I entered this writing challenge early in 2012 and I have to admit I liked working outside my comfort zone. It was good to try new genres (YA/Supernatural Romance). Hope you enjoy it:
An owl hooted in the distance. The hem of the long red cloak brushed the leaves that littered the forest floor. The cold air bit into every inch of exposed skin. Did it had to be red? But it was tradition. Like Mum’s ‘inspection.’
“Maybe I should call the vicar to do it, they way it was done before? Or maybe a group of the village’s wise women? My book club meets tomorrow,” said Mum as she gave me a once over.
“I’m sure that the women of the Middle Ages thought that they had a better lot than Roman wives. You know, you can beat her but don’t cripple her, leave a mark or kill her. That would be wrong, you know,” I said.
“I don’t know why you’re so embarrassed. Who do you think wiped your bum when you were little? The cat?” she said with a laugh.
But Dad’s words were worse.
“There is a young man out there, alone and confused. He needs you. You are ready for this sweetheart. I would not sent you out if I didn’t believe it,” he said with amber eyes fixed on me, “If you don’t do this, well the alternatives are few and…unpleasant.”
So it went. I was the one chosen to go out and search him out.
Out in the forest.
“That will teach me to be born in a village built between a moor and a haunted wood,” I said. Loud enough to silence the weary owl. I wondered how in the twenty-first century ‘maidens’ still had to do mad things like this. Or for that matter that no one outside Bleddynglen knew about it.
That one is easy, Jennifer. They turned it into a tourist attraction.
Every summer crowds filled the the village square to buy dog-head dolls, wolf totems and other knickknacks. From time to time a tabloid TV crew would scour this very forest for signs of the legendary creatures only to come out empty. All in good fun.
Except for me. I just hope it’s not Jason.
Dear God no, not him.
But it could very well be him. He had grown up so much over the summer, he had. Got a nice tan while on vacation in France. His jokes had gotten better. Or at least they still made me laugh out loud. But he called in sick at school. Not a single phone call or text. And when I asked around the other girls just giggled.
“Oh I hope you’re ready?” said Cynthia.
“It may hurt at first but then it gets good,” said Martha.
“Shush, it may not get that far, you know,” said my sister.
The idea of what would happen when….
A pair of yellow eyes caught the moonlight. They floated inside a shrub of whitebeam. Intense, brilliant eyes. Then it emerge. A huge looping form that moved with heavy footfalls toward me. It vocalize in something between a growl and a howl.
It froze. The growls deepened. I closed my eyes and sang. I felt its fur against my hip. I tripped and fell. Startled I opened my eyes. The giant black wolf lay at my feet, its head darted back and forth as if blinded. I continued to sing. The fur receded into bare human skin. Jason curled, naked, at my feet. I kissed him. I don’t know why, but I did. His mouth melted in mine. Hot and cold mixed. He shivered violently. Then I realized that the red hood was not for me.
It was for him.