To start at the beginning ...
Gretel turned swiftly back to the overgrown path ahead of her and picked her way along the blue flowers. As she ran, the branches of the surrounding trees snagged her dress and apron. She pulled her clothes out of the tree’s grasp and stumbled on, tearing her hem on a root sticking out of the ground and ripping the shoulder of her dress. All she could hear was her heart pounding in her head, her heavy breathing. She fought for air to breath and to stay on her feet as she crashed through the forest.
As she rounded an ancient fir tree, she stumbled over a mossy rock and fell to the ground. Her bare knees scraped against the bark of a fallen log and she felt the air knocked out of her. She laid there in the grass for just a moment, willing her lungs to breathe again. Her skinned knees cried out in pain, and her ribs ached, but the panic in her thudding heart impelled her to get up. She clutched a branch of the fir tree and pulled herself up and started running again.
She didn’t dare to stop to see if she was still being followed, fearing clutching at her throat. She saw ahead of her an enormous boulder and made her way towards it, stumbling and staggering to the other side. She hid behind the giant stone and rested her forehead against the cold surface, panting and clutching her aching side. Fighting to catch her breath, Gretel tuned her ears to the other side of the boulder and to the forest she had just exited. Silence.
With great care, she slowly inched her way around the edge of the boulder to look back the way she had come. She peered around the side and looked into the trees but saw nothing. No one in the path. She shook her head, feeling foolish.
“You let your imagination run away with you,” she scolded herself. “It was probably nothing - a deer or a bird. Truly you need to pull yourself together. You must have look half-crazed running through the forest, pulling your dress to pieces. And now you look a frightful mess.”
Gretel breathed deeply and tried to compose herself. She smoothed her hair back away from her face and tucked a few reckless curls back under her kerchief. She dusted the dirt and bark from her apron and stooped down to shake a stone from her shoe. She pulled up the hem of her dress to tend to her skinned knees. One had bled a little and she dabbed at the wounds with the edge of her apron. Suddenly she froze.
There at her feet was a cluster of forget-me-nots. Even in the midst of her frightened flight, she had followed her path home. It was at that moment that Gretel finally took notice of the behemoth stone behind which she had taken refuge.
Gretel and Hansel had once played upon this boulder.