You see, the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood is told as a kid-friendly scary story. It’s often told that a big wolf gobbled up the grandmother, and then either Little Red gets eaten herself or she ends up getting away somehow. What most people never realized is that Little Red Riding Hood is actually a depiction of a true story, but it has formed into something quite different from the original tale. Yes, Little Red was actually a real girl, but she wasn’t “little”. She was a young woman, late in her teens and was just beginning to finally express her feelings to a boy that lived in town. However, she never got to act on those feelings because she never survived her encounter with the Big Bad Wolf. Also, the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t a wolf at all, it was something much, much worse.
“Anna! Why haven’t you taken the food to Gram’s yet? It’s getting late!”
Anna came running down the stairs, with a book in hand. “Sorry Mother! I was just getting to the good part in the novel I was rea-”
“You’re always getting to the good part! Now take this basket and get going, it’s already getting late.”
“Alright, alright. I’ll take Ben,” Anna said, while pulling her thumb towards the stable behind the house. Anna swung her red cloak around her neck and pulled the basket of food over her shoulder. “I’ll see you when I get back.”
“Oh and Anna, don’t take the path through the woods. It’s going to get dark and there have been reports of coyotes lately.”
“I won’t, see you soon.” Anna kissed her mother on the cheek and pushed out the back door toward the stables.
Pulling Ben out of the stables by his reins, Anna fed him a carrot as she led him to the road towards Gram’s. She locked her boot into the stirrup and slung her leg over the saddle. Anna patted him on the neck, and snapped his reins. As Anna trotted down the path she looked up at the sky. It was getting late, she should have left much sooner than she did. She came to the fork in the road, one leading toward the woods, the other through town. She knew if she was going to make it there before dark she had to take the short cut. She pulled the reins, guiding Ben left toward the woods.
As Anna approached the edge of the woods, Ben huffed in defiance. The wind whistled through the colored red and orange leaves. The wind blew Anna’s copper hair over her eyes as she squinted to see if she could see any coyotes sniffing about. Anna fingered her hair out of her face and pulled her crimson hood over her head. She patted Ben on the neck again, “it’s okay Ben, I don’t see anything. We’ll stay right on the path to Gram’s.”
Anna pushed Ben forwards into the woods and repositioned the basket on her shoulder. The smell of baked bread and chicken surrounded her nose as she pulled in the scent with a deep breath. Gleams of orange light flickered through the leaves in the trees as the sun was beginning to get lower in the sky. Anna knew she would have to pick up the pace a bit before it started to get dark. She pulled her heels into Ben to get him to trot down the path a bit faster. Hidden owls hooted in trees, crickets chirped, and squirrels scattered up and down trees as Anna passed.
Anna’s throat began to itch and she knew she should have brought a canteen with her. She pulled open the lid to the basket to check to see if there was anything to drink in the basket. Unfortunately just the bread, chicken, and some veggies. Ben’s gallop came to a sudden halt and he whinnied in protest. “What is it bud?”
Anna looked down the path at what looked like a doe lying right in the middle of the path. It was motionless, and there seemed to be a dark puddle around it. Anna pushed Ben forward slowly and as she came to about twenty feet away it was clear that there was a pool of blood around the doe. You could see the side of the deer was a shredded bloody mess, as if somebody had scooped out chunks of muscle with a cheese grater. Flies buzzed around the flesh, and the scent of rotten meat flooded Anna’s nostrils. Coyotes, Anna thought.
Anna swung her leg over the saddle and hopped down. Pulling Ben’s reins, she slowly approached the mutilated doe. The bones, tendons, and muscle were shredded apart into a small heap inside the corpse. As she was about to kneel down and get a closer look, a stick snapped behind the trees to her left. Ben reared and whinnied in protest. Trying to calm him down, and she shushed him while patting his mane. Another stick cracked behind Anna, and she spun around. Her heart slamming against the inside of her ribcage like a hammer. A shadowy figure crept out onto the path like a spider. A hissing sound erupted from its mouth and Ben snapped his reins from Anna’s grip. Ben leaped over the dead doe knocking Anna down, the basket sprawling to the ground and its contents scattering to the ground. Ben sprinted down the path, farther and out of sight, leaving Anna alone with the figure.
The shadowy figure was low to the ground, and was more human-like than coyote. It’s red eyes glowing back at Anna, and its four legs protruding out of its torso to the side like an insect. The figure was about 30 feet away and you could see the saliva dripping from its teeth as clouds of vapor erupted from its mouth as it exhaled. Anna slowly pushed herself up to her knees, and then to her feet. Her legs quivering as she stood up, refusing to take her eyes off the figure. The figure then slowly crept back into the brush, while continually staring back at her. “What the hell was that?” she whispered to herself.
Anna looked down the path where Ben ran away. That was the direction of Gram’s house, which was closer than heading back home at this point. Anna looked down at the ruined food from the basket, and then looked into the woods to see if she could see the figure. Nothing was in sight, and Ben was nowhere to be seen either. However, Anna knew she had to find Ben, otherwise, her mother wouldn’t let her out of the house ever again. It was starting to get a bit dark as the sun was beginning to hide behind the horizon. There was no way she was going to make it to Gram’s on foot before dark, and heading back home would take even longer. She couldn’t risk leaving Ben out here in the woods, and she couldn’t stay out here any longer than she absolutely had to with that thing lurking around.
Anna turned to press on to Gram’s house. It was her only choice really. She stuck to the path, her legs still shaking as she took step after step. She snapped her head in any direction after she heard the snap of a twig or the bustle of a bush, but saw nothing but small animals. With the sun setting below the horizon it began to get colder and much darker. The moon just barely shining through the trees. Anna swore she could almost hear the shadowy thing breathing, and lurking about in the woods.
As she pressed on down the path, she could see a large figure lying on the path. It was stirring about and making loud whinnies in pain. “Ben!” Anna exclaimed, and she sprinted toward the horse. She knelt down next to the horse and ran her fingers through his mane. She could see he was a bit bloodied on his side, and his front leg was badly broken. The bone showing through the skin. “It’s okay Ben, it’s okay. Sshhhh..” She petted him vigorously, and she tried to soothe him. His painful whinnies slowly coming to a hush. He was breathing heavily, and shaking with panic. It looked like his belly was being clawed at, and blood was flowing from the wounds.
Anna peered around, trying to see any signs of the figure. The figure crept out from the path ahead of them. Anna’s heart leaping up into her throat. Ben quietly whinnied in pain and fear. The figure slowly crept back into the woods it’s red eyes disappearing in the brush. Anna knew she had to run, as fast as she could to Gram’s house. She stood up, looked down at Ben and whispered, “I’m sorry Ben.”
Just as she was about to run she could hear breathing behind her. She turned her head to look over her shoulder and could see the shadow right behind her. It’s red eyes glaring at her in the dark. She immediately bolted forward as fast as she could. The patter of the figure’s steps behind her followed. She turned to look at the figure, it was clamoring behind her on all fours, like a demon crawling out of hell. Anna’s foot clipped a rock and she tumbled to the ground, her face grinding into the dirt. The figure crept over Anna’s body, and Anna immediately slammed her palms to her neck to protect herself. She could feel the monster’s saliva dripping onto her back. The monster lowered its head beside Anna’s, revealing its face to her.
Its face was strikingly similar to a human’s but emitted a black aura that looked like mist, its veiny red eyes leered into her as it revealed its teeth. The rotting yellow teeth, all came to points like a shark’s and expelled breath that smelled of putrid meat. It let out a low growl and slowly pulled away from her. It sunk back behind her and clamored back to Ben. Ben’s fearful whinnies came to an abrupt end as the monster sunk its teeth into his neck. Anna turned to see the monster devouring the horse, pulling it’s flesh away from the carcass with its teeth.
While the beast was preoccupied with its meal, Anna crawled quietly into the woods. She figured the monster would know she was going to travel on the path so going into the woods might be a better idea. She knew she would be a sitting duck to that thing anyway. As she sunk into the trees and out of sight from the monster, she pulled herself to her feet and crept away until she felt she was far enough away to start running.
As she ran towards her grandmother’s house, Anna wondered if she was even going to make it. She knew she was close, but now that she was in the woods it was much harder to tell how close she actually was. Her breath picking up, and her heart racing as she bolted through the woods. After a few minutes of running, she could see a light through the trees. It was Gram’s house in the distance. Just as her legs were starting to get heavy, the sight of the house motivated her to pick up her pace. As if the sight of the home wasn’t motivation enough, she heard a hiss behind her in the distance. Anna looked over her shoulder and saw the monster in the distance, its red eyes peering at her as she ran. The monster tilted its head up and let out a screech that was almost piercing to Anna’s ears even as it was many yards away.
As Anna sprinted toward the house, she could hear the four legs of the monster slamming into the dirt under its limbs as it chased after her. The monster was catching up, and fast, but Anna didn’t dare look back. She jumped out from the brush and onto the path to avoid tripping on anything. As she ran down the path she could hear the fiend getting closer. She just reached the property of her Gram’s house and leaped over the wooden fence. She bolted toward the front door and just as she was reaching for the handle, she felt a grip on her ankle which yanked her down to the ground. She turned over, and the monster was pulling her torso closer and it clawed at her legs, tearing Anna towards its teeth. It let out another screech, and Anna snapped her hands over her ears as the sound pierced her eardrums. She kicked at the beast’s face and it sunk its teeth into her calf. Anna yelped in pain, as she continued to squirm and flop like a fish out of water.
The monster then slammed its hind feet into Anna’s hips pinning her to the ground. The monster stood up on its hind legs, and rose up like a human. Anna froze in fear, staring back at the monster. Its lanky black arms hung down to its knees, the black mist exhausting from its dark skin, and its blood red eyes glared into Anna’s eyes. The beast slowly returned to all fours, pinning Anna’s wrists with its human-like hands, its claws sinking into her skin. Its face was inches away from her, and it revealed its teeth. The demon’s rancid breath engulfed her face. Anna’s heart continued to pound in her chest, her entire body shook violently, and she closed her eyes and turned away accepting her fate. The beast opened its mouth, saliva dripping from its teeth and onto Anna’s cheek as she squeezed eyes shut like a vice. Then, the monster sunk its teeth into her neck.