Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Retelling of My Own

For this fabulous Thursday, as we near the end of the Once Upon a Week, NotNessie invited us to take a fairy quiz and rewrite a fairy story. And here are the...interesting results:

Having taken this quiz, I came out as Little Red Riding Hood. Not my favorite. But, you will see how I re-imagined this one with my own unique ideas. (Ok, so it's not really me as the heroine, but I think this heroine is a lot more interesting.)

Red Hood

Putting on my scarlet cloak and pulling the hood over my head, I begin to feel the thrill that comes from the hunt. Ostensibly, I'm headed to grandmother's house to visit her. The real reason for this trek through the wood is to eliminate the werewolf that's been terrorizing the nearby villages for months. Beneath my cloak, I clasp the trusty silver dagger and run my thumb along the familiar imprint of a wolf's head on the handle. Woflbane has been with me for most of my time as a wolf-hunter. It came most unexpectedly after I'd removed a female who prowled the king's own castle. From deep in his royal horde of weaponry, he'd produced this deceptively plain dagger. One look at the etching told me it was an ancient and very powerful weapon I'd only heard of in wolf-lore - the original blade of the original wolf-hunter. Having this dagger in my grasp helps me face the inevitable fear. I'd taken down hundreds of wolves in my time, but I never failed to feel that chill run down my spine and the blood pumping in my heart. I never forgot just how powerful and dangerous each wolf was.

But, now is not the time to let my fears surface, I have a job to do and I will complete it. Leaving behind the safety of the village, I step boldly into the forest. Almost immediately I feel isolated and oppressed by the trees. This must be a very powerful wolf to survive in this dark place. Sounds are muffled, creature noises faint and unidentifiable. My unease resurfaces and I glance from side to side, treading more cautiously. The track I follow is becoming more and more difficult to see with strange plants crowding its edges and trees moving in to obscure it.

I come to a point where I am uncertain precisely which direction to go. Instead of curling ahead of me like smoke, the path has evaporated into the thick foliage. I curse myself for being in such a hurry that I didn't ask more about the path. I have no desire to be stuck here at night. While the trees menace and creatures rustle nearby, I can imagine how all these things will appear without even the scant light that filters from above. Just as I am bending down to look for clues to my path, I see movement out of the corner of my eye.

In a flash, I am crouched low to the ground, Wolfbane in my hand, ready to strike. The muffled quiet of the forest is broken by a sound - chilling in its familiarity. It is a laugh - clear and strong and I'm flooded with memories from the sound. My body wants to relax, but my instincts keep me in my defensive stance, now facing the source of that laugh. Dread has begun to settle on me, draping my confidence in a cold blanket of fear. Only this time the fear is tinged with sorrow. I know that laugh. I watch in growing horror as he emerges from the trees wearing his human form, wearing that face that is so dear to me. It is as though someone twisted a knife in my belly.

"Not you," I pray, "not you."

"Hello, Red," he says as easy as if we were meeting on the village streets and not as enemies in a dark forest. I can't respond. "I see you have found a new purpose in life. I'd heard you became a wolf hunter. A good one, too." The cold fear in my heart is joined by a hot panic. I didn't foresee this, how could I not foresee this?

"Rumors of you have begun to bleed fear into our kind." Those last two words are enough to break my heart. Our kind. His kind. He was changed. I thought he was dead, but instead he was changed. He reads these thoughts in my face, my traitorous eyes. I see a slight softening of his hard features.

"You didn't know? How could you not know?"

He was the reason I became a wolf hunter, his death was the fuel for my burning hate, my motivation to become who I am today. With that foundation yanked from beneath my feet, indeed turned upside down, I feel a creeping weakness. I've never doubted myself before, but I am now. I know the wolf in this forest has terrorized the villagers - killed those who strayed into his path. And yet, I remember the softness of his embrace, the gentle way he touched my hands. All the memories I'd suppressed burst out of their hidden boundaries. These two conflicting sides of his being spark conflict in my own heart. Unconsciously, I lower my weapon. This man who is also a wolf will not hurt me - not me, who he once loved. There is still in his sometimes-human heart something that speaks of compassion.

We continue to gaze at one another without thought for our own safety. Our eyes greedily taking in the sight of each other - after all these years, he is still the same. Of course. He will not age. I have changed, in more than appearance. My nature has hardened into a hunter - one who would need to dig deep to find her own compassion.

I am just beginning to wonder how long our gaze will last when we both hear a stumbling and crashing in the wood not far from here. Instinctively I draw the dagger that I have put away. I see him flinch away from its power. We are both ready for what may appear down the faded track. Still some distance away, a white figure is clumsily fighting her way through the encroaching trees. This must be the grandmother I was going to see, but what is she doing out here in the wood? A whine escapes from him as he sniffs the air. The look of compassion from before is replaced by cold hunger, the spark of humanity gone - in his heart, he has already changed.

And yet, I hesitate. In that instant, he is gone - leaping in wolf form to that helpless victim. It is enough to spur me to action, slipping back into my hunter's mind. Unfortunately, with his head start, he is already upon her. I yell, hoping to distract him, but he ignores me. It is only when I reach them, grandmother's blood already staining the forest floor that he looks up. But, I am already in motion, the blade on its path. He moves just enough that the strike does not reach his heart. It has struck deep into his shoulder and I know he will not heal quickly. He has backed away from grandmother and is trying to get away from his enemy, from me. That moment when he looked up, his eyes were not wolf eyes, but human ones, full of remorse and sorrow, pain and betrayal. I think he feels guilt for his brutal nature. I think I feel guilt that my nature has changed as well.

I follow the wolf, aware he will not get far. When he does collapse, I hesitate again. It is always easier when the kill is immediate. As I prepare for a second strike, he turns his eyes on me again. Those eyes are full of pain, sorrow, guilt, heartache, so much in one pair of eyes, one look. They seem to plead both for life and for quick death - to remove him from this world where he is cursed. It is this pleading look that loosens my grip on the knife and it falls. Wolfbane, the blade of power, with some perverse awareness falls straight and true, blade down, right into his heart. With a last twitch, the light in his eyes is gone. And so is a part of me.


  1. That is awesome!

    I got Red Riding Hood on one of the quizzes too, but the writer part of my brain is broken...

  2. Britt, when it is fixed, feel free to write up something. I had a hard time trying to have the heroine not an idiot.

  3. That's fantastic -- great job!!

  4. I got Little Red, too. I tweaked the idea a bit and put myself next to Red's shoes, rather than in them. Things don't turn out so well for her...

  5. Oooh, fabulous idea Misty! You're right about her not getting a very good ending.

  6. ooo, i shivered at the end. love the fact that Red was a wolf hunter.

  7. Loved the paranormal take on Red.

  8. vvb32, that made me smile :)

    Andie, thanks, it sure was fun to write!


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