My parents never told me where I came from. They only said that they found me on the doorstep of their small house, left in a large basket of cucumbers. I was sucking on one when they opened the door.
And why cucumber? I had no idea; their story was just weird, hard to believe. But my parents also told me not to think about it too much anymore. What mattered was that they loved me.
Growing up, I didn’t go to formal schools like most kids my age. In fact, I was home-schooled. I wasn’t even allowed to play with other kids or invite them over. They said it was to keep me safe. From what? I demanded that they tell me. Still, it wasn’t easy. They said they would tell me when it was time.
When? I asked them again. They still promised me with two words: in time.
“A promise is a promise,” I reminded them. They both nodded.
Goldie. By the way, that’s my name and I’m not even blond. Since my parents – or should I say, my foster parents – had kept me under house arrest for most of the time, I never got the chance to roam outside – not even into the nearby forest. A neighbour once told my father that there was a house there. I wondered who would ever want to live there. Bears?
Then I finally learned the truth when I turned fourteen. With a tearful confession, they told me that they’d been taking care of me to pay off their house debt. WHAT?! I’d nearly shrieked. It was a really big man who worked as a village debt collector who had given them the assignment. They’d never had any kids anyway, so why not?
“Then we fell for you,” my mother said sadly. “Unfortunately, there’s a catch.”
“What is it?” I asked worriedly. I thought taking care of me until I was old enough to fend for myself had been the only catch.
“We must give you back to him when you turn sixteen.”
“Why?” Wait. That would be two years from now.
“So he can marry you.”
“What?” This is unbelievable. “What does he look like?”
When they showed me the picture of that ogre, I fainted.
I was sixteen when that ogre-looking debt collector came to my parents’ house to take me away. Damn, he’s really ugly, leering at me with those hungry, lecherous eyes. Ugh.
My parents were afraid, but I wasn’t. I’d already come up with a plan.
“Are you ready to come with me?” he asked me, his grubby hands were already tightening their grip on my arms. We were staring each other down. I only smiled at him and shook my head.
“What?!” he growled. Before he could do anything more, I slipped the knife out from under my sleeve then stabbed him in the heart with it. The ogre-looking creature bellowed before falling hard on the ground. Dead? Of course.
“What are you doing?” my parents freaked out. I stood there, still with the bloody knife in my hands, staring back at them.
“What do you think?” I shot back. “I don’t wanna go. I wanna stay with you.”
The three of us looked at each other for a moment, before we dragged the body to the backyard of our house…
No one knows where the ogre-looking creature goes. He’s been declared missing for weeks already.
I’m still living with my parents. In our backyard, we started growing cucumber plants. That was my idea.
(Jakarta, 27/5/2016 – from Jakarta’s Couchsurfing Writers’ Club Gathering and Weekly Writing Challenge at Carls Jr., Rubina – Kuningan, Jakarta. The topic for the writing challenge: “Fairy tales with a twist”.)