"You.... are not afraid." The words were spoken in a low, guttural voice.
"Was i supposed to be?" the girl asked in a calm, almost cold manner. she looked in front of her, being only able to see what was facing her as a shadow.
"Everyone runs when I come close. They scream in fear at my teeth, my claws, my eyes, my ferocity, for I am a monster."
"Then it seems I'm not like everyone else" she retorted "You say you are dangerous, so why you still didn't attack me?"
"..." The monster was silent for a time. "...I cannot answer that question."
The girl let out a smile "If you offer no danger to me, then there's no reason for me to be afraid"
The monster chuckled softly. "You make me laugh. I like you."
"And, for a monster, you don't sound like one" said the girl.
"I was human, once."
"Is... Is that so? Well... I'm sorry for you" She sighed "... I need to go. people will get worried if they don't find me at my house... but, i like to walk around here at night. if we ever meet each other again..."
"Then we may have another conversation." The monster smiled a smile of fangs that glinted white in the faintest slivers of moonlight, and he reached out with a furry, clawed hand, and stroked the girl's red hood. "I look forward to seeing your red hood again, girl."
"then, until we meet again" she turned back and walked away, disappearing in the shadows of the forest.
The monster smiled again. Talking with this girl gave him a warm feeling that he had thought he'd forgotten.
The monster had been cursed. He was human once, yes, but one day, coming home from the bar with his friends, he had been foolish enough to anger the sole witch who lived in his town.
He was given the form of half-human, half-wolf, inherting the bloodthirst of one. according to the moon of each night, his mental state would change, New moon was the moment where he was the closest to acting like a human, in a night of full moon though...
...at the full moon, he was a beast in mind and body both. He had to imprison himself him a deep, deep hole every full moon in order to stop himself from running rampant and killing everyone in town.
It was because of him that people avoided the forest so much, everyone was afraid of becoming his victim. He did not blame them for that, it was probably the best for everyone.
But that girl.... she wasn't scared of him at all. Why not?
The red hood girl finally made her way back to the town, it was pretty late so everyone was asleep... well, almost everyone.
Outside his house, cleaning a knife, was a young man, pale of skin, with flaxen hair and the soft cheeks and thin shoulders of boyhood. He looked up to see the red hood girl. "...You."
"Crap..." she whispered to herself upon hearing him, she turned back to face the man "what is it? you should already be used with me and my night walks."
"I know you've been to see the wolf. I can smell his scent on you." The man did not seem upset by this. "Making friends with the wolf, are you?"
"Any problem with that?" she retorted "He didn't even threatened to attack me"
"Even so, you ought to be careful. It is a new moon, and he becomes bestial as the moon waxes. It is good that you are showing him kindness, but on the night of a full moon, he goes berserk. Do not let yourself near him on a full moon."
"Don't worry, I won't do that... you won't tell anyone, will you?"
"Great. thanks for keeping that secret" she thanked the young man and headed to her house. The man began cleaning his knife again, wondering if he would need to use it.
from there on, the red hooded girl started wandering around the forest every night she could, and most of the time, she would find the wolf, sometimes, they spoke to each other, other encounters were just quick, quiet and content moments between them.
The young man, which was the town's huntsman, kept watch on her when she was leaving. he never allowed her to go out in days near the full moon... but there was one case where she was able to sneak out on a full moon night...
Tentatively, the red hood girl entered the clearing where she had first met the wolf. All was silent. Too silent to be anything good.
"Uh... hello?" she stuttered, trying to call the wolf.. still no sign of anything. she decided to go a little deeper in the forest, maybe she could find him there.
for a moment she looked at the sky, the moon was eeriely big that night.
Then, she heard a growl, and every bone in her body shook at the sound.
Flinching for a moment, she took a step back. the girl picked up a pebble from the ground and threw it... no response.
She took a deep breath and headed foward.
Another growl, and from within the bush ahead of her, the girl could just barely see the full moon glinting off a pair of dark eyes.
"Uh... is it you? are... you okay?" she stuttered once again.
"...Hu...man..." the shuddering, halting voice in the dark said, raspy and broken, barely sounding human at all. "Leave.... before I rip you.... to pieces..."
"I'm.. not leaving you, until i'm sure you're alright..." the Red hooded girl answered back.
"It is a full moon..." the wolf said slowly. "Not... in control. Killled three deer. Claws red."
"Just... please, tell me you won't get yourself hurt or... or worse" she stepped back as she said that.
"Dug a pit. Trapped myself until day."
"is that so... well, i need to leave... see you at next new moon" she said and without thinking twice, she ran away, muttering to herself how much this was of a bad idea, this was terrifying for her.
The huntsman saw her exit. "I thought I told you to stay away from him on the night of the full moon. He is in the pit, yes?"
"No" she answered " he was out..."
The Huntsman's eyes widened. "Then may God have mercy on us all," he said softly. "I am going in to stun him until day." He held up a tranquilizer gun. "If I do not make it out alive, tell my family."
She didn't say anything, only stood there at the town's entrance as the huntsman headed inside the forest.
Finally, she ran away, back to her home, and to her bed.
The Red hood girl woke up with yells coming from the outside. she tried to go back to sleep but it was simply too loud. finally giving up, she went outside to check what was happening.
She saw a lot of people surrounding the huntsman house, all of them complaining about something, she was still half asleep and it were too many voices speaking at the same time for her to understand anything. All she caught were some voices.
"No, don't hurt-"
"It's a menace, that's-"
"-Stop! He never-"
her head was already starting to hurt, so she walked away from the angry mob and waited until they went away. Once things finally got more quiet, she got near the huntsman to ask what just happened.
He looked at her gently. "A group of drunkards from the tavern captured your friend."
The red hood girl went rigid. "They- they what!?"
"Exactly what you just heard" he confirmed.
"Where is he?! and... When did they capture him?!" she was asking one question after another, not even giving time for the huntsman to answer.
"They caught him just a little while ago, and he's in the tavern, in a cage. I'll take you to him." The huntsman took the girls' hand and hurried her on.
There were a lot of people of people inside the tavern, all of them wanting to see the cursed beast who lurked in the forest for so long. the place was even worse than outside, but the girl was able to clearly hear what most of them were saying
"-We should just kill him! He's a threat to our whole way of life!"
"Then why hasn't he attacked? Tell me that!?".
It was mainly an argument to see if they should kill him or not.
The girl made her way through the crowd until she was able to see the wolf, she made sure he wouldn't see her, though. she was sure it would be trouble for both of them if they discovered.
...It didn't work.
He growled when she saw him. "You... again. Why are you here? I am a caged beast, ready to tear all these townsfolk apart." He laughed without mirth.
The entire tavern got silent as he spoke and a few seconds later, the mess came back even bigger.
taking this as a chance, she got a bit closer to the cage where he was in.
"Are... are you alright" she asked, instantly regreting making that question. Of course he wasn't ok, he was caged like an animal with at least a quarter of the town discussing if they should kill him
He shook his head. "No, I am not. I am about to lose my life, child."
"Hey! there are people who are against killing you. Being hopeless like this won't help you in anything"
"Very few of them. And... to be honest, I agree with the people who want to kill me. I do not deserve to live any longer, as nothing but a cursed wolf and a menace to the lives of innocents like you."
"Don't say that! you're not the monster you say you are. If that was true, I wouldn't even be her today" she said. even with the angry expression in her face, the wolf couls see tears pooling up on her eyes.
The wolf hung his head. "Do you know what I did the day I was transformed?" he asked softly. "I killed all of my drinking buddies. I tore them apart, and ate their corpses. I was a monster."
"..." she didn't have anything to say for a moment, she didn't look shocked though, just sad "please... don't say those things..."
he wasn't even sure if she would listen to him. "I wish I didn't have to, but it's best if you just leave me be."
"I'm... I'm not leaving..." she answered, tried to get even closer to him.
"Please. Leave. Don't stay here." The wolf gave her a pleading look. "I want to die already. Please."
she didn't say anything, instead she just glared at him for a few moments and walked away, back to the crowd, she tried to leave before he saw she was crying...
... again, it didn't work.
"I'll never leave you." The red hood girl returned. "Never. I promise."
This called some attention to her and, by the end of it, she had to be dragged away from him.
"No! Don't kill him!" she protested as she was dragged out of the tavern. "He's innocent! Please!"
she was left out of the tavern, door locked from the inside, she kept screaming for them to spare him, until she realized she wasn't helping on anything, all she could do was... wait.
In a few minutes, the Huntsman came out, carrying the wolf along by a leash. "We have reached a decision."
the were even more people out there, each one of them were waiting for the answer, the red hood girl was also there.
"...The wolf has requested to be executed tomorrow morning."
the crowd was a bit surprise upon hearing that the wolf requsted his death and, although this didn't make he scream, it was enough to make Red hood cry.
"No," she murmured, tears falling from her eyes. "N-no... how? Why?" She ran up to the wolf. "Why, wolf? Why must you die?"
the wolf did not answer,he simply looked away from her, he couldn't face her. "..."
"PLEASE! Answer me!" the girl in red wailed.
"just... leave me alone..." he muttered, still not looking at her.
there was a few more seconds of silence, before the girl said something "you know what? FINE, just... do whatever you want, i don't care anymore!" after that, she ran away, still crying.
The wolf looked on helplessly. "...I'm sorry."
Night became day, and the hour of the wolf's death arrived.
It was going to happen at the town's entrance, everyone who was at the tavern yesterday was there too, including the red hooded girl. She watched the procession emotionlessly.
the wolf was brought to the town entrance, the huntsman with him.
the huntsman took a deep breath "do you have any last words?"
"...There is someone I love," the wolf said. "And I know she is here. I want her to know... that I wish for her happiness. She deserves only kindness in her life."
"... very well, then" the huntsman sighed, he picked up his knife and came close to the wolf, stabbing him in the heart, there was no scream of pain, not even a whimper, neither was any cheers for his death among the crowd, nor any mourning, for a few moments, it was pure, dead silence.
Then, the girl began to cry again. Tears fell like cold winter rain, bitter and thick.
Bit by bit, people started to leave, until only the huntsman and the red hood girl were there.
"I guess we should bury him," said the huntsman.
the girl nodded, cleaning away the tears from her eyes.
after half an hour, the wolf was finally givena proper burial, he was buried in the forest, with a makeshift cross used in place of a tombstone.
the girl, which had left during that, came back to visit his grave, she had a purple-colored flower in hand
"it's called Wolfsbane... it was the only flower the flower shop was selling today," she muttered.
The huntsman smiled sadly at the irony. "For the sake of our dear lost friend, let us call it aconite." He took the flower from the girl's hand and placed it upon the grave plot. "May he find rest in God's arms."
The girl nodded in agreement. "I loved him, a bit," she said softly. "He was a dear friend to me."
"I know." The huntsman held her hand, and they stayed there for a while, until the sky turned dark.