Blood Red (Based on Red Riding Hood)

October 2, 2011
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Its eyes glowed like fresh embers, boring into me. Its cold, beastlike intelligence sent a cold shiver down my spine. I could see it contemplating on whether to kill me now, or save me for later. I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling it wasn’t the latter. A snarl rumbled deep from its stomach; harsh, searching for any signs of weakness. Cold sweat trickled down my back. Sensing this, it padded forward on its paws; slow, easy - taking its time.
And then,
It decided to strike…

I woke up with a sheen of sweat on my forehead, my breath coming in short, low gasps. Just a dream.
An unbelievably vivid, highly traumatic dream.

I sighed. I was sorely tempted to burrow into my duvet and forget everything, and everyone, but I knew that wasn’t possible. It was that time of year again: a visit to Grandma. This wouldn’t be so daunting, if it not had been that the little cottage was situated in the darkest area of The Woods. But someone had to do it.
You guessed it- me.

10.30 AM. My nightmare had dragged on for longer than usual. I quickly brushed my teeth and showered, and pulled over my red hoodie. I love it to bits, I always wear it, whenever, wherever. Due to this, and the fact that I’m quite small for my age, 14, I was awarded the nickname ‘Lil’ Red’. I wrestled into my black skinny jeans-I really need to get some new ones!-, pulled on my union jack converses and slipped silently out of the door. The crisp morning gave me the wake up call I needed. I looked around. Quiet. Eerie, almost. On a Saturday, as well. It was not normal. Although considering the rumours that have been going around the village; maybe it wasn’t so strange. I mean, all the sane, sensible people were locked safely indoors. Guess which red hooded whacko is out on the street?
You guessed it-me.

I couldn’t help clasping my phone in my pocket, my thumb on the 9 button, ready to press it three times, just in case anything went wrong. You would have too, if you knew what had been going on in our neighbourhood and beyond The Woods.

Six months ago, Jonathan Strathnam left the village. He was a nice boy, well, as nice as 15 year olds go. But, as time went on, he started acting a bit…odd. He used to stay at home all day, and go out at night, particularly at full moons. We all thought he was another nice kid that fell off the rails, until Milly Bourne disappeared. Her parents were sound asleep when she’d been taken one full moon. They hadn’t heard a thing.

An investigation was launched, of course, at the request of her parents. It was hard, as the police had nothing to follow up, no foot prints, eyewitnesses, no credible evidence at all, except a phone call on the night in question. She’d sounded scared, no, not scared. Petrified.
“Oh God, it’s, it’s a wolf, no, it’s not, it’s a man, as well, teenager, it’s going to hurt me, I’m so scared, help me, I don’t, I don’t want to die, please, pl-,”
The line went dead.

Nothing was found. No body, no evidence. The police gave up a month later. Her parents did not. They’ve moved, in search of the daughter, we all know deep down, is not going to come back.
Old Man Peterson, a lonely old nutter in the village, got a kick out of scaring the little kids, and aggravating the rest of the village.
“All you young ‘uns running around sayin’ it’s some dang accident, or the killer will never be found,” he says. “Well I know who the killer is, or, rightly, what the killer is. Twas’ the wolfman who stole that poor girl. Or, to you younger generation folk, werewolves.”
You can see why he isn’t popular. Spreading silly little stories like that, probably just to frighten the kids, and get some attention. It’s sick. And it’s just a myth.

By then I had reached the border between The Woods and the village. I took a deep breath, and stepped out of a nice, safe environment, to a dangerous, sinister place. Oh well. I have to visit Grandma. There’s no one else to do it.

The earthy smell and crunch of leaves under my feet comforted me. Birds chirped, and foliage rustled in the breeze, blowing my dark hair across my face.
I looked around. In my absent-minded state, I had wandered off the path. My eyes scanned quickly to see if anything looked familiar. The problem was, everything did. Everything was just too green. I saw a grey boulder. In that instant, I was sure I’d passed it maybe 2, 3 times.
I was going in circles.

I warily watched the sky. The sun was setting fast. I needed to be at grandma’s house before dark. If I was still out, who knows what could happen.

After much turning back, frustrated stomps, and a desperate wish for a map, I finally made it to her house.

Grandma’s little cottage was so old lady-ish it was almost amusing. It’s odd grey and red brick gave the house charm, and the tan slate tiles only made it more so. She had kept her front garden pristine; its beautiful chrysanthemums growing in neat flowerbeds, and a few daffodils in plant pots.

I was going to knock, but then I remembered I had my own key. The door opened slowly and silently, and I stepped in.
“Grandma?” All the lights were off downstairs, so I figured she’d be in the bedroom. The polka dotted stairs creaked as I went up them. I came to the landing, and stood outside her bedroom. She still had the picture of the two of us rocking along to “Dog Days Are Over” at some birthday party. I smiled, and pushed the door open, to find Grandma-
-not on her bed.

Instead, lazily playing brickbreaker on his Blackberry was Jonathan Strathnam.
“Ah, there you are my darling granddaughter. Did you get lost?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Jeez grandma, what prickly stubble you have…”
He laughed. It was a deep and rich sound. I instantly wanted to trust him, despite him being a stranger in my grandmother’s house. “Finally, one with originality. Guess you’ve figured out I’m no crotchety old lady.”
I didn’t respond. I fixed him a steely glare, though it was just a front. Really, I was scared out of my mind.
He slipped off the bed, and stood up. He was easily over 6 ft, and though I knew he was around 16 now, he looked 25. He wore a blue Superdry ® top, scruffy, tattered jeans, and dirty air-force 1 trainers. He looked like a normal guy, except for his eyes. They were restless, always looking around for danger. Like an animal.

“Well, might as well get this over with. I’m hungry, and it’s just too messy to kill when I’m in wolf form. I’d rather eat as wolf – you get me?.” He edged closer, smiling sweetly. “Sorry about this. I’ll try and make it so your grandma doesn’t have to clean up too much.”
“Try it, mutant. I’ll kick your little wolf behind.”
“Sure you will, sweetheart.” He put himself in a fighting stance, and I did the same. We circled, both waiting for the other to try something. He lazily swung a punch. I could see it wasn’t nearly as powerful as it could have been, but if I hadn’t jumped back in time, it would have knocked me out. He frowned slightly, clearly puzzled as to why I wasn’t on the floor. He swung again, and I ducked. I foolishly tried offence, and swung a clumsy punch at him. He grinned, and caught it in his palm, and squeezed. It wasn’t a particularly hard squeeze, but I heard the crunch of bone as he broke my fingers.
“You sadistic little…”
Jonathan just laughed again. He tried to feint, then come hard, but I stomped on his toes. It was reflex that he bent down to the nurse them. I took advantage, and brought my knee to his head. He staggered back, and I kicked him flat on his chest. He toppled back onto the bed, obviously disorientated. I took the moment to hurry away, fly down the stairs, flit across the landing and out the door. I knew exactly where to go this time, I could see the border. I could see…

The controlled, good humoured Jonathan had gone. He looked livid, almost cheated out of his kill.
“Now now, stay still like a good little human.” He tensed, about to lunge, but suddenly stopped dead. Jonathan looked at the sky.
A full moon.

He smiled a wicked, cruel smile, and crouched. It was horrific. His already large muscles swelled and grew so much they burst his top- he grunted painfully something about how much it cost him-and ripped apart his already tattered jeans. He was growing, inch by inch, until, already over 6 ft, he was well over 7. His light stubble turned into a full grown beard, then kept going until all of his body was covered with russet brown hair. Sharp, long teeth protruded from his gums, and he yowled in pain.

Finally, it seemed like the transformation was complete. He stood on his hind legs, flexing, then went into a crouch.
Not a he. An It. It snarled, confident and terrifying. Its eyes burned holes in mine. I was paralyzed by fear. I couldn’t move. It paced forward.
So this is how I’m going to die.
Turns out, it wasn’t my time. I heard a whisper of something fast whistle past my ear, and the glint of silver. The wolf was seconds away from striking, when it stopped. Its eyes held confusion, and looked down. A smooth, beautifully carved wooden handle protruded out of the front of its body. The blade of the axe had cut all the way through to the beast’s back. First a drop, then a pour of blood, turning the soil dark. The wolf’s body went into a series of convulsions and spasms-and then it was still.
I turned to see who my rescuer was. But they’d gone, disappeared into the trees as fast as the axe had whizzed through the air.
I didn’t seek them out. I just turned and ran home, overcome with shock of how close that had been, not to mention, impossible in its supernaturalism. But mostly-
-I was just happy to be alive.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

CaeCae97 said...
Oct. 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm
I really like this story! It held me right to the end. Keep writing!
Anonymous_7 said...
Oct. 12, 2011 at 12:11 am
This was good and very discriptive! I liked how you ended it, although I doubt a girl could beat up a 6 foot guy ;) but overall it was Fantastic! It is kinda funny but I wrote a story about Red riding hood called "Little Red" if you could check it out and comment/rate it I would most appreciate it. Thanks!
AntWrangler13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 12, 2011 at 3:25 am
Thank you! Will do :D
CarrieAnn13 said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Okay, I have a bit of criticism.

1.  “…pulled on my union jack converses…”  If Converse is a brand, shouldn’t it be capitalized?  Shouldn’t ‘Union Jack’ be capitalized as well?

2.  “I smiled, and pushed the door open, to find Grandma-
-not on her bed.”  I know you did this for dramatic effect, but the dashes just look out of place.  And the second line is just distracting and annoyin... (more »)

AntWrangler13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm
Thanks, the task was to make it modern, my English teacher told us to add brands, and that's what I did-Thanks anyway :)
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Could you please give me more detailed feedback on my story 'Characters' than "Thi is so good-I was captivated from the beginning right till the end!"?  I spend quite a bit of time on my own critiques.
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