Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

Inspired by the fairy tale of the same name

Written by Ethan Yen on 21 March 2009

She watched from the window of her room as the sun slowly settled behind the swiftly darkening tops of the trees. Each second that went by felt like an hour, she could not wait until the blissful darkness enveloped the sky. Anxious, she bit her lower lip – a nervous habit.

Her eyes stared at the sky, the sun was almost gone…almost, as if the light was taking its dear sweet time, as if it was too lazy to leave the sky. Finally, at the exact moment the purples, reds and dark reds faded behind the last trees in the horizon, she swiftly turned her self away from the window and gathered her belongings. Night was approaching, and she must use this precious time between sunset and the rise of the moon to make her move.

She needed very little; after all she would only be gone for the night. Her shoes and a cloak were all she needed before leaving. She grabbed her shoes and put them on quickly, only checking once to make sure they were tight enough to run in. Her cloak was not the best for traveling unnoticed – its bright whiteness would stand out greatly amongst the dark shadows of the night. Nevertheless, she liked that cloak, the white reminded her of pure snow from back up north. She swiftly put it on, pulling the hood over her dark hair. She looked outside at the sky, the first few stars were starting to appear; she must hurry if she planned to make it. She put her ear to the door of her room, making sure none of the maids, butlers or heaven forbid – her father – were awake and walking the hallways. If her father discovered her and her plans…it was best not to think of it.

Grabbing a length of rope she had stolen from the warehouse in the back, she tied it to her bed post and let it loose out the window. Without a second glance, she started climbing down. Once she settled down, she shivered, tonight was colder that she thought. Pulling her stark white cloak around her thin body, she started running as silently as possible toward the woods.

The village would be asleep by sundown. She couldn’t afford to be extra cautious; the stars were starting to show, it would not be long before the full moon would begin to rise. Running as softly as her shoes would allow, she passed by the village bakery, blacksmith’s forge, and the local tavern. She kept to the shadows, knowing that because of her white cloak, she could be easily spotted, but it was a risk she was willing to take, and ran as fast as her feet would allow. She had to reach the forest…before it was too late…she had to save him.

The old buildings flew past her line of sight, only blurs of grays, whites and browns. Time was the only thing on her mind, she must get there before the full moon reached its zenith. Her cloak flapped wildly behind her, the white seemed to glow as it reflected what little starlight in the night sky. She was a wraith, silently and quickly gliding.

But then she stopped.

She had reached the near outskirts of the village, with only a few cottages to pass before she would reach the clearing, and after the clearing, the dark forest. The house in front of her however, was not like the others, standing like sentinels that guarded the residents sleeping soundly inside. Oh, how those people slept, despite knowing what dangers were just beyond the first wall of trees. No, the house in front of her was abandoned. The broken door was left open, hanging awkwardly off only one of its hinges. The windows, now shattered were boarded up by nailed planks, and the thatched roof was all but caved in, allowing the starlight and moonlight in…

Moonlight…

She glanced up at the sky; the full moon was starting to rise. She gasped, torn between entering the wreaked cottage and pursuing her goal. Her mind would not let her rest, and she decided to head toward the forest. But just as her feet were about to leave the ground, just out of the corner of her eye, she caught a sparkle. She paused and turned toward the house, running in, trying to ignore the wreckage inside, the crunch of rotting wood, full of broken chairs, table, scattered pots and pans, and ripped up floorboards. Most of all, she tried to ignore the stench in the house, the smell that made her cold to the bone, the smell of blood. Her eyes quickly scanned the ground, trying to locate the sparkle she had just earlier saw. She must not waste too much time, he needed her.

A beam of light  through the torn roof reflected a small glint partially covered in the dirt and soil. She bent down and picked up something metallic. She held her breath as she realized what it was. In the palm of her hand was a four pointed star, made out of silver, and with rubies encrusted in it. The star was strung with a silver chain. She pocketed the amulet, the amulet which depicted her family’s crest, and ran out the door, heading toward the forest once again. This only reaffirmed her belief, she needed him, and it would not be long until she would no longer be able to do that.

She had reached the woods, she sighed a breath of relief. Almost there, judging by the position of the moon, she would make it, just in time. She ran faster and faster, her legs were screaming to her to stop, she would be sore in the morning, but what was this pain compared to what he was facing right now? As she ran her mind drifted back to the cottage…

It was a night not unlike the one right now; in fact, it was just three days before, and about a week after he left. The moon was already out, a full moon. On an errand from her mother, she was to bring a basket of bread and other assortments of pastries from the kitchens to a family friend. She was accompanied by one of the maids, a young girl just slightly older than herself. Together the two walked in the night – against her father’s wishes – and went to the home.

There, they knocked on the door and the family inside welcomed them in. The cottage was relatively new, just recently made, the table, chairs, and beds were recently bought and the pots still had their new shine, even the dust had not settled in the corners of the home.

They treated her like an honored guest, after all, it was not everyday the mayor’s daughter came to visit. The family was nice enough, a husband, a wife and their child, a little boy no older than three years. They seemed very happy and grateful to accept the gifts and in return, they gave her the stark white cloak she had now on her back. She accepted the gift humbly and they were just about to leave, when the disaster happened.

 

Further and further, deeper and deeper she ran, brushing the branches away from her. Still, some stray branches struck her face, her arms and legs, scratching her skin, drawing blood. She ignored the pain, she must press on…for his sake.

It was as if a shadow ran through the small house. First the door flew open, and a black shape flew in. It was all she could see, yet it was all that was needed to stop her from moving. Her mind could not wrap around what was happening. The maid screamed, the child began crying, the father began yelling. A series of growls and sounds of flesh being torn, and suddenly, the wife’s cries were silenced. The shadow moved swiftly, ending the voice of the husband and then next the maid. Their ends were so quick, she barely had time to comprehend their disappearance. All she felt was the splatter of something warm on her delicate face; it was not until later that she discovered it was blood.

 

Almost there. She risked a glance up through the high treetops, trying to make out the stars…and more importantly the moon. She could just barely see the eerie glow of the round disk, and she knew that she did not have much time; she perhaps would have two, maybe three minutes to talk to him, three minutes before he…

It was just her and the small boy. He was still crying, he dared not look at the mangled bodies of his parents, all the blood pooling on the ground. The furniture was wrecked, the windows shattered, everything was scattered. Finally her body allowed her to move. She turned slowly, shaking with fear, and she faced the blood-thirsty shadow.

To her amazement, it was no shadow at all, no monster, no dark demon…although, it could simply be hidden in a different shape. It was a wolf. About the size of a Great Dane, it had bristly dark grey fur and a long bushy tail. The nose of the wolf was smeared with blood. Against the moonlight it looked like a black silhouette, a specter. The wolf was staring at the boy, now whimpering. It looked at him and licked his lips, and took a step forward. She did not know what to do. Should she try to save the boy, or should she run? Before she made up her mind, the wolf growled, a low rumbling growl, and boy became quiet, staring with large scared eyes at the beast that he just ended his parents’ lives.

Then the wolf howled. It was not a howl to scare his prey, but a howl of agony, of pain. She winced; the suffering she heard in its voice was enough to make her run, if only her legs would allow her to. And finally, after what seemed like an hour, the wolf lowered his head, and turned toward her. Her breath stopped, and all she could do was return the stare.

Around the wolf’s neck was a metal chain. Her gaze followed the chain down to the object hanging from the end. It was a star, her star, the symbol of her family. She breathed in, trying to understand. Slowly, her eyes rose to meet the wolf’s afraid of what she would see.

The eyes. Those grey-speckled green eyes.

And she understood. What the wolf was, who the wolf was. And as she stared at the wolf’s face, she knew he understood. The eyes widened with sorrow, and bowed its – his – head down toward the grown, letting out a whine. She took a step forward, noticing out of the corner of her eye as the little boy had crawled away and hidden himself in the corner of the one-room cottage.

“W-w-what happened?” was all she could manage to say. Her voice trembled and she saw by his expression that he was hurt by how much she feared him. The wolf could not talk; it only bared its teeth, the blood smeared around his mouth. She felt tears coming down her cheeks and she fell down to the grown, crying, her head between her knees. The white cloak fell from her hands to the ground.

The wolf cocked his head, looking at her quietly, licking his teeth and the corners of his mouth. Finally, it padded softly toward her, she gasped as the fur made contact with her bare arms. But seeing that the wolf would not harm her, she held out her hand. She wrapped her fingers around the amulet, and then the grey fur, scratching softly.

“What happened to you?” She asked again, more to herself than to him. She knew he couldn’t answer. They sat together in the shadow of the house, with the wreckage all around them; she placed her face against the fur, feeling the warmth. So he was a wolf now, she did not understand fully, but she would get some answers. Suddenly, they were interrupted.

“Look, people coming.”

She looked up as the boy spoke, she had forgotten about the little boy in the corner. His fear of the wolf seemed slightly lessened, despite the blood pooling on the ground and soaking into the soil. He lifted his finger at the open door. She followed the finger to the direction he pointed to, and groaned.

In the distance, through darkness, she spotted lights. They were from torches, blazing red, and they were coming closer. She heard the roar of angry men and from the fire she saw the glints of pistols and pitchforks as well as the faces of the men, and among them, her father.

She looked back at the wolf, and the wreckage he created. This would not look good. The bodies of three villagers lying lifeless on the wrecked floor, they would not understand, not understand at all.

“You must get out of here,” She whispered to him, hoping he understood, she looked at him one last time, their eyes locking. She sniffed, what had happened? Grabbing the young boy and her white cloak, she walked out of the house, away from the wolf, to meet her father…her first mistake.

“Robyn?” Her father called, he was in the front of the group, holding a hunting rifle. “Are you alright? I knew it wasn’t safe for you to leave!” She ran up to her father and hugged him. She started crying.

“What’s wrong?” The mayor said softly, “We heard the screams and that demonic howl. What is going on? Where is the maid? Is that blood on your face?!” She couldn’t say anything. Too many questions, not enough answers. She sobbed harder, they wouldn’t understand, they were here to kill him. There was nothing she could do.

“The wolf,” The little boy said, now standing by one of the few ladies that had come out. Everyone turned to the child, his voice so quiet and innocent, “the wolf ate mommy and poppy.” The mob gasped, some dropped to their knees and began praying, others turned around to hide their disgust and growing sickness. She turned and looked at the men, their faces flashing with anger. Right now, she secretly wished she did not bring the boy out, they would not understand now, there was no chance.

“No,” she pleaded to her father, “That’s not it…” but her voice fell on deaf ears, angered by this monster terrorizing and killing citizens of their village, the men advanced toward the house, the points of their pitchforks and rifles aimed at the house. It was hopeless, she looked helplessly on, wishing that the wolf had left – he had left. But then, his voice echoed in her mind, and she knew that he had not run off.

“I will never leave you.”

There was a shout from the men, her mind returned to the events around her. Already, three men had walked into the house, one of them with a torch, and briefly, she saw the shadow of the wolf, sitting on his back legs, his intelligent eyes looking back and forth at the newcomers. It was so sudden; she had not time to anticipate it: two shots.

BANG! BANG!

The smoke of the gunpowder rose into the air. The first shot had hit the ceiling, knocking a hole in the thatched roof. The second hit its mark. The yowl of the wolf rose into the dark sky, hanging in the air, ringing in everyone’s ears. It was the howl of suffering, of pain.

“NO!” She screamed, trying to break free of her father’s strong arms. Finally the howl ended, and there was silence. No one moved, everyone was afraid to breath, afraid to disturb the eerie peace that had arrived so suddenly. The three men walked out of the house their eyes solemn, and the one with the rifle looked at the mayor – her father, and nodded. It was done.

She broke down, sobbing harder. This could not be happening. She had just been reunited with the one she loved, and just like that, he was gone. She did not even understand how he was changed, and already, he was dead…or so she thought.

And then there was a growl from inside the wrecked home. Everyone turned toward the sound. A shuffle of furniture and creaks on splintered floorboards could be heard. Movement.

Her heart skipped a beat. Could it be possible? Was he still alive? Her father had loosened his grip on her, and she broke free, starting to take a few steps forward. But one step was all she took before she stopped. The sounds inside the cottage was getting louder, the crunches seemed to echo throughout the night sky. Some of the men looked startled, and they all took an involuntary step back. She noticed a beam of moonlight flowing into the room from the hole in the ceiling.

Another low growl was heard, this time louder…angrier. She did not understand, how could he still be alive, after a shot at point blank range? No wolf could survive after that. She mentally kicked herself at that thought. Of course, he was no ordinary wolf!

And everyone would soon see the proof.

The cracking was immense. The roof caved in, not because of gravity, but as if something was pulling it in. The beast that emerged was huge. Standing about two grown men high, and perhaps four men wide, it arose from the top of the house, raising its back first. The fur was still there, longer that before. Next came his ears, he was still wolf, or at least partly, a wolf with a man’s body. The arms arose from the wreckage, those long muscular arms ending it five clawed fingers. The beast shook itself, freeing any wood that still clung to its fur; there was no visible wound where it was shot. It gave out another howl. But this time it was not a howl of agony, but of anger. It was louder than before, deeper, and she could sense more evil in his – its voice. She raised her head and looked at the beast, half man, half wolf. This was not him, this was a…

“Werewolf,” someone in the group whispered. It was true; the old legends of men cursed to take the form of wolves at night seemed to be all too unreal. But here, standing tall among these villagers was one such beast.

CRACK!

The fear was broken as a shot was fired; the werewolf flew back out of the cottage and into the field behind. Blood splattered and fell into the soil. She turned around; her father was standing with his rifle pointed at the beast, the smoke from the gunpowder rising from the tip.

            “What are you men waiting for?” He roared back at the mob, “Take that devil out!” he commanded, and took another shot, but this time it whizzed past the werewolf’s head. She could see the wound on the werewolf’s shoulder where her father had shot it, glittering like liquid silver among the moonlight. 

            She stood there in silence, staring at the beast before her, the one she thought was him. The crackling of rifle shots filled the air, the beast stumbled back, the shots seemed to make impact, but still, the werewolf stood. It shielded its face and lowered its head, till its eyes met hers. And she knew, it was still him, and he needed help. Those eyes communicated to her that he was in pain, in agony, and in that instant, she knew what she would have to do. She nodded slowly to him; it was ok for him to go.

            The beast took one more look at her, than turned around and bounded into the forest, much like a large ape, as the werewolf approached the forest, she could tell he was getting smaller, and soon, he was back to being a regular wolf, running swiftly into the thick of the woods. And just like that, the night was once again silent.

            She stood there for a few minutes, until she felt someone drape her white cloak around her.

            “Come sweetheart, it’s time to leave…”

 

            She had arrived to a clearing in the middle of the woods. Stopping for breath, she walked over to a nearby tree and leaned against the trunk. Her gaze went up to the sky and she breathed a sigh of relief. A group of stray clouds had blown in by the night wind, covering up the moon and darkening the sky. The only light she had was those of the stars, glittering like jewels in a sea of black. She looked around the clearing; it was covered in long grass, with a ring of trees surrounding it. She reached into her pocket and squeezed the amulet. She walked slowly toward the center of the clearing, drifting almost, like a ghost with her shining white cloak around her. It was an eerie scene. The only sound was the slight rustling of wind blowing through the leaves of the trees. She looked around in anticipation, now all she had to do was find him.

But of course, it was he who found her.

“You shouldn’t be out in the woods alone at night,” She swiveled around. The voice was low and gruff, nothing like the voice she remembered. It was a sick voice, one in pain.

“Where are you?” She called out, squinting into the darkness and shadows of the trees. But right after she asked the question, she saw a silhouette, outlined in the starry light, of a man. She held her breath, trying to prepare herself for what she was about to see. The figure stepped out into the star-lit night.

She gasped, he was so different. The first thing she noticed was his hair, matted and long, replacing his well-kept and combed hair. There was a short beard where he once was clean shaven. His clothes were ragged and dirty, instead of the normal royal attire. He was slightly more muscular. One thing had not changed, his eyes, those grey-speckled green eyes. Instead of conveying love and happiness, they were portals to an empty void of pain and anguish, but for a fraction of a second, she detected a slight light in his eyes, flickering – still struggling.

“Did you miss me?” He managed to say, giving a smile; she noticed his teeth were sharper. She did not say any words. Nothing could express her emotions right now. She pulled off the hood from her head and with tears running down her cheeks, she ran toward him. They embraced, for the first time in a long time, in silence. She took out her amulet and handed it back to him.

“Here,” she said, “You dropped it, I gave it to you to keep, now take good care of it.” He took the amulet silently and once again put it around his neck. Once the moment had passed, it was she who backed away.

“Where did you go?” She asked, looking him in the eyes. If she looked anywhere else, she would be reminded of who she was talking to…what he had become.

“Over the mountains,” he said, how she missed his voice, but she cringed as she heard the difference in tone, “It turns out the people in that village do not welcome nobility, in fact, they have an old woman – a witch, that runs their town – if you can call it that.” He explained. “We tried to negotiate, but they wouldn’t listen, they threw us out, and the old lady put a curse on me.” He did not need to explain what the curse was, she understood, some of it at least.

“Where are your parents? Your sister?” She asked, but immediately after those words left her lips, she knew what had happened to them, and she regretted asking. She turned away, afraid of the answer nevertheless. He looked at her with sad eyes, and attempted to make it as casual as possible.

“Nasty thing with the curse,” he said, looking up at her and trying to maintain eye contact, “You saw what happened to the family three days ago.”  She closed her eyes, but did nothing to close her ears, she secretly already knew, but she needed to have heard it anyway. “Is the boy alright? Where is he staying?” He asked calmly, he reached forward, reaching for her shoulder. But when he tried to make contact, she stepped further away. The action hurt him, and he retracted his hand slowly, but did not say anything. They stood in silence. She was still confused as to how to respond. This was the person she had been waiting to come back for a long time, her love, and yet, this was not the same person. How different was he? And was he dangerous?

“The boy is fine, he is staying with the baker and his wife” she said finally, her voice was slightly more distanced and cold than she wanted it to be, and she was so confused. How could she be talking to this…monster? Had she not seen him tear apart three people in mere minutes? And yet, here she was, conversing with this…beast, the same beast her father had so diligently tried to destroy.

“You look beautiful in that cloak,” he said softly, almost apologetically. She turned around once again and looked into his eyes, they were human, not feral, what could she have been thinking before? In front of her was the man she feel in love with, there was no other way of explaining it. She looked at her family’s crest around his neck, he may be a werewolf, but he was still human. She gave him a smile, a genuine smile, with a little sadness as well.

“As do you,” she replied. His face dropped into a frown, he thought she was just being kind. This time, it was he who took a step back from her.

“You wouldn’t say that if you saw who I truly am.” He said with a tint of anger in his voice, “What I’ve become.”

“No,” she said immediately, trying to be as firm as possible, “This is who you are.” It wasn’t a very convincing argument, but she felt she needed to say it.

“You may be right,” he relented, “But that doesn’t mean I didn’t do those things you saw, I am a monster, even if you don’t think so, others do.” He looked up at the sky, she followed his gaze. The clouds were beginning to leave from their spot above the moon. The light was beginning to shine through. “It’s time you took a good look at what that curse did to me.” He looked up at the sky, and closed his eyes as a beam of moonlight fell down from the sky directly onto him, like a spotlight.

She wanted to close her eyes, but he stopped her, “You have to see,” he said again. The transformation seemed painful as he fell to his knees with the long grass around him. Even with his body scrunched over, she saw his size growing, his skin growing fur and covering his arms and legs, his face elongating into a snout, his hair running from his head down to his back and finally sprouting a tail. His fingernails grew claws as well as his feet, it was a horrendous sight, wherever the moonlight touched his body, the transformation would start. It was like a twisted flower unfurling, revealing its internal colors.

When it was over, she did not move, she simply watched as the beast rose up from its kneeling position standing almost three times her height. It looked down at her and their eyes met. He was still in there, somewhere.

“Can you…understand me?” She said, calling up to the beast. She wasn’t sure if he could still speak in this form, he seemed so wild, so menacing. A single twitch of one of his arms could shatter a tree trunk. Her eyes went to the amulet around his chest, still there, amazingly, the symbol of their love.

“I can.” He grumbled, it was a feral and deep voice. It was a magical voice. His jaw opened but his tongue did not move, sound simply emerged. It was an eerie sight, but it only reminded her of how much he suffered.

“You…don’t look so bad.” She said meekly, feigning a smile, trying to bring humor into this grave scene. He growled, and turned toward the moon.

“The nights are a curse, each full moon I am forced to take this form,” He said. “Look at me! I am a beast, a demon, your father said so himself.”

“He knows nothing, he does not know you.” She said defiantly.

“Not everyone knows me. Look how big my arms are! They could crush you!” His voice exclaimed, but all that opened was his mouth. It was like he was trapped in something’s body. His voice echoed whenever he spoke.

“All the better to hug with,” She said.

“And my legs, I could stomp on a child without a second thought.”

“All the better to run with,”

“And my ears, would you love a man with wolf’s face?”

“All the better to hear with,”

“And my –“

“And your eyes,” she cut him off, “All the better to see me with,” She said softly, “You are not a monster just because you look the part.”

He was at a loss for words. He could not convince her otherwise. He thought he would give one more try.

“And my teeth? What good will these do me?” He bared them as he spoke, the shining white fangs, the wolf’s personal choice for delivering the killing blow. She searched for an answer, but nothing would come up. She was about to speak, her mouth opening, when another voice was heard.

“All the better to eat the flesh of human innocents,” The werewolf and she turned to the newcomer. It was her father. Alone. He had his hunting rifle pointed at the him; he was hiding in the shadows of the trees but stepped forward into the light of the clearing.

“No one is innocent,” The beast growled, baring his fangs once again, crouching toward the man.

“Oh? What about that family you killed three nights ago?” The mayor spat, keeping his gun point at the werewolf and his finger on the trigger.

“I did not kill the boy.” By now both her father and the werewolf had forgotten about her, standing there between the two of them. It was a standoff of wills, and the one who lost would lose his life.

“You know what I must do.” Her father finally spoke.

“Yes,” He replied, still staring at him, “It is the only way.”

“I am sorry Gryth.”

She blinked in surprise, slightly startled and taken aback.

“You knew?” She exclaimed, turning on her father, “You knew who he was? And still you shot him?!” her voice was getting louder, filled with anger. Her father clearly was not expecting this reaction, for he momentarily dropped his rifle.

“Only after that night,” He answered, “When Anders went in to shoot the wolf, he later told me of the amulet around the beast’s neck, I knew right then who it was. And what you are, werewolf.” He said the last word with disgust and slight sorrow on his lips. “I do not know what happened to you, but for the sake of my people, and as my duty as the mayor of this village, I must end this threat. I am sorry.” He raised his rifle once again and cocked it. The beast crouched lower prepared to strike, his eyes narrow slits, focusing on his soon to be prey.

“You cannot kill me with that thing,” He said, flexing his clawed fingers.

“Yes I can,” He shot back, “I have done some investigating, the only thing to draw out your blood and prevent your wounds from healing is silver.” The werewolf seemed surprised at this, his eyes growing wide. He was in danger now. “And thanks to the work of our smith, and at the sacrifice of our family’s silverware, I now have enough ammunition to end you.” The beast took a step back. The mayor took aim and was just about to pull the trigger…

…When she stepped in front of his view.

“Robyn, get out of the way,” her father said, his voice growing stern, “You do not know what you are doing.

“No!” She exclaimed, “You do not know what you are doing! He is still human! We can help him!”

“It doesn’t matter!” the mayor said, “he has enough strength too kill our entire village, and each night he grows more uncontrollable, he knows this as well.” She turned around and looked up at him.

“Is this true?” she said softly, hoping in all her heart that her father was lying. He looked down to meet her gaze, the eyes were so human, and yet, so far away. It then occurred to her that by her standing in front of him, it was not stopping her father from shooting, the werewolf still had uncovered space around two times taller that what she was right now. “It is true, I am glad that you came searching for me this night, but your father is right, it must be done.” She started to tear up, she tried to ignore the tears, but her vision became blurry. The combined voices of her father and her lover whispered into her ears.

“I am sorry.”

CRACK.

It was done. The shot flew straight into the werewolf’s heart. The blood splattered over her, but she was protected under the white of her cloak. The wolf fell backwards from the blow and landed with a thud. She ran back toward where the body lay; she knelt next to the wound, which was still flowing, silvery in the moonlight. She took off her white cloak and attempted to cover the wound over his heart. It had no effect as the silvery substance soaked into her cloak, only collecting the free flowing blood.

Then she felt a slight movement. She looked up and moved over to his face, trying to make out what he was trying to say. He had not much time to left to live.

“Here,” He said meekly, the werewolf’s arm reached over to the now silver cloak over his heart wound and attempted to hand it to her, “My gift to you,” he said, his voice growing softer.

“No….no…” she cried, “Don’t leave me…” she whispered, and she laid her head upon the fur of his upper chest. The werewolf gave out his last breath, with his dying words carried in the wind.

“I will never leave you…”

And then he died. She laid there for the entire night, weeping into the fur of his now limp body. Her father came up to her and tried to take her home, but she would not budge, so he walked over to a nearby set of trees and laid there and fell asleep. She however, cried into the late night until she finally drifted away into sleep.

The next morning, she awoke; she was still in the forest clearing, next to his now human body, and in his hands, a red cloak.

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