The Dark Path
She walked through the forest carrying her basket. Behind her she heard footsteps, so she hid amongst the trees as they got louder. On the path she saw a tall man carrying an axe. She stayed hidden waiting for him to pass by. Unexpectedly he stopped from just where she was watching. He turned in her direction.
“I saw you ahead of me. Don’t be afraid, I’m not here to harm you. There is a wolf in the forest.” the man said. Against her better judgement she walked back onto the path, and faced him.
“I have heard of the wolf,” she told him. “But I was told if I stayed to the path I should be fine.”
“I’m not sure the wolf knows those rules.” the man said. “What’s a young girl doing walking through the forest after dark?”
“I’m visiting my grandmother. She’s poorly at the moment, so I’m taking her some food.”
“What a good young granddaughter. Do you mind if I join you? At least I can offer some protection if the wolf picks up our scent.” the man offered. “My name is Johan by the way. I’m a woodcutter.”
“They call me Red.” the girl said.
“Is that why you wear a red cloak?” Johan asked.
“I like the colour red.”
The two of them walked down the path. Above the trees the sky was covered in bright stars as the moon hadn’t risen yet. They mostly walked in silence. The forest seemed unusually quiet around them.
“Why does your grandmother live out in forest?” Johan queried. Red shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t know really. She just likes it out here. She’s lived in her little cottage for years.” Red answered.
“Has she ever had any trouble with wolves?”
“No. She doesn’t venture out much and never at nighttime. At least not anymore.” Red replied. In the distance they could see a little cottage with light in the window. The moon began to rise.
“Well it seems we’ve arrived with no sign of the wolf.” Johan said as they walked up to the cottage. Red suddenly stopped and faced him.
“There was no trouble, because I am the wolf.” she said as she began to transform. The woodcutter screamed.
This is either my fifth or sixth version of the Red Riding Hood story…
©️2021 Joanne Fisher