Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Victoria Schwab - Witches
The wolf stood on the road that ran through the woods, and watched the slice of red between the trees.
The red thing was small and pretty as a flower before it’s plucked, petals all tucked close.
The wolf watched and wondered if he should eat it. A sound like a falling stone fell some ways behind him, and the wolf glanced back with yellow eyes narrowed, and teeth bared. But the path was empty. He turned back toward his dinner, and jumped. Eyes the color of dusk hovered inches from his snout, just above a very wide smile, and just below a very red hood.
“Hello,” she said. “Do you want to play a game?”
The wolf wrinkled his nose and his whiskered tickled her cheek. She laughed, and the sound was like sunshine and rain and something sweet. The sweetness made him dizzy. And before he could open his mouth to speak or to eat her, the red thing, which appeared to be a little girl, kissed the wolf on the muzzle.
“Run,” she whispered, and before the word was out, the wind lifted, rustling the canopies and making the forest light dance, and the girl was gone.
All that was left on the path was a small red flower. The wolf lifted it—the petals had the same sweet smell—and he smiled with a mouth full of very sharp teeth.
Silly girl, thought the wolf. He would run, of course, but not away. The wolf cast away the blossom and off he went, following the far-off laugh and the scent of sugar and rain and light.
The path ended at a house. Smoked drifted up from the chimney, and though the door was closed, the windows were all thrown open. The wolf climbed through, and knew that this house belonged to the little red thing. A small pot simmered on the stove, a basket sat on the table beside an ax. There in the corner was a small bed, and in the bed was a body, its back turned to the room. The blankets seemed to rise and fall with quiet breathing, the shape no bigger than a child. The wolf’s smile spread.
Silly, silly girl, he growled to himself even as he flexed, and lunged. The moment he hit the bed, the body sprang up, but he pinned it down and flashed his teeth into a wide smile. The smile twisted in confusion, and then panic. The body had no face. It was less a body than a tangle of sheets, and those sheets now snaked around the wolf. In the yard the wolf heard humming. By the time the little red thing came in, the sheets had pinned the wolf to the bed, good and tight. He muttered curses at the girl through a muzzle of linen and wool.
“Silly wolf,” she giggled. “I told you to run.” Then the girl slid back the hood, and the wolf’s eyes widened as he saw the crown of shadow that marked her for what she was.
“A witch,” he growled, writhing on the bed. The sheets only tightened, enchanted.
“All the better…” she said to herself. Her arm drifted up and the whole house seemed to heave the ax from the table into her hand.
“Let’s play again.”
Her dark eyes glistened and she flashed a smile, one that seemed to eat up her entire face.
And then she brought the axe down on the bed.
* * *
Did you know...
-That some of the original versions of the story now known as Little Red Riding Hood involved witchcraft? Specifically the grandmother as a witch. So in case you're thinking, "Gawwwd, Victoria, why would you twist this fairy tale to Witches week? How lazy are you?" I just want to say that it DOES have ties to witchcraft.
-That yes, I write books about witches, or A book about witches, and those witches are not at all like this witch, though both kinds of witches have fairy-tale-esque origins.
-That I LOVE fairy tales, and simply couldn't get through this series without playing with ONE.
-That I wrote this story between 12:13am and 12:41am. Just saying. Be gentle.