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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3. Granny's Cottage

I had always admired Granny's cottage- it was like my other home. Its white stone walls were starting to turn a mossy green colour, and the yellow thatched roof was always sheading straw and wicker from its coat. There were four green-paned windows, two on each side of the door; which was a heavy Oak one that had been worn from the years of movement and weathering. There were always fresh wildflowers lining the pathway leading to the front, and a small allotment was placed neatly beside the left wall. It was always so welcoming- with its little chimney that was always chugging soot.

Ma walked Dobbin to the side of Granny's small, thatched-roof cottage, untacked him; and placed him inside his little stall just off the corner of the white white stoned wall. All the while I remembered that creature, replaying the images of its eyes and the low growl over and over in my head. It was definately a Wolf. What else could make such a menacing, deep rumble and still look like it meant business? Besides, what was the chances that all the Wolf population would stay in Flence? It wasn't always going to be safe here- and that was a fact.

"Come' on, Hood. It's your birthday! Why are you looking so..." she thought for a word that wouldn't upset me, "glum."
"It was a Wolf, M; I swear."
She sighed again and rolled her eyes, "Hood. Stop it. There's no such thing in these parts."
I opened my mouth to protest but she hushened me with her small hand, "stop it. Now go inside and enjoy your birthday," she motioned for me to go to the door, so I shuffled through the wicket gate and walked to the front door. I rapped twice with my knuckles, tightly gripping my sore bones with the other hand. I had always hurt myself on the door.

"Shhh! She's here!" I heard my Granny's soft, chapped voice call from behind the door. I turned round and looked at Ma with a reproachful expression. She merely smiled, standing beside the gate. I sighed silently, wishing if I could just go back and seekout the Wolf. But Ma wouldn't have any of it.

"Is she there?" I heard my Granny say, a confused air to her voice. I shook my head at her incompetance, and opened the door.

I was met with Granny halfway to the door, positioned to peep through the spyhole in her door. Her face had changed from her questioning expression to one of sheer suprise.

"Oh! Suprise!!" she exclaimed in my face, holding her arms out and revealing her discoloured teeth in a wide grin.

"Granny!" I mustered, trying hard to take my mind of the Wolf.

"Fourteen already-wow! It seems like only yesterday you were a little baba in my arms, looking up at me with that... strained expression on your face. I was the first one to change your nappy- you know," she reminised, hugging me tightly and swaying from side to side; her bushy round hair rubbing in my face.

"Granny- not cool."

"Oh, sorry darling. I'm not used to you being old now," she replied, releasing me and removing her magnified glasses to clean them on her yellow blouse.

"Don't worry- only joking," I smiled cheekily, looking at Ma who nodded approvingly. I was doing well.

"Oh- you fibber." Granny said, patting me on the face like I was a dog. It seemed that the biggest insult my sweet Granny could come up with was "fibber." Some imagination!
I grinned along, leaning forwards and kissing her lifeless cheek; her "elder whiskers" prickling my cheek.

"Oh, you sweetheart," she replied, kissing me back and grasping my hand in her freezing fingers. That was the thing about Granny- her face was always warm but her fingers were stone cold.  She had also always had the most formal clothes. Her round, stout frame was unusally engulfed in blouses, or silk tops. Her short legs were wrapped in pants of long, pleated skirts. When her magnified glasses were not emphasing her jade-green eyes and her shrunken facial skin; they hung from her shrivelled neck on a chain- accompanied by her diamond necklace she claimed she had found on the forest floor. Always smelling of the mixture of old people and baking products, she very rarely went into the village; preferring more to stay inside and knit or sew whilst baking and attending to her.

Just then, Ma came through the door.

"Eliza!" Granny called, hobbling up to Ma and raising her crooked frame to fling her arms around Ma's neck.

"Hi Mum," Ma replied, exchanging a "typical" glance with me. I nodded in agreement, but stopped when Granny had released Ma too.

"Who were you talking to, Granny?" I asked.

She suddenly looked very sheepish, an embarrassed smile hinting on her face.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

Suddenly I was swept up into someone's arms and spun around the room; a tight grip holding me around the waist. The whole room was blurry around me, and I was sure that by the fourth spin I was going to puke. Thankfully, I was put down on the floor which seemed to instantly consume me, before I had the chance. My whole head felt like it was spinning, the room going with it. It took me a couple of seconds to regain control of my eyes and feet.

"PA!" I cried as he stood there, his broad arms held out in a hugging motion like Granny's had. I ran into his arms, hiding my head in his mighty shoulders. It felt like I hadn't seen him in ages.

"Happy birthday darling!" he repeated, snuggling me closer.

"Thanks Pa," I replied, pullling away to kiss him on his cheek. His whiskers weren't nearly as harsh as Granny's.

"You're welcome love."

"Look! Look! Hood!" Granny called, rushing into her tiled kitchen and messing about with something. I looked at Ma and Pa who had moved into a cuddle with each other.

"I made your favourite! Orange and Pumpkin Seed Brownie Cake!" she yelled, her voice trembling with excitement as she brought in a huge layered brown cake riddled with orange spots on a round tray.

I gasped, looking admiringly at the cake and then at Granny; her enlarged eyes staring at me with content.

"It's lovely!" I cried, taking the tray from Granny and admiring the beautiful object. Granny had always been brilliant at baking- she'd won the annual baking competition seven years running- (of course, we had to drop the cakes and flapjacks off at the village for her as she was adamant she wouldn't go.)

"I'm glad you like it!" she continued, clasping her hands together in front of her stomach.

"Your Granny spent ages making that," Ma explained, glancing at Granny who dismissed her with a flap of her hand and a frown and tut.

"Not ages. Minutes."

Pa boomed out his laugh, echoing around the delicate room; much to Granny's shock.

"Presents!" Ma intervine before Granny could complain.

"Ooh yes presents!" Granny repeated and she raced over to the couch like an excited child at Christmas. I laughed quielty and followed her.

                                                                        ****

That afternoon was brilliant. Granny had knitted me two fluffy red scarves and bought me a sewing kit- (which I knew I would never use.) Pa had made me a small wooden rocking horse which was expertly carved and wore a rosy red saddle; and of course Ma had given me the Wolf Brooch. The Wolf. I had somehow managed to forget the who Wolf experience... until I remembered my Ma's lovely present. Those eyes flashed into my mind again... but I shook my head violently to force it out of my head.

"Well, I think it's time for us to go-" Ma announced rather unexpectedly. Granny hoped out of her seat, and rushed into the kitchen; coming out with a box full of cake- my third helping of the delicious cake.

"Thanks," I replied, glumly again; able to realese myself of that damn Wolf.

"Happy birthday, dearie," Granny smiled as she kissed me again.

I hugged her back: "thanks Granny."

Once Ma and Pa had said goodbye, we walked out into the garden. Dobbin was happily munching on his hay where Ma and I had left him some six hours earlier. We always spent ages at Granny's house- no matter how much we said we wouldn't.

As we strode back on the mild journey home, I played with my brooch; moving it about in my fingers. Why didn't Ma believe me? I know what I saw. Even Dobbin had sped up at the same point it had happened- he knew that something wasn't right; so why didn't everyone else? I hadn't had they chance to talk to Granny about it- although she'd probably tell me I was being ridiculous too; and there was no point telling Pa- he wouldn't stand for it. I felt so alone. Nobody would understand me. Nobody would believe me. But I did. I know what I saw. It was a Wolf.

 

 

 

 

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