The Killing of Wolves

Thief and (suspected) murderer Red Riding Hood joins with poor boy Pip on an unexpected journey to kill the Big Bad Wolf. Along the way, they run into a host of fairytale characters and dangerous challenges that they must overcome so Red can have her revenge on the wolf and Pip can go back to the life he used to live. But they uncover more than they thought they would, scandalous secrets straight from the heart of the Royal Family. All of a sudden, they realise the Wolf is not all it seems. Nothing will ever be the same again. Not once the truth is revealed, once and for all...

It's just a draft, so any tips or critisicm would be appreciated. Also, thanks to the Fuzz for making the amazing cover.


16. Happily Ever After...


The birds outside sang their songs, oblivious to anything else in the world. Red moved towards the window of her cell to hear clearer. The birds comforted her- they did not know of what had happened over the past few days, of the horror she’d come up against, of the tragedy that had very nearly broken her heart… No, the birds were content and free, without a care. Red envied them. Oh, what she’d give not to worry or fear regarding what was pending for her and what had been. But she couldn’t just flip her wings and fly away. No, she had to take responsibility for her actions and face what was done and could not be changed, no matter how much it hurt. And she was prepared to do that.

   The guard came soon enough to escort her to the gallows and she did not fight him. She would’ve lashed out and kicked him or beat him or bit him, all to avoid the sentence she’d been given but now she just allowed it to happen. What more did she have to love for anyway? She tried to contain the feeling of self-pity, but a little bit was un-avoidable. Judgement day had arrived, but Red Riding Hood was not afraid. In truth, this day was a long time in the making and now it was upon her it felt inescapable, as if it were meant to happen and no other conclusion would suffice. She remembered what the Queen had said: “Like a phoenix from the carnage and destruction, a new era was born…” As she walked through the Kingdom, she did not doubt this for a second. When she and Pip (it pained her to even say his name) had returned to the Fifth Kingdom during their quest, they’d found destruction and wreckage in the place of what they’d always known as home. Now, every building that had crumbled was being re-built with renovations aplenty and no-one would be able to tell of the devastation unless the walls that had witnessed it were able to whisper their tales. Surely, no person throughout Grimm would ever bring it up.

   A layer of snow blanketed the ground. The guard seemed repulsed by it, whereas Red Riding Hood was barefoot and walked upon it fearlessly. Her toes were blue and she wanted to shiver but for some reason she just felt numb, despite the frost that surrounded her. It wasn’t even an unfeeling numb, either; rather, it was as if she didn’t care anymore. And she didn’t. She’d endured far too many hardships to worry about a little coldness. She didn’t even feel that cold, either. Instead, she felt a strange sensation of warmth, like strength she never knew she had showing itself in the last moments of her life. Bit late, she thought, but at least she wasn’t a quivering wreck in front of the guard. She didn’t wish to give the Queen the satisfaction of seeing her look weak as she was about to die. Like she’d said, death at this point was un-avoidable. Might as well embrace it.

   She thought about all the death she’d witnessed and caused over the past few days. The gingerbread man, supposedly Cock Robin (although she now knew this to be false), baby Prince Tristan, the Child-Eating Witch, the dwarves, the Kings of the Third and Seventh Kingdoms, the Huntsman (she’d seen his mangled corpse in the garden), Princess Adelaide, Pip… Even thinking of Pip made her hurt all over. She remembered how he’d told her of his family and his life before the quest and lots of the little details she’d never considered before. How he’d seemed so worthless when they’d first met but had proved his value to her subsequently in so many ways. He’d stopped her in the Gingerbread House before things got out too far out of hand, he’d made her come back for him and answer to her conscience as she knew she should, he’d asked her questions she never would have considered or would’ve answered if they’d been asked by anyone else, he’d adjusted to her mood swings and often uncontrolled behaviour… He’d completely won her over. She’d loved him like a sister or a very great friend, the greatest friend she’d ever known. And now he was gone. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust… that was fine, but it didn’t change the fact that he was never coming back, no matter how much she wished he would. After he’d died, she’d wanted to kill the Queen so badly it scared her. She’d wanted to do everything she’d wanted to do to the Wolf, only with ten times the viciousness and cruelty. But what would that have accomplished? It wouldn’t have brought him back. It wouldn’t really have made her feel much better. Besides, the Queen of the Fifth Kingdom did not deserve to die. Death would be far too lenient a punishment. Anyway, the Wolf had to live on, despite Red Riding Hood’s own protestations. She’d seen what had happened in the tower, the animals that had swarmed below, the way they’d completely disregarded the significance of a life of another human being as they ripped him limb from limb. Red winced. It was too painful a memory. But it struck her how it was not a particularly sad one. Pip was in a better place, away from all the suffering and anguish that the world entailed. She was glad for him, but was still upset at his death. If only he hadn’t died, she wondered. But wondering ‘If only’ was never a very productive way to pass the time.

   They’d reached the gallows that stood in the town square, where the market usually was. Red had been in this place countless times before, but now it felt as if she was seeing everything with fresh eyes. Rapunzel’s tower had now been restored; the bakery on Drury Lane now churned delicious aromas through the chimney that used to only produce soot. The Pail of Water was being re-built, but Red thought it had lost most of his appeal since Jack was no longer at its helm. Everything seemed to be changing, but some things remained a constant. The forest still looked as wild and untamed as ever, which was a comfort to see that not everywhere all through Grimm was as manicured and immaculate as the Queen of the Fifth Kingdom would have liked them to be. Although she knew at what price rebellion came, Red thought that little doses of it were necessary to society. That way, not everything was as monotonous and boring as they seemed on first glance.

   Red Riding Hood walked up the steps to the platform slowly and confidently. She held her head up high and tried to shake away the quiver of fear that surged up and down her spine. She would do this with resilience and strength, as she’d said she would. If she were to be remembered for her last moments, she did not intend to spend them sobbing like a baby. It didn’t really matter how people saw her in her last moments, though. She’d already garnered quite a reputation since the fateful night up in the tower. Before then, she’d been the face of the uprising due to her actions during the quest, one of the main reasons for the Wolf to have to rear its ugly head again. The people of Grimm had seen her as a hero and they’d followed in her footsteps in terms of standing up to the Queen. This, obviously, was unacceptable if they were to keep the people under control. It wouldn’t even have helped to have Red killed- she’d be a martyr and the rebellion would have been strengthened. So she took the blame for Pip’s death. The Queen lied to the people by telling them that it had been Red who’d killed Pip and Red had complied with the plan. That way, Red was considered a hate figure that everyone loathed for killing an innocent child. No-one would listen to a word she said or be influenced by anything she did or had done ever again. Problem solved.

   As the noose was tied round her neck, she could feel the people rejoicing as she got her come-uppance. In their minds, she deserved her fate and Red thought that she probably did deserve to die. She considered it as a way of atoning for everything she’d done wrong in her life, the people she’d hurt, the bridges she’d burnt… she didn’t expect to be forgiven for any of it. She just wanted it to be known that she was sorry for it. She seriously hoped that no-one; years after her death maybe, would turn around and try to emulate their quest to kill the Big Bad Wolf. She didn’t want another murdering/lying/thieving peasant filth and an innocent child to be plucked from the masses and be killed in similar fashion as she was now and how Pip had been a short while ago. She looked up at the winter sky and wondered if Pip was looking down upon her now. She was aware that it sounded overtly sentimental, but she hardly cared. She needed the guidance at that moment, to stop her from disgracing herself in front of the crowd who’d turned up to see the infamous Little Red Riding Hood die. She turned her head to get one long, last look at the Imperial Palace. Sure enough, it stood solidly as a reminder of what was once there despite the changes that surrounded it from all sides. It seemed as if it were watching her and approved of what was about to happen.

   The clock tower in the square chimed and it was then that Red realised that it was Christmas day, as the snow around her swirled and added an extra coating to the glistening blanket that already existed. Merry Christmas, she thought, but she did not say it out loud. Then she thought about another thing the Queen had said, unrelated to what day it might have been. She’d said “The killing of wolves is a tricky business, I know. But it will be worth it for the end result.”  In theory, she was right and Red knew this all too well. How much pain the killing of wolves had caused and how much it had cost her… but at the end of the day, all was well in Grimm. As long as they did not conjure anymore ideas of rebellion or thereof. They would be happy.

   Really, it seemed that they would all live happily ever after. Apart from Red, that was. But she hardly minded. She smiled as she thought of how maybe the children would play in the streets again and that Pip’s family would not go hungry again due to the reward the Queen still owed him posthumously. And maybe they’d all have better lives and would never have to worry again. The last part seemed rather naïve and idealistic to Red. If something similar ever was achieved, it wouldn’t happen over night. It would take hard work and dedication. But, she thought, a happy ending was definitely something worth fighting for.

   Red Riding Hood took a deep breath, closed her eyes and counted to three. As she did so, she convinced herself that she could hear the howling of a wolf in the distance, although it was nothing more than the birds singing their songs, aching and beautiful. She smiled. The platform beneath her feet gave way and she swung from the rope tied round her neck. The death knell from the cathedral north of the market rang. Little Red Riding Hood was dead.

   But the birds kept singing.





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