Deviant Art

Little Red

By Jesse Feemster (minexpert)

Twisted from Red Riding Hood

Light filtered in through the leaves of great dark trees, making great golden slices through the dense foliage. Birds chirped cheerily and flew through the leaves, echoing around the place. Rabbits hopped back and forth, scurrying around for food. Spring had arrived, and nature was rising to the call admirably. And with nature, came Humans. The liveliness and happiness of the forest transitioned into that of the people who inhabited the forest. One such person was little Red. She was just barely 10 years old but knew her way around this forest adeptly to that of an experienced hiker. Red was nicknamed as such due to the bright red hood she always wore when she went outside. She earned this nickname from her grandmother, who lived in the woods, claiming the air was “good for her lungs.” Red’s mother often worried about her mother, but being too busy to travel there herself was forced to let Red carry a small (yet heavy) basket over to her grandmother. Red didn’t mind this kind act. She would frequent the same path during the weekends, often skipping to her destination, rather than walking as her mother told her to do. However, Red’s grandmother was not the only person to live in the woods. There was also a young woodsman, who Red sometimes saw hacking at the trees with an ax that must surely be blunt by now. Even if she didn’t see him, she could hear him. The rhythmic thumping of the ax followed by the groaning and cracking of a falling tree would echo through the woods, inescapable. The woodsman wasn’t always around the woods, however; Red didn’t always see him working in the woods, but just walking around the woods, as if in a daze. He was scary, so Red never wanted to be near him, and whenever he was working near the path, Red would detour off the path slightly, just to avoid him.

One day, Red’s mother gave her basket to her and told her that it was time to go visit her grandmother. Red happily agreed and ran to the door to pick up her hood. She put the basket carefully on the ground to reach above her head and retrieve the hood from the hook, lacing it around her neck carefully. She picked up the basket, and, after a kiss good-bye from her mother, she dashed off to the woods. The sun shone brightly as Red dashed through the town next to the woods, happily shouting words of gleeful greetings to the patrons of the town. Red’s mother never liked the darkness of the woods, instead preferring to live more closely to the town; the brightness of the lamps at night would hold back her fears of darkness. On the other hand, Red was a brave little girl, taking more after her father and his fearlessness. She didn’t mind the cracking and scraping sounds of the animals around the woods. She was almost always keeping her head down as she ran through the woods, always keeping sight of the faint path. She loved the woods, the greeny-golden light filtering through the leaves, the earthy brown leaves on the floor, and the various wood chips stripped from the bark that cracked underneath her shoes. Once she got to her grandmother’s house, she would stay the night, and her grandmother would help her up onto the roof, and the trees would part to let them look at the stars. However, Red never wandered around the woods for too long. Once the sun went down, the warm green light would be replaced by a cold gaze of violet light. The path became impossible to see without artificial light, and even then, the darkness presses in on you, causing an increasing sense of claustrophobia. Red had never actually seen the woods at night, but her mother warned her often of its dangers, of the mean animals, of the mean people, and it scared her. So Red made sure to always be arriving at Grandma’s before sunset.

Red dashed through the woods quickly, the basket in her hands trailing behind her just slightly. She ran through the woods, playfully jumping on the stripped bark to hear it crack and echo through the woods, giggling for a second before carrying on. She ran through the woods, giggling happily. All of a sudden, she came to a shocked stop, frozen in place. Ahead of her was a great shadow, cast by the furtive leaves. Just like how she would do with the woodsman, she stepped off the path slightly, and walked past the shadow silently, sensibly carrying the basket with both arms straight down, making sure she avoided gazing at the shadow. Her mother had warned her about this, and Red knew exactly what the shadow was. It was a wolf. Her mother had told her all about the stories to do with wolves, the ones used to scare the children away from the woods. About how a wolf’s favorite thing to do is to catch little children, and once they caught them, they would eat them slowly, starting with the toes, and savor every bite. Red wasn’t scared of the wolf, but she was definitely scared of being eaten, so whenever the wolf was sleeping on the path, she made sure to sneak silently past it. The wolf was never actually awake when she saw it, but she knew it wasn’t dead because of its pulsating chest. Red checked behind her as she passed it, making sure it was asleep before she picked up her pace and returning to her usual dash.

As Red started around the curve that led to her grandmother’s house, the sun was sinking low on the horizon, filling the forest with a thick mixture of honey yellows and earth browns. Red’s hood was the only thing that didn’t change its color. Even the sky changed color, becoming a cooler and deeper violet. However, the temperature also dropped dramatically, juxtaposing itself with the warm colors surrounding Red. Red began to shiver slightly. She quickened her pace again, which had slowed to a walk, eager to sit in the basking light of the fireplace. As her cottage came into view, Red broke into a run. As she got close, she slowed down again. The windows were dark, and there wasn’t any smoke coming from the chimney. That’s awfully strange, as Red’s Grandma would always have a fire roaring when she came round, even in summer. She went up to the house and was about to knock on the door, but she hesitated. Something didn’t feel right. … Red put the basket down carefully and pushed carefully on the door. It swung open slightly. Red stepped over the door frame and stole down the hallway silently. There were no lights on, so she had to squint slightly as she walked through the hallway, so she didn’t trip up. As she traversed the hallway, she became aware of a faint sound. It sounded like a flat smack, like someone was hitting a watermelon with a plank of wood. Red began to get a little scared, but she couldn’t stop moving forward, her childish curiosity forcing one foot in front of the other. She followed the sound, moving toward the sitting room. She peeked around the corner slowly, the smacking sound now ringing in her ears. Her eyes widened, and she had to clutch at her mouth to stop herself from screaming. Grandma was laid across the ground, her blank eyes staring toward Red desperately. Her pearl-white hair was now stained with a thin layer of red. Above her, facing away from Red, was the woodsman, who was raising his ax above his head and bringing it down across Grandmother, over and over. He was mumbling to himself crazily as he did so. Red moved away slowly, then turned and ran. All of a sudden, the carpet that Red so carefully tried not to trip on caught her foot and held on, sending her sprawling to the ground. The loud thump alerted the woodsman, who stepped over Grandmother and started to leave.

“Who’s there?!” he yelled in his thick gravelly voice. “I didn’t do anything. I set her free from solitude …” He yelled again. Red scrambled to her feet, sprinting for the door. The sun just over it began to set outside the door, casting the trees into the darkness that she was scared of. The woodsman peeked around the doorway, and, spying Red, broke into a chase after her. Red crashed out of the door, kicking her basket aside. The woodsman chased after her, yelling for her to stop running. Raising her hands, she tore through the thin layer of leaves, crashing off of the path quickly. She snapped through twigs and thorns, ripping her hood’s cloak in several places. She carried on, tearing through the bracken. She stole a peek over her shoulder, fearfully watching the woodsman break through the branches snatching at his clothing. He blotted out the last of the light from the sun, advancing on Red quickly. She began to scream and tumble through the trees. Suddenly, a branch traitorously snatched her foot from under her. Red rolled forward and landed on her front. She quickly rolled over onto her back. The woodsman jumped onto her, quickly pinning her down. She screamed as loudly as she could, but it wasn’t loud enough to alert the town, however, and the woodsman stayed on top of her. He grabbed the knot of her hood, yanking her up into his face. He quickly screamed at her.

“How much did you see?” He screamed at her, saliva flicking through the air. Red, caught defenseless, only began to cry. The woodsman dropped his ax and smacked her around the face. Then he repeated the question, this time into her ear painfully. The shout wasn’t too loud, but to Red, it felt as if explosions were detonated next to her. She screamed again, hoping to rouse the nearby town again, to have them come to help her, but there were no sounds of help coming. Red covered her face and screamed into her hands. The woodsman, deciding that he wouldn’t be able to elicit a response from her, leaned over and grasped his ax. This girl wasn’t going to talk to anyone …, he thought to himself. I won’t let her. He raised the ax above his head and steadied himself. He leaned forward slightly, about to pull the ax across Red’s chest when he was thrown to the side by a great, grey force. The grey blur knocked the woodsman off of his feet, quickly pouncing on him. Red quickly propped herself up on her elbows and shuffled away slightly. The wolf had come to her rescue and was now straddled across the woodsman, wrestling with him. The woodsman had the ax, and he knew how to use it, but the wolf was atop him, too close to let him use the ax efficiently. The woodsman let out a few strangled yells and tried to throw the wolf off of him, but it was too heavy, and all he managed doing was aggravating it more with his swift kicks to its belly. The wolf quickly began leaning on the handle of the woodsman’s ax, using its weight to slowly make him lower it. The wolf began to snap at the woodsman, its jaws snapping shut with every breath the woodsman took.

Eventually, the ax dropped enough for the wolf to nick at his nose, and a swift knee connected with the soft spot of the wolf’s belly, almost knocking it off. Suddenly, a lunge from the wolf had it clamp its jaws around the woodsman’s temples. Blood drizzled down the woodsman’s forehead, the man screaming as his skull began to crunch. He flailed about sporadically, no longer trying to push the wolf off, but now just trying to escape. It didn’t work. The wolf’s jaws clamped tighter and tighter, ignoring the man’s screams. Red began to cry silently, tears tracking down her face. The wolf crunched the skull completely, and the screams stopped halfway through, the sound dying in the huntsman’s throat.

Red tried to get to her feet, but she fell back flat again with a small cry of pain. Her ankle was swollen slightly, so something must have happened to it. She scrambled away on her elbows, attempting to run away from the wolf. The wolf looked over at Red, a crazed look in its eye. It prowled over to her slowly, looking roughly twice as large. Red shied away as much as she could, pressing into her ripped hood. The beast leaned over her, leaning down slightly. Red, scared out of her mind, shut her eyes. Suddenly, there was something wet pressed to her cheek. She opened them again forcefully. The wolf was licking her cheek, where a bruise was swelling up when the woodsman hit her. Red looked at the wolf as it hopped off of her lightly. She reached out her hands to it, placing trust into it completely. The wolf moved closer to her and leaned down, letting her wrap her hands around the wolf’s neck. The wolf stood up fully, pulling Red to her feet. She leaned to the wolf and stumbled out of the bracken with him. The wolf guided Red along the path and eventually, long after night had fallen, Red could see lights in the distance. Despite being in the woods at night, one of Red’s biggest fears, she felt an immense feeling of power being with the wolf. She felt as if everything that would’ve wanted to attack Red was now keeping itself at bay, scared into docility by the wolf. The wolf took Red to the edge of the woods, where it stopped. Its hackles were raised, staring intently at the town. Red wasn’t old enough to understand what was wrong completely, but she could tell the wolf was scared. She patted the wolf gently on the ears and whispered a word of encouragement into its ear. The wolf wasn’t completely understanding the girl but was comforted by her soft tone. He ambled forward slowly, supporting Red. There were shocked voices from windows, and cries for help but no stones made contact with the wolf. Red’s mother came dashing from the crowd, informed of her child’s ragged look by the crowd. She scooped up her child, worried, and carried her off quickly. Red whispered something in her ears as she tried to walk away. She stopped and turned around. She set Red onto the ground lightly. Red beckoned the wolf. The wolf stepped forward. Red grasped the wolf’s neck in a tight hug and whispered in its ears.

“Thank you.”