“Red? Are you busy right now? I need you to do something for me.” Mom had called me down to her. I got up from where I was sitting and went to her in the kitchen.
She had a basket that had things in them, and they smelled good too. I could smell mom cooking something in here for the longest while, and it made me so hungry. Hopefully I could get some of what she made.
“Bring this to your Grandmother. She has been feeling so sick, I thought she might need something to cheer her up.” she said as she handed me the basket.
I didn’t plan on going anywhere today, but I don’t mind going outside for a little while. Grandma wasn’t in the greatest condition for a while now, and it would be nice to give her something. I haven’t heard from her in a while either. It wasn’t till she got sick that I’d seen her.
“Will she be able to eat all this?” I asked, looking inside the basket. She smacked my hand, pushing me away from the basket.
“Do not eat them, Red. I’ll have something made for you later.” she said. I rubbed my hand as I felt the stinging pain.
“Its a long way to Grandma’s house, mom. It will take me forever.” I said. Maybe she’ll let me eat a muffin or a piece of banana bread. I will need a snack. She can’t send me off without food to eat myself.
“You’ll be fine. She probably has something made for you over there.” Mom said. I sighed. I don’t mind going, but I was so hungry that I thought it would be better if she fed me something too. Mom would never.
I sighed as I took the basket, holding the wooden handle as I took my red hood from the chair and put it over me. My white hair moved over my eyes, I pushed it back so I could see.
“I’ll be back later.” I told mom.
“Be careful, Red.” she called out to me as I left.
“I will.” I assured as I left our cottage.
I have to go through the forest to make it to Grandma’s and in the forest, there’s a lot I have to be careful of. But I always used to walk through here a lot when I was little. Its not dangerous.
I walked through the tall grass, humming to myself as I swung the basket. It smells so good, would Mom know if I ate from it? Or should I probably not? I didn’t think of it now. I have to at least make it to the river before I even think of doing anything else with this basket. The sky began to turn dark as I got closer to the tall trees. It was getting colder and I saw the fog. I wasn’t scared, I have done and seen much more things.
There was a sign that was falling a part.
Beware of wolf.
There are no wolves in this forest anyway. Out of all the years I’ve walked through here, I have never seen a wolf nor heard one. In fact, all the animals here are friendly, non of them hurt me. They just follow me to Grandma’s house because of the food I have. I waited to see the squirrels but it might be a while before they walk by. I wasn’t surprised.
I walked over large rocks and tree stumps as I entered the forest. It was so dark here, I wonder why it was turning out like this. I still hopped along the rocks, not fearing the sudden darkness. As the wind blew, my red cape blew with it. The hood was blown down to my shoulders and soon my hair moved with wind.
I stopped hopping and walked, listening to only silence because that was the only thing around. Another sign was there as I walked by.
Turn back now.
There was never a sign like that before.
I stopped walking and stared at the red paint on the sign. Someone wrote that with their fingers, I could tell by how sloppy it was and it looked rushed too. That’s odd. I looked over my shoulder, there was nothing there.
Nothing I should fear.
The wind blew harshly. It even took me a second to realize that wasn’t the wind. Something blew on me. And it kept doing it until it started growling behind me.
But when I looked, nothing was there, and I was still alone.
“How odd.” I said to myself as I turned back around to continue walking towards Grandma’s house.
Someone was in front of me. I screamed as I tried to move back, tripping and falling over a tree stump. There was a man who was not there before. I didn’t even recognize him. But he stood in front of me, staring down at me with pale eyes.
“Who are you?” I asked, my voice shaking.
“What’s a young boy like you doing here?” He asked, smiling at me. For some reason, his incisors were sharper than normal people’s teeth. I found myself staring at them, and then into his eyes.
“I’m going to my Grandmother’s house.” I said nervously.
“Its dangerous here. It might be better if you turn back.” he said to me. But he was still smiling. His dark hair was tousled around his face, and somehow, it just made him look scarier.
But he was still beautiful.
I don’t know this man, I have never seen him one day in my life, nor have I heard of his existence around in this place. But he was here, dressed in dark clothing that matched the darkness of this forest.
“My Grandmother’s sick. I have to bring her this basket of sweets.” I said, tightening my hand around the wooden handle.
“How sweet of you. Where does your Grandmother live?” he asked.
“On the other side of the forest.” I answered.
He held out his hand for me to take, and I did. He helped me up and I dusted the dirt from my pants and hood. When I looked down at the ground though, I noticed how his shadow was larger than what it should be. It wasn’t even a shape of a human.
Something blew behind me, moving my hair in front of my face. I turned quickly, almost getting frightened by it. But nothing was there. I heard the growling before, why is it gone? What is it?
“There’s nothing there.” he said.
“I could have sworn-”
“You’re probably paranoid. The forest is a scary place for someone to be.” he said kindly. Despite what I thought, he was being nice to me. I took his hospitality because I needed to be with someone right now. “Are you sure you don’t want to go home?” he asked.
“I have to bring this to my Grandmother.” I said. He stared down at me and I wondered why he did that. He was staring so intently at me, and then he touched my hair. “What’s your name, sir?” I asked.
“Wilk.” he said.
“I go by Red.” I said.
“Is it because of your hood?” he asked me.
“Sort of. Red is my favorite color.” I said. I’ve always loved the color red, it will always be my favorite color.
“Its suits you well.” he touched my face.
I didn’t stop him. His hand was warm as he touched me. That has never happened before, I wonder why he was touching me like that though. I just met him. Does he want what’s on the basket? I can’t even have what’s in the basket so I can’t let him even look inside.
“I have to get going.” I said. He dropped his hand from me, but he smiled and I saw his teeth again.
What sharp teeth he has.
“Of course. I can walk you to the narrow path. Its not far from here, but there’s a warning about a dangerous wolf.” he said.
“I’m not scared.” I said as I hopped over a rock. He walked behind me, sounding amused with me.
“Really? Its not too late to turn back now.” he said.
“I’ve walked this way hundreds of times, I’m still fine.” I said. Nothing has happened before, so I doubt it will. I’ll be just a bit safe. Grandma isn’t too far in the forest. I just have to get over the river and the hills, and there’s her cottage. I guess getting through the dark forest is the hardest part, but after that, its just going over the river.
“Be careful though.” he said. I stopped walking when I saw another sign. It was broken in half and clawed at as well. This one even looked important.
Beware of W-
I wasn’t sure what the end was. It might have been wolves, but the next letter didn’t look like an O. I stared at it, wondering what it was when I got that weird breeze feeling again.
I turned back, but nothing was there like usual. Why do I keep getting that breeze feeling? It was like something was breathing down my neck. I pushed my hood up, hiding my sudden fear of this forest. What is happening? This wasn’t what it was before.
There were so many signs that had warnings on them but they were all broken so I couldn’t read it correctly. I still have to go to my Grandmother’s house anyway, I can’t stop now. If I walk too slow, I won’t make it by sundown and I have to be there before Mom begins to worry about me. Its going to take a while but its only morning now.
“There are so many signs that say don’t go on. They were never there last time.” I said.
“When were you here?” Wilk asked.
“A year ago.” I answered.
“A lot can happen in one year.” he said as he walked beside me. I held the basket tightly, hoping he doesn’t steal it from me. Maybe he was interested in the sweets?
“Its so scary to have all these beware signs.” I said as I looked around at them. I should keep going anyway, its a long way to Grandma’s house. I was tempted to eat already but I know Mom will somehow figure out that I ate something. All I asked for was one muffin.
“Its a warning to people to not come through here.” he said.
“Going around could take days.” I sighed and I already started walking this way, I might as well keep going. It shouldn’t take long this way.
“Its safer.” Wilk said.
“My grandmother is sick, I at least want to get these to her before something happens.” I said.
“Does she mean a lot to you?” he asked. What a strange question.
“Of course she does, she’s my grandma.” I said. He was thinking about that, I wonder why he found that to be so funny.
“Does she like red like you do?” he asked.
“No, she thinks its a terrible color.” I sighed. Grandma isn’t a person to like things like that, but its okay.
“Its a nice color.” he said and muttered something under his breath. I looked up at him because I wondered what it was, but its not like he would tell me. “Well I can’t go any further than this.” he said and stopped walking. I turned to him.
“Then I should get going anyway. Thank you Mr. Wilk.” I said and continued walking on my own.
As I kept going on my own, I felt that brush of air hit me like usual. And I even heard growling, loud growling. My heart beat fast in my chest as I checked over my shoulder.
Nothing was there.
And Mr. Wilk was already gone.
I looked into the darkness, wondering what was going on. Then I realized that I have to get to Grandma’s house.