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Aquila

United States

I enjoy reading and writing! Some of my favorite book series include Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and The Folk of the Air by Holly Black!

Message to Readers

Constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated! I hope you enjoy reading my piece!

The Woodland Forest

June 9, 2019

    The Woodland Forest was an infamous place.
    Yet, I still walked through it, ignoring the “Beware!” and “Wolves Ahead!” sign. As soon as I crossed the iron wrought gates and the stone arch, covered in vines, I found myself on a winding dirt path, damp with morning rain. 
    The dampness was in the air, and moistened my cheeks, until I felt I was completely doused in water, head to toe. The dirt was loose and sifted away easily as I dragged out my footsteps, not taking away my feet from the earth, creating two large ominous lines, that stretched on, to where my feet would take me.
    The trees around me were green with life, the foliage thick and flourishing. Colorful flowers sparkled like jewels with the morning dew, and dotted the green grass, the way sprinkes on a cupcake would. The grass was slick with moisture and the damp turf underneath was squishy and bouncy. 
    The sky was overcast, but no storm clouds were seen. The air was a bit chilly, but comfortable. It was the way I liked it.
    A gentle wind rocked the trees in a sigh, as if all the worries of the world were gone. The soft breeze tickled the tips of my hair, and blew them onto my face. It was like there was nothing odd about this forest. As if nothing had ever happened here.
     No, it was just a peaceful forest. 
    The silence surrounding me wasn’t deafening, but rather comforting. Sound of morning birds calling and the rustling of leaves made it a pleasant walk in the infamous woods. What did I have to fear anyway? All those who had grudges against my family were long gone. 
    The smell of damp dirt, flowers and fresh air drifted toward me and I took in a deep breath. I loosened my giant red cloak, which looked outrageous on me, a garment obviously three inches too long on my small frame. Bunching up the edges and tying them with spare ribbons I had put in an inside pocket of the cloak, I was finally able to walk without tripping, although it felt odd to feel the squished up cloak, tied with ribbons, hitting my leg as I walked. It looked like I had sewn rocks into the hem of my cloak, but I was fine with that. 
    The cloak blew around in me in a swishing motion. I fiddled with the golden clasps near my neck, an addition that I had made to finally, finally have another color than red on the cloak.
    Everybody expected me to be just like by great-grandmother, Red Woodland. I often wondered how my great-grandmother, at age eight wore this cloak and went to her Grandmother’s house. It must have been far too big for her.
    Most people know Red’s story. 
    Little Red Riding Hood, the small eight year old girl, (she was actually nine), walked through a dense forest, (the trees in these woods are spaced apart, not dense at all), and met the Big Bad Wolf, (who, to many protests and gasps, did not exist). The Wolf tricked her and ate her and her Grandmother. The brave woodcutter, (yeah right), rescued them, (he was the biggest coward who ever lived), and killed the wolf. He was a savior! 
    The story had changed so much from person to person, that the truth in the story was barely recognizable, but I knew the truth. The whole truth. 
    And that was part of the reason that I was even inside this infamous forest. Why, if it wasn’t for the “good” woodcutter, Red wouldn’t even have lived.
    This was what the world thought.
    It was all a lie.
    An attempt for a guilty man to make last efforts to save himself from being imprisoned. My family, the Woodlands, knew the truth. 

    Once a shapeshifter named Clarissa, lived in the Geode Lands, where the cliffs were tall and the shore low, on the easternmost side of our continent. One day she stumbled upon a golden box, hidden inside a cave on a cliff. The box entitled the holder to fifteen wishes, (I still don’t understand what the obsession is with three wishes), and had mysterious powers. 
    She planned to bring the box to Princess Topaz, ruler of the Geode Lands, who didn’t want the magic to fall into the wrong hands. 
    Along the treacherous path, she met a young man and his ill sister. He had nothing but an axe, which he claimed was a family heirloom, and he was loath to sell it for money. Feeling pity and sorrow for the siblings, she used one wish to give them a better life and heal the sister. The young man, realizing the powers of the legendary box, stole it from her and ran away, to give it to his king, who lived on the westernmost side of the continent, in the Laere Lands. 
    He managed to get away from her, but her mark remained upon the box, and the box stayed loyal, only to Clarissa. Unable to open the box and use one wish to get to the Laere Lands, he had to run on foot.   
    Clarissa chased the young man, hoping to get the box back and return it to Princess Topaz, who was the rightful owner. 
    The young man, named Anvil, managed to cross the Boughian Lands, the country between the Geode and Laere Lands, and hide in this very forest, which, back then, was called the Autumn Forest, for its magnificent fall colors. But it was spring, so the trees in the forest were just growing new buds. 
    Anvil hid himself in a small abandoned hut and waited for Clarissa to arrive. But, Clarissa was clever. She knew that Anvil would instantly recognize her, so, using her shapeshifting abilities, turned herself into a wolf.
    She camouflaged into the shadowy forest and approached the hut. She attacked Anvil. His fear of wolves was so great that he droppped the box and she was able to take it. As soon as she got the box, she fled and shapeshifted back to human form once she had run a great deal away from the hut.
    But Anvil had seen her.
    When she rested in a oak grove, that was completely hidden from sight, he sneaked up on her, in her wolf form, (it had been a chilly night), and trapped her inside a net. Anvil brought her back to the abandoned hut and demanded for the box, threatening to hurt her if she didn’t. 
    That’s where Little Red Riding Hood came in to the story.
    She had been skipping through the woods, where patches of sunlight danced to the song of birds’ chirps. As she walked through a more heavily packed part of the woods, she heard yelling, growling and the sound of metal striking metal. Leaving the safety of the path, Red ran through the broken trees lining her left and tripped into a broken cottage, where a man holding a glinting axe was preparing to swing the blade towards a wolf. 
    “Stop!” she had screamed, taking a small dagger and waving it around wildly.
    Anvil had realized that the altercation had been heard and had fled. The coward ran away from an eight-year-old girl! Red had saved Clarissa!
    As a tradition in the Geode Lands, a savior is rewarded with a prized possession. Clarissa had nothing but the box, which she gave to Red. 
    Anvil fled and told everybody in the Laere Lands that he had been deceived and had spun the tale of saving Little Red Riding Hood from the Big Bad Wolf, by hearing rumors and snippets of what truly happened. The truth of what happened and the tale he spun were similar, but each painted Anvil in a very different light.
     Thus, he saved himself from prosecution in the Boughian Lands and the king’s wrath in the Laere Lands. The king, (Anvil’s brother), coincidentally, also had a deep fear of wolves.

    That was a century ago. 
    After her encounter with Anvil and Clarissa, many years passed before Red had had a daughter, who she named a Red the Second, who was also my Grandmother. Grandmother had Red the Third, my mother. 
    And I was Celine.
    It set me apart. It made me feel different. That was all that mattered.
    I hated being told that I would be just like Red the First. I hated having to wear this ridiculous cloak, our family heirloom, and I hated being told that the Big Bad Wolf would eat me.
    I sat down on a tree stump, not far from the dirt path, allowing the wind the blow its cool air into my face and whip my hair around. Sighing, I crossed my arms.
    Who wants to be known as Little Red Riding Hood’s great-granddaughter?
    Some people even went as far as to call me Red the Fourth.
    Those words bothered me.
    Who wants to be known for “surviving” meeting Big Bad Wolf?
    Not me.
    Wallowing in my self pity, I sat on the stump, stalling, so I wouldn’t have to go to the mansion in the woods where my famous Grandmother lived. 
    She would say,
    “My, what silky, raven black hair you have! So like your great-grandmother’s!”
    “My, what large, gray eyes you have! So like your great-grandmother’s!”
    “My, what long fingers you have! So like your great-grandmother’s!”
    Scoffing, I tightened the clasp on my cloak, in response to the wind, that picked up speed.
    The clouds rumbled overhead ominously and the woods were plunged into shadows as the sun disappeared behind gray clouds. Owls hooted in the distance, and I saw large yellow eyes staring out of me in the hollow in the patch of oak trees ahead. I stood up and began to walk toward Grandmother’s house, not noticing the glowing emerald eyes in a patch of shadow to my right. 
I wrote this story from the perspective of Little Red Riding Hood’s great-granddaughter. I hope you enjoy this story! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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