My face smashed into someone’s hand—no, their hand smashed into my face. Blood flew from my mouth and hit the pavement, staining it red. I looked back at the person who would have the nerve to force blood from me. Maybe they were from a very rude blood bank. Anything was possible.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” I brought my gaze to meet the eyes of this asshole.
He growled and it made me pause, wondering how awfully similar that growl was to that of a wolf. Was this person a lunatic? Did they raise wolves or were they raised by them? The aggression combined with the growl told me that had to be the case.
“Let’s fight.” I narrowed my eyes, putting my fists up as I prepared for a fight.
His hand wrapped around my neck, but I quickly brought my hand down on his arm, causing him great pain.
My right hand grabbed his collar as I used my free hand to squeeze my nails into his arm. “Don’t ever mess with me again. They always say rumors are made with a little bit of truth.” I dropped him, wiping the blood on the fabric of my red cloak. Some of the blood had gotten under my nails. I’d have to wash them later.
I walked away, hearing a scream erupt from his vocal cords. I rushed back, peeking around the corner of the building to see what had made him scream out. A sigh escaped me as I watched his lifeless body spill blood on the concrete without any care.
Unfortunately, rumors also came with a few lies and those lies could destroy your reputation.
I left the scene before it spiraled out of control. Of course, the town would blame me for his murder. After all, his blood was under my nails and on my sweater. They blamed me for every murder but the cops could never prove it was me.
I shoved my hands into my pockets as I walked back to the cabin, through the thick forest of trees. The branches filled with leaves hung low, nearly getting in my face. If I hadn’t shoved them out of my way, they would have scratched up my skin.
My eyes shifted to the cabin as it came into my view, looking as lively as ever. Note the sarcasm.
Walking inside, I listened to the silence that told me I was alone here. I walked to the kitchen and grabbed a package of bacon, putting a pan onto the stove. I poured in the oil and turned on the burner, dropped pieces into the pan.
The sizzle was a pleasant sound for my ears but the smell was even better for my nose. Meat was a part of my life. I could never live without the savory taste of meat in my mouth. Bacon was the best meat of them all.
As I cooked the entire package, I ate some of the cooked pieces from the plate as I waited for the rest. I was far too impatient to wait to eat all at once.
The crunch was the best part of the bacon. It was crisped to perfection.
When the bacon was in my stomach, I made my way to the bathroom to check on my face. A bruise was very obviously forming on where he had hit me. “Shit.”
His blood was on me, and his doing was appearing on my face. There was no way to deny I had some sort of connection to his murder, even if I wasn’t the one who actually killed him.
I opened up my mouth as wide as it could possibly go, studying the inside of my mouth. I lifted my lip to check my gums, seeing obvious blood that was no longer bleeding out from where my teeth met the flesh.
I turned on the faucet and took a big drink of water, swishing it around my mouth. I spit it out, the water now tinted a faint pink.
It wasn’t unusual for me to see bruises or blood. People always loved to get into fights with me for unknown reasons. I never understood what was so luring about fighting me. I didn’t want to fight but I couldn’t not defend myself. It was as if people were itching for more rumors to spread about me because drama seemed to fuel the town.
I was the outcast for whatever reason. People seemed to thrive off of my reckless life. No matter how quiet I tried to stay, people found ways to make me the talk of the town. I was always giving them a reason to gossip and it was unintentionally every time.
That was why I lived here in this cabin. Here, I could stay away from the town. Here, I found peace. The sounds of the forest outside my windows calmed my nerves and put my brain at ease.
I heard the front door open and close. I couldn’t ignore the footsteps walking around. “I already ate dinner,” I shouted from the bathroom.
“That’s fine. I’m just going to eat out anyway,” the voice replied. The tone was deep, lower than my own by a quarter of an octave. He left the cabin again, leaving me alone in my solitude.
I walked to the living room and sat down, starting a fire in the fireplace. The flames burned and lit up the room to a certain extent. The heat radiated off the fire and kept my skin warm.
Being alone was what kept me happy and sane. People sucked. They did nothing but judge you for things you never did just because you were different. They always had to have someone they could judge. I just happened to have fit the bill perfectly.
I had always admired red cloaks and the mysterious vibe they gave off. If these shitty people were going to judge every movement I made, why not bring around a red cloak to make myself much more noticeable? Cloaks piqued my interest and red went well with appearance. Black did, too, but I was already the outcast. I did not need to be seen as a witch, too.
Although one could argue that witches wore red cloaks as well. For me, however, the red just made me into a murderer instead of a witch.
I was never seen anywhere without this cloak. That was how the people named me Hood. In a town as such, people had names. Everyone had their own except for me. I had the name of the clothing I always wore. I was named after a red cloak. My real name was never important enough.
This town was small enough to have kept all of the similar beliefs. The morals here were quite the same between each person and someone like me was seen as the invader of the town. I was seen as a bad influence on everyone.
I hated people and I hated small towns. I hated people in small towns. There was so much to hate in this world. The one thing that kept me under control was the simple serenity of living in the woods.
The flames of the fire taunted me and reminded me of what I craved. Nicotine. I needed a cigarette.
Standing up from my seat, I walked outside and pulled one out of my pack. I lit it between my fingers and inhaled, exhaling moments later. I admired the nature for staying true to itself. People would judge nature and paint the woods as an evil place to be but the forest did not care. It spread freely and ignored the rude remarks that were made.
My cigarette burned down to just the butt and I dropped it on the cement that laid in front of our door. I put it out with my boot and took in a deep breath of fresh air.
There was a distant howl that echoed through the sky, traveling between the trees. Wolves were in these woods and I was never scared of them. They wouldn’t harm you if you didn’t mess with them. I had no intention of harming an animal for sport.
I coughed, looking around the scene. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to spend my night. I had already eaten. I had already gotten into my usual fight and the man ended up dead. All I had left was to go back to town and get some more groceries and a pack of cigarettes. I couldn’t avoid the people forever. Their whispers were always running amok.
I walked back to the town to get some groceries. Everyone in the store would watch me but I never made any wrong moves. It always proved to them I wasn’t going to steal even if it was tempting. I bought bread and vegetables, but the majority of it was meat.
Upon checking out, I could hear the two women behind me talking about the earlier body. “They found the man dead. He was struck and killed instantly.”
I shifted my weight from one side to the other, watching my food move along the conveyor belt. It was getting harder to ignore their words.
“We all know who did it. Why don’t they stop clowning around and just catch her? The murders would stop and everyone would be safe.”
If they really believed I was a killer, they wouldn’t be so close to me. That was the beauty of it all. They didn’t know what they believed but it was popular to judge me so they did it anyway.
The murders wouldn’t stop until the real man was caught. I was just easy to blame and he wasn’t known as the weirdo of the town. He was probably your everyday man who got along with these people, yet they had no idea that he was killing their own.
After I had paid for my food, I took my bags with me. People did accuse me of things but they were too afraid to actually touch me. I could walk through a crowd and they would move away, not daring to mess with me. That was the only perk of being feared. People moved out of my way and gave me my space.
I walked past the building where the man had tried to attack me. The police had the area taped off with the yellow caution tape and they looked in my general direction. It was obvious they suspected me. They would find I may or may not have been involved but I feared that the blood on my hood and the bruise on my cheek would get me arrested. However, I didn’t know much about the murder itself. I didn’t know where he was struck or what was used.
Would that be enough to let me go or would they see the bruise and lock me away? I was never sure with this town.
The toe of my boot got caught in the crack that ran along the road. I stumbled, dropping my bags. “No, no, shit.” I got down and started to gather my groceries again.
I stopped for a split second when another hand grabbed my food, handing it to me. “They need to fix the road.”
I looked up at the man, barely nodding my head in agreement. “Of course.”
He finished helping me, pushing his glasses up on his nose. He left before I could thank him. I rushed home before I got caught up with any other mishaps.
I put away my groceries and looked at the clock on the wall. “Bedtime already. I could use a good nights sleep. We get to do this all over again tomorrow.” I was not excited about what tomorrow would bring. I never was.
I walked into my room and removed my cloak, hanging it up on the wall. The moon was barely a crescent tonight.
I swallowed, watching the moonlight barely brighten my room. I began to wonder what tomorrow would bring. Would something change, causing my life to shift? I scoffed at the idea. It never changed. The people in this town refused to do so and that meant nothing here would change for me.