A traveler meets a mysterious lady and she tells him the wolves in that forest protect humans, but appearances can be deceiving.
When he saw her he wondered what in the world a young lady would be doing in the middle of a foggy forest at night. The traveler observed the red cloaked woman who paid him no mind. "Miss," he called out to her.
"Yes?" The lady replied, turning her head toward the traveler, her long red hood covering her eyes.
"I should warn you, I heard there are wolves in this forest. It's very dangerous to go alone," he felt compelled to tell her this before she walked into her doom.
"You are not from around here..." the woman observed, it was rather obvious if he had not heard the real story concerning the forest.
"No, I've been traveling for a while now and recently arrived in this land. I came from overseas." Casually, the traveler and the lady had started walking side by side down the forest trail. He noticed that she only carried a basket with a white and red checkered cloth covering its contents and did not appear to have any weapons. He carried a rifle and extra ammunition just in case he came across a ferocious wild animal. He also had various other supplies such as extra fuel for his lantern.
"They say that this forest is guarded by wolves that are not normal wolves. They say that those wolves protect humans..." The lady spoke softly, showing no fear.
"No offense, but you shouldn't believe such things." That man had seen many die because they believed in what he would call children's fairy tales. Guardian creatures who protected humans? Ridiculous, if there were any wolves in that forest they were like any other wolves, they would want nothing more than to feed on human flesh.
"But I most cross the forest, my grandmother and I live at the other side..." The lady insisted, "besides I do this often and nothing ever goes wrong."
"You've been lucky so far, you'd best not rely on luck but make your own, that's what I learned in my travels," he had seen a lot, heard a lot, and learned from his own mistakes as well as other's.
"What then do you propose I do? Walking around the forest takes several days, it stretches out surrounding my home. It is not that I have made a home in the wolves' territory, but rather they made a home in my family's territory..." It might seem convenient to walk straight through the forest, as it only took hours, in comparison to going around it which would take at the very least a full day.
"You could make a long trip and bring back many supplies to last out a few days." The man suggested as they continued to walk.
"I can't, the goods will spoil..." the lady motioned to her basket.
The traveler had learned the village located east from the forest was famous for its various herbs, many of which had to be freshly picked every morning. Perhaps her grandmother was sick and needed the herbs. "Can't you plant some herbs near your house? If you can't grow them you should at least travel in the daylight. And have someone come with you."
"You are traveling at night." She pointed out an obvious fact that for whatever reason he overlooked.
The man laughed, "good point, I'm not really practicing what I'm preaching this time, but I'm used to this sort of thing, I'm so well traveled I can sense danger. Besides, I have a rifle to keep me safe."
"A weapon from overseas... will you show it to me?" The woman asked curiously. "Around here people only have swords, arrows and that sort of thing."
"Of course, of course, I'll even teach you how to use it. I have an extra one just in case, if you have no choice but to cross the forest like this, then you might as well protect yourself." There was something about that lady that caught the man's attention, a certain air of mystery floated about her, yet she looked so innocent at the same time.
"That would be wonderful," he thought she was smiling, it was hard to tell in the darkness and with the oversized cloak that hung over her eyes and reached up to just under her nose. Her small pale nose was the only part of her face he could clearly see, though he wouldn't blame her for the garments since it was rather cold.
As if remembering something, the man motioned for his newfound companion to wait a moment and dug around his bag. "It seems we're a bit of course, or maybe my map is wrong, you've come this was many times, right?" It was not rare that he had to make corrections to outdated or inaccurate maps. Most of his maps were covered in notes and lines indicating the way they should have been.
At the dim light of the lantern, the woman observed the map. "My home is a little more to the west. The villages on the map exist were they are, but mine isn't there."
"Happens all the time, new settlements come and go and these maps just keep getting copied the same way." He tugged the map and compass back into his luggage. "I'll have to fix it myself when we get to your village. Lead the way then, experience over maps."
Before the lady could reply a howl was heard. The man readied his rifle and handed the lantern to the woman. She held it in the direction of the sounds, identifying the source quite easily. "There!"
"You got some pretty good senses yourself," despite the echo, fog and darkness, she spotted the wolf right away. The wolf growled and lunged at the woman but the man shot the wolf in mid air before he could reach her.
"We must run," the woman insisted, grabbing her companion by the arm and leading him towards her home. A small stream could be seen ahead. The moon shone in the clearing and a single cabin stood humbly past a bridge that went over the stream. Feathers hung from several posts standing against the soft flow of the stream, some kind of amulet no doubt, allowing some to cross the flowing water and preventing others from doing so. "We are safe here, he cannot cross the bridge."
"I don't believe in superstitions!" The traveler aimed his rifle at the source of movement and noise approaching the clearing. Sure enough the wolf appeared but before the traveler could shoot again, something unexpected happened, the wolf transformed into a human male, tall, well built, badly injured; and the werewolf collapsed, having reverted back to his human form despite the moon, only because he was about to die. "What the?!" The traveler felt a blunt hit on the back of his head and lost consciousness.
xoxox xox xoxox
When the traveler woke up he found that he was tied up in a corner, his supplies piled up in the other side of the room. The lady with the red cloak had removed it, revealing her blood red eyes. An old woman with similar eyes was having a meal along with the lady at the table and they were drinking a red liquid that looked and smelled of blood.
A basket lay in a corner containing a red and white checkered cloak, bottles of blood and herbs that smelled of mint disguising the scent of blood before. "Didn't I tell you the wolves in this forest protect humans? I guess I forgot to mention who they protected humans against." The young woman grinned showing off her long sharp fangs.
"Vampires!" The traveler exclaimed, struggling uselessly against his ropes. His head was still pounding from the unexpected attack, as a bloodied hammer left in the counter screamed of guilt.
Based on Little Red Ridinghood with a twist. I redesigned the characters of Little Red, the ranger, the wolf and the grandmother. Posted in the original section because that ancient story has already been remade by many people, and I think it's public domain by now. If not then I don't own Little Red Ridinghood, but really it's quite different from the classic so it's more of an original story than anything else.