Cerise Hood had finally returned home, the only place she could unveil herself without fear, without judgment, without the threat of destiny looming over her. Destiny was always an enemy, a shadowed force lurking in her curtains, or behind her woods. She was the wolf…but every day she felt like the victim.
What was it the royals called Raven, and her friends as they sailed away to the Legacy Day party, the "Rebels"? Cerise couldn't help but smile when she thought of that word. That thing she always was, but could never admit.
For everyone who moved against the pages of their story. For everyone who defied their Once Upon a Time for a new tale. Her very self was a rebellion, wolf ears under a red hood, a wolf's heart shrouded in red silk, a contradiction within itself.
A rebellion from before the rebellion began.
As a little girl, Cerise was tucked in by her mother and father. They closed the curtains to her room (shooing away the idea of destiny). They sat beside her, her mother's hand on Cerise's shoulder, and her father's eyes flipping through an old storybook.
"Which one do you want to hear tonight, sweetheart?" He would ask, his eyes warm like his beard.
Cerise took the book, and gently closed it. "The story I want isn't in here." Cerise would say, looking to her mother and father. They looked to each other. Cerise's favorite story; The one that defied all regulations, the one that had been kept in the shadows of her hood and cloak, the one that she thought of when day stole away the stars, and she once more had to hide from the light.
Cerise walked into her home, not hearing a sound. Her mother and father must have been gone. Perhaps they went shopping for some Welcome Home Party. It didn't matter. Cerise walked into her old room and gazed at the same curtains she had played with as a girl. They were as green as the leaves she played in.
"Once upon a time," her father began, his voice dusky and dark, "A young woman fell in love with a young man. They spent every day together, in the courtyard, running through the woods, laying beneath the secrecy of the trees. They had convinced that their feelings, as strong as they were, would supersede their destinies. For you see, the two lovers were star crossed, fated to be enemies for all their lives. The young man was fated to eat the one he loved, and the young woman was fated to see her only love die at the hands of her rescuer." Cerise loved the sound of her father's voice. She loved how her mother's skin smelled of wheat at night, but most of all, she loved the feeling of those two together.
"So, the young man and woman were forced to sign their destinies away, for the betterment of themselves and their families…but not before making their promise."
Cerise pulled her knees close to her chest…this was her favorite part, the part that kept the threat of destiny far away from her dreams.
"Their promise that no matter what would happen, they would be together…any way they could."
And so, their day of destiny came, the young man grew up to be the monster that lurked in the forest, and the young woman grew into a beauty, her face cloaked in a red hood that hid her smile. The monster and the beauty smiled, thoughts of their stolen love dancing in their eyes. The maiden went to her grandmother's house, the monster followed. With a heavy heart he devoured his love, and with bitter eyes, the maiden was cut from her love's stomach, and the two ran off together. To a place where no one would force them to relive such a cruel story, where no one would dare follow them. A place where they could be forever together.
And they did. In their own way they fought destiny. The forged their own story and found a way to be with one another.
Nothing was set in stone. Not for them, not for her, not for anyone…not anymore. She sat down at the table. She looked to the fields where she and Carmine played. She looked out her window to the open parries where her father taught her to howl. She looked to the fireplace, where her mother knitted Cerise's first red cloak.
A red hood and a howl…a contradiction in itself, a rebellion since the beginning.
The door knob turned, and there stood her mother and her father. Their eyes wide and expectant, cold and distant, painful and saddened. Her father looked as if he wanted to sink into the woodwork. They knew of her frustration. They knew of her doubt…but now, they would know of her triumph. Of their triumph.
The rebellion before the rebellion.
Cerise smiled. "I have something amazing to tell you."