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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9. The Chase

Behind us, the wolves' howls echoed and were amplified with every tree they bounced off- sending a spine-tingling screech running through the woods. C.J never stopped running at his frantic pace; dodging meaningless branches which lunged for us every time we passed them, seemingly trying to catch us for the wolves. Every now and then I'd steal a quick glance over my shoulder, seeing how far away my hunters were. There were about five all together, three black, two navy blue and one unusual Imperial-purple. For a minute, I was captivated by how beautiful they were, (their deep and inviting colours being the main cause for this thought-) until I remembered that all they wanted was the vulnerable girl gripping onto their betrayer's back.

But they were more...intriguing to look at than C.J. Their muscles pulled and yanked with every leap they took that meant they were equally as far from us as they were before. Their colours shone in the sunlight and camouflaged them when darkness fell upon their coats: their night-vision reflecting from the small lens wrapped around their eyeballs. But their jaws damaged this pretty look- smashing and munching ravenously as they stared at me... and only me. Not only was it this that made me fear them- it was their eyes. Resembling a sharks', they had no life. They had never loved, never cared; never seen. All they were were pit-less black holes; opening into a universe of murder and pain. In a way, I sort of felt sorry for them. How did I know it was them who wanted to kill me? They might have families they have to supply for somewhere deep in this world- they could be working for a more dangerous organisation.

But my sorriness soon wore off. They were gaining on us. First they had only been in the distance, now they were closing the vital gap between their gaping mouths and my trailing cloak. They could easily snap me right off C.J's back if they just ran a little closer...

"Faster C.J!" I cried, my voice more panicky than anything. I feared for my life. For once, I feared for my life- and I feared for C.J's too. God knows what they would do if they so happened to get him too. "They're gaining on us!"

"I can't!" he replied, panting as he turned a tight corner onto a narrow track. They followed, barking and howling with every step they took closer to us.

"Come on!" I urged, wishing for him to find some hidden spurt of energy and outrun these malicious fiends. But nothing came. And nothing ever came.

We had turned in a north-western direction into a lightly wooded area. Running beneath us was a fast flowing river-smashing over boulders which stood upright; creating a frothy-foam which lingered around the surface of them. It was then that I realised we were on some sort of cliff. Suddenly, a strange feeling much alike the previous one overcame me. I felt an unusual connection between this tranquil landscape and I- but I didn't know why. It was like my subconscious had created an unknown connection- secret to my actual mind but there all the same. Yet I didn't recall ever coming here- or ever seeing this place. Was it possible I had gone barmy in all this panic? Or was it actually true? It was an option that I had visited this place in my dreams...

But all my unanswered questions were soon banished from my mind and thrown into the river beneath us. We had come to a drop- a sheer drop directly into the strong currant below us. C.J skidded to a stop, his front feet battling the ground as our speed rapidly decreased. I would have gone over his broad shoulder if I hadn't of been clutching his ruffle of fur.

My heart was racing; my lungs uncontrollable.

"I-I'm sorry," C.J apologised, his voice no more than a whisper.

I didn't answer; too afraid of what I faced now to care. We turned round slowly, facing where we had just been and the surrounding pack which had created a round circle around us. This was what I had been fearing. This was not the way to go.

One of the black ones stepped out from the middle where it was stood; its black back reflecting the beaming light and seemingly being highlighted three shades lighter. It was the first to speak.

"So nice to see you both here," it purred, its mouth pulling into a crooked grimace- those pearly white teeth shining from under its rubber lip. Even though the sentence would have been said on a happier note; it's voice hinting a teasing maliciousness sent my nerves flying like hot air balloons- (only fifty times faster) around my body. It was the voice of a killer.

"No harm needs to come of this girl," C.J stepped up; his voice stronger than I would have anticipated.

They all laughed, the black one throwing its head right back and belching out an echoing, deathly laugh. I shivered involuntarily- much to the amusement of the purple one lurking inside the shadows. I officially hated wolves- (except C.J.)- that much was clear.

"Oh but their is, my darling pack member." The black one continued after his long cackle. As soon as he started talking the whole pack quietened- almost like a secret command had been initiated.

"I am not your pack member." I jumped at C.J's voice; it was more forceful than usual- more... real. He wasn't standing for these wolves' teases. For a brief moment I felt even more vulnerable- one mild girl against five- (possibly six) ravenous predators. What are the odds?

"Oh but you are," the black one replied, even more vile and meaningful than it had before, "if I recall, you signed our oath. You belong to us," it nodded carelessly towards me, "and so does she."

The wolves around us shuffled and whimpered with uncontrollable excitement at their master's words.

"No she doesn't, Clineas. It doesn't have to be this way." C.J now spoke with determination. He looked and sounded just like a pack leader; and I couldn't help but feel an essence of fear towards him.

They all laughed again; but this time it was more of a heartless one. Something deep within me had changed. Before all this I was and adrenaline seeker and even completely fearless of these predators. Now, I was meek and mild and terrified of what may come of me at this time. But they seemed to pick up on this, shuffling on their feet; monitoring me with their beady eyes as they awaited their master'a command.. the command to kill.

"You've gone too far this time," C.J warned- his teeth showing in a slight grimace.

Clineas just sniggered evilly again, "it'll soon be over for you and your little hindrance."

No anger flared, nothing made me want to kill them like I did before at his heartless words. Only sheer fright for our lives.

"Not this time," C.J replied, stepping backwards towards the cliff's edge.

"Careful!" I whispered into his velvet ears. They twitched slightly as the received my words- but he made no other acknowledgement.

"Say goodbye to this...cruel world," Clineas said, prowling towards us slowly with every word he spoke. At this, the wolves followed; closing in on us like confined fish captured by a Thresher Shark. I closed my eyes tight- picturing my wonderful Parents and amazing Gran, all around me celebrating my birthday. It was hard to believe that it was only yesterday.

Around me, they girdled and tapped excitedly, whimpering as they enclosed us. But C.J didn't move; he didn't growl. He merely stood there, breathing calmly as they came closer.

"C.J!" I whispered again, loud enough for him to hear, "what are you doing?"

"Hold tight." He replied.

I didn't like the sound of that. Hold tight? It sounded like he was going to do something dangerous and stupid- and after all I've already been through!

But there was no time to think. There was no time to act. The wolves were picking up their pace, their heads low and their bodies arched ready for attack.

"I've been waiting for this for far too long," Clineas announced when he was metres away from us. The wolves around us nattered in agreement. Suddenly, he howled; alerting the forest who their latest prisoners would be. Then he ran. He charged towards us, snarling and growling- and they followed. But C.J did nothing. He didn't even flinch!

"C.J move!!" I bellowed, my eyes opening wide; but my voice cracked on the last note and made it hard to work out.

The last thing I remembered was the frozen image of Clineas leaping towards us; his throat a vast cavern in which I was about to enter...

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