I am taking up Sleepy Joe’s challenge and re-writing the Little Red Riding Hood story. I’ll be posting it in pieces every day and wrapping up on Friday, so it’s done in four parts. Here’s where it begins:
|link to original here|
Kalila Allred and the Wolf (Part One)
Kalila sat away from the log she’d been resting against and glanced over the small campfire, listening to the dark woods. In one swift move she pulled her thick blanket closer and lifted a veil across her face, the beads and coins embroidered onto the delicate material tinking soft. Slowly, she reached for the hand-bow she’d left nocked, and waited.
She heard another crack of twig, and then there were two big blue eyes reflecting the glow of the flame. Something wild watched her from the night.
“Ash?” Kalila said, squinting into the dim. “Is that you? Damn it, if…”
A bloody mass hurtled toward her and she yelped as she rolled away. The deer haunch landed where she’d been sitting and a black wolf sauntered into the small clearing. His head was big, his shoulders thick, and his legs were long and powerful.
“Not funny,” she relaxed the string in her bow, but not her grip on her blanket. The wolf huffed as if to disagree.
“Nearly a decade traveling together should’ve taught you by now that I don’t like that trick.” Kalila grimaced at the way he nosed the raw flesh. “So thanks for the offer, but I’ve already had my dinner and unless you want it to come up again, I suggest you finish that over there.”
If wolves could smile, it would’ve been a mischievous grin Ashur flashed Kalila then. He picked up the carcass and shook his head with a playful growl.
“Ulgh,” she pointed to the shadows. “That’s really going to make me sick. Go.”
Padding softly to the edge of the clearing, the wolf laid down to gnaw on the leg. He must have found a pack to hunt with. Ashur never had a problem finding food, but he didn’t usually pull down a whole deer by himself. Their party of two was always on the move, so they had neither the time or means to carry meat with them.
Not that they needed to. Both Kalila and Ashur were experienced hunters. Ten years tracking a dark witch would do that.
Kalila pulled her extra skirt and some string out of a leather travel bag. While embroidering over a hole and occasionally poking the fire to keep it burning, she sang softly about the gentler times of their youth. The garden city in the desert. The high-arching palace. The colorful mosaics, splashing fountains, and lazy wandering peacocks.
Finally only the embers were left, which wasn’t enough light to do anything by, so Kalila folded up her work and put it away. She stirred the coals to eke out their last bit of heat, then wrapped her blanket closer against the encroaching chill of nighttime.
“We reach the town tomorrow. I was thinking I would just go in and ask around…”
Ashur’s head snapped up, his ears pushed erect.
“Or not. We’ll go together.” The coins on her veil clinked as she shook her head and she was grateful her blush was hidden. Even now, after all this time. The wolf went back to cleaning himself. “But I think we would get a lot less attention if I went in alone.”
Ashur pushed himself up and moved towards Kalila. She was sitting with her knees pulled to her chest, arms wrapped around her legs to keep warm. He nosed her hand and she chuckled, scratching between his shoulders and stroking his thick black fur. He licked her once behind the ear, pressed her gently down to her side, then stretched out long against her back. Laying his head behind hers, he nuzzled into her neck. His breath was balmy, and she smiled.
She was almost asleep when, without realizing it, Kalila whispered, “Good night, my prince.”
And the wolf, who was still human enough to recognize her underlying tone, sighed.
Click here to find out what happens next.