanted to do last week? That's right they wanted to go wild water rafting. I smiled at them, bend down to one knee and looked into their faces.

"We'll go wild water rafting. Would you like that?" They smiled and embraced me. Excitedly they went off to school. After they were gone I took out my cell and called the mountain side boat rental. I set us all up for the next day. Cost me a fortune, but my little darlings are worth it.

The next day we got up really early. We left the house by 5am to make it to the rental place on time. Hansel and Gretel were so excited! It was hard to keep them sitting still in the car. They were bouncing up and down in their seats, talking loudly about all the things they were hoping to see during the trip.

Once we got to the boat rental, I took them to the side. I put life vests on them and made sure their helmets were sitting tight. Hansel and Gretel were great swimmers, but in these waters you just never know. I couldn't bare it if something would happen to them.

The raft guide went over safety procedures with us and finally we were all set to go. We had our assigned seats in the water. The first part of the trip went smooth and uneventful. The kids loved it! We saw a deer standing on the bank of the river, and Gretel was just happy and excited.

Suddenly the river sped up though. The guide warned us to hold on tight, and told us not to worry. He kept reassuring us that we were perfectly safe as long as we would stay calm and keep paddling. The raft became faster and faster, and we were soaking wet.

All I heard was Gretel's' scream, and the raft tipped over. I was under water and didn't now which side was up and which was down. There was just so much water, and it was puling me away. I didn't know where my kids were and the panic it started inside of me, gave me enough strength to make my way to the surface. Frantically I looked around for my children, but they were nowhere to be seen. I screamed their names as loud as I could, but the water was pulling me further and further away. Eventually I made it to the bank and pulled myself out of the water. I was exhausted and laid there for a second to catch my breath. But what about my kids, I though. I jumped to my feet and looked around. They were nowhere. I screamed their names as loud and as long I as could. I paced up and down the bank, but there was no sign of them. I was freezing cold and started to lose my voice, but I kept on screaming their names. The guide started running and eventually he returned with some park rangers. We spend the rest of the day looking for them. I was on the border of sheer exhaustion. Hot tears were running down my cheeks, and I had trouble breathing. When it started to get dark, I finally collapsed from exhaustion and slept for a while.

When I woke up, a police officer was sitting next to me. "Where are my kids?", I asked frantically, not really wanting to know the answer. He said they hadn't found them yet. That there was no sign of them, but that his man were out there and wouldn't stop until they found them.

I felt as if my heart had stopped beating. I couldn't breathe or move. There was no clear thought in my head, and it was clear to me that I was dieing. My body felt cold and stiff, the only thing I felt were tears in my eyes and a devastating pain in my heart. Only a parent who has lost his children can understand how I truly felt.

The next few days, I was in a comatose state. There was no word on my children. Nobody could find a trace of them, and finally it was decided that they were lost in the river. I didn't want to believe it. I couldn't. They had to be somewhere, and they were still alive - I just knew it! Everyday I went to the river and searched for hours. An unbearable sadness spread inside of me, and I lost every will to life. Friends were trying to help me get to terms with the fact that they were gone, but it took me months to leave the mountain side and go back home.

I imagined what it would be like to open the door and they would just stand there. My mind started playing tricks on me, and I saw them everywhere. Hansel was playing with his little soldiers and Gretel was wearing a pretty dress and play with her dolls. The psychiatrist I was seeing told me that was normal and I tried to ignore these images when they appeared. I went back to work, and concentrated on my business. My job was all I had left and I dedicated every second of my life to it.

My boss was sending me to Japan on a business trip. It was the first time I would leave the state since my children had disappeared. The driver was outside, waiting for me. I locked the door and moved towards the car. When I looked down the driveway, my mind went crazy once more. There they were. I saw Gretel first. Her hair was wild and her dress was dirty and partially ripped. Hansel was right behind her. He wasn't wearing his shirt, and he had mud on his cheek. I stood there for a while looking into their direction. I wanted to believe that they were real so bad. I could even hear them. They were yelling my name, running toward me. They didn't stop until they were in front of me. When they hugged me my heart stopped beating.

It was really them, they were back. Hansel and Gretel were alive and they were back home. I sank to the ground, hugging and kissing both of them. They were telling me how they got out of the water and what took them so long to make it home and how much they missed meŠ It was a miracle! I was filled with joy, but a litle concerned about Gretel's nasty cough.