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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11. Waking Up

"Hood...Hood; wake up love."

I felt the darkness fall away, and a dim; shining light awaken me. What had just happened? The cold that had captured me earlier was replaced by a velvety warmth, and the sounds- well the fast-flowing gushes from the monster river had long gone; a tranquil harp-type classical music softly floating along in the atmosphere. A complete contrast to what I had recently endured. And that was the other thing- how long had I been out for? I referred to my experiences as recent; yet was it even that? It could be days, weeks since our encounter with the wolves... our. A sudden panic alike the past one overcame me. Where was C.J? He hadn't been... captured?

I allowed my eyes to roll open, focusing on the large overhanging tartan light suspended from the sulphur ceiling; and instantly knew where I was.

"Hood? Are you ok love?" my Granny's crackly voice asked, her stone hand delicately touching my cheek. I jumped, the coldness from her fingers jump-starting me as I leapt from my lying position in the flowery bed.

"Easy now, you don't want to get a head rush."

"What happened, Granny?" I asked, my voice weak and hoarse.

"Well... I don't know- not for sure," her innocent voice sounded in my ears like music, "your wolf friend brought you here sodden- you were as limp as a newborn piglet. I instantly tucked you up and got some warm milk down you."

"What about C.J?"

She looked puzzled for a moment, "C.J? Is that his name?"

I nodded.

She looked away, staring at a darkened point on her yellow wall, "well he... he sort of went away. Said he needed to sort some things out-" she glanced at me, her face drained with worry, but yet her face seemed mysteriously expressionless- almost like she was seeing through me.

"I don't like you hanging around with him, Hood. He's bad news if you ask me. All wolves are."

Bad news? Her words rang in my head like a church bell. Bad news? Why would she say something like that when she knew full-well that C.J was the one who rescued me and brought me to safety? Unless she was hiding something...

"Where did he say he was going?" I asked, a slight impatience hinting in my voice.

But Granny missed it. Her eyes had returned to normal.

"He didn't say. But I hope whatever he's doing he's alright. I offered for him to stay- but he was having non of it. I even offered him a slice of Bakewell."

What was happening? What was my Granny doing? One minute she disliked the idea of C.J's whole existence- the next she was...wishing him well?

"Where did he go? Did he say?" I thought I'd try again.

"No. No he didn't. I warned him- I warned him about the wolves..." suddenly, she slapped a hand to her mouth, her eyes wide with shock, "oh you weren't meant to hear that dearie."

"Wolves?" I repeated; suddenly more attentive.

"No-nothing love."

"No: you said wolves. What do you know, Granny?"

A sheepish look adopted on her face; and she was forced by some unknown will to look away from me and at the yellow wall.

"Your Ma told me not to say anything."

"But?" I sensed, encouraging her to speak on.

She glanced at me wearily, her rosy cheeks shining with embarrassment, "but...your Ma... she's heard about-about this..." she sighed, giving into her conscience, "this wolf pack.

My heart dropped onto my liver; "what wolf pack?"

"The-they- they're this pack...that-" suddenly her eyes changed again, darker like a sharks' - "but it's none of your business you petty, irrelevant child!"

I jumped as she snapped, her face flying forwards so the unusually meaty aroma of her breath floated towards my nostrils. I blew hard on my nose, allowing the vile smell to free itself.

"Gr-granny," I said; sliding my hand towards hers and taking it in mine. But I shook it away. It was boiling!

"Granny, are you ok?" I asked tentatively, cocking my head sideways unconsciously as I questioned her.

But as I spoke, her faced calmed down, and when I went to grab for her hand again it was it's usual stone cold. Something wasn't adding up here. Something wasn't adding up at all.

"What love? Sorry. I'm not myself today."

I scoffed, "that's obvious."

At this, her face screwed up into a tight ball, her features shrunken in a mass of skin; her brown eyes changing...darker-of that was even possible three times in a row.

"No! You're mine- Hood! Mine! And he knows it."

I started at her sudden mood change. I'm hers? Granny had never spoken like that- not once. She didn't even raise her voice!

"Granny! What's up? You've never spoken like that- like any of this even."

Suddenly, she loosened, her eyes returning to her normal brown.

"I'm sorry love- I, I don't even know what overcame me."

"So what about C.J then?" I asked cautiously- aware of whatever I might say could trigger something in the short run.

Her face lightened, "oh C.J! He's marvellous- isn't he? He saved you and brought you here."

Something wasn't right. Her views and moods- even appearance- was changing dramatically right before my very eyes. What had got into her? My Granny was usually a very nice lady- one who had never snapped not told me what to do. She had changed. Changed climatically. I decided to blame it on the experience- she must have gone through a lot worrying about me; and might be experiencing some... routine mishaps- however weird they are.

It would be best if I changed the subject a little, "so where's Ma and Pa?"

She reached out and touched my arm, her freezing fingers creating a permanent cold patch, "oh they haven't left your side, dearie. They've both gone into town- I was running low on food. They were reluctant to go, but I persuaded them. They'll be back soon love." She stood up, the bed creaking and cracking, "meanwhile love, why not come with me into the kitchen? I've made your favourite!"

The translucent glow evaporating from her face, the cherry red cheeks; they all indicated the return of her previously-absent person. It concluded it was just a phrase of shock- no matter how weird it was.

Nodding enthusiastically, I pulled the quilt from my legs and slowly got up- Granny aiding me as I rose to my feet and hovered for about two seconds. It seemed so strange to be standing- the tingling in my legs stating it had been a while since I'd used them.

"How long have I been out?"

"About three days, love."

Three days? It seemed more like three years, I thought as I shuffled out of the room and down the wooden stairs.

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