Wednesday, December 24, 2014

running in the woods

Out in the wilderness, somewhere far from home, a lone figure runs through the trees. She knows how dangerous this is. A moment of inattention, a single misstep, a single lace of clouds blocking the moonlight: any of these things and so much less could be her undoing.

Her heart pounds heavy in her ears, but still she hears the creature coming. Cold air burns her lungs, but somehow a thin smile crosses her lips. Look closely.

Did you see it? Did you see that half second’s pause? Just there on the flat stone?

She dove forward just in time; the black shadow of a claw passed right through where her heart would have been. So far the beast has had nothing of her but tatters torn from her great red cape.

The jet blur that is the Wolf growls in silence and dashes madly, heedlessly ahead. He is mere feet from now her. One misstep and the creature can pounce. He can smell her hot blood through thin skin.

The moonlight dims, and her foot finds a gnarled and hateful root. She is cast down into the ditch. The beast leaps; the Wolf commits all his weight and rage and momentum into a single inalterable arc.

The Woodsman watches. He swings from behind the gnarled and hateful tree, leading with an axe. Cold grim iron, wrought from the will of civilization, rends the wild Wolf in twain.

The running woman in the Red Hood laughs with maniac glee. She lies in the leaves, a cruel iron dirk in her fist. Even had the Woodsman missed, Red Riding Hood still held ready the dagger’s kiss.

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