The girl; that was wrong, she wasn't a little girl anymore. In fact it had been a few years since she got the monthly reminder that she was no longer a girl. The young woman was a very easy going, loving, and trusting soul. She helped her neighbors, watched the young children, and even spent time with the sick. She not only known for her loving personality, but also for her hair; dark, red, flaming hair.

Red was her favorite color. She always wore something red. She had red shoes for dancing. A red blouse for festive occasions. She had even hidden a red dress in her closet. The dress would have raised too many eyebrows in town, but she had plans to wear it very soon. Nevertheless, the article of clothing that everyone saw her in was the red handkerchief that she wore everywhere. Her love for the color red and her lovely hair had earned her the name Red. An appropriate, if not uninventive name.

One day Red was asked, by some of the townsfolk, to visit an elderly woman who lived on the other side of the forest. They had not seen the old woman for a few weeks and they were worried. Red packed her basket with fruits, breads, and herbs for the old woman. Then on a whim she grabbed two bottles of wine and the red dress. Red hurried to the path into the forest.

The forest was lovely this early fall day. The leaves had just started to turn and the air was warm with just a hint of a chill. On a impulse Red decided to take a swim. She knew of a naturally heated pool just off the main path. All the villagers stayed away from it, complaining that it was cursed. It was too delightful a day to worry about such things. Red found the pool. Its water was clear and blue. The bottom of the pool was a sandy bottom with no large rocks. Laughing about the superstitions of her fellow villagers; Red removed all of her clothes and entered the pool.

Red laid back in the pool and relaxed in the warm water. She closed her eyes and began to drift off into sleep. In her dreams she saw a wolf running through the forest and in the valleys. The wolf was a large grey, beautiful creature. It ran without a care and seemed to enjoy the freedom of running. In her dreams she saw the wolf run up to the pool where she was relaxing and lay down at the edge of the warm water. She wasn't afraid in her dreams. In the dream she swam up to the wolf and stroked its thick fur. She began to stir. She didn't want to wake up, it was such a pleasant dream, but she had to see the old woman.

She opened her eyes and let out a small cry. At the edge of the pool was a man. He was sitting near a small fire. He was watching her. Red tried to cover up, but it was no use. He had plenty of time to already study her naked body. After Red's initial panic. She stopped and studied the man. He was not a local and looked slightly exotic. His hair was dark brown and long. Red noticed his eyes were a dark hazel, with a slight yellow tint to them. Then she noticed that he was not wearing any clothing. Red blushed. She had been so busy trying to cover her body. That she had not noticed his nakedness.

"I wanted to take a swim," He said with a slight smile. "But I thought that interrupting your dreams would be rude."

The man turned toward the fire. Red took the opportunity to get out of the pool and put some clothes on. She reached for her clothing. They were gone. Quickly she took out the red dress and put that on. Red for a moment thought about just grabbing her basket and leaving, but she looked at the man again. He was sveltely muscled. He hummed to himself as he stirred the coals in the fire. Red looked at the sky. She had plenty of time to make it to the old woman and back home before dark. She picked up her basket and walked over to the man.

When he saw her walk over, he took a fur cloak that was laying next to the fire and covered his lap with it. She sat by the fire. He smiled.

"Thank you," Red said.

"For what?" The man asked with that charming smile.

"For being a gentleman." Red explained. "My name is Red."

"Mine's Hemming." He reached for her hand and took it. Hemming kissed it. "I didn't expect to find a beautiful woman relaxing in my favorite pool."

Red reached in her basket and took out a bottle of wine. "Would you like some?" she asked.

Hemming nodded. Red felt so at ease with him. Hemming told her that he lived in the woods. Red was surprised, most of the people that lived in the woods came to the village occasionally, but she had never seen Hemming. When she asked him why, he changed the subject.

"Where are you going? With that basket?" Hemming asked.

"I'm going to Gramma Boyd's. No one has seen her for a few days and they asked me to look on on her." Red explained. "She lives on the other side of the woods."

"I know the place." Hemming said.

Red still hadn't handed him the bottle of wine, and she hadn't taken a drink herself. She was a little embarrassed, and she hadn't brought any glasses. Hemming noticed her dilemma.

"There is nothing to put the wine in." Hemming said. "Except . . . "

"Except what?" Red asked.

"Well, I have an idea, but we just met, and it would not be chivalrous of me." Hemming said.

Red was curious. "Tell me." She said.

Hemming took a large sip of the wine. He then leaned toward Red. She did not know what he was going to do. Hemming pressed his lips against hers. Red was a little surprised but curious too. She parted her lips to kiss him back. Hemming opened his mouth slightly. He had not swallowed the wine. The wine rushed into her mouth with his tongue. She kissed him back drinking some wine. He left her lips to sip some more of the wine.

Red was excited. Hemming was handsome. She didn't protest or stop him from kissing her again. Hemming gently pushed her back, so she lay on the ground. He sipped more of the wine and she drank from his mouth again. His hand began to caress her legs. Red sighed when Hemming paused his kissing.

She was enjoying his caresses. Hemming slowly slid her dress up her legs. Red did not stop him, instead she opened her legs slightly. He smiled. He leaned forward and kissed her thigh. Red was surprised, she couldn't believe that she was doing this. Hemming kissed her thigh again. Red moved her hips up toward his lips. Hemming lifted his head to sip some more wine.

He quickly moved Red's legs apart and placed his lips between her legs. She felt the wine dribble down her inner thigh. He kissed her inner thighs. Red opened her legs wider. Hemming reached for the bottle of wine. He poured the wine over the hair between her legs. His mouth followed licking and drinking the wine as it flowed down.

Red moaned and gasped. She reached down and began to run her fingers through his hair. He did not stop with the licking and the small kisses. Red's hips began to move. Hemming continued with pleasuring her with his tongue. Red could not believe she was doing this. She had never been with a man. Red felt a shudder start deep inside her. She did not hold back the moans that began to build up.

Hemming lifted his head up. He was smiling. Red was breathless. Hemming gently pulled down her dress. He didn't say a word. Red looked up at the sky through the canopy of leaves. She was not ashamed of what they had done, far from it. She was very satisfied.

"I should give you something." Hemming said, as pulled on his clothes. He paused and thought. "I know," Hemming reached for the wolf skin cloak and handed it to Red.

Red thanked him. Hemming looked at the sky. "Please be careful." He said quietly. "These woods can be dangerous."

She gathered her things and began to leave the pool. She turned around and Hemming was gone. Red shook her head. Maybe she had dreamed it all, but she still had the cloak. Red continued down the path. The day was becoming warmer, so she put the cloak in her basket.

Farther down the path she heard the sounds of an axe falling on trees. Red came to a man chopping wood in a small vale. He was the same build as Hemming. This man had black matted hair and a vacant stare. Red hurried on the path to avoid him, but he stood in the path and blocked her path.

"What are you doing here?" He asked slowly.

"I am on my way to deliver some food." Red said trying to step around the man. He blocked her with his axe.

"I'm hungry." He said.

"Sorry this is for someone else." Red said. She did not like this. He was beginning to frighten her.

"I want it." He said gruffly.

He reached for her basket. Red tried to move out of his way. The man grabbed her. He was still holding the axe with one hand, with the other he grabbed red's arm and held it tight. He threw her to the ground. The basket fell out of her hand and slid away from her.

The wood cutter looked down at Red and sneered. She tried to scoot away from him. He leapt on her and shoved her back to the ground. Red screamed. He grabbed the neckline of Red's dress and ripped it open. Red tried to push him away. He put the edge of the axe against Red's neck.

"You aint goin' any where," He said.

Red screamed again. He roughly covered her mouth with his grimy hand. Red kept screaming, though it was now muffed by the woodsman's coarse hand. He moved the axe away from her neck so he had one hand free. With that free hand he loosened his pants, exposing himself. He began to drool. Red started to cry.

There was a growl. The wood cutter stopped trying to push his member into Red. He looked over his shoulder. Suddenly he got off red and grabbed his axe again. Red looked where the man was looking. A large grey wolf, with his hair bristling, was growling at the wood cutter. Red stood up slowly, looking for a way to escape. The wolf leapt at the woodsman. He swung his axe at it.

The axe should have struck the wolf. The blade went right through the wolf like it was mist. The man yelled. He turned and ran away from the vale. Red was too frightened to move. The wolf looked at her for a moment. Then it turned and ran after the man.

Red tried to cover up. Her dress was in shreds. She grabbed the basket and ran down the path. All she wanted to do now was to get to the old woman's home. She was holding her dress up with one hand. Soon she gave up. It was difficult to hold the remains of the dress and run at the same time. Red collapsed on the path and cried.

The day had started so lovely. Then suddenly turned horrible. Red was thinking about giving up and going home. Yet she knew she couldn't. She had promised to check in on Grandma Boyd. Red lifted her head off the ground. The wolf skin cloak was laying on the ground next to the basket. Red got up and wrapped the cloak around her shoulders.

She continued. Finally the old woman's house was in view. Red sighed a relieved sigh. She knocked on the door. "Grandma Boyd?" She called. "Are you in?"

The house was quiet. Red tried the door. It was barred. She looked around. Above the door was a strange swag of sticks. All the windows were close too. Red knocked on the door again. "Grandma Boyd!"

Inside a weak voice answered. "I can't come to the door. I'm too ill. Lift the latch on the doorframe."

Red felt along the doorframe and found the latch. The door creaked open. A rich smell of meat cooking filled the small house. Red placed the basket on the table and walked over to the stove. She checked the pot. It was a small roast, simmering in a rich broth.

"Why don't you have some?" Grandma Boyd tried to call to Red.

The roast did smell very good. Red reached for a fork. There was a growl. Red dropped the fork in surprise. She was sure the growl came from her cloak. Red covered the pot again. She decided to check in on the old woman.

Red found the Grandma Boyd's bed. The old woman was laying in a canopy bed. The curtains had been drawn close around the bed. Red moved a curtain to look at the old woman. It must have been the shadows. The old woman looked larger than Red remembered.

"Dear, I'm cold. Could you lay down beside me?" Grandma Boyd asked.

Red paused. Then she removed the cloak and laid down by the old woman. The first thing Red noticed was that the old woman's arms were very hairy. Red now was very scared. She was beginning to think that this was not Grandma Boyd. Red took the old woman's hand. It was callous and scarred. It was the woodcutter's hand.

"I have to go to the bathroom." Red said.

"Use the chamber pot." The other person said.

Red left the bed and quickly went to the kitchen. She was going to try to go to the backdoor and leave. She opened the door to the mud room. It was a horrible sight. There was Grandma Boyd's body hung up like a side of beef. Most of the flesh on her right thigh was missing. Red screamed. She turned around to run out the front door.

The woodsman was blocking Red's path. He had been the one in Grandma Boyd's bed. He grabbed Red's shoulders and pushed her into the kitchen. She felt a searing pain in her back as he pushed her against the stove. The woodsman reached for a butcher knife.

Red grabbed the pot on the stove and threw it at the man. The boiling both burned the man's face. The pan hit the man across the forehead. He stumbled back. Red tried to run for the door again. For the second time the man grabbed Red. This time he threw her on the table. Ripping off what was left of her dress.

"Let's finish what we started." He grinned.

Growling came from the bedroom. The woodsman stopped. Red could see the glowing yellow eyes in the shadows of the bedroom. The wolf jumped and attacked the woodman. The man fell off the table. Red grabbed the remains of her red dress and tried to find away out.

The large silver wolf had tore into the woodsman's neck. After it was finished with killing the man, the wolf turned its head toward Red. Red stopped, frightened. She was not sure what the large beast was going to do. It slowly walked over to her. Red backed up to the wall. The wolf nuzzled her hand. Red slowly petted the wolf's head.

It was strange. The wolf was there, but it felt like it wasn't. Her hand would briefly touch hair, but then fall through like it was a mist. The wolf suddenly turned and began to paw at the front door. Red walked over to the door to let the beast out. She opened the door and was surprised to see Hemming there.

Red flung herself in his arms. Hemming held her tight. The wolf stood by Hemming. Red cried. Today had been too much. Hemming gently pushed her back. Red was confused. The wolf stood up on its hind legs and laid its front paws on Hemming's chest. The wolf's body shimmered and then became transparent. It seemed to blend into Hemming's body. Red stepped back astonished.

Hemming held out his hand to Red. She took it. He tugged at her hand and lead her away from the cabin. "I'm sorry if you were hurt." He said.

Red shuddered. Hemming stopped and wrapped his arms around her. Red pressed herself against him for warmth. "What happened?" She asked.

He sighed. "She was my friend. I don't know who the man was, but he chased me out. He put some herbs above the threshold. I could not enter to save her. Until you came along. I wasn't sure how I would kill him."

Red looked at Hemming confused. He only smiled. "I think you forgot some clothes by the pool."

They walked to the pool. There were Red's clothes laying by a tree. She walked over to put them on. Hemming jumped in the water. He began to splash around and play in the water. Red looked down at her body. She was covered with dirt and blood. Hemming paused in the water and watched her. Red slid into the pool.

Hemming swam up to her and then behind her. He cupped his hands and lifted some water out of the pool. The water flowed over her body. He repeated the gesture. This time he cupped her breast. Red looked over her shoulder at Hemming. He ran his hands down her sides. Red shuddered, her breath in a deep sigh.

He began to kiss her neck. Red at first was confused. Everything that had happened today, she thought his attention was inappropriate. But yet her body wanted more of his touch. He began to massage her breasts, while his lips traveled up and down her neck. She reached up and stroked his face with her finger tips. Hemming softly growled in her ear.

Red felt him becoming hard. She tried to turn around to face him. Hemming held her hips so she couldn't. One of his hands slid down to between her legs, the other played with her nipples. Red's body was building with pleasure. Hemming's lips traveled to the other side of her neck. She felt his teeth drag across her neck. The slight pain was arousing.

She looked down at his hands. They looked hairier. She tried to turn around again. "No, " Hemming said, "Don't look at me now."

His hands slid to her hips. Red instinctively leaned forward. Hemming slowly slid inside her. She hadn't told Hemming she was a virgin, but he seemed to know. He took his time. Red gasped with a slight pain. Hemming was slow and careful. Red moved her hands to his, to help her keep her balance. He hands did feel hairier. She ignored it. She was feeling waves of pleasure.

Hemming growled again. Red began to moan. His trusts became harder and faster. Red's moans were becoming louder. One of Hemming's hand grabbed her breast. His fingernails dug into her flesh. The pain was secondary to Red. She was already feeling waves of pleasure washing over her body. Hemming's thrust a few more times. Each one deeper than the one before. One last thrust nearly knocked Red down into the water.

Red reached up to take his hand that was on her breast. It was hairier. She looked down. Hemming's hand was covered in a fine silver fur. His nails were thick and claw like. Red turned slowly around. Hemming did not look the same as he had before. His whole body was covered in the same fur. His face looked more canine like. Red gasped.

"Don't be frightened." Hemming said to her. "Look at yourself."

Red looked down at her reflection in the still pool. She was covered in the same fur. "How did this happen?" She asked Hemming.

"When you bath in these waters, you become a creature of the forests." Hemming said. "I know the villagers think it is a curse. I've always considered it a blessing."

He held his hand out to Red again. "Come with me." He asked. Red paused. Then smiling she took his hand.

The villagers never knew what became of Red. Grandma Boyd's body was found, along with the woodcutters. The men of the village agreed that it was too terrible to share with the rest of the village. So a wolf was blamed. But, they were quick to point out, not the two silver ones that raced past the village in early mornings. Playing in the first rays of the sun.

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