Wicked Tales: Little Red's WolfbyRedHairedandFriendly©
Author's Note: This wicked tale is an adult version of Little Red Riding Hood. I do hope you enjoy it. Thanks to deathlynx for willingly reading as I wrote, pointing out a few things I missed, and a great title. If there are more errors . . . it is my fault. ~ Red.
Athelyna listened to the tales of old, wondering just like the other boys and girls if there were really creatures like her grandmother described. She thought it would be magical to meet up with one of the furious beasts of the forest, curl her fist and pop them on the nose. They would fear her. She knew they would. The sound of her father's voice pulled her from the story she was weaving in her own mind and she sighed when she heard her grandmother stop talking. "It is time for you to go home," her grandmother Beatrix said, a look of worry falling across her face as she realized the sun had set. Athelyna quietly rose from her place on the floor and walked obediently to her father's side. "My kiss, girl," her grandmother called out and Athelyna quickly ran over to give the wrinkled soft cheek a tender kiss. She wrapped her arms around the frail body, hugging her tight.
When Athelyna returned to her father's side, she found her red cloak held out to her. She slipped it on, once more feeling the love of her grandmother surround her. "Always wear the cloak, girl," Beatrix called and Athelyna dutifully nodded her head. She stepped out into the night, with her father holding her hand tightly. They walked the worn path together. Tonight though, her father seemed unsettled and Athelyna had to hurry to keep up with him. Her feet began to catch on loose roots that helped to make up the path and eventually she fell, crying out as her palms dug into the rock. "Father!"
Athelyna's father stopped to pick up his seven-year-old little girl and hurried through the forest. The young man felt death at his door and tried to outrace it. A growl seemed to emerge from the darkest pits of the forest and Athelyna screamed as a pair of yellow-green eyes suddenly appeared behind her. She saw the claws reach out and she felt the air from the blow caress her cheek. Her father screamed in agony, the sound high-pitched and deafening to Athelyna's ears. Suddenly she seemed weightless as the hold her father had on her grew slack and she fell to the ground. She cried as her cloak of red became covered in dirt and the rocks on the path cut into her skin.
"Stay on the path!" Her father screamed and turned to face the demon that had struck out at him and his daughter. Athelyna saw the gaping wound; her father's ribs and spine were exposed to the moonlight that filtered into the woods through the treetops.
"Go! Stay on the path!"
Those words were the last that Athelyna heard as she watched her father's neck become wrapped in a thick-furred claw. His body was lifted high in the air and as Athelyna scrambled to her feet she saw the snout of a wolf rip into her father's throat. She turned and ran as fast as her legs could carry her. The screams that poured from her tiny lungs continued for three more hours as she lay in her bed, her mother fretting over her.
Eleven years later . . .
Athelyna touched the soft fabric of her newest cloak. "Thank you, grandmother." She stood up and walked over to the bent figure who stirred a pot of stew. "It is beautiful; just like always." She kissed her cheek and then motioned for the old woman to sit and she began to work at the stove, finishing the meal that her grandmother had started. "Mother packed bread and jam this afternoon. I believe peach is your favorite flavor." Athelyna heard a soft squeal from her grandmother and smiled as she pictured the woman licking her lips in anticipation of the sweet gelled confection.
When the soup was finished, she dished out a helping for the frail lady and herself. Time passed as they conversed about the locals as well as her mother. When it was time for Athelyna to go, she pulled on her new red cloak and picked up the now empty basket. "I'll see you tomorrow, grandmother," she said as she made her way to the door.
"Stay on the path and keep your cloak tied tight, child."
Athelyna smiled and nodded her head. She stepped out into the sunlight and took a deep breath, enjoying the scent of the forest. With her basket in hand she began to weave her way through the woods, never straying from her path. As time slipped by she felt a shudder run through her. She pushed it back as best she could, but eventually her thoughts returned to the terror she had witnessed so long ago.
It had taken herself eleven years to return to the path in which her father's life was stolen from her. During those eleven years, her mother had drilled into her that what she saw was not real, but just a little girl's nightmare brought on by stories a demented old woman told to make little girls and boys of the village be good. Athelyna, over time, accepted it and when she began to go back to her grandmother's home it was with a strained confidence that she carried. The snapping of a twig brought her out of her reverie and she stopped walking. A frown formed on her delicate, heart-shaped face as she concentrated on the sounds of the forest. Another snap had her spinning around and peering down the sun-dappled path behind her. "Who's there?" Her voice wavered as she tried to remain calm.
The brush a few feet away from her moved and she stepped back as a man the size of a tree stepped forward. She blinked as he blocked out some of the light and only when her blue eyes had adjusted to the loss of light did she inwardly laugh at herself. The stranger was indeed taller than her, but not as tall as a tree, but he was thick like one. He looked to be over a foot and a half taller than her petite five-foot stature. His hair hung in loose waves to his shoulders, the color was as dark as night, but what drew her closer, unknowingly closing the distance between them, were his eyes. The soft blending of yellow and green seemed to stir something in her, but she knew not what it was.
"I am sorry I scared you." The stranger stooped down and picked up something from the forest floor and held it out to Athelyna. She looked down and felt her cheeks grow warm as she took her empty basket, so lost in her assessment of the man that she had dropped the wove container.
"Thank you and it is alright. I was just startled. It is not often I meet someone on the path." Her voice still held an edge of fright to it, but as the man stood still, not choosing to reach out to her, or advance, she slowly calmed her racing pulse.
"It is not often I go into town. I prefer my solitude. May I walk with you?"
Athelyna pulled in her lower lip and reached up to tuck a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear. "If you like." She waited till he moved toward her before she turned and resumed her trek through the woods. "My name is Athelyna."
"A beautiful name for a beautiful creature. I am Wolfe."
Athelyna felt a wave of panic, but pushed it aside, telling herself that she was being silly and it had been her earlier daydream that was now causing her to feel frightened. "Mister Wolfe, it is a pleasure to meet you. Have you lived in these woods long?"
He rewarded her with a smile, one that made her heart flutter. "I have, though my home is much deeper into the woods than most travel and like I said before . . . I rarely venture into the village."
"My grandmother lives in the woods. I was visiting her today, then again I visit her every day. She is old and frail, so I take her fresh bread as well as other oddities that I think she'll enjoy. Today it was peach jam." Athelyna grinned as she recalled her grandmother's squeal of delight.
"Perhaps now that I know you travel this path every day I will have to make a point to stray from my home more often." Wolfe stared down on her bright yellow curls and felt his body responding to her scent. She was untouched. Pure. Innocent and so ripe for the picking. He'd waited eleven years to find her, the only one left that knew of his existence. Now he found himself regretting that he would have to end her life. As she walked a few steps in front of him, he moved to grasp the weapon at his waist.
"I would like that."
Her words surprised him, forcing him to drop his hand and quicken his step, once more catching up with her. "You would?"
Athelyna smiled. "Yes." She laughed at his look of disbelief. "You find it hard to imagine that I would want company in these woods?"
Wolfe's lips curled in a grin, but he nodded his head. "The beast of the forest frightens you." His statement was made with a hint of frustration, but Athelyna saw it as mocking humor at her expense.
"There are no such things Though if there were it would not be polite to laugh at one's fear " She turned her head away and increased the speed of her walk, feeling a bite of anger as well as a shudder of fear when she thought of the dreams that still plagued her.
"Athelyna." He reached out and grabbed her arm, turning her back toward him. His free hand came up to touch her face and he smoothed his fingers across her cheek. "I am sorry. I was not laughing, just surprised that you would want my company. Forgive me . . . please." He was surprised that he actually wanted her forgiveness and when he saw her eyes soften and her features relax he knew she had done just that. "Thank you."
Athelyna nodded her head and once more they resumed their walk. When they reached the village she turned to thank her new friend and found him studying the locals through partially hooded eyes. "Do you need help finding anyone or anything in particular?"
Wolfe smiled and winked. "I believe I have found all I desire." He watched her blink and then blush, before she turned and headed toward what he would later learn was her home. "Until we meet again Athelyna." His whisper only heard by the wind.
Athelyna hurried home. Her thoughts consumed by the man with the haunting eyes. She'd seen eyes like that before, but could not remember where, nor was she overly concerned. Her steps led her to her home and she dutifully kissed her mother's cheek. "Grandmother sends her love."
Her mother smiled and placed the basket on the table. "Another cloak, I see." Her mother watched Athelyna remove the bright crimson garment and place it on a hook. The red hood was lined in a copper band of fox fur. "It is lovely," she said as she sliced at the apples she'd picked earlier that morning.
"It is, but every cloak she crafts is beautiful. I met someone today." Athelyna took a seat next to her mother and began to help peel the skins of the apples that had not yet met their fate.
The following morning Athelyna pulled on her cloak, fastening the red ribbon around her neck and pulling the hood over her hair. The wind picked up her skirt and she shivered as the cold air caressed her legs. She quickly finished fastening the hooks and eyes of the rich fabric, picked up her basket of warm bread and two slices of apple pie. Athelyna's steps were light, but quick as she hurried toward the forest. She waved hello to the villagers she passed and then looked expectantly around for Wolfe. Her shoulders slumped when she realized he was not there and her face showed her disappointment. As she stepped into the woods, she found herself wondering if the man had forgotten that she was going to be on the path.
"Good day Athelyna."
She looked up, having been concentrating on the tips of her shoes as she walked, and grinned. "Wolfe " Her smile as well as her eyes reflected her happiness of seeing him. "I thought you forgot." Her admission brought a smile to his face as he stepped forward.
"I have never forgotten you." His eyes stared into her and he watched her shiver. Wolfe stepped back. "What have you brought for you grandmother today?"
Athelyna lifted the cloth and the scent of bread and apples filled the air. "Bread and pie," she answered.
Wolfe breathed deep the aroma, catching the hint of the woman beside him and he felt his body stir with need. "Smells delightful, just like her granddaughter." Her cheeks grew red as Wolfe's eyes raked over her. "Does your grandmother like flowers?"
"Oh yes. She adores them. Her home is littered with them, inside and out."
"Perhaps you should gather some for her. I know where a beautiful patch of lilies grow thick in the meadow just a short walk from here." Wolfe stepped back and swept his arm in the direction of the darkest part of the forest.
Athelyna felt a sense of uneasiness once more consume her and she shook her head no, then hurried up the path. Wolfe watched her with hooded eyes, but quickly increased his own pace and caught up with her. "I am sorry. I did not mean to frighten you."
Her blue eyes were thick with unshed tears and she wiped at her heavily veiled lids. The gold lashes glistened in the light that slithered through the trees and danced upon her skin. "I am sorry. You did not frighten me. I . . . I just . . . I fear the forest, Wolfe. I have terrible dreams of my father's death and the forest frightens me."
Wolfe reached out and tugged on the ribbon that kept her hood over her bright yellow hair. "Tell me of these dreams." He pushed back the cloth and watched as her head became a glowing halo of brilliant light. His fingers pushed into her thick curls and he toyed with the silky strands between his fingers.
Athelyna leaned into his touch and instinctively kissed his palm as it moved to caress her face. She was surprised by her actions and felt her cheeks flare. "Forgive me . . ."
"I shall not forgive something so sweet as your lips upon my skin." Her skin turned a brighter crimson shade. "Tell me of your dreams Athelyna. Come, let us pick flowers together. I will be with you . . . trust me . . .there are no beast in the forest during the day."
She took the hand he offered and looked at the path that trailed behind her and ahead of her. For a brief moment she heard her father screams telling her to "Go!" and to "Stay on the path!" Even her grandmother and mother's voice seemed to echo in her head. A gentle squeeze and a soft tug brought her back to reality and she stared into the yellow-green eyes that were full of a need that she felt in herself, yet she knew not how to describe it. As she took the first step off the path Wolfe's smile grew wider. He continued to hold her hand, leading her through the thick foliage that surrounded them.
Less light entered this part of the woods and Athelyna found herself pressing closer to the tall man that was making her head swoon from his proximity and his firm and yet gentle touch. "Is this meadow far?" she asked, as she looked behind her and paled upon discovering the path was no longer visible.
"Not too far. My home is just around this bend." Wolfe continued onward, keeping his fingers interlaced with hers. "Would you care to see it?"
Athelyna nodded her head. Wolfe grinned and together they pushed through the woods and entered a small clearing. He waited for her reaction and was not disappointed. Her jaw dropped as she stared at the mammoth castle that seemed to blend into the mountain behind it. "I have never known of such a place."
"No one ventures off the path." His whispered breath brushed against her skin and Athelyna felt the hairs on her neck rise. She swallowed and heard a soft whimper leave her slightly parted lips.
"Come, let me treat you to a light lunch and then we will gather the flowers for your grandmother."
Again the warnings from her deceased father, her strict mother, and her loving grandparent returned to her, but she pushed them away as Wolfe looked expectantly at her. She smiled warily, but allowed him to lead her down the small hill and then across a path of brick and stone. They reached the castle doors and they parted without Wolfe lifting a finger. Athelyna expected to see a servant at the doors, thus explaining the way they had been opened, but no one was there. In fact as they moved through the large foyer and into the kitchen she couldn't help but take in the silence that welcomed her. "Wolfe, do you live here alone?"
He pulled several strips of jerky from a container and shrugged his shoulders. "Yes, but it is home." He gestured for her to take a seat at the worn table and he watched her fingers trace the deep scratches that scarred the surface. He could almost feel her fingers caressing his skin and he fought the desire that was building inside him. Wolfe had her now. He could end her life and continue his existence. It would be swift if he finished her off now . . . if he waited then she would suffer just as her father had.
"Are you okay?" Athelyna asked.
Her soft voice, laced with concern, pulled at him; he set the plate of jerky in front of her as well as a pitcher of cream. "I am fine. I simply was enjoying your presence in my home. It has been sometime since I have entertained . . . and never have I entertained a guest of such beauty." He took a seat beside her and watched her eat her light meal, chasing the salty meat with a few swallows of the thick, white beverage he had served her.
"You flatter me Wolfe, far more than I deserve." Athelyna licked her lips. She saw his hand move toward her. Her thoughts ran in circles as she kept herself still. His fingers brushed across her lips, picking up a few drops of cream that had escaped her cleansing muscle. When he drew his fingers to his lips and his tongue darted off to lick away the drops she felt her body sway toward him.
"Athelyna." Her name fell from his lips as he pushed away from his chair at the same time he leaned in toward her. His mouth pressed softly against hers. Their lips parting and their tongues timidly seeking the other out. Wolfe felt his hunger growing for her as her scents filled his nostrils. He heard her whimper and felt her warm muscle seek out his own. Reaching out, his hands pulled her up out of her seat and he set her on the table. His fingers pushed into her hair and cupped her scalp. Carefully he leaned her head to one side, and moved his lips from her inexperienced ones. Tender kisses were placed on her jaw. They traveled upwards to her right ear which he traced with the tip of his tongue. All the while his fingers took a stroll down her neck, across her shoulders and then along her slender arms. "The cloak. Take it off," he told her as his fingers slipped to the first catch and popped it free.
Athelyna heard her grandmother ordering her to keep the cloak on. She never understood why, but as Wolfe's fingers began to open the bright red fabric, she became aware of her body and how the cloak had kept her womanly figure hidden behind its folds. "I . . ." She whimpered as he pressed a kiss at the base of her neck. "I mustn't."
Wolfe pulled back and stared deep into her blue eyes. "I want to see you Athelyna. Take it off." He trailed one finger down the skin that was already exposed to him. The flesh was creamy. The color reminding him of the lilies they would gather later. He watched her skin change to a brighter shade and he felt the heat of her blush against his skin. Wolfe bent his head and kissed the top of her chest, letting his breath slide purposely between the cloth of the cloak and her top. He felt her shudder and then he felt her fingers slide between them. "Why do you hide?" he asked. Licking his way back up to suck on her pulse that beat rapidly in her veins. He could feel the pulse of life. It forced a low growl to pour from his throat.
Her breath caught as she fought for control, pushing her grandmother's words away. "I have always worn the cloak . . ."
"You are safe here. There are no prying eyes to feast upon your skin, at least not eyes of those that you do not know. You do not need to hide from me." Wolfe tugged on her ear. His hands moving to her thighs where he gathered up the material of both the red cloak and her skirt. His nails grazed her skin and again she shuddered at his touch. "Please," he growled.