Hi, everybody. I'm back again with another short story. Pretty much all I could do to contain my excitement about the sequel and frustration that there isn't a release date was write this. Enjoy!

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Frigid Falsehoods

Red stared into the closet, her gaze reflected by the many trophies and metals. She could not believe it. For so long these awards had been in the closet. For so long her granny had insisted that she didn't do anything they despicted. And for so long, the little girl in the red hood had believed her. Red tightened her fist in order to contain her anger and saddness, which were intermingling together confusingly.

The girl heard a creak from behind her. Slowly, she turned around, already knowing who it was. Her granny stood there, looking unsure about what to say. Red simply gave her a hard stare.

"Honey, don't look at your granny like that," Granny said softly.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Red said sarcastically, arms akimbo. "I thought you were Triple G. Or are you the bandit?"

A long silence stretched forth. "Awk-ward," the stork police officer stated in a little more than a whisper. He quickly shuffled away.

"Don't be ridiculous-" Granny started, but Red interrupted her.

"I'm being ridiculous?!" she cried. "You're out living... la vida loca, risking your life for some dumb thrills, and I'm supposed to stay home and be your happy little delivery girl?!"

The rest of the police officers suddenly felt strange and out of place. "Uh, coffee break, anyone?" Nicky asked. The others quickly agreed. They quickly strutted away from the room. "Do you think Granny would mind if I went through her trash?" a raccoon asked.

"Uh, excuse us." Chief Grizzly said, before walking away to join his fellow officers.

"I thought you were happy," Granny said, her eyes not meeting Red's.

"Open your eyes!" Red exclaimed. "I've never even been outside the forest. Don't you think I want more than that?"

The goody tycoon smiled lightly at her granddaughter. "Of course you do. You're a Puckett," she said.

Red sighed. "I don't know what that means anymore," she replied. Gradually, as if she was about to touch something flaming hot, the preteen girl took the hood off her head and undid the tie that kept it on. It dropped to the ground, looking folded up and forgotten. The now hoodless Red Riding Hood walked out of the house with her eyes on the ground, not bothering to look back.

As she stepped out, the darkness of night enveloped her. She walked up to the yellow caution tape and lifted it up so she'd be able to pass. "Hey, it's Little Red!" one of the tv news ancors proclaimed. "No, it's just some kid. She's not wearing the red hood," another corrected him. There was a chorus of disappointed sighs. "There she goes!" yet another said. Red turned her head a bit to see the gaggle of reporters follow a bear wearing a red hooded jacket. Red was glad, but she didn't show it. She didn't want to talk to anyone, much less any reporters.

Red wandered into the woods, wanting nothing more than to get lost in their vastness. But she knew them so well from her childhood that it was impossible. Unknowingly, her gaze drifted upwards. She stared at the crescent moon, glowing in the dark blue sky. That used to be me, the girl realized. A kindle of radiance, unaware of a dark sky of lies around me. But now... my light's pretty much burnt out.

Trying to keep a straight face, Red walked on. She did not let a muscle on her face move, lest the tears she held inside find a way out. Spying a small red flower on the path, she picked it up, trying to find some comfort in it. But the small red petals slowly pulled in, revealing a blue outter color.

Red is blue, she thought to herself. Huh, sounds a lot like me.

The lone girl continued down the path, trying to keep her eyes off of the other flowers closing to blue around her. It made her feel more depressed. Finally getting past the field of flowers, Red arrived at a small waterfall which deposited itself into a pond. Sitting down on a log, she fingered the flower. Loosening her grip as she felt a gust of wind, she watched it blow out of her hand and land daintily in the water. It floated there as Red began to float on a stream of memories, remembering happier times.

-

Soft laughter came from Granny's kitchen. A batch of gingerbread cookies, freshly baked, lay on the table next to a red hooded girl. "How do you remember all these recipes?" she asked.

"They're all here in this book," her grandma said, patting the recipe book in front of her. "Every recipe in here has come from the Puckett family, generation after generation. See?" She pointed to a picture of a hooded woman in an artic area. "There's Sylvia Puckett at the North Pole. She found the best hot chocolate in the world there."

"Then there's Emma Puckett," she said, pointed to a picture of another hooded lady standing next to an old fashioned airplane. "She flew cheesecakes across the Atlantic."

Granny pointed at all of the photos, with Red eagerly following her gaze. "Oh, for as long as critters have had a sweet tooth, Pucketts have been collecting recipes around the world, refining them, giving them that special Puckett touch." She turned to the girl wearing the red hood. "So you see, Red?" she asked. "Whenever you put that hood on, you carry on a grand tradition." Red nodded, smiling.

Getting up to get some more cooking utencils, Red openned one of the drawers. She was caught by surprise when she found a gold metal with the rest of the stuff. "Huh? What's this?" she inquired, picking it up and showing it to Granny.

"Oh, it says 'World's Greatest Grandma'," she said, looking away for a single second.

"Granny, I can read," Red said rather matter-of-factly. "It says 'Battle of the Iron Cage Gladiators'."

Her grandma got a faraway look in her eyes, as if remembering something. "Granny?" her granddaughter asked, bringing to back to the world.

"Listen, munchkin," Granny said. "If there's two things your granny doesn't do, it's lie. And play extreme sports." she added more softly.

-

Remembering what her granny had said, Red shook her head bitterly. Not wanting to conjure up any more memories, she stood up. A cold gust of mountain wind blowed past her, and she rubbed her arms in attempt to produce some warmth. She realized how exposed she felt without her hood, something she had worn almost all her life. Thinking about the hood brought a flood of doubts triggered by her memories.

Maybe her secret life isn't all she lied to me about, Red thought. Maybe she doesn't love me at all... At that thought, a solitary tear escaped from her eye and slid down her face. Not bothering to wipe it off, it fell off her chin and landed on the forest ground, the only "footprint" that the lonely, dejected girl left behind.

All this, because of a falsehood as frgid as the mountain air.