Little Red was awfully tired. She dragged along behind her new family. She was only ten years old, and had done a lot of walking on this terrible day. Red wondered if someone would carry her. It was dark, and the tree made monster shadows. She stuck her tongue out at them. She could make out the Baker in the distance, carrying a flickering lantern that was slowly dying. Cinderella was cradling the Baker's son. It was easy to mistake her for the child's mother, for even though she was young, she was very motherly. And Jack. Jack's arms were empty. She tapped the boy on the shoulder.
"What?" he snapped.
"You're too heavy."
"If you don't I'll- I'll cut you! I have a knife!"
Reluctantly, Jack consented. The little girl hopped into his arms. Although, this girl was the chattiest person he ever met, she just pulled her cloak around her like a blanket and fell asleep. Jack understood. It was the worst day of his life, and this girl had lost her mother and her grandmother, and witnessed countless deaths. His arms hurt a little, but not as much as he thought they would. Red was a little heavy, all the sweets had gotten to her, but Jack was stronger now, plus he was three years older than her.
The lantern sputtered and suddenly everything was dark. Cinderella let out a little gasp.
"Baker, do you have another match?" she asked.
He rifled through his pockets, but nothing. Wait, he felt something. No. It was a flower. He had picked it for his wife. He would give it to her when he got h- No. She would not be there.
"Well, we can sleep in the clearing here. We can see a little." he tried to sound upbeat.
Jack laid Little Red down on a pile of leaves and moss, hoping not to wake her. The girl just turned on her side and smiled in her sleep. Jack raked a small pile of foliage with his hands for him to sleep on next to her. He wanted to make sure she didn't get hurt, he reasoned. He watched her in the moonlight, her pale skin with a dusting of freckles on her nose shining. Jack stared at this girl until he fell asleep.
He was awoken a few hours later by the sounds of tears.
"What's wrong, Red?" he whispered.
"I'm lonely. I want to go home. I'm cold. I'm hungry." she whimpered.
"It's ok. I'm here. We'll be back in the village in the morning. You can come closer to me."
She complied, wiggling over to his warm body. She wrapped her arms around him, resting her head on his shoulder.
"I'm still hungry."
Jack searched his pocket. He found a ginger cookie. He broke it in half, and gave one part to the ravenous little girl. She wolfed it down. Then she snuggled against his chest and began to fake snore. He laughed with her. It felt weird. He hadn't done that in a while. He felt secure. He slept soundly.