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...


1. My Birthday

Fairy Tales always start with a poor woman; or perhaps a damsel in distress. Then the hero comes along, somehow saves the woman and they all live Happily Ever After- (with a few kiddy-evil villains here and there and a Fairy Godmother weaved in somewhere.) But what none of them describe, is the actual truth behind the Happily Ever After. Fairy Tales only skim the story- perhaps the writer was bored of all the same layout and ending. What Fairy Tales miss out is the real-life situations. Sure, there could be a poor slave girl alike Cinderella somewhere in your land who is owned by her evil Stepmother and Stepsisters- but there will never be a fancy ball- and there most certainly never be a Fairy Godmother. They add all this soppy stuff that makes kids believe everything's really not that bad, and that everything in life does end with a happy ending. But my story is the real story of Little Red Riding Hood. My story doesn't end with handsome Prince Charming- it has real villains, with real life scenarios. Whether it ends with a Happily Ever After- well that's your opinion...



Beep! Beep! Beep! - my alarm called to me, flashing aluminous yellow and orange which highlighted my unlit room. I stirred, still sleepy from my nine-hours and rolled onto my stomach. This was the moment I had been dreading. Burrowing my head under my Griffin-feathered pillow I braced myself.


Suddenly I felt a huge impact on my back, and my bed snapped- its spine breaking clean and collapsing into the wooden oak floorboards beneath it. I moaned secretly and revealed my head from my warm, safe place; staring at my Ma with a forced look of satisfaction.
"Well, say something!" she grinned, holding her hands out in a hugging motion.

I coerced a strong smile, showing off my teeth, "thanks, Ma."
She nodded once, quite abruptly; before shoving a small blue and white-ribbon trinket box into my hand.

"Open it!"

Sighing slightly, but turning it quickly into a cough at Ma's reproachful gaze, I started to remove the bouncy bow from the top of the box. I put it next to me on my broken bed, and pulled the remaining ribbon from around it. With every move, Ma sat watching me tense with pent up excitement, biting her fingernails shorter than they already were. I paused to look at her. She was sat like a toddler would- cross legged, her towering legs tangled with each other in a complicated knot. She was hunched over on herself, her tiny skeletal frame engulfed by her unflattering clothing, and her bony elbows were resting halfway into the thin layer of skin on her knees. Her thumb nails were hidden inside her mouth.

"Well go on!" she smiled, urging me with a frantic wave of her right hand. I smiled to myself, resuming to unwrap or "unbox" my present. The lift slipped off easily, and as I peered into the miniature space filled with masses of white cotton-wool I couldn't at first find it. I glanced up at Ma.

"Oh come here, you apple," she replied to my puzzled expression; and she took the box off me, rummaging about. A smile came over her face, and she pulled out a tiny object. I gazed at it closely. It was a Wolf Brooch. I gasped at its beauty.

The brooch wasn't anything special in size- just a tiny little pin clasping onto a wider wolf design. A design of a wolf's face took pride of place- coated in a series of dazzling golden gems, two sky blue sapphires marking its eyes. It was gorgeous.

"Ma- it's lovely."
"I know- isn't it? I saved up all my wages to buy it for you- although I'm afraid it's the only present I have..." her voice drifted off, her eyes wandering from mine.

I leaned forwards and placed my hands on her knees, my small hands wrapping around her kneecaps, "don't worry Ma; this is lovely."

A weak smile flickered across her face, and she handed me the brooch- "I'm glad you like it," she whispered.

Ma worked as a kitchen maid for one of the more well-to-do houses in the local village of Gargant; which was only half an hour trek from our forest cottage. The village, characterised with quirky stone cottages that somehow created the illusion that they were built sloping downwards, seeming to curve around the matching cobbled paths which lead to every possible nook and cranny you could think of; dated back to before the Great Faerie, when the wonderful yet deadly; land of Crouper didn't even exist. Back then, there was three regions. One was Glosne- (my home region.) Imagine a place  far the west, filled with magic Pixies- one of the inhabitants of this magical place- weaving in and out of the huge Oak and Beech trees leaving a mystical trail of dust which makes you sneeze if you somehow manage to walk through it without knowing. You are surrounded by lovely, lush green grass with lilac and white wildflowers growing around you. Then there is a slight twitch in the gloom deep into the woods, and suddenly a nimble Roe deer appears out of the darkness, sniffing the air cautiously; its wet nose flicking up and down. It finds no immediate danger, and slowly reaches its nose into the pure spring water only found deep within the tranquil forest. Not a sound could be heard, apart from the occasional tweet of a bird, or the scutter of tiny feet as rabbits ran from the bushes into their burrows. This was the place I regulary visited. Whenever I felt sadnesss or anger, I would walk deep into the woods and find this secret place; where I could watch the Pixies and watch the deers and rabbits and hear the birds- all without anyone interfering or telling me what to do. It was my freedom.  We shared this exquisite landscape with the more talented species who specialised in the talented work of casting spells and charms; creatures like Faeries, Griffons, Pixies, and the gorgeous Pegasus- (the guardian of our region.)

 Esma was the middle region of our land; mostly ranging from desolate desert-like land, before being swept up into the jagged terrain of the harsh mountain side. This place was where  the Elves, Mintors, Gnomes and the sacred Unicorn- (supposedly living on the highest peak on the tallest mountain, only flying down when the people of its region needed it the most. Yet many people still seeked him... hoping that his wiseness would advise them through a tough experience in their lives.) This was where the proper craftsmen and women of the land came from. Blacksmiths, Woodcutters, Builders; all of these vital people had been born, bred, and had maufactured the land's greatest monuments; including the Great Faerie tribute in our local town of Hacni. The deserts went on for ages; nothing but hard, sand-like rock covering the landscape for more than seventy miles straight. But then, once you had thought that you were on your last legs and was soon going to leave the world; you see, in the close distance, the tall and snow-crusted peaks as tall as the Great Faerie herself; standing high in the clouds. That was when you feel the hope regain in your lost soul as you start to pick up your pace effortlessly towards the most safest, protected place in the whole land. The mountains are a haven. The tough ascend filled with fresh mountain air, the overhwelming smell of fresh bread, salads, and luxurious food garenteed to make hungry even the fullest of mules. For thousands of centuries, Knights, Kings and Gods have seeked refuge inside its deep valleys, and the main city that drives this place on- making new objects everyday and sending them out to us. Glosne and Esma have always been into trading with one another... but then so was Flecne, right until they declared the fifteen-year War on us which changed everything...

 But then there is the forbidden area, the place where children are told at a young age never to venture to... Flecne. Flecne is the evil part of our land, retold countless times in the folklore of only the darkest kind. It was where the uttermost malicious evil of our land lived; the type of evil that would happily swipe the children of our village, eat them up, and spit them out right in front of their parents' helpless faces. Decorated with nothing but rock; hot magma rock spewing everywhere, creating dangerous, dark holes deep into the earth's surface. From the cold mountains to the boiling volcanoes, this was the dastardly land of The Fire-Dragons, the Wargs and the Orcs- who were constantly seeking out new ways to destroy and over-run this land with their incompetent, malevolent species. Even a mere whisper of the name  "Flecne" by the oldest, sweetest, innocent Granny would send shivers down the tiniest organism's spine. That was the power they had over the land.

"Anyway, you need to get ready! We're due at Grannies in..." Ma started, glancing at her watch, "erm..."
I sighed and grasped her wrist gently, staring at her wooden rimmed watch- "twenty one minutes?" I prompted.

She looked embarrassed at her new item- "yeah."

I smiled affectionately, Ma have never been educated; and I had started to teach her the time- but even I had been educated by my Granny. "Well we'd better be getting ready then, haven't we?" Despite my greatest attempts to remain a "child", my Ma had always been the kid in our Ma-Daughter relationship; and somehow I had always managed to make the decisions for our life.

She nodded obediently, like a dog and its owner; before leaning forwards and kissing my forehead lightly, "happy birthday darling."

I closed my eyes, content. I never wanted to leave from that place. My room. My Ma. My life. It was the one place I felt the safest; the one place I can be myself, leaving the mature duties I have to live up to for a split second and relive what it was like to be a child again.

"Thanks Ma."

She pulled away, gently stroking the back of her hand against my cold cheeks, "I love you," she whispered in her breezy voice.

"I love you too."

And with that, she got up and walked towards the door, turning around just before she went out, "we're going to have to move your bed at your Grannies here," she smiled slightly, a mischievous glint flicker across her autumn hazel eyes. I giggled slightly, my whole body heaving slightly in small jumps. She blew me a gentle kiss and walked out of the door, her feet echoing on the hollow steps as she walked down the stairs. I sighed happily, glad that the annual bed-splitting moment I dreaded had soon past. I rose out of my kneeling position, my legs groaning with each move I took, my bones creaking like a wooden shack perched on the banks of a marshy lake. Scratching my skinny arm, I shuffled to the back corner of my room, the one closest to the window, and yanked the stiff doors open. My simple clothes drifted from side to side with the backdraft. I stared plainly at them. All of them were ordinary garments- nothing exciting or extreme; but that wasn't expected in our village deep inside Glosne- we were the least wealthiest region in the land. But I never let that influence my choice of clothing. If I couldn't be extreme, I'd be colourful. Sometimes, when I got a new, dull top or shine-less shoes; I'd go out into the surrounding woods and dye them with the mossy green from the rocks, or the glupey, amber tree-sap. I had always found ways to brighten my clothing and make the best of things in this harsh world.

Not really noticing what I was taking- (I had slipped into that habit at a young age,) I grabbed the nearest top and pants; and threw them on. By now, the light had slowly started to creep into my sinister-looking room, lighting the dull, cobwebbed corners of my room and allowing me to see clearer. I started walking towards the door, passing my huge cracked mirror on the way out, but stopped. I lingered at the doorway for a minute.

"Just once," I whispered to myself, and I went back to my mirror and peered at myself through it. My crazy curly red hair had puffed out even more- resembling a lion's mane than my normal wavy locks. I pulled one, extending it and letting it go with a spring. My hair had always been my pride and joy. It was more ginger than red, but every now and then I saw hints of red shining through. Despite this, I had never wanted to peer at it; more going off what other people said about it than spending fifteen hours in front of the mirror like some of the Faeries in the village. They were the popular, interesting ones; whilst I was the plain and simple-dressed one.

"Hood!" Ma's strained voice called from the kitchen.

"Coming!" I replied. I quickly slipped on my shoes, grabbed my red hood and charged downstairs, my wolf pin still in hand.

Ma was standing near the door, her back leaning against the Beech door frame.


"Yep!" I said cheerily, pinning the Wolf Brooch on the right side of my hooded cloak and walking off the bottom step towards her.

She sighed, "you're addicted to that hood of yours."
A cheeky smiled swept across my face and I nodded, "ah yes."

She rolled her eyes affectionately, "whatever. Just get in the cart birthday girl...before I kick you there."


We had always been like that- jostling about and joking with each other; and as I look back at it now, my Ma has always been my best friend- and probably will be.

"Dobbin's waiting outside for us," Ma explained as she rummaged about in her wicker bag for the house keys. I nodded and walked outside the door, the strong light from the sun shining through the woods startling me. The sun was just right, set low along the horizon, seeming to seperate the trees from the ground with a sheet of deep red streaked with orange. The light had shoe through the woods, seeming to force all its light to the one point I had to be standing in. But I ignored the light- (I had never been one for hugely lit places,) and wandered round to the back garden. Dobbin, our Clysdale Horse, was standing there; his dark bay coat highlighted in the morning sun. He whinnied deeply when he saw me, his head alert.

"Hello Dobs," I smiled, walking up to him and stroking his fuzzy muzzle. He twitched slightly, ducking his head down to my hand. I kept on patting him, until I heard the footsteps of Ma behind me.

"Ready?" she called again as she got closer.

I hopped into the cart which was attached to Dobbin. Ma came and sat in the seat next to me, placing her bag between us and picking up the worn reins up in both hands. With a slight flick of the reins and a click of her tongue, Dobbin slowly started to crawl forwards, his ageing legs creaking with every step. I peered at Ma's wrist and smiled- she had taken her watch off.

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