|Little Red Riding Hood
By Benjamin Hume
Little Red Riding Hood sat on the lush green grass of the back garden behind her family’s cozy cottage. She sighed in awe at the pure, tranquil beauty of her surroundings. The cherry trees were in full bloom, the birds were chirruping their sweet happy song. She felt relaxed, she felt as though nothing in the world would, or even could, be able to destroy this beautiful peace.
Except her mother. The shrill, high pitched voice rang out like a squealing piglet, completely and utterly annihilating the peace that Little Red had been enjoying. She groaned inwardly, dreading the task her mother had presumably set for her. She lumbered slowly towards the direction on the voice, swinging her arms about moodily. When she arrived at the creamy- white double-doors that served as the back entrance to her house, she saw her mother. Looking hot and flustered, she was leaning out of a window, a grubby black and white checkered apron tied loosely around her neck.
“LITTLE RED!” She squawked again, her jowls quivering from the vibrations.
“I can hear you mother,” Red grouched in reply. “I’m not deaf you know. Waddaya want?’
“You keep that tongue of yours in check or you might just get a taste of my hand on your backside young lady.” Red didn’t like the sound of this so she immediately perked up and flashed her mother one of her best smiles, the one with the dimples, and enthusiastically said
“Yes mother, anything you say mother!”
“Teenagers.” Little Red’s mother muttered under her breath. “Anyway, I want you to go and visit your dear old granny and give her this batch of cookies I baked for her. It’s dumplings for dinner tonight so don’t be late.”
“But Muuum,” Little Red Riding Hood whined. ”You know dumplings are my favourite and that old bat’s house is miles away!”
“SILENCE CHILD!” her mother roared. ”You will do as you are told, when you are told, how you are told and you will do it now!” Poor Red felt terrified of her Mother’s powerful voice and replied simply by nodding her head.
“Thanks darling,” her mother replied sweetly. “Have a nice trip. Love you, Bye!” And with that she promptly handed Red a small, wicker basket, slammed shut the window and gave her a withering look through the glass. “If looks could kill,” Red thought, “I’d be six feet under by now.”
Once her mother had turned around, Little Red slyly slid out her tongue and pouted at her mother’s back. She then turned around and slowly, gloomily, started to trudge down the garden path in the direction of her Granny’s house. Her rapidly deflating ego and her dented pride did nothing to help as she trekked along. Her previous surroundings’ tranquility was now gone, even the birds were silent, as though they could sense the hostility in the air. Little Red Riding Hood felt angry at her mother for sending her on this silly errand in the first place, she felt annoyance at her Granny for having to live so far away. But most of all she felt self pity. She tried to reassure herself. She thought “I’m sure those cookies inside this basket taste great. I’ll have to sample them.” And with that final thought she skipped happily and boisterously down the lane, her loud red cloak billowing behind her in the soft summer breeze. With the birds now singing again and her ego growing by the second, she thought to herself, “what a really beautiful day this is.”
Little Red Riding Hood trotted happily through the forest of tall, imposing pines. The brown, brittle needles, casually discarded to the forest floor crunched under her dainty little feet. She beamed at the scampering squirrels, she grinned at the fluttering birds and hummed gaily along with their sweet melodies. She breathed in the fresh, clean scent of the towering trees. She gazed, mesmerized at the golden syrupy sap as it slithered, snakelike slowly down the thick, coarse bark of the trees. She felt calmed by the sounds and scents of the ancient wonderland of trees.
She felt so full of energy that she felt she must run. So she did. As she ran, her bright red cloak’s flapping motions resembled that of a forest fire, flaring and dazzling the cheerful critters as she sped along the well used track. She forgot all about her Granny and her Mother. She felt as though she was in a timeless place, full of undiscovered secrets.
As she was soaring along, she failed to notice the tree root, protruding from the soil. When she hit it, she was sent sailing through the air, resembling some kind of strange, red parakeet. Red’s basket released itself from her grasp and sped towards earth again, its contents spilling over the ground like a bunch of unwanted marbles.
But of course, all that goes up must come down. And down did Little Red come. With an almighty THUMP Little Red Riding Hood finally touched earth again, skidding painfully on her hands and knees. When she halted at last, she dramatically collapsed onto the forest floor.
She closed her eyes and moaned in pain, laying there for a little while, the disturbed pine needles slowly settling on her cloak. When she stood up, she felt some pine needles sliding down her back. At once she began a crazy itching frenzy, trying to dislodge the stubborn needles from her back. Her crazy jig resembled some kind of ancient tribal war dance. As soon as it had started, her dance stopped. She watched, satisfied as the offending needles drifted slowly towards the ground, looking somewhat more crippled than before.
“I do say,” the soft voice was like reeds on a river, wavering in a breeze. “Was that the Tango?” Little Red Froze on the spot, not daring to turn around. She thought she detected a Spanish accent. “Well, speak up.” The voice continued.
“I wasn’t dancing!” Little Red said, offended. “I was simply ridding my self of an itch.”
“Hmmm.” The stranger replied. “I haven’t heard of that one before, you’ll have to teach it to me.”
Still not daring to turn around, she said defiantly; “Who are you anyway?”
“I, young lady, am called Don Alejandro Murrieta De La Vega. But you, senorita, can call me El Lobo.”
At last, overwhelmed by curiosity, she turned around, expecting to see some tall, handsome, Spanish hunk. But instead, a horrible sight met her eyes. A tall figure leant, almost casually against a tree. A wide grin on his face, revealed a set of long sharp teeth, dripping with some, red, viscous liquid. The thick matted, brown fur obscured most of his thin, malnourished body, while hanging limp and lifeless from his left hand gripped tightly by a set of lethal looking claws hung a bloody squirrel. Its neck was twisted in an awkward position suggested that the creature had had its neck broken. Little Red Riding Hood gaped at the gruesome looking animal and realized with sheer terror that she was standing, face to face with a wolf. It continued to grin at her with it’s gargoyle like features, its gleaming yellow eyes gazed at her intently, waiting for some kind of reaction to suggest that she was afraid of him. But instead, after the initial shock had worn off, she stuck out her tongue, not for the first time that day and pouted at him in her usual moody, I-don’t-care-what-you-think fashion.
“If it’s all right by you, Mr. Dooley-jooley Vegas, I’d very much like to be on my way now. I’m off to visit my Granny and I don’t want to be late.”
“No no no.” Don replied agitatedly. “It’s Don, Alejandro, Murrieta, De Le Vega.”
“Yeah, whatever Donald. I just gotta pick up these cookies then get outta here.” And with that she set about picking up the remnants of the cookies and dropping them into the war-torn basket.
“Well,” Don replied, “hasta la vista, until next time senorita. Adios!” And with those final words Don Alejandro Murrieta De La Vega bounded gracefully through the forest. Little Red stood and stared after him until he disappeared behind a dense clump of trees. She shuddered at the thought of the Spanish wolf then continued on her way, limping slightly from her sore knees. After about an hour or so, Little Red Riding Hood finally arrived at a little clearing. Nestled neatly between two enormous pine trees sat a small cottage. Its white-washed walls glowed softly in the in the sunlight, giving the building an eerie look. As she approached she saw all the usual things, the grape vine, ever so slowly creeping across the right side of the house, the neatly trimmed rose bushes and the short, springy grass. Eventually, she noticed the front door had been left ajar, and was now swinging softly in time to the breeze. Red realized at once that something was wrong. Her instinct told her to run away as quickly as she could, but her curiosity urged her to do so otherwise. As she inched slowly towards the house, she heard faint rustling noises being emitted from the front door. When she reached the door, she peered cautiously through to see her Granny snoring away in her favourite rocking chair, the wind, tugging at her blanket like a young pup wanting to play. Relieved, she stepped over the threshold, tripping over her own two feet in the process and making a clumsy landing on the hard wooden floor. She grumpily stood up, wincing in pain at her raw knees and slammed the door shut behind her. At this noise, Red’s Granny was aroused from her peaceful slumber. Feeling guilty, she cheerily skipped towards her, holding the basket out in front of her. Her Granny turned to face her. Seeing her brownish bristled face she said;
“My, what a hairy face you have. You need a shave.”
“Silly child!” Her granny scolded her. “The line is ‘my what big teeth you have’”
“Well excuse me.” Red replied haughtily. “But I do believe this story has been entitled ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ not ‘Grouchy Old Granny Hood.’ It’s my story so that means it is my decicision as to what I shall say so I shall say as I please. Harrumph.”
“I beg your pardon, madam, but is that any way to speak to your dear old Grandmother?” A faint trace of a Spanish accent.
“Meh.” Red replied casually. A spark of recognition suddenly flew into Red’s eyes. “Hey! I know you! You’re that Donald Las Vegas guy that I meet in the woods today.” An angry look appeared on the imposter’s face as he realized that he’d been sussed.
“If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times!” He roared. “It’s Don Alejandro Murrieta De La Vega!”
“OK, OK.” Red replied. “No need to get your knickers in a knot. What did you do with Granny?”
“She made a very tasty meal. A bit tough though.” A nervous look suddenly appeared on Little Red Riding Hood’s face.
“Umm, Don?” Red inquired.
“You don’t happen to know my next line do you? What with all these interruptions I’ve kinda forgotten.”
“Ok, lemme see. Aren’t you supposed to scream?”
“Nope. I’m pretty sure that was the original version. I’m not scared of you in this one remember?”
“Right you are. Oh! I got it you are supposed to say ‘All right tough guy! I’m gonna give you to the count of ten and if Granny isn’t sitting her rocking chair by then you’re gonna wish you’d never been born’”
“You’re a lifesaver Don. Here we go.” With a roar of disapproval Little Red screamed.
“All right tough guy! I’m gonna give you to the count of ten and if Granny isn’t sitting in her rocking chair by then you’re gonna wish you’d never been born”
“OK OK senorita. I try.” He gurgled. He struggled. He pushed. He strained. Then finally, with an almighty burp, he regurgitated Red’s granny into her rocking chair.
Granny coughed a little, then she spluttered than paused a second, as if thinking of something to say.
“Man you really gotta take some tic-tacs.” Granny grumbled at the wolf. “Your breath stinks!”
“Sorry senorita but where I come from, we don’t got tic-tacs. Is not acceptable, uuh, you see?” The wolf replied grimly.
“I’m so sorry dear. I never realized. Begging your pardon.” Granny simpered.
“Is OK senorita, is OK.” Don soothed. Feeling like she needed to break the awkward silence that had ensued, Little Red said cheerfully,
“Yes please!” Don and Granny replied enthusiastically. Little Red opened the battered wicker basket and started handing out the crumbled cookies. Don and Granny stared at the mess of what used to be cookies then politely refused the offer.
“I ahh, I have an appointment I need to go to. I’ll be seeing you. Adios!” and with an athletic leap he jumped through the window, scaled the little picket fence surrounding Granny’s house then sprinted off into the sunset.
“I kinda gotta go to Granny, dumplings for dinner tonight you see. They’re my favourite you see. Well I hope you enjoy the rest of your day, and eat up those cookies too before they go all moldy and stale. They don’t taste good like that but I’m sure they taste great at the moment.” Then with an elegant wave, she spun on her heels and walked straight into the door. She staggered backwards, clutching her nose, moaning softly to herself. She then opened the door and grumpily stomped back the way she had come.
As she started the long trek home, she smelt a faint wisp of burnt meat. She stopped and tilted her head to the side, trying to figure out where it was coming from. Then with her nose leading the way, Red started to head towards the source of the smell. She felt a bit nervous, wondering what could be the cause of the foul smell.
Then she abruptly stopped. Her eyes were met with the most horrific, most utterly grotesque sight. The wolf’s mangled body was entwined into Granny’s extra precautionary security fence. His lifeless face was twisted into a face that one might see in a horror movie. Every now and then, his body jolted as another wave of electricity zapped his body. His fur, now black and charred, stood up on end. With her stomach churning, Little Red turned around and left the wolf’s body to decompose. That, she thought to herself, is the end of Don Alejandro Murrieta De La Vega.
Once the burnt smell had finally started to fade, a more enticing smell met her nose.
“Ahhhhh!” Little Red riding Hood sighed to herself as all thought of pain and disgust was forgotten. “Dumplings.”
Bear in mind that my writing style and tone has changed quite a lot in the 2½ years since I wrote this. I have found many problems with it but I don’t think I’m ever gonna update it. Please be honest in your reviews (that is if you do review, and I ask that you do), but not rude.
Thanks for reading,