It has been a while, everyone, since my last one-shot!
This is my longest one-shot in ages. I rarely write anything longer than 1,500 words excluding my author's notes, but this story is exactly 2,800 words long and I'm quite satisfied with it. (This has to be my longest author's note EVER, if I must add.)
I have no idea how people write one-shots over 5,000 words like my best friend does. Maybe it's because I find that a good story shouldn't be clumped together. Well, that's just a personal opinion of mine.
I love fairy tales. Even though I'm almost an adult. And I hope to do even more fanfics based on fairy tales in the future.
Somethings to take note of: Little Red Riding Hood's hooded cloack is ash-grey. He is nicknamed 'Little Red Riding Hood' because of his hair. Some slight references to the 17th Witch Hunts (search Wikipedia if you want more information)
I used quite a few references I used when creating this story. In fact, most of my recent works are based on something and I tend to rely quite heavily on references when I'm stuck.
First is Yuki Kaori's Second chapter of Ludwig Kakumei, Little Red Riding Hood. I love Yuki-sensei's works... but I'm too lazy to read them. I only finished Ludwig Kakumei... and I read it twice. The first time was about four years ago... about the time I started writing.
Next is Akazukin, Track 5 of Kannou Mukashi-banashi Drama CD series Volume 4. Kannou Mukashi-banashi is a good Drama CD series and I highly recommend it.
The last is Roa Huduki's fan-art of Ittoki Otoya from Uta no Prince-sama (which you find on pixiv or zerochan). Roa-sensei is my favorite fan-artist for UtaPri so far and I always look forward to new works from him/her.
I don't think I should bore you with more idle chatter; let's get this story started! Oh, do let me know what you think of it? I think some parts sounded a bit off when I was writing this. But it was fun nonetheless. (Let me know if this should be M-rated.)
Oh; and a million thanks to my cute little sister and fellow writer, A Natsume Yuujinchou Lover for beta-ing this for Me.
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THE ORIGINAL STORY OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND ALL THE REFERENCES I USED TO CREATE THIS STORY.
Once upon a time, in a village far from here, lived a young boy with his mother. The boy was known as 'Little Red Riding Hood' as he had beautiful, red hair and always wore an ash-gray hood wherever he went.
Little Red Riding Hood was a gentle child who helped everyone in need. Even though his family was poor, he always had a smile on his face and was well-liked by the villagers.
One fine morning, Little Red Riding Hood was sent by his mother to visit his sickly grandmother, who lived alone in the forest by the mountains. Handing him a basket of freshly baked bread and a bottle of wine, she gave him a gentle warning.
"Be careful in the forest; they say there is a dangerous wolf that lives there. Follow the path and do not talk to strangers."
"Yes, mother. I will be on my way now!"
With his usual bright smile and a nod, Little Red Riding Hood departed for his grandmother's house.
The forest was a quaint and peaceful place. The warm sunlight could be felt shining down through the thick canopy; the song of the birds on the branches above could be heard as one walks along the path.
Many animals live in the forest. The rabbits in their burrows deep in the ground, the songbirds in their nests in the big trees, the squirrels in their drays and by the river, the beavers in their dens. If one was lucky, one could spot a deer or two, hopping through the forest; and perhaps a little raccoon scampering in search of a little food.
Little Red Riding Hood had always enjoyed walking through the forest. It was amazing, he thought, how the trees in the forest could grow so big and tall, how wide the branches could spread out and create a canopy with their leaves.
Noon was soon approaching, and the sunlight was growing strong by the minute. Wiping a little sweat off his brow, Little Red Riding Hood decided to take a little rest on an old tree stump.
"Come here, little birds," He called, reaching out his hand. "I'll give you a little snack."
Little Red Riding Hood never fails to bring a small bag of bread crumbs for the birds, as a gesture to thank them for their singing. Today, however, it was not the birds who would approach Little Red Riding Hood, but a different creature altogether.
"H-Help me…"A weak voice called out, surprising the boy.
"Who's there?" Little Red Riding Hood looked around, but could see no one.
"I'm here, behind the bushes." The voice spoke again.
And what a shock Little Red Riding Hood had. Lying behind the bushes was a wolf, with an injury on one foot.
"Oh dear. What happened to you?"
"A heartless hunter shot me in the leg. I managed to remove the bullet, but I'm afraid that the hunter might come back for me soon."
Little Red Riding Hood took pity on the wolf. Fishing a handkerchief from his pocket, he tended to its injury, bandaging its leg with the piece of cloth.
"Here, it'll get better soon; don't you worry."
"Thank you so much. Say, what's a cute little boy like you doing in the woods all alone?"
"I-I'm just going somewhere."
"What's in the basket, Little Red Riding Hood? Where are you going with it?"
"In the basket… there's bread and wine for Grandmother. She lives in the cottage by the foot of the mountain by herself. She's not feeling well, so Mother sent me to visit her."
"That bread smells delicious. Where did you get it from?"
"Mother made it. She helps out in the village bakery. If you go down the path, you can reach the village in no time… ah!"
It was then that Little Red Riding Hood remembered his mother's words.
"I-I have to get going. See you later, Ms. Wolf."
"Wait, Little Red Riding Hood…"
But before the wolf could speak again, Little Red Riding Hood had ran off.
"Che… He got away."
After running as far as his little legs could carry him, Little Red Riding Hood stopped to catch his breath. Looking around, he found himself in an unfamiliar part of the forest.
"Where… am I?"
Meanwhile, the hungry wolf was making its way towards Grandmother's house.
"If I can't eat the boy, his grandmother will have to do."
Approaching the cottage, it knocked on the wooden door.
"Who is it?" A voice called out from inside.
"It's me, Little Red Riding Hood," The wolf spoke, pretending to be Little Red Riding Hood. "I've brought you some of Mother's bread and a bottle of wine. Please open the door, Grandmother."
"How nice for my cute grandson to come and visit me. Give me a moment; I'll open the door for you."
Imagine the fright Grandmother had when she opened the door, finding the wolf at her doorstep when she was expecting to see her little grandson.
"W-Who are you?"
"Me? I'm just a wolf passing through the area. Looks like Little Red Riding Hood hasn't arrived yet."
"W-What do you want?"
With a wicked smirk, the wolf bared its fangs.
"Time to eat!"
After eating her, the wolf dressed itself in Grandmother's clothes. Lying in the bed and pulling up the quilt, the wolf chuckled to itself.
"I hope Little Red Riding Hood would come soon."
After wandering in the forest, Little Red Riding Hood finally reached his Grandmother's house. He was surprised to find the front door slightly ajar.
"Grandmother?" He pushed the door open gently, taking a look around the house. It was strange, he thought, that the curtains were drawn in the middle of the day.
"In here, my dear," A rough voice replied from the bedroom.
"My, Grandmother," Little Red Riding Hood peered around the dark room. "Why is it so dark in here? It's so dark that I can't even see your face."
"My eyes are quite bad in my old age, dear, so I don't really like bright places. Come closer so I can see you."
And Little Red Riding Hood did as he was told.
"Dear me, Grandmother, what big ears you have."
"All the better for me to hear your sweet voice with, my dear."
"Dear me, Grandmother, what a big nose you have."
"All the better to take in your sweet scent with, my dear."
"Dear me, Grandmother, what big hands you have."
"All the better... to catch you with!"
With a powerful burst of strength, Little Red Riding Hood was pushed onto the floor. The basket rolled into a corner of the room, its contents spilling over the wooden floor.
"Y-You're not Grandmother! Who are you?"
"It's me, Little Red Riding Hood. Don't you remember me?"
"That voice… the wolf from just now?"
"That was quite mean of you, Little Red Riding Hood, running off like that and leaving me behind. But thanks to you, I managed to fill my stomach a little."
"What did you do to Grandmother?"
"Well… What do you think I did to her? She didn't taste very good, I must admit, but beggars can't be fussy."
Little Red Riding Hood stared in fear at the creature before him. He managed to stand, but his legs were shivering.
"Do you think you can escape, Little Red Riding Hood? Look at you, shivering in fright," The wolf licked its lips. "That expression of fear in your eyes… I like it."
"L-Let Grandmother go!"
Little Red Riding Hood took a step back, his hands balling into fists.
The wolf let out a malicious laugh.
Turning on his heel, Little Red Riding Hood ran. However, the wolf was faster than him and managed to pin him down before he could leave the house.
"Don't think you can run away from me this time, Little Red Riding Hood."
"Get off me! Let me go!"
"Why should I listen to you? After all… little boys like you taste the best of all. Your meat would taste like the finest cut compared to that old hag's."
Looking around desperately for a weapon within his reach, he managed to grab a metal poker that had been lying on the floor.
"I won't let you have your way!"
With a swift motion, Little Red Riding Hood swung the poker, managing to wound the wolf, who howled in pain.
Snarling, the wolf backed away from the boy, malice in its eyes. Fresh red blood started dripping from its wounds.
"You will pay dearly for this, Little Red Riding Hood. I swear; I will have my revenge!"
Watching the wolf escape, Little Red Riding Hood tried to stand, but his legs gave way as he felt his consciousness slipping away…
When Little Red Riding Hood awoke, several hours later, he was surprised to see that the sky had already darkened. Disorientated, he tried to recall the events that had happened that day.
Remembering what the wolf had said, he rushed back to the village, hoping that nothing would have happened.
How wrong he was.
When Little Red Riding Hood had arrived back in the village, the first thing he had noticed was the trails of red that had stained the outer walls of the houses.
Trails… of blood.
"W-What happened here? Where is everyone?"
The sounds of shouting from the village square and a bright orange light answered his question. The voices of the villagers were furious, he could tell, as angry shouts could be heard.
"How dare you bring a curse upon us all?"
"What have we done to you to deserve this?"
"Give me back my children!"
"Give us back our loved ones!"
The endless cries echoed through the sky as the flashes of orange continued to flicker, slowly consuming the body of the woman that had been tied to a stake. The woman that had been accused of being a witch… the woman Little Red Riding Hood called his mother.
It was a horrifying scene for a boy his age to see: his mother, tied to a wooden stake with a fire blazing at her feet, with the villagers surrounding her, hurling shouts of anguish at her as her life drained away.
"Look! It's the son of the witch!"
Somebody from the crowd called out, and all heads turned towards him.
The commotion was too great for Little Red Riding Hood to take in all at once.
There were many, many things he wanted to ask. What had happened in the village when he was gone? Why was his mother being treated like a witch when she wasn't one? Why… were they looking at him with those eyes?
Before he knew it, Little Red Riding Hood found himself running for his life once again.
A group of villagers, men and women alike, started to chase him, armed with various tools. From pitchforks to wooden rolling pins, they ran at Little Red Riding Hood like a flock of starving eagles after a tasty morsel.
Around the village they ran.
Around the village they chased.
But they could not catch Little Red Riding Hood.
Little Red Riding Hood, desperate, ran out of the village, into an unknown part of the forest. The villagers continued to go after him, until they reached an old cabin that used to belong to an elderly woodcutter.
They surrounded Little Red Riding Hood by an old tree stump, with an axe embedded deep into the decaying wood. It was as if they were coterie of grim reapers waiting to execute him.
"Why are you doing this?" Little Red Riding Hood asked, timidly as the villagers approached him.
"Don't play dumb, boy." One man snarled. "You brought that wolf into the village, didn't you?"
"You act as if you don't know anything. You and your mother… that witch cursed us all and brought that wolf into our village!"
"That beast ate our children!"
"And our spouses!"
"He messed up our village, killed innocent people and ruined our lives!"
"That can't be…"
"You caused blood to be shed in our village, yet you still feign ignorance?"
"We saw it… that cloth tied around the wolf's leg! It belonged to you and that witch!"
"And you deny that you have nothing to do with the wolf?"
"I-I merely helped the wolf when it was injured… I never meant for something like this to happen!"
"Do you think we would believe such an outrageous lie?"
"You destroyed our lives!"
"If it weren't for you both, our village would've remained peaceful!"
"You betrayed us!"
"You cursed son of a witch!"
"You should be dead!"
"Tie him up and shut him in a barrel lined with spikes!" One old woman shrieked in her shrill voice. "Have the barrel tied to two horses so they can drag it from one street to another until he's done for!"
"Burn him alive!" The baker snarled. "Set him ablaze in a torrent of red and orange, just like his witch mother!"
"Decapitate him!" The butcher roared. "Cut him up and feed his meat to the vultures!"
"Shut him in iron maiden for eternity!"
"Stab him till' he bleeds no more!"
"Bury him in a mountain of stones and rocks till' even his bones are crushed!"
Little Red Riding Hood screamed, tears streaming out of his eyes.
A man swung a pole at the boy, which struck his brow. A stream of blood started to flow down, running down the skin of his cheek and dripping down his chin onto the barren soil below.
This isn't right. What did I do to deserve this? Why? Why is this happening? Why did things have to turn out this way? Why this? Why me? Why?
These thoughts clouded his mind, revolving in an endless cycle.
His fingers twitched slightly, as if moving on some unknown impulse that took over his body.
The man raised the metal pole once more, ready to strike again.
Little Red Riding Hood raised his arms, as an attempt to block the attack. The blow was hard enough to break his bones, yet he felt no pain.
It was strange; he felt as if he was possessed, yet he was fully aware of what he was doing. There is no need to think, a voice in his head told him, just move according to your will.
His fingers clenched themselves on the handle of the old axe, eliciting gasps and growls from the villagers.
"Get him!" Somebody shouted; and in less than a blink of an eye, the villagers started their assault on the boy.
What happened next occurred like a blurred scene, at least to Little Red Riding Hood himself.
The old axe, supposedly heavy for a young boy like him, felt so light… so comfortable in his hands, as if he had been using it his entire life. The blade, though worn and dull, sliced effortlessly through flesh and bones.
Anyone would wonder: how could a mere boy muster so much strength?
Regardless of the reality of the situation, it was truly a frightening sight for anyone to see.
A young boy, staggering on his feet, his clothes and skin smeared with red… dripping with blood. In his hands held an old axe; if you look closely, you could see bits of flesh caught on the jagged blade.
Everything in the area, from the bark of the trees to the surfaces of the pebbles on the ground was dyed a most horrifying shade of red.
Red, the colour of blood spilled on the soil.
Red, the colour of his hair shining in the ghostly moonlight.
Red, the colour of hooded cloak Little Red Riding Hood wore, once a dull colour of ash-gray, was now stained with the blood of the villagers.
Gentle, kind Little Red Riding Hood, standing in the midst of the ghastly scene of corpses lying limp and crushed on the ground.
A cruel, bloodcurdling laugh ripped through the silent night.
A child, once sweet and loving, forced to become more evil than any adult.
Shortly after, the village was abandoned. Those who fled lived to tell the tale of the bloodshed that had occurred that night.
The story known as 'Little Red Riding Hood' was passed down from mouth to mouth, from traveller to traveller. Yet no one knows what actually happened to the boy.
Some say he was eaten by the wild animals. Some say that he had moved on to another village and was executed. Some say that he had escaped into the forest, never to be seen again.
If you happen to walk into that forest, do take caution. Many things unknown dwell in the dark forests. You never know what you might encounter there.
A wolf or two, perhaps, but maybe something even more deadlier that takes the form of human skin…