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Well, here I am; laying face-first in a pile of oak twigs somewhere in the Black Forest. I sense pain in both of my legs, my fur coat is damp with sweat and blood, and I’m no doctor, but I doubt that my arm is supposed to be bent like a Frenchman’s pretzel. Even though the night has passed, and that morning has arrived, I still feel the murky, bloodcurdling presence of it. How could I have let myself get into this situation? Top of my class, strongest wolf in all of Everafter, well-known citizen; I should’ve been able to predict what was going to ensue. If only my conscious wasn’t so earsplitting, maybe I would’ve just been able to let it be, maybe I could’ve avoided being hoodwinked, and maybe none of this would’ve ever happened…
(23 Hours Ago)
“Wake up, Wolf,” my annoying little brother yapped, “you have to get the goodies from the store.” For almost a week now, my little brother, Pup, has pestered me every morning to run to Puckett’s Bakery, which is only a few acres away, to purchase him his treats. I lazily slugged out of bed and made my way to the door. “Don’t forget the thin mints!” Pup added as I trudged out the door.
Here are some things that you need to know about me. My name is Wolfbane Badson Beegs; however my friends call me the “Big Bad Wolf”, or Wolf, for short. When I was about five, a phenomenon terrorized Everafter, the magical, and at times mysterious, land where we all live, that is referred to by natives as Death’s Storm. For three long days, sinister, purple storm clouds threatened everything in a 100 acre radius with powerful lightning bolts and thunder that screeched with the sounds of pain and suffering. My parents felt as if it was their duty to find the source of the storm, and to stop it.
“We’ll be right back, Wolf,” I remember my mother whispering into my ear as she and my father prepared for the worst. “Take care of Pup until we return… we’ll be right back.” However, that promise was broken. My parents never came back, never were found, and never were heard of again. Since that day, it’s just been me and my brother.
After all we’ve been through, how could I say no to his very simple snack request? It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to get to Puckett’s Bakery, depending on the weather. However, today as I passed the large oak tree, a marker that I deviated from experience to be the “halfway” point between my house and the bakery, I noticed a miniature girl sporting a maroon riding hood that cascaded down her shoulders sobbing while she rested, loafed on top of a tree stump.
“Are you all right?” I interrogated the stranger.
“Y-yes; I’m fine.” she stuttered, gradually draining her tear ducts until nothing was left. I reached into my pocket and gave the hooded girl the discovered tissue. “T-thank you,” she complimented, responding to the gesture.
Trying to lift my new acquaintance’s spirits, I attempted to get her mind off of whatever was bothering her.
“So, what’s your name?” I inquired.
“I…it’s been so long…can’t r-remember…” the child responded with a look of amnesia on her face. A feeling of fear and what looked almost like pain quickly rushed over her face, as if something possessed her body. “My name is Red.” She blurted.
“Nice name, is that short for something, like maybe Rebecca?” I add.
“It’s j-just Red.” She answered.
“Oh…well, nice to meet you, Red. I’m Wolf.” I explained.
“Wolf…could that possibly be short for Wolfbane?” Red asked? Completely baffled by her accurate assumption, I responded.
“Y-yeah, how did you know that? I asked.
“Lucky guess,” Red responded. Wait a second…did I just see a smile-the faintest of smiles- escape her rosy lips? It seemed to be as if Red was almost…happy to hear my full name. I….it must just be my imagination. “To be completely honest, I came here looking for someone who might be able to help me. You see, my grandmother, who lives very deep in the Black Forest, has fallen ill. I need to bring her medicine, but I can’t generate enough courage to complete my mission. If Granny doesn’t get her remedy…then…” Red explained, not needing to finish her grim sentence.
“I guess I could help,” I responded. I doubt that a nanosecond passed before I realized that I was being suffocated by a small, enthusiastic girl with a talent for bear hugs. Before I knew it, I was being dragged into the forest of legend.
Never in my life did I expect that I would be walking through an uncharted area with a little girl in a cherry bonnet looking for her sick grandmother’s house, nor expect a forest to be as mind boggling as this one. I tried to create a mental map while we walked, but every evergreen looked like a duplicate of the last, yet, at the same time, each was completely unique. Even my footprints seemed to fuse with the soggy soil that surrounded them until they became nothing but a faint impression in the Earth.
“Do you think we’re close to your grandma’s house?” I asked Red after what seemed like centuries of endless walking. However, she didn’t respond. “Red…” still no answer. By now she halted her feet and glared at the ground in front of her. Suddenly, a jolt of what seemed like excruciating agony running through her veins made her jump up and scream,
“RUN NOW! HURRY,” Red belted with overflowing audacity, “QUICK!” As the last word rolled off of her tongue, Red collapsed like a wilted tree onto the forest floor. Swiftly I helped her off of the ground. As I touched her forehead, I cringed at the scolding temperatures. With precaution, I untied Red’s velvet hood with the intention of cooling her body, but as I reached for the strings that held the cover together, Red shrieked.
“DON’T TOUCH THAT!” Red barked with an unfamiliar and much deeper voice than the soft, tender tone that I was familiarized to. However, I was too quick. My finger slipped between the knot and undid it to its original form. I stood there glued to the ground with trepidation, for the expected back of the head and golden hair was replaced with something else, something much, much, more maleficent. Concealed by the ruby wrap was a small opening that opened and closed. Above that nested a ridge with two circular slits. Even further north were two misty grey eyes of a vulture, swirling with ideas of hatred and greed.
“You should not have done that.” The newly revealed face growled. With one, fluent motion, Red’s body flung its arms toward me, and I flew backwards, colliding with a tree.
“Who…what a-are you?” I questioned Red. “Why are you doing this?”
“Oh, she’s not doing anything, at least, not anymore.” The second head remarked with a grin. “You see, I’ve possessed this body for about 5, maybe 6 years now, ever since my old one died on me. Talk about weak, that thing couldn’t even hold up after two measly storm enchantments. Oh well, I learned my lesson that day; don’t take bodies you find on the streets. That’s why I got this one from the forest.” It snarled.
“You’re a monster.” I stated. With this comment, the unknown creature jumped towards me and growled.
“I’m the monster? I’M THE MONSTER? Have you seen yourself? It’s beasts like you that I tried to rid the world of five years ago, and I almost succeeded, too. Your parents put up a great fight, even destroying my host body in the process. They would have gotten to me too, if this girl didn’t happen to stroll by while I was in need of a host.
“My…parents?” I mumbled. “You…killed them?”
“Bingo,” Red hissed, “Why do you think I was happy to hear your name. I heard you parents conversing about a son named Wolfbane, and when I learned your name, I knew it wasn’t just a coincidence. When I kill you and your brother, the entire wolf bloodline will be gone.”
“Not on my watch!” I roared. I quickly rocketed from the ground and sucker punched Red in the kisser. As she lay on the ground below me, I couldn’t bring myself to destroying it. If I murdered it, then I would murder this innocent girl in the process, and have the force take over another body. Maybe…if I took the spirit…than maybe I could control it and prevent more tragedy. If you don’t try to save one life, than you won’t be able to save any at all. Having this thought run through my head, I know what I must do. With all of the courage and strength I could muster, I wedged open Red’s mouth and released the demon. As a smoky black cloud of darkness escapes Red’s body, I seized it with my teeth and, in one, fluent motion, swallowed. With the hope of being able to control this immoral force and to prevent it from hurting anyone again, especially Red and Pup, I fell unconscious.