I trotted forward enjoying the wind in my fur and the ground beneath my paws. I ran from the far end of the meadow, but stopped when I smelled the most delicious scent I'd ever smelled before. I looked up for the scent and saw a girl that couldn't be older than sixteen. She was tall with shockingly red hair and a stunning white cloak. She was looking longingly towards the meadow. I trotted easily towards her, stopping beside her.
"Hello," I called.
She jumped and looked at me with surprise.
"I'm sorry," she fumbled, "You just surprised me."
"It's quite alright," I said with a smile, "And what might your name be?"
"Rose," she said cautiously.
Don't be scared, girl, I thought, I don't bite… much.
"Though most call me Red," she said, indicating her vibrant hair.
I laughed, this human was amusing.
"I can see why."
She laughed, too.
"And what might your name be?"
I was mildly surprised, most humans didn't posses politeness. At least not to animals I thought bitterly.
"James," I said, giving her a roguish grin, my exterior not revealing my bitter thoughts, "and what might a lovely young lady like yourself being doing out here all alone?"
Red blushed and I tried not to concentrate on the warm pooling of blood.
"My grandmother's been sick and I'm bringing her some food."
She lifted up the basket she was carrying.
Grandmother, hmmm, I thought, not bad, kind of brittle. But two is better than one.
"Kind as well as beautiful," I complimented, enjoying watching the blush creep back onto her cheeks.
"I bet she would love some flowers," I said smoothly.
"I know she would," she admitted, as if she'd admitted some big crime, "But I told her I was coming, and she'll be worried. I've taken too much time already."
I was secretly impressed. Most people would have thought it a chore to visit their old grandmother sick in bed, but Red honestly cared. Not that it mattered, I reminded myself, they'd both be dead soon. I didn't like the pang that I felt at my thoughts.
"I have an idea," I said slowly, "You can stay here and I'll run along and bring your grandmother the food, and tell her that you are coming."
She hugged me awkwardly around the chest.
"Thank you, James. You're a lifesaver."
Lifesaver, indeed, I chuckled. I took the basket and trotted off, wagging my tail in pleasure.
I came across the small cottage a few minute later. I nudged the door open with my nose.
"Red?" a frail voice called.
I followed the sound to a bedroom, where a small, frail woman lay. She lifted her head up with a great effort.
"You're not Red," she said in confusion, with a hint of fear lacing her tone.
"No," I said, smiling wickedly, "But she'll be along later."
I lunged and landed with a thump. A few minutes later, I lay contently on the bed. I curled up on the bed and licked my mouth, not bad, not bad.
"Grandma," I heard a soft voice call.
Right on time, could've used a couple more minutes, but this worked nicely.
I yawned and stretched my back.
"In here," I called.
Red entered, her face flushed and her smile radiant.
"James," she called and her eyes darted around.
"James," she said again, "Where's my grandmother?"
Silly, naïve, thing, I thought, not liking the possessive tone my thought possessed.
I landed on her and bit in. For a moment a flash of betrayal appeared in her bright green eyes and I heard her gasp the word "Why", and then it was gone, replaced by pain.
Red! The most humane part of me thought. It struggled against the brutal part of me. The brutal side won and I attacked again, but the moment I did the voice returned struggling against it, I whined annoyed.
"I'm sorry," I heard a soft voice call.
The pitiless side of me jerked back and the humane side of me won, if just for a moment.
I looked into her sincere eyes.
"I'm sorry," she repeated, "that you don't have anyone to love you. To smile at you, I'm sorry you don't have anyone to love."
"It's not your fault," she said, shaking her head, seemingly trying to convince herself, too, "It's not your fault."
She must have seen something in my eyes, because she muttered one last time.
She took one last shuddering breath and then she was gone.
"I'm sorry, too," I said softly.
I looked at her for a long time and saw things that I hadn't seen before. She was pretty it was true, I suppose that Humans would have called her beautiful, but in the way that she held herself, I could tell she probably didn't even notice. She was kind; she would trust anyone, even an Animal. She was unlike anyone I had ever met and I doubted I would ever meet anyone like her ever again.
I placed my head in my paws and whined. What had I done? I nudged her lightly with my nose and she didn't move. I clumsily used my paws to wrap her in her cloak, stained red by her blood. I took one last look at her face, peaceful in death and left the room.
"I will never kill again."