Rated R for graphic violence. Not for the weak-hearted/weak-stomached.
Hunger. That was all she knew for the first few hours.
The blood that had been so caked on was now mostly washed off. But some still remained, and some would never wash off even after it was already gone and scrubbed away.
It wasn’t hunger for the flesh – that was immaterial. She could eat it or she couldn’t. That was a natural instinct, the need to feed, and it wasn’t one she fought.
It was the hunger to kill that frightened her: that shaky, tense, exhilarating sensation of destroying the life which had so nearly taken hers.
It was the hunger that would slowly consume her.
When the wolf had smiled at her – and he had smiled, she saw it in the bearing of his teeth when he had opened his jaws to consume her… she had lost control.
Towards one whom she had offered her throat willingly once, she now felt no pity.
No remorse. She hated him.
He had tormented her since she was a girl, really. All the times he’d pulled her from the path, caused her to stray, just for the sake of a little danger. Jumping fences and roving between dark evergreens.
She used to be scared of him. After all she was little, and he was two years older and bigger. He made her stay behind in the bushes to play games too grown up for her when all the other children had gone home.
They lost touch over years and grades. He dropped out in highschool, and she, sick though it was, had missed him.
When she was finally old enough, too old for the games but still too young to take care of her grandmother alone, he came to her again in his leather jacket and combat boots.
This time, she wasn’t frightened of his hands. Hers fit neatly into his, and she wondered how she ever thought they were too big. His eyes were so beautifully blue-green, the color of seaglass; of the Pacific. A coast (economically) so far from her diner waitress job, she could only dream of it in his eyes.
And his teeth… they left marks in the dark, but back then he wasn’t the danger he would become – oh no, not yet. She wasn’t afraid of his teeth. Or his smile.
She escaped with him for a little while. They would ride his motorcycle down the long, abandoned pathways of the Midwest together, she holding on tight and forgetting all the things she was supposed to be doing.
But life always creeps back, as it does, and so does death.
She returned, no longer little red, but just Red.
Her hair, once so long, was short, red and black. Grandmother was too weak to take care of herself anymore, and with mother dead, Red knew it had to be her. Grandmother hated the hair, but liked the homemade biscuits and gravy Red would make in the late afternoons, and that was enough for Red.
Her Wolf grew distant, and she grew distant in turn. It wasn’t long before she ended it, because really, why wait for something that was never going to happen? Besides, Grammy needed her.
He didn’t like it. He tried to call her, to find her at their old haunts, to corner her.
She didn’t like that because it took her back to early memories of him –the times when she used to be scared.
She should have stayed scared of him. That night, the night she got home a few hours later than she’d intended, she knew something was wrong.
She dropped her purse when she entered her grandmother’s room. He was there, standing over the bed, and Grammy…
Red’s lipstick, Berry Hard, rolled across the floor and under the bed with the small sound of plastic on wood. Such a small sound – smaller than the blood screaming as it pulsed through her ears.
“Do I have your attention now, little Red?” he asked, crimson liquid dripping from his knife onto the floor, his head tilted to study her.
No, no-no-no-no her mind repeated, an endless stream of denial that made her more numb than anything else.
“You’re mine,” he said, and he licked the blood off the knife.
Licked it, she reminded herself in horror.
He stepped towards her. “Now no one can keep you from me.“
No one but myself, she thought in that second. She ran. He followed, still holding the knife. But she had the upper hand. She knew the old farmhouse better than anyone.
She was almost to the shed and the spare phone when she tripped. He had her by the ankles, pulling her. She fought to grab something, anything.
He dropped the knife. He was on top of her, strangling her and trying to rip her clothes at the same time–
Her hands touched a handle in the grass. She knew what it was but had to escape first. She whaled on him, kicking him, and connected with some part of him, because he let her go.
In that moment, she had the hatchet. She and Grammy had gone camping so many times with that small axe… She was no weakling, no scared little girl.
Rough words and what big hands you have
She rolled and rose to her feet, hitting him in the head with the heft.
Scratchy leaves and what big teeth you have…
She lifted the axe, and she was terrified to see his blood-soaked face smile…
He knew. He knew what she was going to do.
It was not an easy kill, and she raised and lowered the axe multiple times, connecting metal with skull.
Blood was on her, in her mouth… on her hands.
In her rage, she couldn’t stop. She dropped the hatchet and took the knife, stabbing him over and over.
When she saw what she had done, she was crying.
Her grandmother’s blood was inside him, and his blood was inside her. They were all connected and, what was more, she realized why he had smiled.
The hunger to kill, the hunger that filled her in the moment, was his. In her anger, she had become him.
Red was red, covered in blood. The wolf was dead.
She was inside the house again, hardly knowing what she was doing, washing her sins in the farmhouse sink.
In the shadowy half-light above tile floor soaked with pink water, Red grinned, an edge of white tooth in the silvery mirror.
Something very dark was still alive inside of her.
Some sick, twisted part of her wanted to know what was in that darkness so very badly…
A very dark story based on a fragment I wrote back in 2010 but never completed. I am very happy with this.
Written for the Red Writing Hood challenge this week: something based on a song. But of course, the fragment itself was longer than the original prompt challenge, (350 words) and as it was, my fragment was unfinished. I didn’t have the heart to cut it shorter.
Thus, it’s not getting attached until the weekend linkup (hope it happens!) but hey, my intentions were good.
<a border=”0″ href=”http://writeonedge.com/red-writing-hood/”
So the song that actually inspired the original clip was the intro to “Hot Summer Night” by Meatloaf.
A woman and a man have a conversation that goes like this:
MAN: On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
WOMAN: Will he offer me his mouth?
WOMAN: Will he offer me his teeth?
WOMAN: Will he offer me his jaws?
WOMAN: Will he offer me his hunger?
WOMAN: Again, will he offer me his hunger?
MAN: (strongly) YES.
WOMAN: And will he starve without me?
MAN: (even more emphatically) YES.
WOMAN: (hesitates) And does he love me?
MAN: (whispered tenderly) Yes…
MAN: (longingly) On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?
MAN: (pause) I’ll bet you say that to all the boys.
I honestly don’t always listen to the whole song following because the beginning was what always – ahem – captured my imagination. I played Little Dead Riding Hood at a local scary-hayride-corn maze type deal, and wrote the original fragment around that time.
I hope you liked it, because I sure did! Creepy though it is…