• Story 1
    This first tale is one that will seem very familiar to you. The original author is unknown, as this story was told many a time ago. Just to be certain, all is not as it seems, so don’t think you know how it ends.
    There once was a young girl who lived in a town surrounded by forest, with red hair that swept down to her shoulders. This girl loved to spend time with her grandmother, who lived in the forest beyond the girl’s town. The two would spend every afternoon sewing and telling each other stories. The girl would talk of the newest gossip of the town, the grandmother, stories of what truly lurked in the forest.
    “The most dangerous of these creatures, my child,“ she warned, “are the ones that seem harmless. Those are the ones you must always look out for.” As she said this, she pulled out the last stitch to her newest creation.
    It was a cloak made of soft red fabric, a hood hanging delicately off the back. The piece of clothing would be useful, as autumn was drawing near (the time when the girl would visit less) and the weather would soon get colder. The grandmother handed it over to her granddaughter, who wore it no matter where she went. All the townsfolk soon began to call her ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.
    Sometime in the winter, when the snow began to fall, Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother got very, very ill. Both the girl and her parents began to worry as the old woman stopped coming to town. She never even called for Red Riding Hood, which was perhaps what baffled the townspeople, the most. It was decided by the girl’s mother that something had to be done.
    Her mother packed a basket of food, and home remedies saying, “Alright, Little Red. Go into the forest and give this basket to your grandma. Be careful and stay on the path. Wolves run around in those woods at this time of the year.” Red nodded, taking the small package as she pulled up her hood.
    The town itself was very empty, as everyone was inside to avoid the cold weather. A soft crunching noise of the snow under her shoes was the only sound Little Red Riding Hood heard. That was until the wind began to whistle through the trees, creating a moaning and groaning noise. As she walked deeper into the forest the trees became more gnarled and, although it was the same path she had taken hundreds of times before, everything seemed bleak.
    What she didn’t know was that she was being watched. A dark figure followed without a sound, wondering where the girl was going. It wasn’t until a twig snapped underneath his feet that the girl turned around, letting out a small shriek. A monster like from her grandmother’s story was in the forest with her!
    “W-who’s there?” she called out, her hands shaking the basket.
    A silky voice called back, “Just me.”
    “Who’s me?”
    Little Red looked around her, trying to find the where the voice was coming from, “Where are you, Henry?”
    “Right here.” Came the voice behind her. The girl quickly turned around to see, not a monster like she imagined, but a young man. He was very tall, but didn’t look much older than her. His bushy hair was pulled back in a small ponytail, his eyes a steely blue.
    Henry leaned towards her, “Hello, there, Red.” White teeth curled up into a grin and his eyes gained a hint of playfulness.
    “H-how d-did you know my n-name?” She stuttered. Henry grinned wider. He reached out his hand and pinched her red cloak.
    “Oh.” The girl blushed, then remembered something, “Wait, I’m not supposed to talk to strangers…”
    “But that’s the funny thing about it. I know your name and you know mine; therefore, we’re not strangers.” The man said. Red Riding Hood opened her mouth, but closed it again. She couldn’t argue with that logic.
    Henry spoke again, “So, Red, where you going with that basket?”
    “To my grandma’s house.” She answered, “She’s sick and I’m bringing her some things.” Holding up the basket, he could see a bottle of medicine sticking out.
    “Good thing you’re on the path. Wolves love to stalk little girls who walk in the creepy old woods alone.” Even as he said that, Red Riding Hood felt uncomfortable.
    She looked at him with curiosity, “What would you know about wolves, sir?”
    “A lot considering I am one.” He was now grinning ear to ear, showing off his fangs. A low growl came from deep in his throat. His nails seemed to grow sharper and his hair shaggier.
    Little Red Riding Hood bolted off into a run before she could see what happened next. She ran in the direction of her grandmother’s house, tripping a few times on the way. By the time she stopped to take a breath against a tree, her knees were bleeding and the cloak was ripped at the very bottom.
    A chopping noise snapped through the air and the girl looked to see a woodsman taking down a few trees. He took no notice of her, even as she stepped out into the open, checking for the wolf. The girl noticed that in her haste to get away, she had run off the path. She just felt lucky that it was a woodsman and not ‘Henry’ she had found.
    Red Riding Hood called out to him, “Hello? Sir?” The man, who now she noticed was a very large, muscular man, looked up from his wood. His eyes locked unto her, the familiar uncomfortable feeling scraping up her spine.
    “Yes, little one,” he asked, his tone lighter than his expression, “Are you alright?”
    Her voice shook, although she didn’t know why, “Well, I’m fine now. Earlier, I met a wolf while on the way to my grandma’s house.”
    “Oh! How horrible!” The woodsman cried, “Hmmm. Did you tell him where you were going?”
    “Yes, I did. Why?”
    “Your grandmother could be in great danger! He could be at her house right now!” The older man grabbed up his axe as the girl shrieked in terror.
    Red Riding Hood squeaked, “You’re right… What do I do? My grandma could be dead and it’s all my fault!” At this she sat down and began to cry, not knowing what to do.
    The woodsman looked down in contemplation, “I will help you, little one. I will go to your grandmother’s house and I will make sure she’s safe.”
    “Really? You would do that?” she asked, wiping tears from her eyes.
    He smiled at her, “Of course. Stay here for a little while and I will call for you when I am finished. By then she should be protected and the wolf should be gone.” Little Red Riding Hood nodded as the woodsman went off into the woods towards her grandmother’s house.
    Eventually the girl found a tree stump to sit on. She worried back and forth over her grandmother and the woodsman. What if he couldn’t stop the wolf? What if they were both eaten? The questions popped into her mind and she wondered what was happening.
    To her, it felt as though hours passed sitting on that stump, worrying about the situation. Nothing happened even as the snow began to fall a little harder. The temperature dropped and the girl began to shiver with only her cloak as extra clothing. In her mind, enough time had lapsed for the woodsman to check her grandmother. Which could only mean that something went very, very wrong.
    So with this Red Riding Hood began to run towards her grandmother’s house with breakneck speed. She quickened her pace as a scream cut through the silence of the snow. When she reached the house, a horrifying sight lay in front of her. The basket dropped from her hand, as they shook uncontrollably. Blood was smeared on the door that was also busted in.
    As she walked closer, Red Riding Hood could see the hack marks from an axe strewn in the doorway and floor of the small cottage. A tied-up figure squirmed around in the corner, the only person in the house at that moment, wheezing uncontrollably. Knowing automatically who the figure was, the girl ran to untie her grandmother. The ropes holding her cut deeply into her wrists and dirty cloth was shoved into her mouth to keep her silent. Somehow, the girl was able to take off the ropes; but just as she was about to pull out the mouthpiece, the woodsman crashed back into the house, a wolf tearing at him.
    Little Red Riding Hood grabbed what was closest to her that happened to be a sewing kit. The box felt heavy in her hands as she brought it down on the wolf’s head, knocking it unconscious. The woodsman kicked it off brutally and grabbed the girl so roughly that his nails dug into her skin. A tiny yelp sounded throughout the room.
    “What are you doing?!” Red Riding Hood yelled at the woodsman. Instead of a reply, the man pulled her closer to him. A roar escaped from his throat as he picked up his axe with one hand. He held it up above his head and began to swing down upon the girl known as Little Red Riding Hood.
    But, just as the sharp metal was about to cut into her, the woodsman stopped in his tracks. His face paled as he slowly fell over on his back. Behind him was Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, the large sewing kit in her hands. By her feet was the wolf from before, now awake but calm. His blue eyes stared up at both of the women intently.
    The girl stuttered, confused, “I don’t understand… The wolf is supposed to be the bad guy. Not the woodsman.”
    “Didn’t I tell you before, my child,” Her grandmother mused, “The most dangerous of creatures are the ones that seem harmless.” With this, the wolf’s spine cracked and shifted. His fur lessened and soon his appearances became human. In front of them both sat Henry.
    He grinned at Red Riding Hood, “Your grandma told me to look out for you in case you came. Perhaps I came on a little too strong; but you should’ve listened to your own advice about not talking to strangers.” His smile was no longer frightening, but contagious to the girl.
    “My, what big teeth you have!” She laughed back.
    “The better to grin at you with my dear.”