Hood

The first in the twisted fairy tale series brought to life with sinister tales, mystery and suspense.

Little Red Riding Hood (or Hood to her immediate friends and family,) has just celebrated her fourteenth birthday when a series of mysterious murders happens...

Yet soon Hood is swept up into the investigation- trying hard to suss out who is behind it all. But as she delves deeper into the clues, she realises that the obvious is good; and the hidden is bad...

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7. C.J. Wolf

I wanted to run. Something deep within my heart was screaming at me to drop my notepad and pen and leg it back home. But nothing happened. No signal was travelling from my brain to my legs- no signal was demanding me to loose eye contact with the thing that was about to kill me. All of a sudden, I went blank. Besides, even if I was to run; that thing would undoubtedly catch up with me, with my legs collapsing like jelly; and my heart seemingly melting. But still those eyes never trailed from mine; they always stared, like they were laughing secretly at my vulnerability. It was unbelievable that such beautiful things were owned by what was soon to be my killer.

It would be childish to say that I saw my whole life flash before my eyes- but that was just what had happened. From my first birthday party, right up until seeing those eyes today; I relived my entire life in the third person. Watching me climb my stairs for the first time as a toddler, on-looking myself as I clamoured onto Dobbin's back and rode those first few steps on his back, staring at my expression as I unwrapped my Wolf Brooch... They all seemed so far behind me now- considering I was just about to leave this world forever; without saying goodbye to my family. What a way to go.

The eyes blinked slowly, appearing to be innocent enough. Some leaves snapped, and the eyes shifted from side to side as it positioned itself- probably into an easier stance, ready to leap out and claim me. I winced, my eyes tighter than ever; as I tried hard to tune out the cracking of the bracken. I wanted to get out of there. I longed for my home. Why hadn't I just opened the door and gone up to my room? What had urged me to venture out of my comfort zone, into the extremes of the forest? I never thought I'd say this: but I hated myself. For once in my small, unlived life, I hated myself. Why had I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me and put me in danger? I was about to kick myself and curse myself again, until I heard what sounded strangely like a deep whisper.

"Who are you?"

My heart leapt. I was pretty sure I was imagining things, perhaps hallucinating in my final seconds- yet that sound had seemed so real...so clear.

Without thinking, I answered, "w-what is it to you?"
The voice laughed, replying immediately. So it was true... to some extent.

"You're a strong one, aren't you?" it spoke again, this time with an air of ignorance; almost like it was playing mind games with me. I felt shivers dance down my spine, my blood turning cold.

"So it is you then."

It is me? What was this creature talking about? It was speaking like it had known me before this encounter. I was starting to feel more nervous. But not because I so happened to be talking to a Wolf; but for my own life. If it was stone-hearted enough to play with its "food" beforehand- what would it be like when it went in for the kill?

"I don't know what you're talking about." I stated, hoping that my voice didn't sound as feeble as I thought.

"So..." it started, completely ignoring what I had said, "what brings a tiny, vulnerable little girl to the woods; all by herself?" now the voice had adopted a strange, joker-type air to it; concluding it was definitely playing games.

I paused, my heart racing all the while. I could feel my voice going hoarse, my windpipe closing up inside my skin. But I had to reply- I had to show that I wasn't afraid. Didn't the fairy tales always say that the killer admired the strong ones?

"My Ma always told me never to talk to strangers; especially creatures like you." I took pride that my voice appeared fearless, noble almost.

At this, the eyes narrowed into slits, the sapphire blue disappearing behind darkened eyelids.

"Creatures like me? Well, that's rather arrogant of you." It might have been me; but the creature seemed hurt, in a way.

"Arrogant?" I repeated with a slight unprovoked mocking.

"Precisely. You see; little girl- I am unlike the others of my kind."
"Unlike the others? You're a wolf; you're meant to be the bad guy around here."
The creature laughed, "The bad guy? Ha! It just gets better."
"Well.. you are; aren't you?"

Suddenly its eyes changed serious, "you don't know half of the things about the land you live in."
"W-wh-what do you mean?"
Suddenly, without warning, the leaves cracked again. The bush swayed slightly; and its eyes shifted from side to side. Another huge crack from the bracken below its feet, and I could make out to vague outline of his face; then its neck, then its whole body as it emerged from the undergrowth.

"Wow," I gasped.

Its smooth fur grew short around his head, but long and overlapping slightly along his neck, body and mouth- (which grew in spiky tufts clumped together; clearly where it had laid down to rest.) An amber colour ran through its fur; streaked with strands of black and white in the shaded parts of its mighty legs and torso. On the end of its long, white-dominated snout was a glistening black button-nose which was constantly twitching with every new scent it picked up; and its ears were coated in a fuzzy felt-like black which created a beautiful contrast between the baby pink within his ears. But the most captivating feature of this beautiful; deadly creature was its eyes. Out in the glorious sunlight lighting the depths of the shadows, I could see the topaz was lined with black; amplifying how utterly gorgeous they were. As I stared at it, a low purr came from its throat; making it sound more like a cat than a wolf.

"So it is you then," it spoke.

He must have been playing with me- so I ignored his remark, "Y-you're gorgeous," I sounded, coming across as unbelievably inappropriate.

It chuckled that low laugh.

"No- I mean it; there's no way you can...you know..." I trailed off, stopping just in time as not to offend it.

"Kill people?" it suggested, a crooked grin forming on its rubber lips. Was it even possible that a wolf could smile? Well, that was the last thing I needed to be worrying about.

"Well, yeah."
"So it only takes my appearance to make you believe I'm not capable of killing?" it asked.

I hesitated for a moment before answering, "well anything is capable of killing something, beautiful or not."
"But you just said that I wasn't capable of killing." There was something about its voice that suggested innocence; maybe he didn't kill that woman after all. But I was getting away from the point. I kept on doubling-back on myself like some out of control yo-yo. It was obvious that this thing could easily kill someone, with just one bite! Yet it didn't look-or sound- like a murderer...but what did I know?

"Well..."
"What do you want from me?" it questioned, its huge head tilting to the side; its lumbering ears following.

"I-I-"

"I-I-" it mocked, "you sound like a lost pigeon; girl. You've obviously business here in the woods."
I didn't like the way it imitated me. Somehow, it seemed like it was up to no good.

"I, erm... was investigating." As I spoke it noticed that I had lost that air of bravery I had adopted beforehand; replacing it with a slight panicky tone.

But it seemed to spot this, and narrowed its tone down slightly.

"That woman- the one who was murdered-"
 Something twigged when it spoke, "how do you know about that?" I questioned, my voice seemingly tougher now.

It paused before continuing, "I know these things."
"You killed her; didn't you!" It was more of an accusation than a question.

It stepped back, shocked at my words as its expression changed more openly.

"You'd better come with me," was all it said.

"I don't think so."
It chuckled slightly, "I know- "my Ma said never to talk to strangers,"- I get it. But if I said that I wasn't a stranger, that I have known you for a very long time; would you still be reluctant to follow me?"

Its words strung a chord deep within my heart. Known you for a very long time- how was that even possible when my Ma and Pa never mixed with its type?

"You've known me for a very long time?" I repeated, the words still forming inside my head.

It nodded slowly, its eyes closing as it did so, "yes."
"B-but how?"
Its eyes opened, the sapphire blue revealing, "just come with me." With that, it turned its back on me, its amber tone gleaming under the excessive sunlight. It disappeared into the clearing, just stopping before it was completely taken from view. Its heavy head turned and peered over its shoulder.

"Coming?"

I lingered about; the warnings from my Ma racing through my head like the sacred Unicorn soaring through the sky. I knew I shouldn't go. Wolves are dangerous. Wolves have no feelings. Wolves are programmed for only one thing: killing. The stories my Pa had told me when he was out cutting the trees for the villages' building resources; about how a pack of wolves had ambushed him and his team and killed all but himself in a vicious attack. Pa had only escaped with his life by climbing up the Oak he about to chop down. But the wolves stayed, and kept on staying until darkness had fallen and risen. Pa said they waited at the roots of the tree; watching him with hungry eyes day and night until the next morning. But suddenly without warning their ears pricked up; and they ran into the wilderness, never to be seen or heard of again. Pa has hated wolves ever since, swearing that if he saw one; he'd kill it. Only, wolves haven't been around Glosne for over fifteen years- so he hasn't had any need to...until now. But again I felt that strange feeling of trust towards this creature- urged by some unknown reason.

"I-if I knew your name..."
It laughed again; its teeth bared in a grimace, "would it make you want to follow?"
"Why do you want me to follow?" I asked, puzzled.

"One question at a time!"

"Sorry," I apologised.

It sighed, turning to face me.

"I have to explain to you why I need you to follow me; why I'm even here."
"Why?"

It sighed again; seemingly impatient, "because you could be in grave danger."
My heart leapt. Grave danger. With what? The murderer? And even if I was in danger, why would this creature- a wolf of all things- want to warn me about it; or even know about it? None of it made sense. But strangely enough, I believed it. I believed that it was telling me the truth; it was its whole innocent, yet equally as serious expression. Suddenly its name didn't matter anymore.

"Ok, I'll come," I replied, stepping forwards into the darkness.

It looked taken aback, "you don't want to know my name?" it asked when I reached him.

"Yes," I urged, suddenly remembering my first question.

It nodded, its golden head lifting slightly to become level with my weary eyes.

"My name is C.J.Wolf."

I couldn't help but snort, but quickly covered it with a cough with his reproachful gaze.

"C.J.Wolf?" I repeated, trying desperately to sound innocent.

"Yes," he replied, "Cornelius Wolf."

What about the "J"? I thought.

"And the J?"
He peered down, his eyes staring at his feet, "Jeffery," he muttered.

"Jeffery?" I clarified, my laughter spurting out from my lungs momentarily.

"My parents thought it was cute."

"More like they hated you!" I laughed despite the circumstances.

For the first time since I'd seen this wolf, his eyes loosened and his mouth stretched into a smile that wasn't crooked.

"I suppose," he replied before turning into the woods like he had done before, "come on." And with that, he disappeared into the darkness. I didn't even hesitate; I followed eagerly, watching the figure stop ahead next to a tree and wait for me. He didn't seem like the rest of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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