On a cold day in late December, Aveline dawned her hooded, red garment and went on her way. She left her home by a path that led into the forest. The path spanned the way from her home to that of her Grandmother. She traveled the path often, but never by herself. Her mother and grandmother told her tales of the horrors that lie within the forest since she was just a young girl. Now, with growing maturity and restlessness, she was determined to make the trek alone.
As she entered the forest, large trees that touched the sky surrounded her. With dead leaves crunching under her feet, she walked deeper into the darkness. As light dissipated, the distant sound of a hoot owl filled her ears. A cold chill ran up her spine when a twig snapped behind her. She stopped in her tracks for a moment and looked around. Nothing could be seen but endless trees and green.
Surely it was nothing, she thought to herself and continued on her way. Minutes ticked away into hours before she stopped to realize she had lost her way. She had followed the path she had since she was a little girl, but hours should not have passed. It never took longer than an hour to get to her Grandmother’s.
Another twig broke behind her. As quickly as a wind vane she spun around. Her hair circling her face covered her eyes. Between strands of her hair she spotted a wolf. Emerald green eyes glared back at her.
“Hello, Miss Little Red. Have you lost your way?” The wolf spoke to her through sharp, gritted teeth. Saliva was running down its jaws and dripping onto the ground below it.
“I am headed to my Grandmother’s. She is expecting me,” she said as she backed away from the wolf.
“To your Grandmother’s, eh? Maybe I can help.” As the wolf spoke it approached her slowly.
“I’m fine. I’ve traveled to her home since I was young.” Her heart began to beat much faster as blood coursed through her veins.
“I assure you I know the forest much better. Although I have spotted you walking this path before. Many times before.” The pool of saliva below him grew larger.
She remembered the many times chills ran up her arms while in the forest. Her hairs would stand on end and she never quite knew why. Now she knew. She had been watched many times. The wolf undoubtedly leaving pools of saliva behind.
“I don’t need your help. I can get there on my own. I must go. She is expecting me.”
“Fair enough. Head that way, you will get their quicker,” the wolf said as he pointed his nose in the direction she was to go. With that, the wolf turned and disappeared into the surrounding forest.
Once she was sure the wolf was gone, she continued in the direction she was told to go. Again, minutes ticked into hours as darkness filled the sky. She reached into her shoulder bag to retrieve a small flashlight. When she turned on the light, the realization that she did not recognize where she was sent another chill down her spine. She really was lost this time.
She took a moment to gather her barring and followed the North Star. Her Grandmother always told her if she found herself lost to follow that star. She knew she would be worried about her. Sadness filled her heart.
After a mile or so, she began to recognize where she was. A large boulder by a rather wide tree told her she was headed in the right direction. The number of trees surrounding her began to thin out. In the clearing, she saw her Grandmother’s small house sitting in the moonlight. As she approached the home, the chill returned. Her heart beat faster as she spotted a bloody paw print on the front door. She placed a hand on the cold door and pushed it open. Inside she found something worse than any horror she was warned about as a small child. Her Grandmother’s home was in shambles with blood smearing the walls. When she looked down. She saw her grandmother lying on the floor in a pull of blood. She ran to her and shook her in hopes of awaking her from an endless sleep.
Out of the shadows, the wolf entered the room. Moonlight flooded in from the outside world and illuminated crimson stained fur.
“How could you!” Aveline shouted as she stood from the ground on shaking knees.
“How could I? How could you? Are you not the one who left your home when you were told not to? You were warned about me and yet here you are,” the wolf said as it squatted on its haunches before leaping towards her. With one swift motion of its massive paw, it dug its claws across her face. Pain seared through her body. She fell to the ground and the wolf circled her.
“Why are you doing this to me. Why us?!?” Tears began to stream down her bloody face.
“It isn’t personal. I can assure you of that. You were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. You were alone,” it explained as it continued to circle her.
She looked to her Grandmother lying lifeless on the floor. Anger grew within her. As quickly as she could she stood to her feet. Behind her was a chair that her Grandmother had rocked her in as a child. In that same chair she had spent hours knitting quilts that warmed her family as they slept. Aveline gripped the chair with her hands and threw it at the wolf. A whimper escaped as the chair smashed into him. The chair splintered as it crashed into the floor.
Before the wolf could gather itself off of the floor, she grabbed one of the sharp legs of the chair. She stood over the wolf. Emerald green eyes starred back at her once again, but turned black just before she lowered the sharp wood into its heart.
Before leaving, she looked once more around her Grandmother’s home. Cherished, loving memories swirled around in her mind. A tear fell down her cheek and stung her open wounds. With that, she entered the woods once again, praying to find her way back home.