Little red riding hood, skipping through the forest to bring her sick grandmother a basket of goodies, was attacked by the big bad wolf. That’s how the story was told. That’s not what really happened, though.
Johanna, or ‘Red’ as her friends tended to call her, was a hunter by trade. Taught by her mother, who was taught by her father, and so on up the family tree, she saw herself as one of her home village’s main providers. Of course it would fall to her to defend the village when the woodsman came back with reports of a terrible great wolf plaguing the forest just south of the sheep pasture.
Her red hood was the auburn hair on her head, and her basket of goodies was her pack full of hunting supplies and food.
With her shotgun in hand, Johanna set out along the path the woodsman had taken. Her keen eyes surveyed her surroundings critically. Every detail could be a clue. A broken branch could mark the creature’s passage, and a rustle in the underbrush could potentially be the wolf waiting to strike.
Darkness approached and there were still no signs of a wolf. Johanna had wandered far off the path by this time to check all the places she deemed likely for a wolf to pass, based on the wandering patterns of local deer. All she found for her trouble was a dilapidated little house in a tiny clearing.
She’d brought no torches with her, and traversing the forest in the dark was always something her parents had warned her against. The forest was full of little gullies and steep ridges that one could easily break a leg falling down. There were more sinister things rumoured to lurk at night.
With little other option, Johanna entered the old house and set up for the night.
It wasn’t morning when she awoke. It might have been midnight. A howling ripped through the weathered boards of the little building, seeming to make the very floor quake. Johanna pulled her shotgun close, eyeing her surroundings. Outside the dirty window, she caught sight of it.
In the clearing, standing taller than any man she’d seen, was a great hulking beast. It had the head and tail of a wolf, but its arms were muscled and bore fingers like a human. She’d heard tales of such a monster in whispers from the traders to the shopkeepers. Werewolf, they’d say. A danger to more than just the sheep if it reached the village.
Johanna moved to be in a better position to shoot the creature, but it spotted her first and tore across the clearing to leap through the window. The glass shattered, scattering everywhere and drawing blood from multiple places on Johanna’s body. One shard cut across her face, blinding her in one eye.
The wolf creature turned to face Johanna and she spat blood at it, readying her shotgun. The creature lunged. Johanna fired. The woodsman lay dead on the floor.
Dawn came and Johanna returned to the village. No one could understand why the woodsman never came home.