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04 January 2012 @ 11:59 pm
Fairy Tale Fic: Blood Red  
Written for yuletide 2011
Crossposted to told_tales


Title: Blood Red
Tale: Little Red Riding Hood
Pairing/Characters: Red, Wolf
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Tale
Summary: She pauses at the edge of the woods, but only to check her weapons.
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at Yuletide/AO3.


She pauses at the edge of the woods, but only to check her weapons.

She allows herself a moment for a steadying breath - preparation for what's to come.

Gazing into the forest she recalls playing amongst the trees when she was still a young maiden.

Those days are not long past, yet she considers herself grown now. She has seen death, tasted terror and escaped mortal peril.

She is no longer a girl. Today, she is a hunter.

The quest for her prey begins now.

Clutching a lit torch in one hand and a sturdy dagger in the other, she sets out on the little used trail. In the old days merchants would traverse these woods, carrying their wares from town to town, only now the warring kingdoms make merchants scarce.

No man crosses her path; birds do not sing here anymore. All is quiet and empty, bereft of all save lengthening shadows as the sun falls from the sky, hurtling towards the distant horizon.

Nightfall will not stay her hand, she will draw blood tonight - she's sworn it so.

This is the path to her grandmother's house, at least it was until that monster ripped her to shreds and fed on her tender flesh. No amount of time can erase the image of those vacant eyes gazing at nothing, the white sheets stained blood red, the wolf's dripping jaws of death hovering over its bloody feast.

A shiver that comes not from the cold shakes her slender frame, but her step does not falter. She crosses tiny streams, no longer swelled by spring rains. She clambers over fallen tree trunks, careful not to set the forest alight.

At one point she stumbles on a loose rock and almost drops her torch. Only a nearby tree branch breaking her fall saves her. She takes a moment to calm her breathing after that. She cannot allow for distraction; it could mean her death.

Around the bend the cottage comes into view. She hears before she sees though. The howling chills her, reminds her of her foe's power and strength, its killing ways.

As she nears she goes to peek into the front window only to leap back as the wolf throws itself against the glass, snarling and gnashing its razor sharp teeth.

Fear floods her, making her stumble, heart racing so fast it feels as if it might burst from her heaving chest.

It was only a matter of time before he woke from his full belly stupor to realize he could not escape the tiny hovel where he'd made his last meal.

With trembling hands she checks the wooden beam set across the door, barring it closed. It bears cracks yet it has held despite how hastily she had put it in place when she last left. The wolf tried to escape and failed.

She knows her grandmother's body remains within those walls and tries not to grieve. There will be time later to weep over an empty grave, to remember one so beloved ripped away so cruelly.

The wolf throws himself against the windows again, making her jump and cry out in surprise. The window frames splinter slightly, but hold. She was right not to wait. If she is to end this, it must be now.

She places her torch carefully across two rocks to keep it going and sets about collecting tinder and brambles from the surrounding meadow. She places them near to the house, mostly under the windows and in front of the door.

She knows the wolf may well escape, but her blade is ready should that happen.

With a whispered prayer of forgiveness sent up to her grandmother's soul, she touches the torch to the tinder and stands back to watch the house catch fire.

The acrid smell makes her wrinkle her nose against the smoky air. Her eyes sting and water and she covets a drink from the well, coughing, but that must wait until the danger has passed.

She takes no joy in watching the wolf flail in the smoke and heat. She turns a deaf ear to his cries of pain. She merely braces herself for the inevitable confrontation, smoothing her skirt to soothe herself as she waits, her whole body tense as a bowstring.

When it happens she can't help but let a frightened scream escape her. The wolf, singed but still standing, breaks through the smoking shards of the once gaily painted front door and leaps free of the flames.

Her hand is already full from her apron pocket and she throws her hidden weapon into his path.

She begged the blacksmith for them, even agreed to let him court her in return for the most horrid and sharp metal burrs that his shop could provide.

The wolf bounds forward only to yelp in shock at the metal spikes driving into his paws. Stumbling to the ground, confused, he gnaws at the barbs, but they will not easily be removed.

This is her chance.

She rushes forward, the hood of her red cloak falling away from her face so the wolf will recognize her in her revenge.

She drives the dagger in deep, piercing its heart, spilling its blood. She watches it pool dark in the golden firelight, fighting back the roiling of her stomach at the nauseating stench of burned fur and rancid breath. It's eyes gaze up at her, already glazing over as death nears, and she twists the blade, ending the wolf's life for good.

Blood drips from her hands, stains her cloak as she stands and stares at the body of her enemy, shaking all over. The dagger slips from her hand and clatters onto a rock as she lets the shock of what she's done wash over her.

Thoughtless, she wipes her hands on her apron, marking the whiteness. Tearing it off she rushes to the well, fighting dry heaves of revulsion as she wipes her hands enough to raise the bucket and rinse away the last of the taint of the beast.

Darkness settles around her as she stares at the glow of a home turning to ash, waiting until the fire turns to embers before starting the long lonely trek back to her village.

The cottage can be rebuilt and someday she may be the lonely grandmother waiting for a sweet young maiden to come visit.

Only she'll have her dagger, her torch and her hunter's heart to protect her should another wolf dare to cross her door.

-------
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on January 10th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC)
Confession
This fic was written as a Yuletide treat for recipient Kassidy/kassidy62 as part of the 2011 Yuletide challenge. The request read "dark fic, horror, would be great." It wasn't much to go on, but somehow it piqued me and I really wanted to write a darker version of the tale in which Red wasn't quite so damsel in distress or doomed. Sorry, but Grandma had to go. ;-)

I've written fan fic versions of fairy tales before: Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood and the epic East of the Sun West of the Moon (all in the Numb3rs fandom and called the Winter Tales), but I never tried writing my own version of the tale before. I enjoyed it - being a lifelong fan of fairy tales, mythology and childrens stories - and hope to do it again in future Yuletides.

Very special thanks to Yuletide beta inforpenny for her assistance with this fic.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais
elinox: iwrite by enrianaelinox on January 10th, 2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed reading this rendition of the story, although I was sad to learn that the wolf was still the villain. Thanks for sharing it!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 10th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I might try my hand later at a less traditional take on it and make the Wolf and Red in cahoots or something. /imagines them running a scheme to get Grandma's prime real estate for a development project/ /grins/
Andreadizzydrea on January 12th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
I read this the other night, but I was simply too tired to comment at the time.

This was fantastic! I love the vivid imagery, the contrast between her red cape and the blood with the white snow and the white of her apron. And her courage, despite the fact that it was probably only hours ago that her grandmother was killed, it was a palpable thing.

So well done. I agree that revisiting this would be fun. Putting the wolf and Red in cahoots, or making the wolf a warefwolf...maybe she has to join forces with some of his kin because he's gone rogue...okay, let me go cage up the muse before she tries to give you any other ideas...

Lovely as always, Em!