Thirty Days to Halloween, Day 6. “Lobo Meets Red Riding Hood”
Here’s a little bit of horror for you redheads and lovers of redheads. I wrote this short story for a horror contest. It’s sort of a fractured fairy tale, similar to Decaprio’s Red Riding Hood. I placed a trailer video after the story.
“If you want trouble… find yourself a redhead.” – Unknown
I’ve always had a weakness for redheads. On a hiking trail on the Natchez Trace, I heard a runner’s footsteps and turned to see her coming my way. I stopped and leaned against a hickory and lifted my canteen as if taking a drink. She slowed her jog to a walk. “Hello,” she said.
“Are you okay? You look a little out of breath and your face is red. As red as my hair.” She slipped the scarlet hood of her cape back to reveal thick, dark red hair that seemed to sparkle in the sunlight.
I took another drink of water. “I’m fine.” Liar! my thoughts shouted. She has stupefied you. I thought I’d take a chance. I corked the canteen and extended my hand. “My friends call me Lobo. And you are?”
“Scarlett. I’m going to finish this trail. A little bit beyond that is my grandmother’s house. Want to walk with me? Grandmother always has a good meat pie ready for me.” She tightened the strap on her small backpack and slipped her arm into mine. “Please come with me. Grandmother loves company!”
“Sure.” As we resumed our hike, a thousand questions and thoughts buzzed through my mind.
“Guess how I got my name,” she said.
“Your parents loved Gone with the Wind?”
She snickered. “You’re funny. Obviously, I came out of my mother’s womb with red hair.”
“I like redheads,” I said.
“You’d be stupid not to. I like you too.”
I felt like howling.
As we walked, she told me all about redheads. “Did you know Scotland has the largest percentage of redheads, but the United States has the largest redhead population? The Greeks liked to say that we redheads are emotionally un-housebroken. They believed we turn into vampires when we die.”
She looked at me and grinned. I blinked because for a moment I thought I saw a jagged tooth.
She continued. “The Spanish Inquisition thought redheads were witches.” She sighed. “That may be partially true.”
“Aren’t there some famous redheads, like Lucille Ball?” I asked.
“Oh, yes. Many.”
We walked on past the trailhead and followed another path past a NO TRESSPASSING sign. “There’s her house,” pointing to a small clapboard house.
When we reached it, we stepped up on the porch. She opened the door and stuck her head in. “Grandmother, I’m back! I’ve a friend with me too.” She took my hand and pulled me inside.
“Grandmother, this is Lobo.”
“Glad to meet you, ma’am.”
“Oh, Scarlett, I’m glad you have a polite boyfriend this time.” She looked at me. “This girl has such a hard time keeping a boy around. Won’t you sit down to eat? I just finished cooking this meat pie.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
She set a steaming piece down with a spoon. “Dig in, boy!”
I ate like a condemned man eating his last meal. I’ve never tasted a meat pie so good. The grandmother and Scarlett had grown silent and sat as still as statues, looking at me. It felt really weird. Finally the grandmother moved over to her kitchen counter and rolled a pie filling that she pressed into a pie pan.
“Yep, you got a good one this time, Scarlett. I like him. He will taste real good. Make a fine meat pie. The cleaver’s on the shelf, dear. You know what to do.”