Archive | August 16, 2011

30 Days Second Semester: 11, Remember the Tale

For the 30 Days Meme Second Semester, for the prompt “13) re-write a story that everyone knows.”

Misc-urban-fantasy, maybe misc-post-apoc.

The streets between Roana’s house and her grandmother’s weren’t safe anymore, and everyone knew it. The Wolves had marked their territory, eight blocks of wasteland surrounding what had once been a pretty park. Anyone caught in there was fair game, especially not wearing their colors. And no-one wore the Wolves colors they hadn’t marked themselves.

But going around added an extra hour to her trip, an hour which went through only nominally safer territory. After all, the Wolves at least showed you their teeth. So she put on red – nobody wore Red in this city, Red was passé – her kerchief and her coat. It was supposed to snow, but she hadn’t seen her grandmother in weeks.

The first couple blocks were fine. Neutral territory, what people called The Mother-Land. Mothers with big guns and bigger voices kept this area clear of violence.

She knew the moment she stepped into the Wolves’ territory. The stink was unmistakable, even without the tagging, even without the gloom and the way the world seemed to twist in the shadows. She kept her chin high and kept walking.

Where do you go, little Red? Go home.
The streets here aren’t safe, and you’re all alone.

The streets whispered to her, taunted her, called to her. She kept walking.

What’s in the bag, little Red? Turn around
Scurry on home, now, don’t make a sound.

She could hear their voices, calling from the ruined fire escapes, calling from the windows, whispering from the alleys. She knew no one would be there if she turned, so she kept walking, chin up, determined.

Under your coat, little Red, let us in,
We want to taste that pretty white skin.

The park was the worst, the barking yaps of the Wolves following her in there. Every shadow could hide a monster, but she kept on. The brambles grabbed her jacket, but she kept going. The roots tried to trip her, but she kept on.

Such pretty eyes, little Red, can’t you see?
How hot our hunger is, how big our teeth?

She tugged her coat a little tighter, knowing it was coming. Knowing that they’d strike at the old fountain. Knowing that they wouldn’t remember they myth, remember why she wore red.

“Run away girl, pretty Red, run away.” The Wolf that stepped out of the shadows would be their alpha, biggest of the batch. None of the others would bother them until he was done.

“Hurry home now, and be safe, safely stay,” he sang. He remembered the words, at least. Did he remember the rest.

“I’m just going to my Grandmother’s,” she told him. “Through the woods and o’er the fountain.”

“But there are wolves in the woods, little Red, aren’t you scared?” he leered. His teeth were big, and sharp, and yellow.

“I don’t worry, Wolf, that I’ll be spared.” The myth had a life of its own, here in the dark, here on the edge of the bridged fountain. “And you’ve forgotten the end of the story.”

“What’s in the bag, little Red? Run and run,” he crooned, “Or stay right here, leave me my fun.”

She reached into the bag for the first time, stepping towards him. Here, right here, yes. He crossed the bridge towards her, ready to leap. He couldn’t turn this down, not a Wolf, not in the Woods, not with her red hood.

“Under your coat, little Red, let me in. I want to taste that pretty white skin.” At “skin,” he lept, and she swung, reversing the axe, hitting him in the stomach with the butt end. He went flying, and she stepped delicately down off the fountain, to eye the crumbled man. She set her axe to his throat, letting him feel how sharp it was.

“Don’t you remember?” she smiled at him, “How the story ends?”

“The woodcutter…” he gasped.

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