My Big Bad Wolf

Part 2 of the Red Riding Hood Story

I see her.

Foolish tiny human.

Resting in the leaves, I see the girl. Walking by herself on the path. Picking flowers. Humming a tune. About her mother, the warmth of home. Food for grandmother. But she pauses often. Looks around. She knows danger is near. I rise. Follow.

My brain. Kill her!

My stomach. Eat her up! So empty. Since I left wolf pack.

You do not belong, they had said, all eyes on me. Too many thoughts. Too many feelings. You bring disorder. They did not force me away. We are wolf, we are pack, there are rules. To challenge, follow at a distance, leave or to lie down to join the Great Forest as we fade. These are the choices when shunned. I did not want to fight Alpha. Or die. No lingering as an outsider. I am wolf, This Wolf, I will not beg to be part of the others. Loping on grass, I turned my back on them.

I am alone now, without pack.

The girl has a basket with delicious smells. My nose in the air. Sniffing. Enticing scents. But the small human is a larger meal. We, all packs, prefer other prey. Not humans. Those we rarely hunt. But I am hungry. I am just one.

My paws keep pace with her feet, slowing when hers does.

We tread together, This Wolf knowing, small human not. But she senses. Draws her red cape around her. Basket more against body. Fingers white with cold, lips drawn tight. A frown on her mouth, on her forehead. She surges forward. She is a fierce cub.

I get closer. And closer. Girl human slows, head turning from side to side. No wolf ears to point, to swivel, to hear my gradual padding towards her. Yet, she slows to a stop. She knows I am here. Stands in the middle of the path, paws firm against earth.

Her eyes straight ahead. Sun setting. I step out in front of her.

“Hello,” I growl, “I am This Wolf.”