I suppose you've all heard this story before. It's actually pretty popular, more then I ever thought it would be. For me, it just started as an ordinary day, although it ended pretty shockingly. Honestly, I'd prefer it if no one knew about any of it, but since the story's already out there, I suppose I must defend whatever shred of honor I may have left. You see, the really depressing thing is that everyone has it completely wrong! You think you know the truth, but you don't. That's the trouble with people; they only listen to one side of a story, then they think they know the whole story. They only see it in black and white, good and bad. But there's so much more to it then that, if only people would think to listen to every side of the story. Only by listening to everyone involved will you be granted the right to judge.
I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Lupin, and, as you can clearly see, I am a wolf. From what I can tell, that's what makes people label me as the villain. Then again, I am the villain, but not the way everyone thinks. I'm not just some monster that goes around killing people for fun. But everyone seems to assume that a wolf like me likes being a bloodthirsty beast. They take one look at my long fangs and sharp claws and think that I'm evil. I guess I can understand their point of view on that. I mean, it's not as if there are a lot of talking wolves walking around out there. I can understand how having a wolf just strike up a conversation would be unsettling for most people. But it's very inconsiderate to up and run away, although once you've listened to this story, I think you'll agree that I at least deserve it. Wolf though I am, I do have feelings. That's the problem with people; they're too narrow-minded for their own good. But I digress.
The story I'm going to tell you is about a little girl named Little Red Riding Hood. Why on earth any mother would name her child that, I wish I could say. Anyway, I'd been living in the woods near the girl's house for quite some time and every other day, I would watch as the girl's mother would take a basket of bread to the home of the girl's grandmother, who lived in a house in the woods themselves. That's not to say I was stalking her by any means. It's just that humans fascinate me; because of my ability to speak, I have had a better opportunity to understand humans then most wolves and the more I find out, the more they intrigue me. Their houses, their cooking, their clothes, and every other ingenious idea of theirs has never failed to astound me.
Anyway, one day came when it was Little Red, not her mother, who was making the journey through the woods. Only she didn't seem to know how to get to her Granny's house, because she kept taking wrong turns on the many paths of the forest, and she appeared to be on the verge of tears. Now this may sound odd coming from a wolf, but it made me really depressed to see the little girl cry like that. I've never known a wolf to cry, so I guess it really shouldn't be in my nature to pity someone who has water pouring out of their eyes, but I do. Blame it on hanging around humans too long.
I myself knew exactly which road the girl should be taking, and when the road broke apart from the other paths and became a single winding road that led directly to her Granny's house. I decided to offer to lead the little girl to her Granny's house, seeing as I knew the way and she didn't. I padded out of the shadows, wagging my tail furiously and trying my hardest to look nonthreatening. "Hello little one." I greeted her kindly. "Are you lost?" Little Red took one look at me and let out a bloodcurdling scream. The scream soon subsided into a groan as the girl swayed, then fell to the ground in a dead faint. To tell you the truth, I get this reaction a lot, but every time hurts more then the last. It's depressing as anything, having someone scream at the sight of you.
Anyway, this of course left me in quite a dilemma. Seeing as it was my fault that the girl was out cold, I couldn't very well leave her there. There were far more dangerous creatures then a lone wolf in those woods. But if I'd just stayed there until she woke up, she would've just run away or fainted again, and that wouldn't do any good either. Then it occurred to me; I should drag her to the path that led to her Granny's house. That way, she would be safe, and she would get to her Granny's house on time. I grabbed her blood-red cape in my jaws and began to drag her gently through the woods, careful to avoid as many roots and stones as possible.
In a few minutes, I reached the lone path that led to Granny's house. The little girl let out a moan, and her eyelids began to flutter. That's when I decided to make myself scarce. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't exactly looking forward to having the kid scream in my face again. And can you honestly blame me? Who enjoys having people screaming at the sight of them?
I walked away from the little girl, feeling good about myself, like I'd done something to be proud of. Of course, I hadn't done anything wrong yet, but that will be addressed later. Anyway, I decided to go to Granny's house, to watch and make sure that the girl got there safely. On the way there my stomach let out several growls of protest. Prey was scarce in the woods at this time of year, and I hadn't eaten for at least a day and a half. I don't like to admit it, but I was starting to get a little weak with hunger. But I ignored it and continued on to Granny's house. Only, when I got there, the house's door was open a crack. That got me worried; what if her house had gotten hit by robbers? What if they'd hurt her? The thought made me sick to my stomach. Again, blame my soft heart on too much time spent among humans.
I decided to check it out and see if she was alright. I pushed the door open with my nose and scratched gently at the floor three times, attempting to recreate the sound of someone knocking at the door. "Hello?" I called out. "Anybody home?" I was greeted by silence, so I stepped into the house. That may seem rude, but I was worried that the old lady was hurt. There are all manner of unfriendly people who skulk around in the woods. But when I entered the house, there was nothing wrong; nothing was overturned out out of place, and there didn't seem to be anything missing. Later I would find out that Granny often forgot to lock her door, but at the moment, I was ignorant of that.
Suddenly, the door behind me let out a groan and clicked shut. That made me nervous as anything, because I didn't exactly make a habit of getting shut into houses with people I didn't know, but I'd come this far. I sure as anything wasn't going to turn back now.
I made my way into the kitchen, which is where I found Granny. Now this is where my memory gets a little fuzzy. One of the things I remember most clearly is catching wind of a new scent; the sharp, rusty scent of blood. The old lady had a nosebleed.
Now as I mentioned before, I am not so different then you. I can speak, I can reason, and I can feel as well as any human. But whatever I may say, there are differences between wolves and humans, the most notably perhaps being that wolves have an over-powering instinct to hunt and kill their prey. It is a good instinct to have when one is a regular wolf just trying to survive. It is not, however, a good instinct for one who attempts to mingle with humans on a regular basis. It's easy enough to suppress when my stomach is full or when my mind is otherwise occupied. But when a wolf like me smells blood, the instinct to kill is nearly overwhelming. Your control over your own body begins to fade away to nothing, and your instincts take over; namely, the instinct to hunt and kill. To be bloodthirsty is not an insult among wolves; it is a basic fact of life.
So there I was, stomach roaring with hunger and blood-scent so strong I could taste it. Suffice to say, I was fighting to stay in control of my own body, to not succumb to the overwhelming desire to leap at the old lady and rip her throat out. I might have succeeded in that battle with myself too, if the old lady hadn't made the biggest - and last - mistake of her life. She took one look at the wolf standing in her kitchen with murder in its eyes and screamed, "Get out, you filthy mutt!" I could see the terror in her eyes, which only heightened my feverish desire to rip her to shreds. As if to emphasize her words, she picked up a glass cup and lobbed it at me, hitting me right between the eyes. It shattered as it hit me, a few glass shards cutting into my pelt. And if you don't think getting hit by a glass cup right between the eyes hurts, then you're crazy.
That was the last straw. I was hungry, I was angry, and I was in pain, and the scent of blood was nearly driving me insane. I made one last, desperate attempt to stay in control, but it was too late. I lost control completely That's where my memory goes pretty much blank. All I really remember is seeing red, flesh tearing like paper beneath my claws, and blood gushing down my throat. My memory gets a little clearer a minute or so later. That's when I heard the door open and heard the scream of a young voice. Then the memory grows dark, and I remember nothing but flesh ripping and the horribly wonderful taste on blood on my tongue.
At last, the nightmare ended. I felt myself take control of my body once again, and the red haze began to clear from my sight. In hindsight, I almost wish it hadn't. My muzzle, throat, and chest were positively soaked with blood, and my front paws were simply covered with the sticky red liquid. I think the worst part was when I realized that I wasn't hungry anymore.
When my gaze moved down to my bloody paws, I realized that there were the torn remains of a red cape beneath my claws. To this day, I have only ever known one person with a cape so red. I looked up slowly, afraid of what I would see.
I can imagine that you are disturbed enough by this tale as it is. I told you only that this was the truth, not that it was pretty or nice, or even that it made me the good guy. However, you have done nothing to deserve the torture of seeing the sight I did, so I will skip over the gore as best I can. All I will say is that both the girl and her Granny were dead, and that both of them had been more then a little eaten. Honestly, the worst part was not seeing the mangled bodies. I'm a wolf, a natural killer and a creature of the wild; I'm used to seeing some pretty gory things. The worst part was knowing that I had caused this, that I was the one who had spilled innocent blood, the blood of a child no less, and that I was the one who had lost control. Killing prey is much better then killing humans; prey is both simple-minded and wise. They are only intelligent as they need to be to survive, and yet they are wise enough to know that when their time comes, dying to feed another is best way to go, and that death is a simple fact of life. Humans, on the other hand, are not simple-minded in the least. They have thoughts and hopes and dreams, dreams that stretch far beyond anything that any wolf can imagine. Their ability to enjoy life to it's fullest has always filled me with awe. And yet, they remain ignorant of the fact that there is no escape from death, and so they fear it. It is much worse to kill a creature who wants so much out of life and fears death then to kill one that accepts death as another part of living.
I didn't stick around long. The overwhelming feeling of guilt was too much to bear. I jumped through a window and bolted, noticing slight movement in the corner of my eye but ignoring it. I later discovered that what I'd seen was a tree-cutter who had seen me running, gone into the house, seen the bodies, and assumed it was my fault. Actually, it was his idea to use the story as a lesson to teach children not to talk to strangers. I don't mind it so much; it means that the deaths of Little Red and her Granny were not in vain.
I'm sure that the story you grew up hearing was very different from the one I just told you. I'm sure you heard about how the big, bad wolf swallowed the girl and the grandmother whole, and how the tree-cutter heroically rescued the two from the depths of the wolf's stomach. I'm sure you heard how they all lived happily ever after. Trust me, I wish it had ended like that. But that's not how life works. Life is cruel, bloody, and relentless; I should know.
So that's my story. Now you know that every tale has more then one side to it, and every side should be listened to, even if it can't change anything. I hope my tale, however horrible my actions within it were, and however wretched my life has been since, has taught you to value life more and be more open in your opinions of others. If not, then you have let Little Red and Granny die in vain, and you have let me suffer in my guilt in vain.