Red Riding Hood retold in Stephen King’s manner

13 02 2012

Red Riding Hood clicked the start button of her Walkman as she followed her mother down the forest path. Of course she knew that it was quite rude not to listen, but who cares as long as mom will keep mumbling about what a piece of shit Red’s father was. Yeah, what a piece of shit is it all! Everything is!

Since Mr Hood has packed his things into his old shabby suitcase (the one he had with him when they were off on their honeymoon with mom, yes) and accompanied with shriek of his wife left and hit the door against the door frame so that Blue, Red’s little brother woke up upstairs and started his squealing; since that day mom seemed to be speaking about it only. How crappy her life used to be and how crappy the dad was and so on.

Oh, how I wish she would just shut up and let us enjoy the walk!

Still deep in her thoughts Red mumbled, “I’ll be back in a moment” – and stepped out of the path into the woods.

Bushes scratched her legs as if they wanted to hold her. Good that she put on long jeans. She’d have to be careful though in order not to tear them against these wild crazy plants. Mom would be furious.

What red wanted was actually to pee, and so she did, and then as every reasonable girl, she turned round and went in the direction she meant to be right for coming back to her mom.

Where am I? I should have found her by now! Damn.

A basket with a cake and a pot of butter seemed to be so heavy now. The forest suddenly became so thick and so impenetrable and so wile. There must be wild animals… How do they call them… carni.. carnivorous or something of the kind. Oh damn it damn it damn it! Where is my mom.

Daylight started to bleach, the air looked cloggy and murky and stiff, and Red kept walking in the direction she meant to be right, but there was still no trace of a path or her mother or any signs of human civilization. In addition to that slight fog that started drifting down to the earth in the morning now went up and swirled all around the girl. The fog covered bushes and trees and turned their silhouettes into grotesque monsters spreading their arms to embrace her, to cuddle her, to make her sleep and never wake up… Oh she was so tired! That is when she heard the voice. It was quiet and somehow both sinister and charming at the same time, it seemed to come out of nowhere and from any side she would look at.

“What are you doing here in this wood? Don’t you know little girls are prohibited to walk on their own without some proper company?”

“Who are you? I am not afraid of you! – shouted Red Riding Hood as loudly and as fearlessly as she could do. Her body shook with fear, but, whoever was this creature, it shouldn’t know how horrified she was. – And by the way, I am not little!”

“Aren’t you? – asked the voice rather ironically. – What do you have there in your basket?”

“Tha-that’s not your business!”

“Oh is it? That is how you speak to strangers!”

“Mom taught never to do so!”

“And you always do what your mother says?”

“No!”

Stop doing that. Stop talking to him! He is probably some perverse guy from those news-blocks when mom tells you to go away and not watch and then the whole neighbourhood discusses some girl from the school was found dead or even worse – raped.

Red did not actually know what this word meant – to rape, and when she asked her mother she was told she was still too young to worry about that rubbish. But obviously not too young to get lost in a forest and face some maniac now.

“Show me who you are and then I answer your question!” – She shouted, looking as fearlessly as she could.

And then he stepped out of the fog and darkness. His eyes were shining with cold ruthless, – hungry! – light and he had some fur and big teeth and enormously big paws and he seemed to be a kind of a wolf but bigger and with human face, so merciless human face.

“Who are you?” – The poor child asked.

“I am the Lord of the Lost” – he said and his eyes sparkled and his teeth were so big and so sharp.

And she knew he was what he said, and even more, she knew she already met him before. There and then, three years before as she was visiting her grandmother on Sunday as usually, with a butter pot and a cake as today and the grandmother was no longer there. She was, her body was, but she would never answer as Red called her name stepping over the threshold of the bedroom. In that bed she lay, no blood was there on her face or on the4 bed linen, but in her widely opened eyes stood that terror, that mystical horror of seeing something inhuman. And Red felt it as well, she felt the thickness of air in the room and this tickle somewhere down the spine as if somebody was watching her every move… Now they met. Game over. Now way to escape.

“Give me what you have there” – ordered the voice.

No! Not so easy! You have to resist! Big girls don’t give up so easily!!

Like in slow motion Red Riding Hood threw the basket in the direction where the Lord of the Lost stood, turned round and rushed away. Her heart was beating in a wild tempo now, and the whole body and soul were overwhelmed with prehistoric savage fear and instinct of survival. No one dares to take her life away! Not in that way! Not like this! Not now!

And she ran and ran and ran, and the bushes seemed to grab her with their wooden claws and pull her back to the wolf. She fell once but stood up right away and went on running. The moon disappeared from the sky and the sky disappeared too, the whole world turned into this solid ground under her shoes and the bushes and the fog and the fear…  And then she fell again, this time down the slope into the darkness and as she was rolling down, she though “This is how it always ends in horror movies”. A second after she hit her head against something very big, very cold and very solid and darkness took over her.

……..

The first thing Red saw when she opened her eyes was white ceiling. Then she smelled some mixture of herbs and spirits. Hospital! It was hospital! Back to people!

Red moved her hear and a light sigh escaped her bluish dry lips. Her mother and her father sat there at both sides of her bed. For the first time in many-many months they were not scolding. All they did was looking at her.

“Oh darling you’ve scared us! – Her mother said and her voice trembled. – We thought we would never find you again! But why, why on Earth did you leave the path?!”

“I fought the Lord of the Lost, – replied Red, staring at her father. – I fought him, really”.

We know, darling. You did it great! You are really such a big girl now!” – He answered.

Red Riding Hood closed her eyes. There were so many things to say, but she just had no energy to do it. Some inner feeling told her she would have many other opportunities later, and so she gasped and fell asleep.

The Lord of the Lost closed the door, took off the suit of Red’s father and turned back to the sleeping girl. His eyes glared with carnivorous fire.

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