Once upon a time there was a little girl wandering through the woods, lost in the depth of the deepest wood, with only the light of the crescent moon to guide her. She stumbles, falling for the fifth time, not being able to see what was right in front of her. She shakes her head, remembering how foolish she was to get herself into this situation in the first place.
She shouldn’t have listened to the boys mocking her for not liking bugs. Lots of people didn’t like them.
“Best not go out after dark,” they said. “If you think bugs are something to worry about wait until you see the hound. It will rip you to shreds like that dear last month.” They laughed.
“I’ll show you. I’m not scared of the hound unlike you. I know you cowards don’t go out after nightfall. You wouldn’t dare set foot in the forest. In fact, I’ve been in the woods before. There is a meadow with these beautiful violet flowers.” She smiled smug and flush with pride and the last of her anger. Her speech did get to them, but not how she had hoped.
One boy stepped forward, a smug look on his grimy face. “If you’ve really been, why not grab us one of these ‘magnificent’ flowers.” His face turned sinister as he continued, “Since you’re not scared, why don’t you do it now.” Then he wasn’t looking at her, he was looking behind her.
She didn’t notice though, not it time. Not before gritting her teeth and shouting “fine.” Only after the words left her mouth did she see the swirling streaks of burned pink tinting the sky: Sunset.
She wouldn’t let these bullies see her fright. And she definitely wouldn’t let them beat her. So she turned and marched towards the woods.
Hours later our story started, a violet clutched in her bloodied hand. She heard the rustling of leaves and a howl that could only belong to the hound. It must have been following her. Her voice has long since been worn out by screaming. She was to far for any to hear anyway, as if anyone would have been bold enough to enter the forest.
Her pride would be the death of her.
After what felt like days she saw light peeking through branches in front of her. She rejoiced: that must be the town she thought to herself. She ran faster, her legs threatening to give out. She tried to scream as she approached, but all that came out was a quiet rasp.
She tripped over something, someone’s forgotten fire wood. Her hand outstretched to the light, her saving grace, but she didn’t reach it.
She was no longer moving, the realization came with a start. It jolted her wary system, told her to move. Yet all she did was widen her eyes in horror.
The hound had never stopped stalking her.
In the morning no one has seen the little girl who has ran off into the woods. All that was found were a few purple petals, some snapped branches, and a bloody cloth.
This piece was co-authored by my friend Antonio Cordoves.