Wolf is a short story derived from the classic Brothers Grimm tale, Red Riding Hood. I primarily write in third person limited and have little experience with the first person perspective. In my pursuit of becoming a better writer I decided to practice a different perspective and thus Wolf was written. I am open to thoughts and advice. Thank you for taking the time to read my short story.
Normally, I don’t come to this part of the forest. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid humans. However, this morning there’s been a smell in the air that has drawn me beyond my comfortable hunting grounds. Hiding among the foliage, I observed a small cottage. If memory served me well, it was the home of a human woman and child. I’ve only ever smelled them though; never did I dare come this close. I may not be a very big wolf, but I do take care not to be seen. I watched as the door opened and the child stepped out. I could faintly make out the child giving her farewell.
The child donned a cloak and carried a basket in both arms. I watched as she walked away from the cottage and down a path, blissfully unaware of my presence. There was a smell in the air. It was a scent that made my stomach growl. I stalked her for a time, making sure no other humans were around. She seemed to be humming a tune. It was pleasant enough, but was just noise in the end. After half an hour, she reached the depth of the forest — my domain. Finally on familiar ground, I approached.
I stepped out of the bushes and in front of her. She abruptly stopped and let out the slightest gasp. “Why hello, little girl.” Or at least, that’s what I thought I said. My human was a bit rusty. Her hood was drawn so far forward that it obscured her eyes and my view of her face. I was almost impressed she hadn’t gotten lost, such a small human as she was.
Her mouth, still open just a gap, slowly drew into a smile. “Why hello, Mr. Wolf.”
She maintained her composure well. I slowly circled her, but kept the conversation going. She had something that smelled so good. “What is such a scrumptious young thing like you doing so far from home?”
She held her expression and replied in kind, keeping me always in sight. “I’m on my way to grandmother’s house.”
I circled back around to her front, recalling a small cabin on the other side of the forest. I hadn’t been there in a while because of those damn humans cutting the trees down. “I believe I know of where you speak.”
The child spoke up merrily, “Oh? Are you a friend of grandmothers?”
Naivety is a sin in the wild. I grinned, showing my teeth. “You could say that, yes.” I sniffed and eyed the basket, “And what is that wonderful smell?”
The child let out a joyous giggle, “I’ve made a meat pie with mama!”
Ah, so that’s it. I drew closer, “It smells so good, I can hardly contain myself.”
The child looked from me to the basket and back. “Oh? Would you like some?” She reached under the basket’s cover.
With her action, I caught the fresh scent of the pie and yet found something unfamiliar. As much as I hungered for it, I’ve learned my lesson from eating unfamiliar smelling food. I’d also heard humans put all sorts of stuff, that can make me sick, in their food. “I… I will have to decline this time, but thank you little girl.”
She looked a little down as she closed the basket but perked up at the last moment, “I know! Why don’t you come with me to grandma’s house? She’s got to have something you’d like.”
I’ll be honest. I was contemplating just eating her. I mean, I’m not a bad wolf, it’s just my nature and the smell of the pie made me ever so hungry. However her proposal gave me an idea, reckless as it was. “Hmmm, I might take you up on that offer. Though, I have some business to take care of, perhaps I’ll meet you there?”
The child let out a squeak of excitement, “I’ll let grandmother know you’re coming!”
I moved out from in front of her to let her pass, “You do that. And make sure you stick to the path so you don’t get lost.”
She nodded her head energetically, her hood falling further over her face. “I’ll make sure! Thank you Mr. Wolf.”
I grinned, bearing my teeth once more, “No, thank you, little girl.”
I watched as she walked down the path until she was out of sight. The path through the forest was filled with twists and turns. It would take her another hour or two to reach her grandmother’s cabin. But I know this forest – it is my home – and I can make it there in a quarter of that time. I ran as swiftly as my legs could carry me. Down my hidden paths I strode for grandmother’s house. After a bit of traveling, I reached the quaint and unassuming log cabin. Far off in the distance, I could hear the humans chopping.
I approached with caution. I sniffed the air to make sure it was only myself and the human inside. I spotted the old human through the window. Moving quickly, I reached the door and kept low. Humans had a way of opening these, but I could not. Instead I tricked her into opening the door for me. I batted at the door three times.
From inside, I could hear the old woman call out, “Red? Is that you? You’re a little earlier than I’d expected. Let me get that door for yo-”
The old human opened the door expecting the child, but was met with my teeth. I made it quick; after all, I’m not a bad wolf. I’m also not very big either, so I couldn’t just eat her before the girl arrived. I drug her body into the bedroom and onto the bed. I ate what I could and tried my best to make the cabin as dark as I could by pulling the curtains closed.
A time passed and finally there was a knocking on the door. “Grandmother?” I’d pulled the bedding over me and the grandmother. I grunted, testing different sounds in an attempt to change my voice. The child opened the door and entered the cabin. “Grandmother, it’s-”
I tried my best to sound different, but wasn’t confident it would work, “Red? Yes..”
She stood for a moment in the threshold of the bedroom, “Grandmother? You sound so different. Have you taken ill?” She said as she walked in and over to the dresser, placing the basket down.
“What sharp ears you have.” I said faintly
The child giggled, “All the better to hear you with, grandmother.” The child took out a box of tinder and struck a match, then lit a candle on the dresser. The light illuminated her face obscured by the hood.
“What… What sharp eyes you have.” I stammered.
The child’s pupils were contracted into pin pricks, “All the better to see you with, grandmother.”
This wasn’t right. My instincts started running wild. Instead of waiting in ambush, I felt trapped. She reached into the basket and retrieved the pie and sniffed. “It smells of death in here, grandmother. Are you going to be alright?”
I drew back, but kept the covers over myself and the grandmother’s remains, “W-what a sharp nose you have.”
The child placed the pie down and grinned, “All the better to smell you with, grandmother.” She reached into the basket again, and slowly pulled a blood stained knife out from under the cover.
“W-what sharp teeth you have…” My voice trembled.
The child turned to face me; her face an expression of madness. “All the better to eat you with, grandmother.” I Jumped back out of the covers and exposed myself and the remains her grandmother beneath me. “Oh? Mr. Wolf.” Her grin widened, “I see you got here before me. Naughty, naughty, Mr. Wolf.”
My back was against the wall and I growled as threatening as I could. But my tail was between my legs. I wanted to run. I was scared. My senses were leaving me as my instincts took over. Fear made my mind go blank. She took a step forward and everything told me this was it.
Then came a knocking. We both froze as a woodsman opened the door. “Old woman? Is everything alright?” He spoke as he turned to face the room. Before him was the child facing a wolf which stood over the dead grandmother. He yelled as he pulled his axe off his belt, “Get back child!”
He pushed her away and approached me. Humans have a stupid expression for this, something about ‘out of a pan and into a fire’. I couldn’t get away. Maybe with just the child I could have darted out of the room with only a scratch, but not with him… Wait. Why is he just standing there?
It was then that I noticed the child standing behind him. Slowly, she slid the knife out of the woodsman’s back. He turned, astonished and bewildered, as the child proceeded to slash at him repeatedly. Even after he’d fallen to the ground, she continued to stab his lifeless body. I couldn’t move. I should have run away while I had the chance. Yet I was entranced — mesmerized by her savage display. I remained still, watching as she stood over his lifeless body, covered in his blood.
Eventually she acknowledged me again and spoke with her sweet and sadistic smile, “Will you be coming with me, Mr. Wolf?” And with that, she walked out.
I was stunned. Eventually I came to my senses and trotted after her. I had never faced a creature quite like her before… a genuine, big, bad wolf.