Somewhere – Stories by 5

Zephira draws up her mandolin. A few gentle strums of its strings lets loose the amora of fall leaves and vanilla. Her head lowers beyond sight. The air rushes by suddenly perishing dreams of Summer. Her words turn staccato like piano notes. I resist with all my might.

A distant cello joins in with her melody. The world bends to her. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll slip back to where I belong. The world is so small within the looking glass.


Blessed Curse

“You must repeat your life! I’ll force you through another lifetime.  You’ll remember being powerless like a child! Everyone you knew will see you a stranger!” her words hiss as her eyes gets wider and brighter. “Cursed to be young with any old mind. Cursed to be orphaned! You’ll always remember me!

My eyes watch the world change.  I feel my body change. The world becomes taller about me.  The trees seem like monsters. The witch whom I still know nothing ofn stands above me.  Her face twisted in pleasure and her body curls to the right to look down upon at any angle.

“But I don’t understand. I’m young. Nothing hurts. The world is big and bold. You have blessed me to live knowing past mistakes.  I know not what I did to you. But I thank you.” I reach our with my little boy hand to shake her hand.

She is twice as angry with me now. Her hands curl in claw like fists.  Her complexion grows red.  Sharp teeth come out of hiding.

“So boy, you think this is better?! Where can you go? How will you eat? Who will look after you now!” Her face stays hideous.

“I have a lifetime to find out.” I smile with the innocence of youth.

She handed me the dream everyone thinks about, to have a second chance do live life all over again.

The Bridge

Angry clouds rumble. The faint swirls of the remains drift through the knoll.  Smoke fingers break and disperse.  Front winds clean up the last of it.  Embers of trees sizzle as the brush of drizzle arrives.  The work of the lightning quelled by its rainy shadow.  Still angry clouds rumble.  Unseen hands throw rain bitterly to the fields.

Stephen runs from the woods.  His young eyes hope to spy a break in the weather.  Instead the weather spits harder.  He tucks his head within his jacket.  It’s turned collar worthless. Innocence of young eyes glow with a dull sheen.  His eight years are enough to know the way but unable to get by the bridge.

“Davey! Davey!”  Stephen raises his face to the rain.  A voice ripples in fear and wavers hope.  “Davey!  I know you are here!  Come help me!”  

Stephen looks left and right.  The darkness of evening has married the storm.  Scrapes of light imagine trees bending to point the way home.  Past a simple bridge.  Stonework arches and cobblestones rich for the beat of the hoof.  Passage home, a shilling.  A pound of gold couldn’t be harder to find.  To an eight year old, at least.

A solitary figure haunts the bridge.  Two little eyes glow in the distance.  He can sense fear. He can sense silver and gold.  He has a taste for lost children.  His dark face knows no light.  It’s twisted pointed nose of ebony hooks toward an uneven mouth.  Sharps of teeth wickedly part.  A bright red tongue flicks like a snake.   Tasting the air.  Salivating.  

He knows what comes next.  His tortured fingers with spiny barbs rub the sharp chin.  He stretches out angled thin arms.  Impossibly long arms.  They match the tree trunk legs.  By standing taller than a mortal, he keeps his post.  Watching always watching.

Stephen meets eyes with him.  Torrent, the troll holds fast.  Stephen drawn like candle to flame takes the first step toward the bridge.  A zombie walk where steps make links of a chain.   Torrent knows the game.  For silver they walk.  He can only eat one or two a month.  Greed of metal or greed of food, same curses inside.

“Sir?!  Torrent?  I need to be home.  My brother and father…. they follow me.  Please.” Stephen stats twenty feet distant.  His arms pull forward, palms up.  His nervous shake has valid reason.

“I taste you from here.  Yes, you have family.  I’ll eat them too.  No metal, no passage.  You come to my bridge!  I don’t come to you. Yes?”  Torrent picks at his teeth with his fingers.  “Got a bit of little girl left from breakfast.  You children are stringy here.  They should feed you better.”

“Sir, my brother and father are much bigger.  I’m not enough for you to eat….” Stephens voice fades.  

“Save it child!  I have been fooled by goats and people.  But today, I see you served with fresh straw from the underside of the bridge.  My claws will quickly shred your flesh.  You won’t be concerned much longer.  Finish that walk…. Stephen.  Oh yes, I know who you are.”  Torrent smiles a teeth grin.  His tongue flashes and disappears.

“How? How is that possible?  I’ve only seen you once.”  Stephens jaw forgets how to close.

“Davey, he told me.  Let him go then, his brother and father will be right along.  Your father has two boys or metal.  Davey went home first, young Stephen.  So you are mine now.  Simply put.  Your brother does speak for his older brother?  Right?” Torrent reaches out his hand. “Come boy.  Do as your told!”

Stephen looks behind him.  “Davey!  Father!  It can’t be?!”

The rain continues to pelt him.  The trees lose the color in the dark.  An eight year old walks to the bridge.

“Stephen, I’ll let you pass for the silver.  Or well, dinner.  Come here little boy!”  Torrent sees the eyes of the child are glazed.  The bitterness in his soul relaxes as he sees the prize for his learning of the treachery of man.

Torrent grabs Stephen by the throat.

Under the cover of the rain, a faint voice calls “Stephen!”

Davey looks for his younger brother.  His father follows behind him.  They pieced together a hobbled cart.  The bridge is the only way left.  They will find the price paid.

Does the Dragon Return?

“Daddy!  Daddy….” Jackie Paper huffs deep breaths.  ” Dragon in the Oak tree… He knows my name!”

Six year old, Jackie looks up at fifty two year old Jackie.  

The son a ripple in time version of the father.   One cropped black hair barely as long as the ball cap not the other barely any hair and little black amongst the grey. 

“Dragons, you don’t say?   I had one… One fall.  We played every night.   Damn thing would wreck the house.   He was huge.   Emerald green with big eyes.” Senior talks while fixing a toaster than won’t pop up the toast.

“There’s one outside!   He knows my name!   Dad!  He knows my name!”  The junior is beside himself. 

“Of course,  he is your Dragon.   You make things up.  They have to know who you are….now don’t they?”  Senior Jackie looks up long enough to push his glasses up his nose.  “Just leave it outside.  Mom won’t understand if things get broke in here.  Girls don’t believe in those things much.   Sad to say.   Go play now boy.  Things to do.”

“But Dad, he’s still out there.  He’s a dragon they eat people! You have to cut the tree down and throw it out.  I’m not going outside without Patches.  My dog will at least believe me!”  Young Jackie is partially red.  Chubby cheeks and watery eyes waiver. 

Jackie, Sr looks at his son walking away.   “Kids.  We used to have to do all the imagery work ourselves.  I don’t think I was ever inside except to eat.”

Jackie, Sr looks out the office/laundry room window at the offending Oak.  He shrugs.  Then sees a twinkle of green.
Part 1 – Here be the Dragons

Dragon’s Liar

“It’s right there.  Come on! Come on look!” Alex yells at Jackie.  His arms thrusting violently toward the tree.

“Alex, there’s nothing there.  It’s an old tree.  You are stupid.  Dragons don’t love here it’s not ugly enough.  My dad says so.  He had one as a kid!” Jackie tugs on his ball cap.  His mind is on throwing a ball around.  Big kid stuff.  

“Your dad was going to build you a tree house.   You said.  I bet he knows the dragon lives here.” Alex kicks the trunk of the tree. “I saw him.  The dragon is green.  Shiny green, kinda dark like.  Sparkly. He is shy dragon.” 

“Did you hear it roar?  Everyone knows a dragon roars to tell you it’s there.  If you scare a dragon they torch you with their breath.  But I told you.  They live in ugly places.  They need mist and something called gloom.  We ain’t got that.”  Jackie throws the ball on the air.  He missing it and it bounces toward the tree.

“The dragon did that.  He wants you to go see him.” Alex flashes a smile at Jackie.  His little heart jumping out of his chest. 

“They can’t do that!”  Jackie stands his ground.

“You are scared!  Jackie is scared! He is so scared.”  Alex spins around telling the world.

“AM not!  I’ll show you.  I’ll show you! ” Jackie doesn’t move.

“Chicken!  Or do they need gloom too!” Alex crosses his arms.  His stiff body  says ‘I dare you’. 

“Ok. I’ll do it…” Jackie slowly walks over to the tree.

The ball rolls closer to the tree.  One green flash comes from the tree.  An eye clear as day blinks twice.

“Little Jackie Paper?”  something in the tree speaks.

Two boys run.

Beware the Cape – Epilogue

Moons pass her quickly now.  Jezzibelle, four decades past her wolf story, stares at 16 year old granddaughter.  She has bestowed a red velvet cape.  A shadow of the one her Grandmother gave her.  Every facial feature, every long flowing blonde hair, every bit of her former shape confronts her.

Heidi looks at the red cape and pushes her chocolate eyes to her adoring Grandmother.  “It’s beautiful!  I’ve never felt such soft fabric.  It’s my favorite color, too!!”

“You’ll be the center of attention everywhere you go, my darling.  Wear it well. Head high, hair slightly covered.  I had one once.  It was back when I was your age.  I was the littlest one.  It was my first piece of new clothing.  I wore beautifully repaired hand me downs.  But beware, the attention has a price.  You need to be careful of what people want from you.” She looks down at her former self in marvel.

“I know your story!  I can’t believe that was you.  You are not the wild type!  You are old and slow.  I think of how you most have looked when you were my age.  But your eyes are much bigger.  Your eyes are much bigger.  And they say you had a sharp tongue.  I see none of those in me.” Heidi smiles an innocent smile, that hides secrets.  Grandmothers know the smile well.

“Remember child.  I moved here to start a new life. I was once much like you.  As once I stand here now, soon you shall be in my place.  The secrets come out in the wash. Now, little one, it’s time to open the shop for the day.  Put on your red cape, Le Pettit Chaperon Rouge Chocolate shop waits for no one!”  Grandmother doesn’t promise her the house or the business.

The trail of breadcrumbs starts here…

Beware the Red Cape – The Reconning

“Oh you’re the one they warned me about!” Willie pokes his  long nose through a stand of reeds. The  forest casts a strange color around the young girl in a red cape. 

Jezzibelle breaks her spell from the gentle rays of sunlight and the forest.

“Excuse me? Are you talking to me little wolf! I’m with child. I’m defenseless until my Huntsman boyfriend returns. He’ll kill you! Dead as a doorknob!” She straightens her hair and hood as she talks.   Tugging at the front to hide a bump six months along.

“Jezzibelle, Jezzibelle, Jezzibelle!  Your Huntsman is at home with his wife!   You had him murder my uncle after you killed your grandmother to get her house. Us, wolves, know the truth. But I know your true name!  You can’t hurt me.  You can’t fool me!  My uncle was bringing your grandmother the food you throw out.   We found it every week.   You thought she would die of starvation.  We saved her for a year from you.  But we saw you get the house.And the Huntsman, too.  Oh you’re evil little girl!!  How they ever believed your lies?!  Someday, the Huntsman won’t come back.   It’ll be your baby and just you.   Then we’ll see who fears who.” Willie slinks back to the woods in seek of that elusive rabbit he followed here.

Jezzibelle looks in shock.  How could the little wolf talk to her like that. 

“It’s Le Petit Chaperon Rouge!  Not Jezzibelle.  I’m a victim of men! Cunning animals!  I’m alone with grandmother.  I’m always alone!”  She knows if she says it enough they’ll believe her.

“The Huntsman will come back.  I likes to see me.  He gets to have his way with me.  And get away from that nasty wife and screaming kids….” Her mind wonders about the month since hes been around.  “It’s spring!  Yeah that’s it.  Lots of things move around this time of year.”  She doesn’t know if that’s the reason.  It puts her mind at ease.

“Jezzibelle!  Where are you?!” Her father comes through the woods carrying a bag of grain. “Where the hell are you!”

She loathes the visits.  She needs the help.  The family doesn’t see her much since she started to show a baby bump.  The unwed are frowned upon in the village.  The church threatened to take work from her father.  She has been reminded girls are welcome, but she isn’t a woman without a proper husband.

“You’re alone here still, aren’t you?!” Theodore pokes his head into the cabin of his mother in law.  It’s dingy, dark.  The fireplace is the best thing in it. 

His daughter stares up from the table.  

“Father, you brought me something good!  I love surprises.  I don’t see many people any more.  It’s nice and quite…but I’d love to come back for a day or two.” Jezzibelle pries at her father.  She could get him to do anything…before this.

“Child….child.  I have talked with the deacon.  You are going to have a choice.  Living away from everyone here.  Go to Munich.  Your husband got ate by a bear.  You’re a widow.  The church will take care of setting you up.  You need to work for them.  They’ll give you a penitence.  Make good on it.  Maybe you’ll come back to us…. changed.  A woman.  A right woman.”  He doesn’t look directly at her.  His hands are clinched.  He throws the bag of grain on the floor. “Well, you have a week. The deacon will send a horse for you.  Pack a bag.  Your blessed with a chance.”

“But father!! This is my home!  You….Mother…Grandmother said it would be mine!  Now it’s…” She rebels like every other time.

“You have the demon’s tail for a tongue!  You laid down with a married man.  You bear his fruit inside.  It’ll be evil…unless it’s raised in good light.  Pack your bag.  I’ll bring Mother by before you leave.”


The first hundred or so words were part of a challenge on twisting a fairy tale

But the real path starts here.  Or it did once upon a time….

The trail of breadcrumbs starts here…

The Wolf –  Beware the Red Cape

The grass at the edge of the woods offers places to stalk prey.  But the wolf isn’t hunting.  His attention is on the bulk of a human called the Huntsman.  His black hair like flowing coal.  His eyes locked on the wolf’s friend Jezzibelle.  The both of them watch a dance of youth through wildflowers.  Her hair slowly emerges like a yellow bloom as she moves.  The Huntsman hold his ground while being drawn in at the same time.

“Humans are so hard to figure out.  They stay at the edges and expect to meet in the center together somehow.  It looks like one of them will get what they want, he always does.”  The wolf sighs.  He has seen enough.

The wolf sees a rabbit hop into the woods.  His mouth forms a snarl.  Small rabbit is a tender nugget.  He starts a silent trot.  The bunny works his way down a wide path. He’s is unaware of the shadow moving closer.  The wolf gets close enough to taste the bunny.  The favorite part of hunting know the moment of the kill is at hand.  Your hand.  As his smile gets too large to open his mouth the bunny makes a sudden right.  Hopping graceful at lightning speed.  The wolf sits back and can only watch as the bunny disappears into the woods.

His belly growls.  Hunger is a constant companion for the wolf.  The is never a meal to turn down.  His thoughts of the girl have gone away.  The Huntsman has him concerned.  If he stalks her.  Then he knows the wolf.  Wolves don’t let anyone follow them.  It time to do something about the might hunter.  But first, the stomach needs an easy meal.

The wolf trots down the center of the wide path.  Filtered sunlight come and go across the way.  Dark patches require a little more attention.  Someone maybe be waiting for him to eat them.  Alas, nothing turns up.  Until a clearing catches his eye, a same patch of grass  leads to a couple Black Walnut trees and a hickory.  A small cabin rests under them.  Rock faces and  brown wood mix with old plaster.  The roof has a few patches of moss and grass growing on it.  The wolf has been here before.  He was welcome visitor at one time.

He cautiously approaches the cabin.  Slinking along the wood side of the grass, he circles the cabin three times.  The are no sounds inside or outside.  His meal might be right here.  His slow approach to the front door is straight foward.  The door is the only way in or out.

He tries the latch on the door.  A simple catch any nose could lift does just fine.  The door lets in light severally lacking inside.  A wide beam rushes in the foot wide opening.  It crosses a wooden block table, a ladder back chair, part of a fireplace, before crashing into the far wall, only to bounce back on to an elderly woman.   The solitary figure lifts up just enough to notice.  Eyeglasses reflect sparkles of light.  

The wolf walks in and sits just inside the door.  He looks about the old cabin.  It’s dark.  He lets his eyes adjust as he takes in the view.  The cabin is a lost hour of time.  The cast iron ware has layers of carbon.  The wood furniture worn to fit particular bodies over the years.  The fabric making curtains were feed bags of long lost animals raised under sapling trees.  The simple plain large room just big enough to hold a lifetime of memories.

“You have come for me, Mr Wolf?  I was hoping it was my granddaughter.  She is due.  Well, overdue as always!  Matters little to you I am sure.  Be quick about it!  Are you the one that ate from my table?!  Now come to consume me?  I’m a tough gristle filled woman.  No tenderness to savor.”  She doesn’t feel the need to rise up much.  She coughs the tired cough of old age.

“It’s just business.  We are here to clean up after the world.  No malice!  No hostility! I remember your kindness.  Our pack never stole one chicken from you. Can I bring you something first?” The wolf stays in place next to the door.  His ears focused outside.  He is keenly aware he got here first.  But unaware of who all is still coming.

“You are too kind…’before I eat you…do you need something?’ I could not be dinner to a more polite and socially graced beast.”  Her cough breaks up her words. “No, I have waited for death for weeks on end.  His scythe used to harvest those more ready to meet their demise.  I’m hungry and feeble.”

“Very well.  Death doesn’t make the house calls he used to.  His thrill is in those who are unaware that he sat at their table, drank their wine, smoked their tobacco before he cut them down.  He take them in their prime or in the crib.  Sorry, it is the scavenger for the elderly.” The wolf slowly creeps up to her bedside.  There is a moment when his heart sinks.  His hollow stomach pushes it back in place. 

His face enlongates.  Great yellow fangs come forward.  His eyes once lively and chocolate brown, blacken and hollow.  The hair on his nape jumps upright by a full inch.  His forelimb muscles tighten to reveal strength few see twice.  His game is to pounce.  He lands on her chest staring straight through her soul by way of her eyes.

“My rod and staff comfort me.  I fear not…” Grandmother never gets to finish.

The wolf drags her out of bed.  Her pulls her limp body outside into the yard.  She deserves dignified end.  Not the slowly death she was lingering for.

He makes quick work of her trying to make his get away sooner rather than later.  He belly is calming.  His spirit starts to lift.  It’s far better not to know your meal. His right hind leg feels a burning sensation.  Pain, burning pain erupts into the muscle.  His legs kick him instinctively into motion.  He can’t run like he wants to.  He turns to see the Huntsman.  His bow a long line across him, arrow notched ready for flight.  A red cape trying to stay out of the way behind him. The arrow sails next to him.  Better not be here for another.  He turns to run.  The second and third catch him in to left leg.  He is hobbled.  If he can make the woods, he can bite the son of a bitch on the way out.

The Huntsman jogs across the field.  He makes haste closing on the wounded animal.  His axe is out.  His favorite part is the kill.  This is special.  He seen the wolf with Jezzibelle before she went into the meadow.  The wolf had played her.  He would gut that mangy piece of vermin for this.

The wolf hears the feet coming.  He knows his end is here.  Just get him close enough to wound the hunter.  Noble death at least.  His chance comes and he barrel rolls with the hunter feet away.  His fangs snatch at air.  The Huntsman drops the axe across his belly slicing him collar to groin.  In a collapsing mass, entrails of grandmother are revealed.  The Huntsman rears back at the sight.  He turns to an approaching Jezzibelle.

Her face is compact and she is crying.  Her eyes much like a raccoon.  Her hair no longer glowing and the red cape has fallen back to a streamer.  She has yet to see the worst of it.

“Grandmother is gone!!  She is gone!  What did you do?  The wolf did this because of you….”  Her words fail as reality shows her fears do make life true. “How am I supposed to explain this?  I mean if we don’t…. She is still alive!  Go get someone!  Who do we get for this?”

Her meltdown has just began.  

The trail of breadcrumbs starts here…

The Huntsman- Beware the Red Cape

“Little girl!  You are a long way from the village and that wolf isn’t the type of friend you need.” His dark hair shines a halo on his wavy black hair.  He places his crossbow into a back sling.  Flexing some exaggerated biceps for emphasis.  His smile wide framed by beard and mustache.  Dark eyes show clear from a hundred yards.  The most up close hundred yards ever.

“Am not so little, mister hunter!”  The dancer draws upright with an arch to her back to best show him where she has grown up.  “I have few choices in escorts.  What is a girl to do in a dark woods?!  I came to the field to gather flowers for my grandmother.  You are far too burly for flower gathering.  You would break them to bits.”  

Jezzibelle holds her ground.  The man should come to her.  She crosses her arms in an effort to separate the bodice a touch more.  She pulls back to hood of her cape.  Blonde long wavy locks spill out.  A glow catches her.

The Huntsman sighs quietly. “A woman would meet me halfway!  I might be able to walk you to your grandmother’s but I have things to kill.  People need to eat and the jingle of coin makes my heart almost as happy as the gorgeous smile you wear.  But my eyes grow weary of statues.”

She steps forward a dozen times.  She brakes her stride to pick a few Black Eyed Susans. “You aren’t pricing flowers!  If you want to help me…. You could go off and kill something quicker that way.” Her eyes size him up as he approaches her.

He keeps eyes forward while snaring a handful of Queen Anne’s Lace and Coneflowers in perfect stride.   His eyes return the favor of seeing what he’s up against.  “Two bottles of wine for such a small person.  Am I intruding on another rondezvous?  Maybe your interlude has another man…. Hate to be in the way.”

“Oh there’s no one else.  I mean what makes you think I’m sharing the wine with someone.  Grandmother needs to feel better, after all.  She’s sick and all.”  Her sudden answer slowly ends.  Her interest in what he might do grows faster than her thought of making him keep his hands and arms elsewhere.  He is so much bigger up close.  Her heart sputters at being a woman for his taking.  Her head spins back to her basket.  There is an audible snap in the breaking of eye contact. “Maybe….I could spare a bottle to share.  But only if your a gentleman.  I don’t want you to have the wrong idea of me.  I have a good family to think of.”

“You get what, you get little girl.  No more! No less! So either open the wine, or we walk you to….that house under the Black Walnuts and Hickories.  Your choice.”  His eyes actually burn on her skin.  He knows she is young and easy to lead astray with a touch of wine.

“Stop looking at me like that!  I’m not a piece of meat.  If I were, you’d kill me with that crossbow or axe.  I’ll share my wine but only if we go right after its drank.”  She pops the cork out of the stubby bottle.  Her eyes take a drink in as she tastes dandelion wine.  

The Huntsman grabs the bottle so both hands stay on together.  Her smile turns smirk and a little coy.  After her third drink she raises on her toes to taste second hand wine on his lips.  His embrace swallows her whole.  Large coarse hands kneed her like clay.   His kiss takes away her breath as she fails to fight for its return.  Her heart explodes.  She loses her vertical world falling like a sack of flour.  The dull thud muffled by rustling clothes being freed.  In a faint glimpse of innocence she peeps “wait, I’m not sure about this.”

He burns through her paper resistance.  Lust proves stronger again and again.  Her body both given and taken.  The warmth of the Sun cool in comparison to the Huntsman.  Her world swings wildly.

Reality crashes through.  She sees him standing above her.  So much larger now.  Her body strongly colder by the instant.  His smile has shifted to more pride than anything.

“You said we need to make haste to grandmother’s house.  Let’s straight you up a bit.  You look like you got tossed a bit.”  He puts out his right hand to help her up and finishes off the dandelion wine.

The trial of breadcrumbs starts here…

Beware the Red Cape – Into the Woods

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.

Part 1