_Here is Chapter One. Little Red Riding Hood does not belong to me, etc. etc.
Do not stray from the road. There are horrible things off of the road. As long as you stay on it nothing can harm you. For you see, Rosy, priests and monks used to always travel that path and they blessed it as they walked granting all who walk on it safe passage. If you leave the road anything can get at you, wolves, spirits, and the most horrid creatures. They might kill you. So remember, walk on the road, go straight to your grandmother's house and deliver her the food and blankets, turn straight back, and do not look back. Come right home dear Rosaline.
She had heard those words so many times. They had been branded into her mind by her father. Sometimes she believed he was just being overprotective. Werewolves and spirits only existed in fairytales, Rosaline knew that. She had always listened to his words for he was her father, and she his daughter. Rosaline just wished with all her heart he would stop treating her like a child. She was sixteen now, she had travelled that path for as long as she could remember and never once did she see something in the woods that surrounded the path that looked dangerous. Yet still she listened.
Rosaline walked down the blessed path, her hands tightly gripping the basket holding the food she had to bring to her grandmother. Her blonde ringlets bounced as she walked and her green eyes scanned the surrounding woods. She had been travelling for awhile and highly suspected that any moment now she would arrive at grandmother's house. Surely enough as her feet carried her further down the road the quaint house that belonged to her grandmother came into view.
Her grandmother was an odd person. If Rosaline believed her father was superstitious her grandmother fit in a whole different category. She was a religious fanatic. Crosses were staked into the ground around her house and little piles of salt surrounded her yard. Some called her insane, and perhaps that was not far from the truth. All the same Rosaline loved her grandmother, quirks and all, even if she was paranoid to a large extent.
Speaking of grandmothers there she was, burning some odd assortment of flowers and waving them around, creating an odd pattern of smoke. She was muttering things under her breath which Rosaline assumed was a prayer.
She approached the wooden house and smiled at her grandmother, "Grandmother, I am back with some more bread that Papa made." The beautiful girl, the picture of her deceased mother, quietly explained.
Her grandmother stopped her ritual and looked up at the girl, "Rosaline, come here and pay respects to your Lord. You do not want to upset him! You might be damned forever just like your mother and aunt were. You don't want that. Quickly my dear, quickly, on your knees. Take of that wretched cloak, red is the color of pain, blood and war. That will only upset him. Quickly, girl, chop, chop, chop!"
Rosaline nodded, dropping down to her knees in the grass. She placed the basket down beside her, nudging it closer to her grandmother. She clasped her hands together and closed her eyes.
Dear God, why do I have to always catch my grandmother when she is worshipping you to the extreme? Why can't my father send me out at a different time? This is beginning to become routine. If you exist, do you think you could lend me a hand right here? Also I would like to say that my life is very dull. A little adventure would be nice once in awhile, don't you think? Thanks. Yours truly, Rosaline.
Rosaline opened up one eye, "Oh, yes, grandmother I cannot stay long today. Papa wants me home before nightfall and it already is getting late. It took me longer to g-."
"Hush, child! Can't you see I am in prayer?"
Rosaline sighed, "Yes, grandmother I know I just really need to leave." Rosaline insisted. She frowned when she got no response, "Well, goodbye grandmother. It was really nice to visit. Your food is in the basket as usual, we could not find any spare blankets to bring but Papa promised to have some made by tomorrow afternoon. I am leaving now, goodbye."
"Wait!" Her grandmother suddenly yelled, she stood up on rickety legs and hobbled over towards her, picking up a walking stick on the way. She reached into a pocket in the raggedy dress she wore and pulled out some salt. She dusted it on Rosaline's thin shoulders looking satisfied, "Good. Now you may go."
Rosaline forced an uneasy smile, the corners of her rosy lips turning upwards, "Um, yes, thank you grandmother. I love you, I will see you soon." Rosaline waved goodbye to her grandmother.
"Yes, yes, be careful my dear," Her grandmother cackled in reply, wobbling into her house and slamming the door shut behind her.
Rosaline blamed old age for her grandmother's rude behavior. She was not always that way, not until a month ago at least. Rosaline noted her grandmother forgot the basket so she picked it up and placed it outside the door. She heard her grandmother's voice from inside.
"What are you doing still here? I told you to get! Get, go one, leave and don't come back until your father sends you again!"
Rosaline winced at the words and collected her skirts, running off in the opposite direction back home. It was alright, she really did not mind being yelled at. She was used to it by now. Rosaline walked back onto the path, pulling her red hood up over her head.
As she walked she noted the sun's position in the sky. It was getting late, maybe if she walked quickly she would arrive back home before nightfall. The woods always seemed more looming and dark at night. Even if she did not believe in spirits, or wolves, or anything of that sort she did really hate the dark woods. The trees seemed to howl in the wind and rock, and the shadows were all over. Rosaline shivered at the thought. Not to mention how upset her father would be with her if she showed up home late. The poor man would probably faint!
Rosaline paused, her ears picking up a sound. It was coming from behind her. It almost sounded like something was… whimpering. Rosaline took a deep breath. Her father always told her to never turn around and to always, always keep on going.
But whoever, well whatever was behind her was clearly in pain. Rosaline felt guilt gnaw at her and finally she gave in. She slowly turned around. What she saw made her insides feel like mush. She felt sick.
In the woods, just outside of the path was a man. He was a gorgeous man, not much older hen Rosaline herself. He had dark, shaggy hair and beautiful honey colored eyes. But that was not the problem. The problem was he was bent over, quivering his hand on his side. And on his hand was something red and sticky.
Blood, Rosaline realized with growing horror. He was staring at her; his eyes seemed to plead for her to help him. They were filled with pain and hurt. Slowly his eyelids drooped and he stared at her through his eyelashes.
Rosaline warily walked up to him, out of the path, and to his side. He dropped down onto her knees beside him, "Oh My God," She murmured, slowly moving his hand off of the room. He looked at her, leaning into her arms for support. Rosaline took the ends of her red riding cloak, inherited from her mother, and pressed the cloth against his bleeding wound in hopes of stopping it. She did not want him to bleed out. She could not let this mysterious man die in a horrid place like this.
"Thank you," He said. His voice sounded raw and raspy, as if it had been overused, "I hope you can learn to forgive me one day."
Rosaline frowned, "What do you mean?" She asked her voice shaky. Perhaps he was not feeling well and spewing nonsense.
"You have done well, I admit I could not have done better myself," A voice came from somewhere behind Rosaline, "Although I really would have thought years of Joseph telling her to stay of the road would have made things more difficult. I suppose a pretty face was enough though. You may go now."
The man pulled himself away from Rosaline and disappeared into the woods. Rosaline's eyes widened at his speed. With a wound like that he should not have been able to move that quickly, if at all.
"Who are you?" She finally managed to ask, her eyes still staring deeper into the woods where the handsome man had disappeared.
Rosaline heard the woman behind her laugh, "Of course, I almost forgot you were only a baby when you last heard the sound of your mother's voice. You probably would not remember it.