Jezzibelle takes the basket outside. The wood frame house clusters with twenty others. A handful of trees and a split rail fence make an acre plot. Gardens, chickens and outbuildings fill the space. She loosens the strings that draw her bodice tight to her neck. Her red velvet cape makes her special. The blonde locks shows her off to the world.
“Mama, I’m off! I’ll be back by evening.” She sings like a bird taking flight.
The woods lay across a open field. It stretches several hundred yards. Her pace fleeing is brisk. Almost suddenly, wheat fields turn to weeds and shrubs, then tall trees heading for the skies. The dark woods hold wide paths. But what lies of the path can prove troubling.
“Jezzibelle! Oh, Jezzi!” The pale wolf runs up to her and then jumps into grass at wood’s edge. “I can see you! Can you see me?”
“I hate your game! I’m busy today. Must go to grandmother’s house. No time for you, Mr Wolf.” She dismisses him, but keeps a weary eye on his direction.
“She’s still sick. Sick people don’t eat much. Pinch new off some of that…Smoked Beef! Oh? Please…just a taste. Ok, just toss a bit of bread. I’d hate to have my belly think friendship is over rated. A wolf is a wolf, little one.” The wolf counters.
“No! I gave you some chicken last time. You were going to walk me there! Remember?! I’ll just see if the Huntsman can help a maiden. He won’t threaten to eat me!” She raises her nose to the sky and turns away from him.
“Easy my little dear! Just trying to get a treat. You better be careful of the Huntsman. He’ll do much worse things to a fine little girl in these dark woods. Your grandmother would approve. The family talks about you and your parents already. Grandmother was friendly to the wolf pack once. Say? Are you getting her place when she dies? We’ll be neighbors. More reason to help your wolf friend.” The wolf pushes her to the side of the path by walking against her. “You want to go into the field and pick some flowers for grandmother. It’ll cheer her up. Of course, I could help get that house quicker for you. A nice wine with an old geezer…just a thought.”
“Be gone you beast! Not yet! Not yet! She’s still my grandmother. My dream of being there alone…Someday. Be gone beast! Take some bread. You’re right about the flowers. Queen Ann’s Lace and Black Eyed Susan and Coneflowers.” She waves him off, then throws a chunk of bread behind her.
A secluded field hides like a treasure chest. Nature’s gems sparkle in the Sun. She dances out into the light. Her arms spread and like a bee buzzes from flower to flower. She hums a ditty. Her moves become more exaggerated. The rush of freedom is like a drug. Her movement stops on a dime.
The Huntsman is staring. His smile is overly friendly. A brawny man twice her size with wide shoulders, black shagging hair and rough beard longs at her. The stare is returned in hearts.
Trouble is the purest, simple flower on a vine with thousands of thorns that will produce a million seeds.