It was a beautiful late autumn day; the sun was out and it was quite clement for the time of year. Little Red Riding Hood made her way through the forest, following the path she had taken many times before, which lead to her grandmother’s house.
“I don’t know why she can’t move into one of the granny-flats in town,” she said to herself, “if not as if she’s short on dough. And why does she insist on me wearing this stupid outfit? I know my heels would get stuck in the mud but at least let me wear a pair of Nikes instead of these flat shoes with a buckle half the size of a football pitch, after all, I am 18 now.”
She stopped. There before her was a baby deer. They watched each other in anticipation, neither wanting to move. A bird high up in the branches flew from its nest, startling the deer and making it run for cover. Thinking how cute the deer was and still looking up in the trees Little Red Riding Hood tripped over a tree root.
“Oooff!” she uttered.
She brushed away at her dirty knees. “I’d better get these clean,” she said, “Brian’ll think I’ve been up to no good again.”
Finally the trees became scarcer and she saw the little house through the branches. No smoke here, she thought, at least Gran had the sense to go for central heating last year.
Walking up the garden path her heart stopped. The front door was ajar; in fact it looked as if it had been wrenched from its hinges with some force.
“Grandma!” she cried and ran through the door.
The door opened into the kitchen, where a gas hob stood with a saucepan of water gently bubbling away. On the fridge-freezer in the corner she noticed a smear of what looked like blood. Blood!
“Grandma!” she cried again and went through to the bedroom. Some light filtered through the drawn curtains and she noticed a shape sat up in bed.
“Grandma? Are you ok?
“Hello dear, yes I’m ok. I had a bit of a turn but I’m better now.”
“Let me turn the light on Gran,” replied the girl.
“No…” but Granny’s response went unheeded. Electric light blazed. The year before candles had been replaced when one evening Gran had gone overboard with her home-made potato wine and almost set alight not only her house but also half the forest. Little Red startled as she took in her grandmother’s face. There was something different about her today.
“What big eyes you’ve got Grandma,” said The Hood.
“It’s the pills for my arthritis,” came the reply, “I can’t sleep a damned wink. The last time I felt like this was when we used to take those little purple bombers around the time Bob Dylan started getting famous.”
“What big ears you’ve got Grandma.”
“Shut up dear, I’ve always had them and I don’t see as they’re to make fun of. Besides, your Grandfather never complained, in fact he used to… never mind.”
“What shaky hands you’ve got Grandma.”
“I want to see you dear when you’re 72.”
“And Grandma, what big teeth you have,” insisted the not-so-little red one.
“Phhhhhheeewwwww,” coughed Grandma, as a patch of what looked like fur landed at Red’s feet.
Bending down to look at it in detail, Red noticed a tail sticking out from under the bed. A huge wolf lay there, motionless, bleeding profusely from the throat. She looked at her grandmother in horror. Granny shrugged her shoulders.
“It was him or me,” she said.