Little Red Riding Hood
When evil is not evil anymore.
The slow wind teases my nose and threatens to blow the red hood off my head as I try my best to keep the pace of my “tour guide”. He is about 10 feet ahead of me, walking in his usual brisk manner. I huff in exasperation, but to no avail. He ignores my struggle and keeps walking as fast as he can. I want to just run and push him to the ground to tell him to stop, but I can’t. I feel coming here was a mistake, but it’s too late to change my mind. It’s stupid to even think of doing so. My grandmother needs me. It is the least I can do for her.
If you are still wondering what is happening, then let me introduce myself. I am Mia, a journalist rookie who had come to my hometown to shoot a documentary on the mysterious red flower that grows only in the swamp area that is in the centre of a forest, close to my home. It has healing properties for all kinds of diseases. I found it absurd to believe, but here I am today, clutching red flowers to my chest, trying to get home at the earliest.
Grandma’s sickness has gone worse, despite the expensive medications and treatments. She falls sick for no reason and no medical tests reveal what exactly is wrong with her. She’s fed up and begs me to stop everything and let her die in peace. And it breaks my heart to see her in so much agony. Even though she’s old, she’s all I have got. I am so attached to her presence that I have abandoned the idea of making a documentary but find this last hope of saving her.
Iron bars by the military base soldiers cover the entire forest to guard the rare red flowers from intruders and spies. The government is planning to use it to treat injured soldiers. I tried my luck to sneak in and pick some flowers, but to my bad luck, I am caught by an official. He doesn’t even offer me a chance to explain myself and just orders me to follow him. I try to walk through different paths to run away, but he tracks me down easily with a menacing frown and a tilt of his left eyebrow. He is otherwise handsome, but right now I must get away before I’m detained.
“Walk faster before I change my mind and carry you on my shoulders,” he growls and I shiver, not in fear but in embarrassment.
“Where are we going?” I call out to him, a nameless stranger intimidating me with his looks and crankiness.
He chuckles under his breath. “There are dozens of places I can think of right now. But that’s all I can do. Think .“
I glare at him in frustration. He and his riddles. I don’t know why I am still following his trail blindly without even thinking where he is taking me.
Some dark thoughts cross my mind, and I doubt his intentions. He should report to his comrades and kick me out. But he keeps walking further.
“Come on now, we’re near” his voice snaps me out of my thinking.
I stop walking and just stand there waiting for him to turn around and look at me, which he does. He folds his arms stubbornly.
“Are you really helping me?” I ask him.
He smirks at my failed attempt at bravery. I keep standing there and wait for him to do something.
He comes closer and places his large hands on my shoulders. The red scarf did no justice to the warmth that emitted from his touch. I close my eyes for a few seconds and open them, staring back at his deep brown pupils.
“If I wanted, I would have done many things and you wouldn’t be able to stop me, young lady. But trust me. I am protecting you from others before they make you sorry for your silly mistake. “ I only nod my head, for I have lost my voice in awe of his proximity.
seizing this opportunity, he takes my hand and leads me to the iron bars that I didn’t notice all this while. Without a word, he gives a gentle tug to the open part and pushes me out of this living prison. We face each other, separated by these iron bars.
“Th…th….thank you very much for your kindness,” I stutter in shame for my suspicion.
He smiles widely and tips his imaginary hat. “You are very welcome….?”
“Mia,” I smile back at him. “May I know your name?”
“Casper Odin, though I am known more by my nickname” he winks.
“The big bad wolf”