Once upon a time, there was a young wolf called Wolfric, or Wolfie as his Ma and Grandma used to call him. Wolfric was a kind young wolf, so when he heard his Grandma was poorly, he asked if he could do something to help.
‘Well, Wolfie, it would be helpful if you could take this spicy carrot soup to your grandma’s house,’ said Wolfric’s Ma.
‘Okay, Ma, I can do that.’
‘It’ll be quicker to go through the woods, but remember, don’t talk to any strangers, especially humans, you hear me, go straight there.’
‘Yes, Ma, I hear you,’ said Wolfric.
Wolfric loved walking through the woods. He would pick some flowers for his grandma; she would like that.
‘Okay, so here you go,’ Wolfric’s Ma handed a basket to Wolfric. ‘I’ve added some extra for you too.’
‘Thanks, Ma.’ Wolfric grabbed the basket and walked to the door. ‘See you later, Ma,’ he said and opened the door.
‘See you later, darling.’
Wolfric waved and left the cottage.
Oh, what a lovely day, thought Wolfric as he enjoyed the sun’s warming touch and the bird choir’s beautiful song.
A scream pulled Wolfric from his trance. He looked in the direction of the scream. A woman with curly brunette hair and wearing an orange-red coloured fur coat stood in front of him, hands covering her mouth and body trembling.
‘Oh, hello,’ said Wolfric. ‘Are you alright? Do you need any help?’
‘P-P-Please don’t eat me,’ said the woman.
Wolfric laughed. ‘Why would I eat you?’
‘Y-Y-You’re a wolf, aren’t you? You eat people, right?’
Wolfric shook his head and laughed again. Humans were so funny, always assuming other creatures wanted to eat them. ‘I’m sure you taste great,’ the woman whimpered, ‘but I don’t eat humans. Actually, I don’t eat any meat.’
‘What? You’re a vegetarian?’ The woman lowered her arms and her shoulders relaxed.
‘Yep, I’m a vegetarian. All life is so precious to me and my family—they’re veggies too.’
The woman smiled and stepped forward. ‘So… erm… oh, what shall I call you?’
‘I’m Wolfric, and you are?’
‘Nice to meet you, Regina.’ Wolfric bowed.
‘Yes, it’s nice to meet you too. So, where are you off to, Wolfric?’
‘I’m going to visit my sick grandma. She lives in a cottage on the other side of the woods. Oh, I should be on my way.’ Wolfric held up the basket. ‘I need to bring this to her. Goodbye, Regina.’ Wolfric walked past Regina, his mind returning to the beauty of this autumnal day.
Wolfric spun around, facing Regina. ‘What’s wrong?’
Regina smirked. ‘I know a shortcut that’ll get you there sooner.’
‘Yes, my own Grandmother lives on the outskirts of the woods, and I often take this route. You know, I must have passed your Grandmother’s house many times without realising.’ She smiled. ‘Do you want to know the shortcut?’
Wolfric tapped his chin. Hmm, getting there quicker would be great, Wolfric thought. ‘Yes, I would like the shortcut route.’
Regina gave Wolfric the directions, and Wolfric waved goodbye and set off on his journey.
Twenty minutes had passed, and Wolfric still hadn’t arrived at his Grandma’s house. ‘Hmm, maybe I took a wrong turn,’ said Wolfric. He was sure he hadn’t, for he remembered the directions clearly, and according to Regina, he would have arrived after a ten-minute walk.
Wolfric’s stomach rumbled. He lifted the basket and sniffed its contents. He would have to eat his share of the soup if he didn’t arrive at his Grandma’s house soon.
Five minutes later, Wolfric arrived at his Grandma’s house. ‘Oh, thank goodness, I’m here at last.’ He skipped to the door and knocked.
‘Who is it?’ croaked a voice.
‘It’s me, Grandma, Wolfric.’
‘Oh, my dear, please come in.’
Wolfric opened the cottage door, entered and closed the door behind him. ‘Hello, Grandma,’ said Wolfric, placing the basket on the table next to the wardrobe.
Grandma lay in her bed with a flowery nightcap on her head, and her blue blanket held up to her eyes.
‘How are you feeling?’ Wolfric walked over to the bed and stopped beside his Grandma.
‘Still poorly,’ said Grandma, voice croaky.
Wow, the cold must have really affected Grandma, thought Wolfric. ‘Ma made some soup for you. It’s spicy carrot soup, your favourite.’
‘Oh, thank you. That’s so kind of you and your mother.’
Wolfric frowned. When did his Grandma stop calling his ma ‘Vina’, which was short for Wolvina? In fact, when did his Grandma stop calling him ‘her little Wolfie’?
Wolfric studied his Grandma—something was wrong. ‘Why, Grandma, what small eyes you have?’
‘All the better to see you with,’ said Grandma.
‘Hmm, how can smaller eyes make you see better, Grandma?’ asked Wolfric.
‘Erm, I mean, the cold has caused me to squint.’ Grandma shifted up the bed a little, revealing more of herself.
‘Oh, Grandma, what happened to your fur?’
‘Erm, it fell out due to sneezing so much.’
Wolfric scratched his head. How could sneezing make you lose your fur? That didn’t happen when he last had a cold.
A sharp, silver object caught his attention. His Grandma had pulled a big knife out from under the blankets. ‘Oh, Grandma, what big knife you have.’
‘All the better to skin you with.’ Grandma leapt out of bed and charged at Wolfric, knife raised. They both slammed into the wardrobe as Wolfric grabbed for the knife.
‘Grandma, what are you doing?’ Wolfric managed to grab his Grandma’s knife-wielding arm and push her back. She landed on the floor, and her nightcap fell off, revealing brunette curls. This wasn’t Grandma. This was Regina. Wolfric stepped forward from the wardrobe towards Regina. ‘Where is my Grandma? What have you done to her?’
Regina scrambled to her feet, the knife still in hand.
A door creaked. Wolfric turned in time to see the wardrobe door swing open, and a half-skinned body land on the floor. He stared at the body, mind fighting to process what his eyes saw ‘Oh, Grandma!’ Tears poured from his eyes. He spun round to face Regina, who was again charging at Wolfric. ‘Y-You did this.’ He pulled back his arm and forced his fist forward into Regina’s face. Regina fell back and dropped the knife. She covered her nose in a failed attempt to stem the bleeding from her nose. She tried to scramble to her feet, but Wolfric jumped on top of her, pinning her to the floor.
‘P-P-Please, Wolfric, don’t hurt me. Remember, you said all life was precious.’
Wolfric snarled and shoved his face close to Regina’s. Regina’s warm hurried breath hit Wolfric’s face, and the smell of blood snaked up his nostrils.
‘We must be kind to other living creatures, little Wolfie, for their life is precious, all life is precious.’ Wolfric’s Grandma had often told him. But if life was so precious, why was her life taken? Why did Regina trick him so she could kill his Grandma?
‘Please, Wolfric, I’m sorry.’
‘Remember, don’t talk to any strangers, especially humans, you hear me, go straight there.’ Wolfric’s Ma’s warning played in Wolfric’s mind. If only he had listened to his Ma.
‘Why did you hurt my Grandma?’ A tear splashed on Regina’s cheek. She attempted to wipe the tear off her face, but Wolfric held her arms firmly.
‘Look, if you let me go, we can forget this happened, but if you don’t, your Grandma won’t be the only dead wolf.’ Regina grinned.
‘Why did you do it?’
‘Just let me go Wolfric.’
Wolfric grabbed Regina by the throat, rage pulsing through his whole body and sorrow crushing his heart.
‘Let me go, you stupid beast.’ Regina pulled on Wolfric’s hand around her neck, but Wolfric’s grip remained firm. ‘This is your last warning,’ said Regina.
Last warning! Who was she to give out warnings?
‘Murderer!’ Wolfric squeezed tighter. ‘All you humans are murderers.’ Regina gasped and scratched at Wolfric’s hands.
A glistening light caught Wolfric’s eye. He turned to see where the light was coming from. Lying to his left was the knife. Right hand still gripping Regina’s throat, Wolfric grabbed the knife and showed it to Regina.
Her eyes widened. ‘No, please,’ said Regina, choking out the words.
Please! Did his Grandma say ‘please’? Did she beg and plead with Regina? Did his Grandma look at Regina the way Regina was looking at him? She may have done, but it didn’t stop Regina. And now it wouldn’t stop Wolfric.
‘Oh, Wolfric, what big knife you have,’ said Wolfric, glaring at Regina. ‘All the better to skin you with.’
Copyright © 2020 Nicole J. Simms. All Rights Reserved.
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