The story of Red Riding Hood from a different perspective
We're going someplace today. My wicker bulges from the assortment of goodies nestled inside me, so I assume that it is some place far. If I had a calendar, I would be better able to predict the day and the activity. Of course, it wouldn't do me much good if I did have one. I have only handles and wicker and a vast crevice in which to store various foods and treats.
We both grunt as she lifts me from the floor. I'm too heavy for her to swing today. A brief surge of sadness at the loss of the feeling of swinging through the air as she skips to our destination passes through me. But it is quickly replaced by curiosity and expectation. It has been a while since we have ventured out.
Our journey must not be far. She has never packed me this full before. My handles struggle underneath the weight of my contents. She pauses as her mother speaks to her. In all our years together, I have never sought to understand her strange language. Ours is more a physical relationship. I delight in the fullness from the sweet breads and fruits she packs inside me. Her tiny hands tickle my lining as she removes each item. And then there's the bouncing as she skips through the forest and to our chosen destination. I live for these excursions.
Today, she feels as heavy as I and we trudge slowly toward our terminus. The air around us chills and the sun's rays cannot reach through the thick growth of the trees overhead. Her hand trembles from the shiver that runs down her spine. Her fear feeds into me and I feel myself becoming afraid.
A silky voice glides from behind her. The breads and jams shift inside me and I almost fall from her hands. He steps from the shadows and I almost tumble again. It's my first time seeing a wolf, and I hope my last as well. The fizzy water in the fancy bottle bubbles from the jostling of her shaking hands. Run, I scream, but, like me, she has never learned my language.
The wolf saunters closer. His rippling muscles visible and intimidating underneath his burnt auburn fur. Sweat from her hands leeches into the wood of my handle. The moist heat makes me even more uncomfortable. I beg and plead with her to just leave. We need to get away. But she stays in place. Her hands continue to tremble as she talks to the predator.
He stalks closer to us and she pulls me into her; the warm cloak falls around the both of us in a protective embrace. Bristly hairs scratch the delicate woven reeds of my side. His cold nose presses into me and he takes a generous sniff of my contents. I wish for hands so that I can smack his offensive nostril away. I have never felt so violated or terrified in my entire life!
Just when I think that the game is over and we are going to end up as the main course for the wolf, he leaves. Tears splash onto my lid as Red fights through the sobs and attempts to calm down. She sets me on the ground and collapses next to me. After what seems like an eternity, she lifts me again and we set on our way. Her footfalls are a bit faster than before and then we are running toward the edge of the forest.
She stops just outside a small cabin. An acidic smell permeates the air and creeps into my porous wicker. The air feels off here and I try to warn her, but, like before, she doesn't hear me. Instead she creeps toward the front door that has been left open. She calls out and I hear the fear in her voice. It mimics my own.
The air inside the cabin reeks of wild animal. She speaks to the creature in her bed. The creature that is meant to be someone else. I crash against the floor as the animal springs from the bed toward her, the glass bottle of sparkling water shatters and the liquid inside drenches my lining. I shiver from the cold and the commotion.
And then she is gone. Her red hood falls over me and I am blind. The wolf sniffs half-heartedly, but he is full from his meal and no amount of bread could ever contend with the fresh meat he has imbibed. I sob into the cloak as I lay there on the floor, lost, broken, and forgotten while the wolf peacefully slumbers in his stolen bed.